Town Clerk of London

Coat of arms of the City of London.

The Town Clerk of London is an important position that has existed since the 13th century within the City of London, England. Originally the position was to take the minutes of London council meetings, but over the years the holder has gathered responsibility which requires staff and executive powers.


The Town Clerk of London has held responsibility for recording the minutes of the council of the City of London and its committees since 1274. [1] But historically, the Town Clerk of London's elected position was also one of a legal advisor and recorder of city law. The Town Clerk has worked out of the Guildhall, London building since 1411. Today the Guildhall is still used for official functions.. [2]

The elected City of London council assumed legislative functions and adopted financial powers as confirmed by charters of 1377 and 1383 and as written by the Town Clerk of London. The council, with the Town Clerk, has amended the civic constitution, regulated the election of Lord Mayor and other officials, and amended the functions of the City of London courts via writs. [3]

This was successful, leading to the similar expansion of the City of London courts who had jurisdiction outside London as a type of county court. This gradually took over from the now obsolete circuit criminal court called the Assize Court. The format strongly influenced the development of the High Court of Chancery and Lord Chancellor's jurisdiction based in Westminster.

The Great Fire of London destroyed 80% of the city in 1666. The Guildhall was damaged in this and other great fires.

During the early 17th century, before and after the 1666 Great Fire of London the Town Clerk's function began to evolve into more complex and multiple positions as need and growth dictated. The more modern era of the Town Clerk as an executive had begun requiring more assistants and employees.

Today the Lord Mayor of the City of London is assisted in the daily operation of the city by three leading personnel [4] whose titles are the Town Clerk and Chief Executive, the Chamberlain and the Remembrancer.

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