Medieval Guilds and Craft Production

A guild is a group of people who all work in the same trade. For example, blacksmiths would belong to a Blacksmith guild, and carpenters would belong to the carpenter guild, and so on. Artisans in the same trade lived on the same street, which was named after them (tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, etc)

Medieval tailors

Guilds were designed to end competition. Guilds regulated production, prices, etc.  Guilds were also social groups throwing festivals and parties for its members.

To be a member of the guild you had to follow their rules. These included: Letting the guild set the price for all your goods, all artisans were paid workers the same wage, production should meet guild standards. This was to give all guild members the same advantages.

There were three levels in each guild, Master, Journeyman and Apprentice.  There were apprentices. An apprentice was someone who was learning the skills needed to work within the guild. An apprentice was usually n ot paid, but was given room and board. Apprentices usually were boys in their teens who signed up with a master for around 7 years. They would work hard for the master during this time in exchange for learning the craft plus food, clothing, and shelter. To be promoted to the other levels, apprentices were suppossed to present a work called Opera prima.

Right upper the apprenticeship was a journeyman. This was someone who was skilled in the job but was not quite up to the level of master. As you learned you moved up until you could prove to the guild that you were good enough to be a master.  Journeymen would still work for a master, but would earn wages for his work.

A master was someone who was the best at what they did and usually owned their own shop or business. It was the highest position in the guild. To become a Master, a Journeyman would need the approval of the guild. He would have to prove his skills by presenting a master piece. Once a Master, he could open his own shop and train apprentices.

Medieval portable pie oven 1465-1475 Illumination; wood fired baking oven from 1465-1475, "A pie-baker", Konzil von Konstanz ÖNB 3044, fol. 48v.

There were markets in the cities where farmers from the contryside sold their products and bought items from the guilds. There were also fairs – big markets – that took place once or twice a year.

File:Rondel dagger merchants.jpg - Wikimedia Commons


The Development of Medieval Guilds PP


The Development of Medieval Guilds + Assessment



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