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Certificate of the City’s Resolution of Thanks to Arthur, Duke of Wellington, 1815

​Certificate of the City’s Resolution of Thanks to Arthur, Duke of Wellington. 7 July 1815.  Ref: LMA COL/CHD/FR/08/083

Archive Treasures: Honouring Statesmen

The City’s archives include numerous handsomely decorated documents recording the bestowing of honours.  Elizabeth Scudder takes a look at the City of London’s tradition of honouring statesmen.

From 1792 onwards, anyone granted an Honorary Freedom of the City was given an illuminated certificate, of which duplicates were made and kept in the Chamberlain’s Court.  The document shown here relates to one of a number of ways in which the City helped to express the nation’s gratitude to the Duke of Wellington.

On 9 May 1811 Wellington was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of London with a Sword of the value of 200 guineas.  The following year, following his victory at Salamanca, Common Council passed a Resolution of Thanks to Wellington and added a gold box to the Freedom of the City already accorded to him. Following victories over the French near Vittoria another Resolution was passed by Common Council, 12 July 1813.

Following the Treaty of Paris in May 1814, Wellington was entertained at the Guildhall on 9 July 1814 and the opportunity was taken of presenting him with the Freedom, which he had hitherto been unable to take up, as also with the Sword of Honour and gold box. Following the great victory at Waterloo, the City passed another Resolution of Thanks in 1815 and it is this illuminated Resolution which is illustrated here.

05 August 2015
Last Modified:
04 September 2018