One of the oldest documents the Corporation hold is a slip of parchment that's over 950 years old It is the Charter of King William I to the City of London and it is the oldest document in the Corporation’s archives.
After defeating Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William marched on London. He never conquered the City - that’s why he’s never referred to as ‘William the Conqueror’ there. Instead he came to an agreement with the City that he would uphold the rights and privileges of all Londoners if they would acknowledge him as sovereign - which they did. Apart from its amazing survival, what makes this document so remarkable is that was written in Old English, not in William’s Norman French.
The seal is another important relic. The wording is as follows: ‘William, king, greets William bishop and Geoffrey portreeve all the burghers within London, French and English friendlily and I inform you that I will that ye-two be all of the laws worthy which ye-two were on Edward the king’s day and I will that each child be his father’s inheritance-taker after his father’s day and I will not suffer that any man to you any wrong offer. God you keep.’
In 2010 the William Charter was inscribed on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register.