The Company

The Act of Incorporation gave the Company jurisdiction over 'all persons using to make Knives, Blades, Scissers, Sheeres, Sickles, Cutlery wares and all other wares and manufacture made or wrought of yron and steele, dwelling or inhabiting within the said Lordship and Liberty of Hallamshire, or within six miles compasse of the same...'

The Company of Cutlers consists of an annually elected group of thirty-three people – a Master Cutler, two Wardens, six Searchers and twenty-four Assistants.  A Clerk and a Beadle are employed for administration and to perform ceremonial duties.

The first Company came into existence in August, 1624 with Robert Sorby as its first Master Cutler.  In the following August, the Company met to elect the next Company, checked the Master’s accounts, installed the new Master and heard a service at the parish church.  They ended the day with a meal in a local inn!  A new Company has been elected every year to the present day, except during the First and Second World Wars when the same Company continued for the duration of the wars.

Surviving accounts show that the early Company was concerned with recording apprenticeships and freedoms and registering the identifying marks of qualified craftsmen.  This was to ensure that blades were made correctly – that is, having an edge of steel – and also to ensure that only Freemen were selling their own goods.


Act Of Incorporation, 1624

The cutlers of Sheffield lobbied Parliament for an act to give them control over the organisation of the cutlery industry in Sheffield and surrounding areas.  It operated in much the same way as a mediaeval craft guild - indenting apprentices, registering Freemen and controlling the quality of goods manufactured.  The Company had the right to enforce its bye-laws and charge fines.  But it is not a Livery Company like the Worshipful Company of Cutlers in London.  Livery Companies are established by Royal Charter.

Hallamshire Map