The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Silk Weavers named Collier

Visit to Guildhall Library 8 October 2011

Who do you think you are?

You may have viewed the edition of the BBC1 series where Len Goodman was shown a manuscript giving one of the registers of the “Worshipful Guild of Weavers” (the Weavers’ Company), at London’s Guildhall.

On 8 October 2011, I made a quick visit to the Guildhall Library to see what records were held and it was explained that:

1. There were 3 main ways to qualify as a member of the Weavers’ Company:
- To serve an apprenticeship
- To apply as a son of an existing member
- To buy your way in

2. The Guildhall Library holds a manuscript containing a record of apprentices. Usually an apprentice joined age 14 and approx. 7 years. So if you knew the date of birth of a silk weaver, you might be able to see if they were apprenticed.

3. The Guildhall Library holds a manuscript of “Freedom Registers” as some silk weavers were not only qualified as members of the Weavers’ Company but had Freedom of the City of London.

4. There is also a manuscript being an alphabetical list of freemen and apprentices.

5. Members of the Guild had to pay quarterly fees and the Guildhall Library holds the records on microfilm.

Quarterly Fees - Microfilm 4661/95-97,97A, 98-102

In the short time available, I searched the above microfilm with records kept under 2 parts :


Those listed under Livery were qualified to vote (the list did not appear to be in any definite alphabetical order).


Other members in alphabetical order.

I examined sections 95-97 and 97A and found 2 entries of interest:

William Cordell 1787-1792 (Emma Collier married into the Cordell family)

William Cordell, Bethnal Green Workhouse
Master 3.4.1787-2.10.1792

2-128 William Cordell, Bethnal Green Workhouse
Master 3.4.1787-2.10.1792

I was remiss in that I did not record in which section I found the records and whether Livery or Commonality. I also did not check to see why some info was given twice.

It seems extraordinary that the question of a weaver paying the Guild fees when he was in the workhouse.

Matthew Collier 1784-1803 (entries under Livery)

2 200 Matthew Collier, Queen St, Weston
Orris Weaver 3.10.1797

2 266 Matthew Collier, Queen St Weston
Orris Weaver 3.10.1797

280 Matthew Collier, Queen St Weston
Orris Weaver 3.2.1784-3.10.1787

227 Matthew Collier, Queen St, Weston
Orris Weaver 3.10.1797-17.6.1803

I will be honest that I thought the microfilm read “Orria Weaver” but there is a dictionary definition of Orris as gold or silver lace
and on the internet are extracts from a book, The London Weavers Company, in which there are references to Orris Weavers.


The 5 sets of records above may have useful info on the Colliers
- Record of apprentices – particularly 1765-1865
- Freedom Registers – particularly 1804-1921
- Alphabetical list of freemen and apprentices – 1737-1765 A-W.
- Quarterage Books – particularly 1708-1844

All you need is a day or so free!

Colin Bower
October 2011

Links to:

Silk Weavers named Collier - Introduction & Index

Silk Weavers named Collier - The Story So Far

Collier Family - Progress to Date

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