Admission to the Freelage

Freemen Admission Data form

In conjunction with the Lord Mayor's Office, a data collection form has been produced for potential Freemen to complete.

The form may be downloaded and following completion returned to the Admissions Group, Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne, Moor Bank Lodge, Claremont Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4NL. along with the relevant certificates. Once received an acknowledgement of receipt will be sent.

Forms are also available directly from the address above, or by e-mailing admin@freemenofnewcastle.org. also the Lord Mayors Office at Newcastle City Council.

To download a printable version of the application form, click here.

Swearing in of new Freemen

Swearing the Oath

Prior to the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill receiving Royal Assent on 12th November 2009, admittance was restricted to sons or apprentices of Freemen. The Bill stripped away gender restrictions to give daughters equal rights to the Freelage by inheritance.

In Newcastle upon Tyne freedom is acquired by inheritance or apprenticeship and until 1835 occasionally by gift. Freemen elsewhere may have different procedures depending upon the individual custom of their particular town or city.

Any son or daughter born in lawful wedlock or apprentice of a Freeman on reaching the age of 20 and in the case of an apprentice, having completed his apprenticeship, is entitled to become a Freeman on complying with the proper formalities.

Swearing In A Freeman

As a first step the applicant should apply to the Stewards of the Company through which his father, mother or master hails. The Stewards, having satisfied themselves of the validity of the claim, pass the application to the Lord Mayor's Office to be called at the next Court of Guild. In the case of inheritance the name is called once, in the case of an apprentice three times. This system gives the Freemen the opportunity to object and call a stop to the proceedings if they are not satisfied that all is in order. (Advice on application can sought from the office of the Stewards Committee or an application can be made directly to the Lord Mayor's Office.)

Following the calling of their Guilds the applicant must be sworn in before the Lord Mayor. Whilst taking the Freemen's Oath, now converted into a Declaration, the applicant holds an antique firearm symbolising the part of the Oath which reads "stands charged with a musket for the defence thereof", thus still, in theory at least, undertaking to defend the City.

Freedom by apprenticeship (for a long period the commonest method) was subject to compliance with old customs designed to restrict entry. Today this method is only open to very few companies as a matter of practicality.



Swearing In A Freeman

If an applicant's father or mother is or was a member of one of the Freemen's Companies or he has served his apprenticeship to a Freeman carrying on the craft of his company, they are entitled, after having taken up the freedom of the City, to join the Company through which they hails.

Some Freemen are not members of Companies because an ancestor failed to join the Company during his lifetime. Fortunately most Companies do not enforce this long outdated rule.

Every Freeman, whether a Company member or not, is entitled to make application for charitable relief. This also applies to their spouse or children in full time further education aged 18 to 20 years, and is payable under the rules of the Town Moor Money Charity.

Today only a relatively small proportion of the population of the City are Freemen but they certainly represent a wide cross section.

Lady Freemen

As a result of the successful efforts of the Newcastle Freemen, in co-operation with Newcastle City Council and local MPs, legislation has now been enacted which makes it an entitlement for women to enter the Freelage in Newcastle upon Tyne. Work is now taking place, in partnership with Newcastle City Council, to prepare for implementation of the admission of Lady Freemen.

To support the implementation, and in co-operation with the Lord Mayor's Office, a data collection form has been produced for potential Freemen to complete.

The form may be completed online or downloaded for returning to our office at Moor Bank Lodge after completion. Forms are also available directly from Moor Bank Lodge, and the Lord Mayors Office at Newcastle City Council.

To download a printable version of the application form, click here.

(PDF document, requires Acrobat Reader)

Contact details for return of printed forms are as follows:

Post :

Admissions Group

Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne
Moor Bank Lodge
Claremont Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE2 4NL

Fax :
Email :

0191 2324677
admin@freemenofnewcasatle.org

Hereditary Freemen Family Research Guide

A Roll of Freemen from 1820 is held at Moor Bank Lodge, this is a purely a register of the date a Freeman was sworn in.

The Company of Freemen through which the individual hails may hold further information. (See list of Senior Stewards for contact details.)

Honorary Freelage is not the same as hereditary freelage, therefore we hold no records. This is granted by the City Council and has been bestowed on individuals and regiments.

If you are trying to find details of a current or former Freeman, please try to provide:

  • The Name of the Incorporated Company of Freemen
  • Surname
  • Forename(s)
  • Father's forename
  • Date of birth
  • ... and send them to the following address:

  • Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Moor Bank Lodge
  • Claremont Road
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE2 4NL
  • United Kingdom
  • Other valuable sources of information include:

    Tyne & Wear Archives

  • Tyne & Wear Archives
  • Blandford House
  • Blandford Square
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE1 4JA
  •  
  • Search Room Direct Dial: 0191 2772248
  • Email: archives@twmuseums.org.uk
  • Lord Mayor's Chamber

  • Mr Ian Humphries
  • Lord Mayor's Principal Secretary
  • Lord Mayor's Chamber
  • Civic Centre
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE1 8QA
  •  
  • Telephone: 0191 2115051
  • Email: ian.humphries@newcastle.gov.uk
  • Freemen of Trinity House (Master Mariners)

  • Trinity House
  • Broad Chare
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE1 3DQ
  •  
  • Telephone: 0191 2328226
  • http://www.trinityhousenewcastle.org.uk
  •