In a variety of ways it does a great deal of social service similar to that of gilds of help. Its administration has always been in the hands of laymen, and it works through local "conferences" or branches, the general council having been suspended because it declined to accept a cardinal as its official head.
All its charters were annulled, its privileges and those of its gilds swept away, and a heavy fine imposed.
In 1490 a treaty was signed at Damme between the people of Bruges and the archduke Maximilian, and very soon after this event the channel became completely closed up, and the foreign merchant gilds or "nations" left the place for Antwerp. This signified the death of the port and was indirectly fatal to Bruges as well.
It became in effect the principal feast of the Church, the procession of the Sacrament a gorgeous pageant, in which not only the members of the trade and craft gilds, with the magistrates of the cities, took part, but princes and sovereigns.
2 In the 15th century the custom became almost universal of following the procession with the performance of miracle-plays and mysteries, generally arranged and acted by members of the gilds who had formed part of the pageant.
Burghers of all denominations are enrolled in one or other of the arts or gilds, and these trading companies furnish the material from which the government or signoria bf the city is composed.
In 1450 an insurrection led to the admission of the gilds to a share in the municipal government.
Trade and other gilds in antiquity held subscription suppers or g pavot, similar to those of the early Corinthian church, usually to support the needs of the poorer members.
The special quality which distinguished these prophetic gilds or companies was an intense patriotism combined with enthusiastic devotion to the cause of Yahweh.
It is obvious from numerous passages that these prophetic gilds recognized the superior position and leadership of Samuel, or of any other distinguished prophet such as Elijah or Elisha.
It had large gilds of fabri (smiths and carpenters) and centonarii (firemen) .
Peddling had been forced on the latter by the action of the gilds which were still powerful in the 18th century on the Continent.
No one knows what proportion of the industrial population was included in the organized gilds, or how complete was the control exercised by these bodies over their members.
As in other Swiss towns the trade gilds got all political power into their hands, especially by the 18th century.
Arranged that a common council, consisting of two men from each of the more important gilds and one from each of the less important ones, should elect the mayor.
There were numerous trade gilds, one of the chief being that of the weavers, which received a charter from Henry II.
The curious gilds called guedik must here be mentioned.
Craft gilds were already in existence, but these had no share in the government; for, though the Lubeck rule excluding craftsmen from the Rath did not obtain, they were excluded in practice.
The exclusion of the handicraftsmen from the Rath led, early in the 15th century, to a rising of the craft gilds against the patrician merchants, and in 1410 they forced the latter to recognize the authority of a committee of 48 burghers, which concluded with the senate the so-called First Recess; there were, however, fresh outbursts in 1458 and 1483, which were settled by further compromises.
It is only in the appendix to the Elohistic psalm-book that we find Heman and Ethan side by side with Asaph, as in the Chronicles; but this does not necessarily prove that the body of the collection originated when there were only two gilds of singers.
Several of the great livery companies or gilds of the City possess fine halls, containing portraits and other collections of high interest and value.
The Lord Mayor (q.v.) is elected by the Court of Aldermen from two aldermen nominated in the Court of Common Hall by the Livery, an electorate drawn from the members of the ancient trade gilds or Livery Companies (q.v.), which, through their control over the several trades or manufactures, had formerly an influence over the government of the city which from the time of Edward III.
Lishment of friaries, so Tudor London was specially characterized by the suppression of the whole of these religious houses, and also of the almost numberless religious gilds and brotherhoods.
Ditchfield (1904); The Gilds and Companies of London, by George Unwin (1908).
When the association of kinsmen failed, the voluntary associations - gilds - appeared as substitutes.
He was assisted by the consiglio speciale of 9 0 and the consiglio generale e speciale of 300, composed of nobles, while the capitano del popolo had also two councils composed of burghers, heads of the gilds, gonfalonieri of the companies, &c. The anziani had a council of 3 6 burghers, and then there was the parlamento or general assembly of the people, which met only on great occasions.
Each of the seven arti maggiori or greater gilds was organized like a small state with its councils, statutes, assemblies, magistrates, &c., and in times of trouble constituted a citizen militia.
If the life of the city went on uninterruptedly even during the many changes of government and the almost endemic civil war, it was owing to the solidity of the gilds, who could carry on the administration without a government.
After 1282 the signoria was composed of the 3 (afterwards 6) priori of the gilds, who ended by ousting the buoni uomini, while a defensor artificum et artium takes the place of the capitano; thus the republic became an essentially trading community, governed by the popolani grassi or rich merchants.
