The existence of the Guild of Glaziers is first recorded in 1328. Glass was a luxury item and as important then in weatherproofing buildings and letting in light as it is today. The medieval members would have been craftsmen or masters of workshops mostly making plain leaded windows. Stained glass was generally confined to cathedrals and other churches where it was used to depict Biblical subjects for educational as well as decorative purposes. Most of the coloured glass used in such windows was originally imported from Europe and skilled craftsmen from the continent also worked in England, although they were not entitled to join the Guilds.
During the Middle Ages the Glaziers came under the jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor of London and the Court of Aldermen, which after a while proved unable to protect their interests successfully. The Glaziers therefore sought a Charter of Incorporation from the Privy Council which was granted by Charles I in 1638. However, in 1683 Charles II revoked all the powers granted to the Glaziers, along with those of many other City Livery Companies. Partial restitution was achieved in a new Charter granted by James II in 1685, and complete reinstatement of rights in 1689. A supplemental Royal Charter was granted by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1956.
The Company is number 53 in the Livery Companies’ Order of Precedence.