In 1357 a number of important men and women came together to form a religious fraternity and to build the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall. By 1430 most members were mercers, and alongside the fraternity they set up a trading association or guild. They used the Hall to transact their business affairs, to meet together socially, to look after the poor and to pray to God.
Today the Guild (or Company as it is now called) is no longer a trading association. It holds the Hall in trust, administers charities, operates the Hall as a museum and plays an important role in the civic and business life of the City of York. The Company uses its guild hall for meetings and events and holds services in its chapel.
In 2007 the Company celebrated the 650th anniversary since the organisation was founded and work began on building the Hall. A number of projects were launched to mark this event, including an oral history project, to survey a number of Company members about their lives and roles in the Company, and also interview members of other York guilds. This material is being edited for public use- if you are interested in being involved in this project, please click on this link to contact us.
To listen to an interview with a past Governor of the Company, David Ashton, click on these clips to download.
To listen to an interview with member Maureen Loffill, click on these clips to download.
Thanks to volunteers Ed Sohoglu and Dave Keegan for creating these clips
To find out more about the history of the Company and what it does today please visit our online resource 'Find out More'.
The Company seals - business (above) and charitable (below) (Stained glass windows in the Chapel)
To see the core purposes of the company which were formally agreed upon in 2009 please click here.