Elected the gonfaloniere, also for two months; there were the capitudini or councils of the gilds, and two savi for each sestiere, with 1000 soldiers at their disposal; the number of the grandi families was fixed at 38 (later 72).
Again a new constitution was decreed by which the gonfaloniere and half the priori were to be chosen from the anti maggiori and the other half from the minori; on several other boards the former were to be in the majority, and the three new gilds were abolished.
By this time the Meistersinger schools 'had spread all over south and central Germany; and isolated gilds were to be found farther north, at Magdeburg, Breslau, Gorlitz and Danzig.
GILDS, or Guilds.
Medieval gilds were voluntary associations formed for the mutual aid and protection of their members.
The last two categories, which do not become prominent anywhere in Europe until the 12th century, had, like all gilds, a religious tinge, but their aims were primarily worldly, and their functions were mainly of an economic character.
A more widely accepted theory derives gilds wholly or in part from the early Germanic or Scandinavian sacrificial banquets.
This view does not seem to be tenable, for the old sacrificial carousals lack two of the essential elements of the gilds, namely corporative solidarity or permanent association and the spirit of Christian brotherhood.
Dr Max Pappenheim has ascribed the origin of Germanic gilds to the northern "fosterbrotherhood" or "sworn-brotherhood," which was an artificial bond of union between two or more persons.
The foster-brotherhood seems to have been unknown to the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, the nations in which medieval gilds first appear; and hence Dr Pappenheim's conclusions, if tenable at all, apply only to Denmark or Scandinavia.
Imbued with the idea of the brotherhood of man, the church naturally fostered the early growth of gilds and tried to make them displace the old heathen banquets.
Gilds were a natural manifestation of the associative spirit which is inherent in mankind.
It is not necessary to seek the germ of gilds in any antecedent age or institution.
The capitularies of 805 and 821 also contain vague references to sworn unions of some sort, and a capitulary of 884 prohibits villeins from forming associations "vulgarly called gilds" against those who have despoiled them.
The gilds of Norway, Denmark and Sweden are first mentioned in the 11th, 12th and 14th centuries respectively; those of France and the Netherlands in the 11th.
Many writers believe that the earliest references to gilds come from England.
Prayers for the dead, attendance at funerals of gildsmen, periodical banquets, the solemn entrance oath, fines for neglect of duty and for improper conduct, contributions to a common purse, mutual assistance in distress, periodical meetings in the gildhall, - in short, all the characteristic features of the later gilds already appear in the statutes of these Anglo-Saxon fraternities.
Some continental writers, in dealing with the origin of municipal government throughout western Europe, have, however, ascribed too much importance to the Anglo-Saxon gilds, exaggerating their prevalence and contending that they form the germ of medieval municipal government.
It should also be noted that there is no trace of the existence of either craft or merchant gilds in England before the Norman Conquest.
Religious Gilds after the Norman Conquest.
- Though we have not much information concerning the religious gilds in the 12th century, they doubtless flourished under the AngloNorman kings, and we know that they were numerous, especially in the boroughs, from the 13th century onward.
In 1388 parliament ordered that every sheriff in England should call upon the masters and wardens of all gilds and brotherhoods to send to the king's council in Chancery, before the 2nd of February 1389, full returns regarding their foundation, ordinances and property.
Some of the religious gilds supported schools, or helped to maintain roads, bridges and town-walls, or even came, in course of time, to be closely connected with the government of the borough; but, as a rule, they were simply private societies with a limited sphere of activity.
They are important because they played a prominent role in the social life of England, especially as eleemosynary institutions, down to the time of their suppression in 1547 Religious gilds, closely resembling those of England, also flourished on the continent during the middle ages.
The greater the commercial and industrial prosperity of a town, the more rapid was the multiplication of craft gilds, which was a natural result of the ever-increasing division of labour.
The old gild merchant remained longest intact and powerful in the smaller boroughs, in which, owing to the predominance of agriculture, few or no craft gilds were formed.
This transference of the authority of the latter to a number of distinct bodies and the consequent disintegration of the old organization was a gradual spontaneous movement, - a process of slow displacement, or natural growth and decay, due to the play of economic forces, - which, generally speaking, may be assigned to the 14th and 15th centuries, the very period in which the craft gilds attained the zenith of their power.