Did you know...
Anybody who wished to trade freely in medieval Norwich had to become a freeman.
Until 1835 only freemen could vote in the Norwich local elections. This created problems as rate payers did not have the right to vote.
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.
Ed Balls’ ancestors were Norwich Freemen between 1404 and 1913, but the succession has lapsed and he is no longer eligible.