On joining the Company, a person becomes a Freeman of the Tallow Chandlers. Historically, the award of the Freedom marked the end of a seven year period of apprenticeship as a Tallow Chandler. A Freeman could then serve under any master, or set up shop independently. Freemen of the Company can also become Freemen of the City of London.

Freemen currently wait for between five and seven years before they are elected to full Liveryman status. The title also goes back to medieval times when only full guild members were permitted to wear the distinctive liveried costumes of their respective organisations, and enjoy the living (that is, use) of their individual guild halls – hence the title.

Becoming a Member

If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact our Membership & Events Manager for more information.


The Master

The Master for 2024/2025, the 457th recorded, is Hugh Wolley.

The Master oversees the Company’s activities, as well as representing the Company at a variety of charity, trade, ceremonial and social events. They are usually a long-serving Tallow Chandler.

Hugh qualified as a Chartered Accountant and spent 8 years with Touche Ross (now Deloitte) in London. He joined the company through a family link in 1975 as an apprentice.

In his middle years, he willingly relocated his career as a finance director to East Anglia, following his wife Mary’s move as a picture specialist from Phillips in Bond Street to their regional network.  He had the good fortune to find a job in a manufacturing business (wonderful to be in a business that makes things) near the coastal town of Aldeburgh. He and his wife Mary adopted north east Suffolk as their home 33 years ago, but realise that Suffolk may not have fully adopted them just yet.  Working locally worked well as two sons (now 33 and 36) grew up.

More recently, he has established a portfolio of small businesses which need part-time financial direction, from a day a quarter to a day a week, including one that works in tallow.  He works in part in venture capital backed, high growth businesses, developing much needed leaps in technology (e.g. graphene-based microchips and hydrogen fuel cells). He also works in family-owned businesses.  He seems to be drawn to food, and half of the businesses he works with are in the hospitality and food sector. 

He joined Aldeburgh Golf Club 27 years ago, but still regards himself as quite a new member and was thus somewhat surprised to have recently completed a year as its Captain. This has proved to be useful training for being Master of a livery company, as the Club has members, an heritage asset and is managed as a perpetual organization.

Although he is keen to enjoy the fellowship on offer at Tallow Chandlers’, he is also passionate about its charitable works, and has spent many years on its Education and Charity committee.  He is a trustee of Emmaus Suffolk, supporting vulnerable people often recently homeless, through social enterprise, and a trustee at a care home in Woodbridge.  

List of Past Masters dating back to the Company's Incorporation

The Court

Supported by a committee structure, the Court is the governing body of the Company responsible for all aspects of the business and the Court also acts on behalf of the Trustee (the Company) to govern the Benevolent Fund.

Led by the Master, the Court comprises: Past Masters, Deputy Master, the four Wardens (First, Second, Renter and Fourth) and Assistants (Liverymen selected to join the Court for two years). The Court oversees the policy and direction of the Company, as well as Committees including:

  • Education and Charity Committee
  • Finance and General Purpose Committee
  • Investment Committee
  • Nomination Committee
  • Hall Management Committee

In addition, ‘Special Courts’ are convened to admit new Freemen to the Company and to advance Freemen to the Livery.

The Clerk

Brigadier David Homer, MBE is both the Clerk and Chief Executive.

The Clerk manages the governance of the Court and Committees, presenting issues for decision/approval and implementing outcomes. 

In addition to usual Chief Executive responsibilities, and supported by the Office and Hall teams, the day to day role of the Clerk includes: maintaining close links with the schools and charities supported by the Company; liaising with the City of London, trades and trade-related businesses and affiliated organisations; the management of the Hall – and its associated events; and, the co-ordination of Company activities, in and outside the Hall.

List of Past Clerks dating back to 1530


While support to education and charity is the Company’s principal purpose, good fellowship – in and outside the Hall – is at the heart of everything we do. Societies and sports provide Liverymen and Freemen with the opportunities to share interests and have fun together.

Activities include inter-livery rowing, golf, shooting, skiing, cricket, sailing, real tennis, tennis, bridge and pancake racing; and, inside the Hall, a wine appreciation society.

Societies and sports help build and strengthen our bonds with each other, nurture our relationships with other livery companies and help develop unity of purpose in our giving.

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