How to Join

Becoming a member of the City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild

In order to join in the Guild activities and events, you need to become a member of The City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild.

All Freemen of Coventry are eligible to join the Guild.

The annual subscription rates are £15 per year (reduced to only £8 for retired Freemen)

You will find a link to download the application form (in pdf and doc format) below. Please download one of these forms, print it out and complete it. Then you can send the completed form to the Guild Membership Secretary, as an email attachment, after you have scanned your completed form back into your computer (the email address for the Membership Secretary is on the form). If you prefer to send your application form by post please send the Membership Secretary an email in order to obtain his postal address. If you decide to apply by post, you can send a cheque for one years membership with your postal application. If you apply by email please ask the Membership Secretary for details of paying by Electronic Fund Transfer.

Coventry Guild Membership Form – pdf

Coventry Guild Membership Form – doc

Please note: there are no reduced costs for joining part way through a year.

Becoming a Freeman of the City of Coventry

In Coventry the only way a person can become a Freeman of the City is by servitude. This is rather unique, since in other cities people become Freemen by redemption (payment of a fee) or by patrimony (if your father or mother is, or was, a Freeman of that city).

Rules for Admittance to the Freedom of the City of Coventry

Qualifying Period of Service

The trades and professions concerned are recognised as the appropriate bodies to determine periods of apprenticeship for their own purposes but it does not necessarily follow that these periods should be the sole qualification for admission to the Freedom of the City. Accordingly the qualifying period is defined as follows:-

  1. The service of not less than 5 years full-time apprenticeship; or
  2. The service of such lesser period of apprenticeship as is required to be served in a particular trade or profession (as prescribed from time to time by National or Local Agreements or Professions’ requirements relating to that trade or profession) supplemented after apprenticeship (but not necessarily consecutively) by an appropriate period of employment (but not necessarily with the same employer) in the same trade or profession and within the qualifying area (or elsewhere in the employment of a firm with a principal or major place of business in the qualifying area) so as to complete in total a period of 5 years service.

It follows from the above that pre-apprenticeship periods at a school or college will not to count for Freedom purposes and only that time served after the date of the Agreement signed or sealed between the apprentice and the master will count.

It should be noted that the supplementary period of employment after apprenticeship referred to in (1) above, does not need to be continuous (e.g. if a supplementary period of two years was required, two separate years could be worked with a break in between.)

Qualifying Area of Service

The area has been extended to that covered by a circle drawn with a radius of four and a half miles from St. Mary’s Hall or the actual boundary of the City, which ever is the larger.

The Qualifying Age of 21 years

The age qualification has been removed since five years will need to be served under (1) above. This age will take all school leavers up to 21 years of age or over by the time they take the Freemen’s Oath.


Am I eligible to become a Freeman of the City of Coventry?

The West Midlands County Council Act 1980 states that to qualify for the Freedom of the City you must have completed an apprenticeship under an enrolled Deed:

for a company whose address is within 4.5 miles of St Mary’s Guildhall or within the City boundary


that was at least a five year apprenticeship


if less than five years, has been supplemented by work in the same trade to which you were apprenticed, to make up a total of five years (it does not matter if you changed your employer or if there was a gap between your apprenticeship and your additional work).

How do I apply to become a Freeman of the City of Coventry?

If you think you qualify please complete an application form and return a signed copy to Lord Mayor’s Office.

Freedom of the City of Coventry

Lord Mayor’s office

Council House

Earl Street




Tel: 024 7683 3100

Fax: 024 7683 3078

Application form for admission to the Freedom

Download an application form and explanatory notes about applying for the freedom of the City of Coventry

Application form for admission to the Freedom ( DOC – 98.5 KB)

Application form for admission to the Freedom ( PDF – 251.45 KB)

Otherwise, please use the Coventry Council web link below:

Have you lost or damaged your Freeman’s Certificate?

Use the Coventry Council web page link (above) and ask the Lord Mayor (via the email address shown) for a new certificate. This will be subject to a fee as directed by the Lord Mayor’s Office.





14 thoughts on “How to Join

  1. For the attention of Keith Talbot
    I have been told that “Freeman of the City” people are eligible for extra pension
    I served my apprenticeship at Roll-Royce plc in Coventry at the Parkside works between 1970 to 1975.
    I received my “Freemanship” from Councillor Clews who was the Lord Mayor in 1975
    I am still working at Rolls-Royce Ansty and this August I will have done 44 years service.
    My birth date is 16th February 1954 so will be 60 years old this week.
    Can you advise if I am eligible for the extra pension ( I am told it is an extra £200 per year) and if so how do I apply?
    Steven Fretwell
    Mobile: 07761839305
    3, Royston Close
    CV3 2SR

    • Hi Carl, an application form (both in .doc and .pdf format) is winging its way to you as an email attachment and I have asked our Membership Secretary to look out for your application.
      Steve Morson, (Senior Warden and Chamberlain).

