The Company of
Cutlers in Hallamshire Since 1624

Become a Freeman

Become a Freeman

To be a Freeman is to be part of an organisation that has been intimately involved with the manufacturing industries of Sheffield and South Yorkshire for nearly 400 years. Initially the arbiter of Cutlers’ Trademarks and Apprentices the Cutlers took control of the cutlery industry in Hallamshire with the Act of Parliament in April 1624 placing the economic benefits of manufacturing directly into the hands of the people working in the industry.

Since 1624 the Cutlers of Sheffield have evolved through innovation, hard work and vision from its founding role supporting the cutlery industry into steel and steel product makers before expanding into aerospace, digital engineering, tooling, advanced manufacturing and many other sectors. This expansion into new manufacturing sectors has always been with the “Made in Sheffield” quality ethos of the original Cutlers at our core and has happened alongside the traditional industries of the Region – “Hallamshire and 6 miles compass” (the S postcode). The Company of Cutlers has evolved to reflect these advances and rolled with the changes in UK governments over 400 years to lead the representation and promotion of the manufacturing industries of the region locally, nationally and internationally. The Master Cutler acts as the “Voice of Manufacturing” for Sheffield and South Yorkshire supported by the Members, Freemen and Friends who help to keep the prominence and importance of manufacturing at the forefront of what we do.

The Company also plays a major part in the civic life of the Region, through maintaining close links with a wide range of organisations, including Regional and Local Government, the voluntary and faith sector, the Judiciary, health and emergency services and the military.

The representation work of the Master is underpinned by the Company’s role in Education, spearheaded by the “Better Learners Better Workers” programme, and the charitable activities undertaken including, but not limited to, the Master Cutler’s Challenge.

Finally, the Company is in the events industry using the Cutlers’ Hall to welcome people to the region to impress them with what has been achieved here and inspire them with what is happening in Sheffield and South Yorkshire now.

About being a Freeman

As a Freeman of the Company of Cutlers In Hallamshire , an ancient title which means a person was free to work at their trade (not as a journeyman, apprentice or employee) with the right to produce their own goods and sell them, you continue the traditions and company life of the 1624 Cutlers adjusted for modern times which include:

  • The Company life, including the Installation of the Master Cutler and the Cutlers’ Feast
  • Company, Guest and Subscription events like the Forfeit Feast and the Freemen’s Dinner
  • Invitations to meetings with key opinion formers to support the Master Cutler in their role as the “Voice of Manufacturing” in promoting positive messages about manufacturing in Sheffield and South Yorkshire
  • Being part of the Company’s charitable activities
  • Being involved in the Company’s educational activities around skills and bringing young people into engineering
  • Offer and receive feedback about what is happening in Industry in response to issues around manufacturing
  • Promote the positive messages about manufacturing in the region
  • Raise issues for the Master Cutler to raise with Government when they are in London
  • Be part of the Company’s Regional Manufacturing Forum and the International Trade Forum
  • Take part in networking opportunities organised by the Company and Friends.
Eligibility and Process

Directors or Senior managers of eligible businesses in Sheffield and South Yorkshire are identified by the Members and the Freemen’s committee and asked to complete a form confirming their eligibility, willingness and desire both to become a Freeman and to be involved in the Company life if accepted as a Freeman. This application is then scrutinised by the Freeman’s advisor before approval by the Company.

Successful applicants are then invited to join and subscribe to the annual contribution which is paid into the Preservation Trust to help maintain the Hall and its Heritage.

The current annual subscription is £250


The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire
The Cutlers' Hall
Church Street
S1 1HG

Tel: +44 (0) 114 272 8456