Soon after the apothecaries were formed into a separate company they took into consideration means to prevent the frauds and adulterations practised by the grocers and druggists, and, to remedy the evil, established a manufactory of their own in 1626 so that they might make preparations for their own members.
Apart from modifications in the details of sugar refining which have come into use in late years, it should be mentioned that loaf sugar made in conical moulds, and sugars made otherwise, to resemble loaf sugar, have practically disappeared from the trade, having been replaced by cube sugar, which is found to be more economical as subject to less waste by grocers and housekeepers, and also less troublesome to buy and sell.
The origin of the Grocers' Company is thus described: "Twenty-two persons, carrying on the business of pepperers in Soper's Lane, Cheapside, agree to meet together, to a dinner, at the Abbot of Bury's, St Mary Axe, and commit the particulars of their formation into a trading society to writing.
In 1363, in answer to a remonstrance against the mischief caused by "the merchants called grocers who engrossed all manner of merchandize vendable, and who suddenly raised the prices of such merchandize within the realm," it was enacted "that all artificers and people of mysteries shall each choose his own mystery 1 before next Candlemas, and that, having so chosen it, he shall henceforth use no other."
The grocers ordain "that no man of the fraternite take his neyghbor's house y t is of the same fraternite, or enhaunce the rent against the will of the foresaid neyghbor."
The following are the twelve great companies in order of civic precedence: Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Merchant Taylors, Haberdashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners, Cloth-workers.
They elect after dinner two persons of the company so assembled - Roger Osekyn and Lawrence de Haliwell - as their first governors or wardens, appointing, at the same time, in conformity with the pious custom of the age, a priest or chaplain to celebrate divine offices for their souls" (Heath's "Account of the Grocers' Company," quoted in Herbert's Twelve Great Livery Companies, 1836, i.
The wardens of the grocers are to "assayen weights, powders, confeccions, platers, oyntments and all other things belonging to the same crafte."