As you would expect from an organisation that can trace its roots back to 1170, the Worshipful Company of Cooks has a rich and colourful history; from the earliest records of Cooks in the Middle Ages and their control of the craft until the 19th Century to the Company’s current charitable works.

Many of today’s sayings have originated from Livery Companies:

‘On tenterhooks’ arose from the double-ended hook in the Clothworkers’ arms;
‘A baker’s dozen’ reflected the practice of adding a thirteenth roll to the dozen to avoid accusation of short-changing;
‘Sent to Coventry’ - Liverymen expelled from a London guild went to Coventry, a ‘free-town’, where guilds held no sway;
‘At sixes and sevens’ marked the struggle of the Merchant Taylors’ and Skinners’ Companies for sixth and seventh place in the table of precedence.

Click here to download a “Short History of the Worshipful Company of Cooks

The ‘full-strength’ newly commissioned history (see opposite) - A History of the Worshipful Company of Cooks - written by Dr Alan Borg CBE FSA, was released on 2 February 2011, coinciding with the 550th anniversary of the granting of its first coat of arms.


cooks history