Medieval Guilds

Essay by Anonymous User January 1996

download word file, 5 pages 3.6

Guilds were created in the Middle Ages and were groups of people with a common interest in a certain trade. There were many different types of guilds varying from religious and social guilds to crafts and carpentry guilds. The main purposes of these guilds were to prevent individual businesses from controlling all of the business of a certain trade. This proved profitable for the smaller businesses. Individuals who refused to join the guild of their profession were forced to leave the town.

Guilds also had their own specific coat of arms and badges for members. Craft guilds, comprised of bakers, goldsmiths, tailors, weavers, boatmen, and other craft workers, created rules to protect members of the guilds. Perhaps the most important of the above guilds were those of the boatmen, which were in the coastal port cities.

The merchants¹ guilds created rules that set a standard on prices of their products.

The members could not sell discounted items to people who were not members of the guild. They also set standards on the quality of their goods and agreed on wages for their workers. To become part of a guild, workers went through an initiation ceremony and other rites. These rites were known as collegia.

Being a member of a guild had some advantages. Along with a membership, the workers received assistance from the guild when it was needed. The guild helped members with charity, funeral ceremonies, prayers for the dead, and provided other services for the members in their times of need. The guilds built halls and market places and helped with church and town projects. all of their crafts and creations were of great quality. If a member of the guild made an item of poor quality he was punished with fines. If he continued to make the crafts...