The Company is run by volunteers, from the Master to the various officers, ably supported by a salaried Clerk and Deputy Clerk. The Officers and governing Court are all elected, for the Company is a democracy.
The governing body of the Carmen is known as the Court of Assistants. It comprises Assistants who have not yet held high office, Junior and Senior Wardens, the Master (each serving in that office for a year) and Past Masters of the Company.
The Company is democratic in intent and practice. Appointment to the Court is by election, in which all Liverymen and Freemen of the Company are entitled to vote (in person). Progression to Junior Warden and beyond is also by election, within the Court.
The opportunity to serve as Master is the highest honour the Company can bestow. The Master’s chain of office symbolises service, not supremacy.
The Carmen Principal Officers with their ladies - 2011 to 2012
(l-r) Maggie Coles, Neil Coles (Senior Warden) Corinne Older, Mr John Older (Master) Anne Bawtree, Commander Robin Bawtree (Junior Warden)
The Court is supported by committees which focus on particular aspects of the Company’s activities, on which Liverymen as well as Court members are encouraged to serve.
Court members and Officers wear ribboned badges, whilst the Master, Wardens and Officers wear fur-trimmed and embroidered gowns for formal occasions.
The Officers of the Court include the Clerk, who manages the Company, and the Deputy Clerk. Both are salaried appointments, elected annually.
The Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Solicitor, Honorary Surveyor, Honorary Editor, Silver Trustee and Honorary Archivist, together with a Military Liaison Officer and the Honorary Almoner, are appointed by the Court from willing volunteers. The two most recently elected Assistants are appointed Court Stewards.
The Beadle is a part-time appointment, and the Standard Bearer is a services volunteer. The Honorary Chaplain is elected by the Court, and the Company also has an Assistant Honorary Chaplain and a Chaplain Emeritus.
Carmen join to serve, through benevolence, on Court, committees and in office – to be a Carman is to serve Sovereign, City, Services and especially those in need.