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The Gild

Please note the Common Hall which was due to take place on 17th April 2024 has been postponed 

Gild Court

Master - Malcolm Ballard

Deputy Master - Lynn Roffee

Wardens - Sue Freeman, Nick Cave, Jeff Lewitt

Clerk - Vacant

Chamberlain - Malcolm Ballard

Archivist - John Tolton & Lynn Roffee

Editor of the Gildhall News - Val Moore

Representative from the Freemen of England and Wales - Derek Austin

About the Gild

In 1975 a small group of freemen got together with the collective objective of providing means by which freemen could meet and get together socially. After some debate and general agreement a meeting was held in a room at the Town Arms in Pocklington’s Walk and freemen were invited to attend with the idea of creating an informal body of freemen whose common interest is that they are all Freemen of Leicester.

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Formed in 1976

The Gild of Freemen of the City of Leicester was formed in 1976 and a set of rules by which the Gild should operate was agreed.

Management of the Gild would be by a body referred to as the Gild Court consisting of a Master, Deputy Master, Clerk, Chamberlain and 5 Wardens, in all, 9 members.

The basic functions of the Court can best be summarised thus:

- Provide social activities and outings for the benefit of Gild members and their families.

- Raise funds through membership fees and through activities in item 1 for the benefit of Gild members and their families.

- Provide items of interest identifiable with the Gild such as ties, key rings, etc for sale to the membership.

- Liaise with the City Council and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship to raise the profile of the Freemen within the City.

- Provide a means of communicating with the membership through a newsletter.

The Gildhall News

When the Gild was first formed a newsletter was written by the clerk of the moment and issued to Gild members. The letter was typed on A4 paper and was sent out on an Ad Hoc basis with no set timetable. This continued up to the end of 1996 after which a new format was produced in the form of an A5 sized booklet with multiple pages known as ‘the Gildhall News’.

From the very start the cost of the letter, the printing and the postage was funded by the Gild with no financial assistance from the Board of Deputies and with no other link with the Board other than that we were all freemen.

In 1998 a representation from the Gild approached the Board with a view to creating a bond which would be of mutual interest to both parties. The result of the meeting was that the Board would finance the cost of printing and postage of the Gildhall News with the following conditions.

- The newsletter would be issued to all freemen whether Gild members or not.

- The Chairman of the Board would be given the opportunity to read a draft of the newsletter before printing to ensure that the interests of the Board were not jeopardised.

- The Chairman of the Board would be given the opportunity to include his own contribution to the newsletter.

- The overall editing and responsibility of producing the newsletter would rest with the Gild.

Past Members

2017 - Brian W. Mudford

2016 - Lynn A.Roffee

2015 - Lynn A. Roffee

2014 – Lynn A. Roffee

2013 – James A. Chettle

2012 – John E. Tolton

2011 – Brian W. Mudford

2010 – Brian W. Mudford

2009 – Brian W. Mudford

2008 – Michael E. Ayres

2007 – Michael E. Ayres

2006 – Michael E. Ayres

2005 – Michael E. Ayres

2004 – Michael E. Ayres

2003 – Michael E. Ayres

2002 – Michael E. Ayres

2001 – Peter H. Kellett

2000 – John E. Tolton

1999 – John E. Tolton

1998 – John E. Tolton

1997 – Frank V. Pocklington

1996 – Frank V. Pocklington

1995 – Frank V. Pocklington

1994 – Frank V. Pocklington

1993 – Frank V. Pocklington

1992 – Frank V. Pocklington

1991 – Frank V. Pocklington

1990 – Peter H. Kellett

1989 – Peter H. Kellett

1988 – Peter H. Kellett

1987 – Peter H. Kellett

1986 – Peter H. Kellett

1985 – Peter H. Kellett

1984 – Peter H. Kellett

1983 – Peter H. Kellett

1982 – Peter H. Kellett

1981 - Roland L. Langton

1980 - Roland L. Langton

1979 - Roland L. Langton

1978 - Roland L. Langton

1977 - Roland L. Langton

1976 - Roland L. Langton

Rules of the Gild

1 Objectives

1.1 To promote mutual means of information between the Freemen of the City of Leicester.

1.2 To maintain and strengthen the rights and privileges of the Freemen of Leicester.

1.3  To do everything possible to enhance the good reputation of the City of Leicester and to further the welfare of its citizens, without infringing the rights, duties and powers of his Worship, the Lord Mayor, the City Council, Magistrates and other duly appointed Civic Authorities.

1.4  In order to pursue these objectives the Gild shall have power to collect, receive and hold funds by voluntary contribution, subscriptions, gifts or otherwise, and to hold social events and fund-raising activities.

1.5 The income of the Gild shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objectives of the Gild.

1.6 The Gild shall not;

1.6.1 Be involved in any activity which could be construed as making it a Trade Union;

1.6.2 Be involved in any party political activity;

1.6.3 Impinge in any way upon the rights and duties of the Leicester Freemen’s Deputies.

2 Membership and Awards

2.1  All Freemen of the City of Leicester, male or female, shall be entitled to full membership of the Gild upon payment of the duly authorized fee and are therefore eligible to wear the Gild Gown.

2.1.1 Widows, widowers, spouses, as well as children and grandchildren aged 18 years or over of Freemen of Leicester will be admitted to Associate Membership of the Gild on payment of the duly authorized fee.

2.1.2 The Court shall have the power to recommend that a non-freemen who they believe has given exceptional service to the City or the Freemen of Leicester be invited to become a  lifetime Honorary Member of the Gild. Such a recommendation shall be put to the Membership at Common Hall and shall require a two thirds majority in favour of those members present and eligible to vote. Honorary members shall enjoy all the rights and privileges of membership of the Gild, but they, like Associate Members, do not have the power to vote or make proposals that will in any way affect the Rules of the Gild.

