The Gild of Freemen of the City of York


Please refer to the pages on the City of York Council’s website


For those that are interested there are still two possible ways to become a Freeman of York - by
birthright or by servitude. York City Council holds a Freedom Court annually in the Guildhall where new members are admitted to the Freedom. The Court is presided over by the Lord Mayor. Most new members gain their Freedom by birthright but there are occasional claimants by servitude as well.

Patrimony (birthright)
All the children of a Freeman are eligible once they reach the age of 21. A claim may be made through either a parent, grandparent, great grandparent or great great grandparent (whether living or dead).

To become a Freeman by servitude a candidate needs to be accepted as an apprentice to a master craftsman for five years. The master craftsman himself is required to be a Freeman of York. This is obviously quite difficult to achieve now as there are very few apprenticeships available.

If you are accepted as being qualified to be admitted you will receive an invitation to the Freedom Court, presided over by the Lord Mayor, and held in the Guildhall annually (if the number of applicants is great, and time allows, there may be two Courts in a single year). Having been 'identified' by an elder blood relation, according to the ancient custom, you will stand with the other candidates and recite the Freeman's declaration followed by the ancient oath of obedience.

Origins of the Freemen

Freemen Today

Famous Honorary Freemen

Strays of York

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