Find out more about the structure of the Company, from the Prime Warden down.
The Company's Board or Governing Body is the Court of Assistants, which by Ordinance 1 consists of the Permanent Master (if there is one), the Prime Warden (or Master if there is no Permanent Master), four Wardens, and 25 Assistants, together with all Past Prime Wardens.
The Court meets in full session five times a year, whilst the Wardens Committee, which acts as an executive committee, consisting of the Prime Warden and Wardens, the two immediate Past Prime Wardens, and the Honorary Treasurer, meets four times a year.
There are two subordinate spending Committees, for Education & Charities, and Finance, each chaired by an Assistant and having volunteer Liverymen members plus the Prime Warden, Immediate Past Prime Warden, and a nominated Warden ex officio. The spending committees are largely autonomous within their budget, but report their proceedings up through the Wardens to the Court.
There is a Nomination Committee chaired by a Past Prime Warden and consisting of the Fifth Warden, a Court Assistant, and four Liverymen who advise the Wardens’ Committee on internal Company appointments.
The Ark Appeal Committee consists of Liverymen, chaired by a Court Assistant, whose function is to raise funds to supplement the Company’s endowment, in order to provide more capital to support the Company’s educational and charitable activities.
The Company has a full-time Clerk and Assistant Clerk: the Clerk is ex officio secretary to the Committees, Wardens, and Court. There is also a part time office Assistant who assists with the clerical work, the administration of the Queen’s Silver Medal and the Billmeir Schemes, and keeps the website up-to-date. More recently an administrator has joined the Company to manage the applications and assist companies joining the Shipwright's Apprenticeship Scheme.
In the absence of a Royal Charter, the Company's constitution is its Ordinances. The oldest surviving version of the Ordinances is dated 1428, but they were most recently revised in 1990 and approved by the Court of Aldermen of the City of London in 1992.
The Court promotes Liverymen to fill vacancies in its own ranks. On average, a newly-promoted Assistant may anticipate becoming Fifth Warden eight years and Prime Warden thirteen years later. A flexible approach is adopted to the maximum age of an Assistant joining the Court and to the age by which it is viewed desirable for a Warden to reach the chair. The age 70 maximum historically applied for the chair should be viewed as a guideline, to be exceeded if the Court deem the circumstances appropriate.
The Company's administrative and financial year runs from 1st May to the following 30th April.