In 1515, the Lord Mayor laid down an order of precedence for the forty-eight Livery Companies then in existence, based on their economic or political power.
The first twelve companies are known as the Great Twelve City Livery Companies and the order of precedence is largely the same as established five hundred years ago (with new Companies joining the bottom of the list).
There are however a few anomalies: the Merchant Taylors and Skinners have always disputed their precedence and so each year switch between sixth and seventh place (said to be the origin of the phrase ‘at sixes and sevens’).
The Clerks of the Great XII Companies have their own Association. The Great Twelve companies in order of precedence are:
6. Merchant Taylors*
* These two Companies alternate each year.