St Bride's: Worship & Ministry

Guild of St Bride

In mediaeval times St Bride's had several parochial guilds, the oldest being that of St Bride.  It was confirmed by a writ issued by Edward III in the Tower of London in 1375.

The Guild House, which among other things formed a social centre for the members, was situated on the north side of Fleet Street near Ludgate Circus.

The guild revenues escaped the rapacity of Henry VIII, but since St Bride's was his parish church, the Bridewell Palace being adjacent to the Churchyard, he may have spared the Church on that ground. The Rector is still officially Chaplain of the Bridewell Precinct.

Members of the Guild at the annual Guild Sunday Service - February 2012

The Guild never lost its identity for the Rector and Churchwardens continued as trustees of its funds. In the nineteenth century the funds were divided and half was retained by the Church and the other half went to establish the St Bride Foundation.  The Rector and Churchwardens are ex-officio governors of this Foundation.

When the Rev'd C. M. Armitage M.V.O. became Rector, he and the Churchwardens felt that the Guild could be reconstituted and enlarged to contain representatives of a cross-section of Fleet Street interests and activities, and in 1953 this was done. The number of Liverymen is limited to one hundred, in addition to the College of Chaplains. Lord Astor of Hever became the first Master of the reconstituted Guild, and Sir James Waterlow the Deputy Master. Mr Malcolm Wright, M.B.E., Q.C., Recorder of Devizes, drafted the constitution.  Messrs Ede and Ravenscroft made research into the nature of the livery gown of russet cloth.  The Guild medallion was designed by Mr H. Litterick.

The first installation of members to the reconstituted Guild took place on the 15th February 1955 at Hever Castle.

In 1975, to mark the 600th anniversary of the writ issued by Edward III, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales attended a Service of Thanksgiving. This was his first official public visit to Fleet Street.  The service took place in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London and the Lord Bishop of London.

On the first Sunday in February each year, Members of the Guild and their Families attend the Annual Service of Thanksgiving and Installation of new Liverymen. This takes place as part of the 11am Morning Service. The Service and the lunch which follows it give members of the Guild a chance to meet together, as some Guildsmen only attend St Bride's during the week or once a month to fulfil their Guild duty as they have commitments at their local church.

At the 2012 meeting of the Guild in Council a revised Constitution was approved. This document incorporated the many changes that had taken place since the Guild was reconstituted in 1954.

The Guild of St Bride

Master: David Bell

Clerk: David Blackwell

Treasurer: Philip Keown

Guild Marshal: Terence Smith