During peace times, sales of land were a primary avenue of royal revenue, but as that source was exhausted by 1685.
They elected the Mayor, who was known as the “master of all the companies.” But despite their power, the guilds could not always rest secure, because their relationship with the British monarchy was complex and at times tense.
Meanwhile, as the livery guilds continued to joust with the monarchy over who would ultimately control the innumerable revenue streams produced by the English economy, growing international trade had begun to transform some of the guilds into the first actual business corporations.
In 1505, the Mercers’ Guild spawned the “Guild or Fraternity of St.
One obvious source, especially in time of war, was the wealth of the livery guilds.
For example, during the war between England and Spain, it was the Grocers’ Company, among others, that financed the ships that defeated the Spanish Armada.