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Innholders

The innkeepers were originally associated with the cooks, tapsters and hostlers; the cooks are mentioned in a Pentice Court roll of 1459-60 and in a list of companies in the Mayor’s book for 1475-76. These crafts produced ‘The Harrowing of Hell’ in the Chester cycle of Mystery Plays. They were granted a charter by the Mayor and citizens in 1583 and by Elizabeth I in 1592.

A number of disputes arose between the innkeepers and other companies. In 1585, they quarrelled with the bakers over the right to bake bread for guests in inns and in 1657 the mercers and ironmongers complained that the innkeepers had encroached on their trade by selling wares in competition to them.

In the 17th century, the company met in glover’s meeting house at the east end of Duke Street. However, by 1835, when it was by far the largest of the City companies, it held its annual meetings in the Exchange, the old Town Hall, in Northgate Street.