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Freemen of Chester Records Online

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This database is taken from an index to the rolls and registers of freemen of the City of Chester and covers the period 1747 to 1925.

Traditionally there were three ways by which to become a freeman: by birth, by apprenticeship to a freeman and by order of the Chester Assembly (the governing body of the City until 1835). Citizenship (ie being a freeman) was valued for the privileges it confirmed. In order to trade or practice a craft in the city, it was necessary to be a freeman and by a member of the appropriate trading company. Until the 19th century, freemen had the right to elect annually the mayor, sheriffs and aldermen of the city. They also had the right to vote in Parliamentary elections.

The index can give information about

  • Residence (town or parish and sometimes giving the address)
  • Occupation
  • Date (made free)
  • How (made free)
  • Any other information recorded in the index (Notes)

There is no further information available in the index or in the rolls and registers themselves.

Some earlier records of freemen can be found in JHE Bennett, The Rolls of the Freemen of the City of Chester 1392-1805, Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society, vols 51 and 55 1906 and 1908. This is available at Cheshire Record Office and at Northwich, Warrington and Chester libraries.

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