Did you know...
Ed Balls’ ancestors were Norwich Freemen between 1404 and 1913, but the succession has lapsed and he is no longer eligible.
Norwich Guildhall was built by the freemen to house the new city government, law courts, a gaol, assemblies and administrators set up in 1404. It was used as the centre of city government until 1937 when it was replaced by City Hall.
Anybody who wished to trade freely in medieval Norwich had to become a freeman.
The key privileges of the Freemen, the right to vote in elections and trading rights, were swept away by the Reform Acts of 1832 and 1835. The Norwich Freemen still kept Town Close Estate – which is now a charity that gives grants to local organisations.