Newsletter – December 2017

In Newsletter by The Merchants of the Staple of England


The Upper Clerk: Lieutenant Colonel DRE O’Kelly


In case you weren’t aware, Lord Crathorne had to delay his appointment as Mayor of the Company on health grounds.  This unfortunately meant that he was unable to be sworn in at the Michaelmas Feast as is customary.   However, I am pleased to report that he was sufficiently recovered to be sworn in at the Advent Feast at the end of November.  The Court was grateful to the previous Mayor, Robert Sword, for extending his time in post to cover the period.

The Michaelmas Court and Feast at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, York on Friday 6th October was enjoyed by 34 Freemen, coincidentally the same as in 2016.  As already noted, the new Mayor was unable to be sworn in but two new Freemen were (Viscount Downe and Brigadier Collins). The Minutes of the Court Meeting can be found on the website (, as indeed can much else besides, although there may be a hiatus as the website is currently being redeveloped to make it more accessible.

Some members of the Court of Assistants and Trustees attended the Mansion House Feast of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen in October; at this dinner the joint Woolmen and Staple Innovation Prize was awarded to Miss Megan Lovett.  Megan graduated from the University of Brighton in June 2017, having studied Textiles with Business Studies, specialising in woven textiles. Her final collection, Loop and Weft, investigated the combination of woven and knitted textiles and the many varying technical processes and their outcomes, creating garments which evolved from technical discoveries and three-dimensional exploration on the body.  She received a £5,000 prize plus a commemorative certificate and was later a guest of the Company at the Advent Feast.

Robert Sword attended the Travel Bursary Travel Celebration at York University in November, and met Jessica (Thailand) and Max (Guatemala).  All the Travel Bursary students attended the event and they gave a short resumé of their travels.  Jessica, who is from Liverpool, had gained a huge amount from the visit to Thailand, being the first time she has travelled outside the UK.  Max had gained an insight into the establishment and management of a co-operative coffee marketing group, funded by a NGO.  These were two very worthwhile travel bursaries.

24 Freemen, 3 official guests and 9 private guests attended The Advent Feast at The Garrick Club, London.  This was a most enjoyable evening in delightful surroundings; Lord Donoughue gave a refreshingly honest ‘state of the nation’ address which was well received by those present.

2018 – please note some dates for your new diary:

  • Friday 9thMarch – the Worshipful Company of Woolmen have kindly invited members to their York Banquet at the Merchant Adventurers Hall; cost is likely to be circa £100; please let me know in the New Year if you are interested in attending.
  • Saturday 21st April – The St George’s Feast will take place at Crathorne Hall Hotel, Yarm; the Calling Notice will go out in the New Year.
  • 10th-12th July – the Great Yorkshire Show, notably on Wednesday 11th July (usually at about 1030) the presentation of the Best Fleece, sponsored by the Company. There is also likely to be an opportunity to have lunch with the Woolmen that day as well.
  • Friday 5th October - The Michaelmas Court and Feast at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, York

During the course of the year, the Charitable Trust received donations of over £13,800 from Freemen and investment income, with its expenditure totalling £11,000.   I would like to draw your attention to the attached article about the Nuffield Scholarship in which previous winner, Jen  Hunter, explains the benefits of being a recipient.

The Cellarer, David Butler-Adams, is on the lookout for members to join his Wine Committee; anyone with an interest should contact him directly.

Contact Details – please may I remind members that if you are changing your address, e-mail or phone number, that you remember to tell me.

The Company continues to seek new members and I am pleased to report that there have been eight new members this year and there are a couple more in the pipeline for next.  I have also received the resignation from the Company of Major General Henry Woods, member since 1980.  The Company now has 119 members.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2018.