  2. Could you please send me an application form to join the Guild, I served a full Technician Apprenticeship Coventry Climax Ltd and duly certified and sworn in as a freeman in 1972.

    Many thanks

    John Montgomery

    • Hi John,
      I have attached a copy of the application form to join The City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild (in .doc and .pdf format) and sent this to your email address. Could you please print off a copy of this form, complete it and send it (with a cheque) to the Guild Membership Secretary (address as stated on my email). I will look forward to seeing you at a Guild function or event in the near future. Very best wishes, Steven Morson (Senior Warden and Chamberlain)

  3. Good morning.
    I served my apprenticeship at Bristol Siddeley Engines 1959 to 1964.
    Most of the 5 years was spent at Ansty, (rather than Parkside, Coventry).
    For the above reason I was informed that I could NOT become a freeman of the city.
    Would you please confirm.
    John Claridge

    • Dear John Claridge
      It may be the case that you would still qualify to become a Freeman of the City of Coventry if your “Master” resided within the boundary of the City of Coventry. In other words, was the head office of Bristol Siddeley Engines within the “boundary of Coventry” between 1959 and 1964?
      I am given to understand that Rolls Royce apprentices are entitled to their “Freedom”, even though a lot of apprentices worked at Ansty during their apprenticeship, because the head office was within the Coventry boundary limits.
      I would therefore suggest that you contact the Lord Mayors Office (email = and inform the Lord Mayor of your situation. Give the Lord Mayor your dates of Apprenticeship (from – to). The Lord Mayors office may have records of other apprentices who worked for the same company during the same dates as you. If you still have your deeds of apprenticeship this will help a great deal but if you haven’t please add as much detail as possible about your apprenticeship, including month and year (from – to) and confirming this was a continuous period with the same firm. It may also help to advise the Lord Mayor which technical college you attended.

      In the end, it falls upon the Lord Mayor (using the rules held by his office as guidance) to decide whether or not you qualify to become a Freeman of the City of Coventry.

      I do sincerely hope that the Lord Mayor is able to grant your “Freedom of the City”.

      You will receive a free subscription to the Guild for your first year after becoming a Freeman and we hope this will encourage you to remain a member of the Guild after this initial period, as it would only cost you £15 per year or £8 per year as a retired member.

      Please keep us informed via this web site, so that your example may help others who are in the same situation.
      Very best wishes
      Steven Morson
      Deputy Master and Webmaster of the City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild

    • Hi John,
      Great to see your comment. I was at BSE at the same time as you, but I got on to a DipTech at Lanchester College (Poly then Cov University) so my apprenticeship was extended to 7 years. Anyway, the city agreed that I was eligible for Freemanship and I am currently scheduled to meet with the mayor on June 1, 2017. Hope your application went as well as mine. As a Coventrian her whole life, I know my Mum would have been so proud.

  4. Hello,

    Just a quick question, when specifying the distance from St Mary’s Guildhall to the company address, is this a straight line distance or the distance of the a route between the two places?

    My current employer is the Manufacturing Technology Centre, close to the Rolls Royce Ansty Branch.


    • Hi Georgina,
      That is a straight line distance … as in radius from St. Mary’s Guildhall. Please try an application to the Lord Mayor as I would be delighted to see people with as much drive and determination as you becoming a Freeman of Coventry and take an active part in our Guild.

  5. Dear John Claridge,

    It has taken me some 51 years to contact the Guild, heaven only knows why. My illuminated scroll, Oath of A freeman, signed by Mayor William Parfitt, hangs on my living room wall in Brantford Ontario taking pride of place. It is a great source of conversation both with family and Canadian friends. Last year I was in Coventry, I left in 1974, my Canadian born wife joined me in a visit to the St Mary’s Guild Hall.she was amazed by the history. .I served my Engineering apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering at Self Changing Gears, it was on Lythalls Lane back then. I did not realise that joining the Guild was necessary after becoming a Freeman. I would appreciate if you could send the appropriate form to join.

    Youirs Geoff Mallin

    • Hi Geoffrey,
      Joining The City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild is your choice. But it is a very good way of keeping in touch with fellow Freemen of Coventry at a very reasonable annual membership cost (about 7% of the annual cost of the most expensive Guild in England).
      To join please follow the link “About > How to Join” on this web site in order to download the form and contact the Membership Secretary by email.
      Best wishes
      Steven Morson
      Past Master and webmaster of The City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild

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