2.1.3 Full members of other Gilds of Freemen in England and Wales shall also be entitled to apply for Associate Membership of the Gild of Freemen of Leicester on payment of the duly authorized fee.

2.2  All applications for membership must be made on the prescribed form and sent to the Chamberlain.

2.3  The Gild in General Meeting shall as required fix an entrance fee and annual subscription to be paid by Members and Associate Members. The subscription shall be payable in advance on entry, and thereafter on the first day of April in each year.

2.4 Any Member or Associate Member whose subscription is in arrears for a period of six months shall not have the privilege of receiving notice of, or attending or voting at, any meeting, and the Court shall have the power to terminate their membership of the Gild.

2.5 Patron: At such a time as the need arises the Court has the power to nominate a suitable person to be the Honorary Patron of the Gild.

2.6 President: The Lord Mayor of Leicester shall be invited to be the President of the Gild during his/her term of office.

2.7 The Dean of Leicester Cathedral be invited to accept the post of Honorary Chaplain of the Gild during his/her term of office and that each subsequent Dean should also be invited to hold that office.

3 General Meetings

3.1 A General Meeting of Members (to be known as the Common Hall) shall be held in each year at a date to be settled by the Court. No such meeting shall be held at an interval longer than fifteen months from the previous Common Hall.

3.2  Not less than twenty one days’ notice of any Common Hall, specifying the place and time of the meeting, shall be sent to all registered Members of the Gild.

3.3  No business shall be transacted at any Common Hall unless a quorum is present at the time the meeting proceeds to business. Fifteen full Members personally present shall constitute a quorum.

3.4  Every full Member shall have one vote. Minutes of the General Meeting shall be taken and circulated to all Members of the Gild with the notice of the next General Meeting. General Meetings are open to all classes of Membership although Associate members are not allowed to vote.

3.5 An Extraordinary General Meeting of the Gild may be called by resolution of the Court, or at the written request of fifteen voting Members. Notice of such meeting shall be circulated to all Members in the same way and subject to the same timetable as the Common Hall.

4 The Court

4.1 The Gild shall be governed by a Court of nine Members (who shall be known as Wardens), one third of who shall retire annually, but who shall be eligible to stand for re-election.

4.2 The Office Bearers shall consist of the following, who will be elected annually from the Members of the Court at the Common Hall;


Deputy Master

Clerk (Secretary)

Chamberlain (Treasurer)

A representative of the Gild to the Freemen of England and Wales

More than one office may be filled by one Member of the Court.

4.3 The term of office of the Master and Deputy Master shall be limited to a period of not more than three consecutive years, and no person shall be elected to the office of Master or Deputy Master unless at least three years have elapsed since they previously held the same office.

4.4  In addition to the above an Archivist and an Editor shall be elected annually and nomination for these posts is open to any class of member, and need not be a member of the Court.

4.5  Nominations for warden shall be submitted in writing to the Clerk of the Gild not less than fourteen days prior to Common Hall. Such nominations shall be proposed and seconded by a fully paid up Member of the Gild and shall include the consent of the nominee to the proposal.

In the absence of written nominations for a vacant post, the Master or, in his absence, the Deputy Master, shall invite nominations from Members attending Common Hall.

In the event of more than one nomination being received for a vacancy a secret ballot shall be taken at Common Hall where all eligible members shall be entitled to one vote for each vacancy. If no nomination receives over 50% of the vote on the first ballot, the candidate with the lowest number of ballots shall  withdraw, and a further ballot taken until a clear majority has been gained by one candidate.

Nominations for Officers of the Court shall be taken at Common Hall. Only elected Wardens of the Court shall be eligible for nominations as Officers.

In the event of more than one nomination being received for a post a ballot shall be held, using the same method as that for the election of Wardens set out above.

4.6  The Court shall meet not less than four times a year, or more frequently at the request of the Master or any four Wardens of the Court.

4.7 The Court shall have the power of co-option for the purpose of filling casual vacancies which may occur.  Any such co-opted member must seek re-election at the next Common Hall for the balance of the period of office which would have remained to his predecessor.

4.8 A quorum of at least five Wardens of the Court shall be present at any meeting before any business may be transacted.

4.9 The Court may as necessary appoint any of its Wardens, together with any co-opted Member of the Gild, to form a sub-committee for any specific purpose who will report to the Court any recommended actions for approval in a timely manner..

4.10The Master of the Gild or, in his absence, the Deputy Master, shall preside at all meetings of the Gild or Court. If the Master and the Deputy Master are both absent then the Wardens present shall elect one of their number to preside over the meeting.

5 Accounts

5.1 True records shall be maintained by the Chamberlain of all receipts and payments made by the Gild. A Balance Sheet and Income and Expenditure Account duly audited shall be submitted to the Members of the Gild at each Common Hall.

5.2 The Financial Year of the Gild shall be from 1 April to 31 March.

5.3 An Honorary Auditor shall be appointed at each Common Hall.

6 Amendment of Rules

6.1 The Rules of the Gild may be amended from time to time by Members, but no resolution for amendment of the Rules shall be proposed at any Common Hall unless at least two months prior notice thereof shall have been given to all Members, and a clear two thirds majority of those present at Common Hall and eligible to vote shall be required to carry each resolution.

7 Dissolution

7.1 In the event of the Dissolution of the Gild, the property, funds and records of the Gild shall be held in Trust by the Board of the Leicester Freemen’s Deputies until such time as either the Gild is reformed or its functions are taken over by the Board of Deputies itself.

Gild Merchandise

There are a number of Gild products available for sale.  All items can be ordered by downloading the form attached to the button below. Page 3 of the document details all the items available for purchase and the costs.

Products PDF
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