by Charles Henry Ashdown
Despite the name, The City of London is only a small part of metropolitan London, and is further unique in that it boasts of its own government. This centers on the ancient companies, or guilds, which in the Middle Ages held sway over the various crafts—fish mongering, goldsmithing, the fur trade, and so on—but which today have endowments to advance education, health, and other charities. It is from the members of the guilds that the Lord Mayor and other city officers are selected. The guilds do retain an interest in their trade connections of many years ago, and in this case the Glaziers, who began in 1328, still 700 years later play a part in the preservation of stained glass and in its manufacture. The literature of the guilds owes much to Victorian and Edwardian antiquaries who created valuable collections of documents now often lost. Charles Henry Ashdown wrote voluminously on castles, early armaments, and the history of St. Albans, but his volume on the glaziers is surely one of his most valuable tomes.