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Text Box: 5 Oak Close, Church Eaton
Stafford, ST20 0AQ
01785 823067

Dear Burgess,


You have, either been a member, or currently are a member, of Stafford Freemenís Guild. Regrettably, over several years our records have become out of date and we are now trying to rectify this problem. We hope you will forgive us if this request appears unnecessary, or if you have told us that you have no further interest in the organisation. We also apologise if we should inadvertently address this communication to deceased members, but regrettably the Borough Council keep no records of either the status or current addresses of those whose names are on the Roll of Burgesses of Stafford Borough


With the appointment of Terry Griffin as our Membership Secretary, we hope to avoid including people with no interest and excluding those who wish to be involved. We believe there are over 200 sworn burgesses still around. About 70 of these have at some stage been Guild members, but only some 20 are currently paid up. The annual membership fee is the only real indication of peopleís interest, so we enclose a note from Terry to show your current status as far as we know it. We hope that you will continue, renew, or begin your association with the Guild by bringing your subscription up to date and ensuring that we have your correct details.


The Freemen of Stafford have an ancient heritage and the status of Burgess involves not only the nicety of the title, but certain responsibilities. Foremost of those is to ensure that the Freemenís Lands are properly managed and their heritage safeguarded for future generations. Some years ago this was not done, so a considerable amount of land, where much of the new Coton Fields housing is now built was simply taken away by the local council. More recently the remaining land was liable to be sold for personal profit. To monitor the trustees, an annual Meeting of Burgesses was instituted, but this year only sixteen people attended. The Guild was formed as a communication and social body for the Freemen of Stafford with the objective of safeguarding the rights, heritage and assets of the burgesses.


We have a small social programme in which we would like you to participate and we try to take part in the town ceremonies, like Mayor Making and Remembrance, so numbers are important. Questions like ďWhat do I get for my £8 ?Ē cannot be answered with a list of benefits, but it does enable us to run the Guild and hopefully arrange activities and provide information that will be of benefit and interest to Freemen. Mainly, the subscription is tangible evidence of your support.


Recent changes in the law have given us the rights and responsibilities to update the rules for admission as burgesses, including the admission of ladies by birthright, as well as by the existing apprenticeship rules. Those rules also need to be updated in the light of current practice and we would welcome ideas from Guild members in this important activity.


I hope you will take this opportunity to support us in our aim to look after the burgesses of our ancient borough and I look forward to seeing you at one of our events in the near future.


With best wishes


John Edwards, Master of the Guild








An Open Invitation to Burgesses of Stafford

Issued by the Guild Council February 2006


Stafford Freemenís Guild

An Association of Burgesses of the

Borough of Stafford

with history dating back to 1100

15 February 2006

Dear Fellow Burgess,


Our records show that you have been sworn in as a Burgess of the Borough of Stafford. The Freemenís Guild exists to provide a forum for Burgesses to meet socially, express their views on matters pertaining to the Borough and foster the interests of Freemen generally. They are the visible face of the burgesses on civic occasions and help to monitor the trusteeship of the freemenís lands. They also encourage the authorities to hold courts to appoint new burgesses and continue the heritage.


In this year, when we are celebrating 800 years since the grant of the Charter to the Burgesses of Stafford, we would like to invite you to join, (or re-join), the Guild. The subscription is only £5 per annum (£3 if over 65), which allows voting at the AGM, covers the costs of staging various social and administrative activities and permits you to join in the social programme.


On 27th May 2006 we are holding our Charter Celebration, with the involvement of other Guilds and the ďFreemen of England and WalesĒ. There will be a tour of places of historical interest in the town, a review of the regeneration of the allotment site, a talk by Jack Kemp on the history of Stafford Freemen, a chance to renew your Burgessís Oath at St Chadís Church and a special Anniversary Dinner at Staffordshire University. We hope that, some time during the day, many burgesses will join us for these activities and make contact with Guild members.


There is no mechanism for the Burgesses Roll to be kept up to date. Even the deaths of Burgesses are not recorded by the Borough. The Guild wishes to maintain an up-to-date list of Freemen with contact details, because even those who do not wish to participate in Guild activities, may be needed in the event of any loss of the assets, such as occurred when the Freemenís lands were annexed in the 1960s and when the allotments were likely to be sold for personal gain in the 1990s.


Please contact us if you wish to attend any of our May celebrations, need update your details, or even tell us you have no interest in our activities.


For those of you with access to the internet; details of our activities are on and you can e-mail us at .


Should you wish to join the Guild, please send your details and subscription to our treasurer, Mr Fred Pye, 3 Falmouth Avenue, Stafford, ST17 0JQ.


Yours sincerely,


Derek Glover


Hon Secretary

38 Knight Avenue


ST16 3QA

Tel 0 1 7 8 5   6 0 5 1 5 0


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