On Thursday, the Princess Royal, who is an Honorary Assistant and Past Master at The Worshipful Company of Loriners, will visit the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in London.
The Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, which was founded in 1989, is a charity which provides riding therapy for children, with the mission to improve the lives of young people. The Centre has 16 suitable horses and ponies, a large indoor riding arena and a traditional stable yard, which was rebuilt and officially opened by Princess Anne in 2000. It is also a member of the Riding for the Disabled Society, and has been associated with the Loriners for over 20 years. This year, the organisation is celebrating its 25th anniversary at Woodmans Mews.
The Worshipful Company of Loriners is one of the ancient livery companies of London, which simply means that it is a trade association which is styled beginning with “The Worshipful Company of…” Their trade is making bits, bridles, spurs, stirrups, saddle trees and other metal items of a horse’s harness.
The first evidence of the Company was in 1261, when it was granted Ordinances by the Mayor and other barons of London, to ensure good workmanship, and arrange conditions of work and payments. The Loriners were subordinate to the Saddlers, who, in 1320, persuaded the Mayor to have the Loriners’ Ordinances burned in public. This led to a scrap between the Loriners, allied with a few other subordinate crafts, and the Saddlers. As a result, a new set of Ordinances were approved for the Loriners’ in 1393, and again in 1489.
The Company was incorporated by a Royal Charter during the reign of Queen Anne, and Civic Livery was granted to the company in 1712. At present, it is 57th in order of precedence of all the livery companies of London. New Ordinances were granted to the Loriners in 1714 and finally in 1741, they obtained the set of Ordinances which they follow even today.
When the Industrial Revolution began, the Loriners found themselves unable to withstand the social and economic changes, and within a few decades, their ancient craft had almost died out. But close to the end of the 20th century, the Company restored their links to the equestrian affairs of the city, and were able to get back on their feet.
The Worshipful Company of Loriners currently supports courses in lorinery at Capel Manor College, as well as funding veterinary research at Cambridge University. The Company continues to promote standard for saddle trees in Britain, and has made numerous donations to the Riding for the Disabled Association and the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre. The Princess Royal was the Master Loriner between 1992 and 1993, and is an Honorary Assistant of the Company.
The Worshipful Company of Loriners have, in the past, made bridles for both Her Majesty The Queen and Princess Anne, including one which they presented to the Princess in 2011, to commemorate her birthday and the 750th anniversary of the Company.