King honoured by Worshipful Company of Loriners

Event rider Mary King has joined HRH the Princess Royal as one of the few to have been invited to become a Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Loriners.

The WCL is an historic organisation which started in 1261 and was a craftsman’s organisation - the art of lorinery includes the making of bits, bridles, stirrups, spurs, saddle trees and the metal parts of harnesses.

Whilst the WCL ceremonial base is in the city of Westminster where they hold meetings and dinners in the livery halls, the WCL is now mainly based in Walsall where much saddlery is made. Members of the WCL originally had privileges in society and many Lord Mayors and Sherrifs have been from the WCL.

In 1932 the Court of Aldermen fixed the number of liverymen permitted to the Company at 500, though this figure has not since then been approached. Since 1989 women have been admitted to the livery.

Mary said: “It was a great honour. It was a very formal affair, the induction taking place prior to a formal dinner for 300. I had to read an antique pledge of my allegiance to the WCL before the court which is currently headed by a lady Master, Lady Milne Coates.

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“It was in an amazing livery hall. It was black tie with the liverymen in robes. I had to make sure my arms and shoulders were all covered. Nowadays the WCL do a lot of charity work, and they wanted someone with strong equestrian links to join.”

The Company supports courses in lorinery at Capel Manor College, publishes leaflets on bits and bitting, funds veterinary research at Cambridge University, promotes British Standards for saddle trees, has made many donations to the Riding for the Disabled Association. It has made many distinguished men and women, prominent in the horse world, Honorary Freemen or Honorary Liverymen.

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