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Some History

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:52 am
by Guest

In the towns traders and merchants formed guilds. The members of the guilds helped protect each others interests and also control quality ensuring all the members did work to a suitable standard. Over time separate guilds were created for each type of trade and it was common for all shops selling one type of product to be located in the same area of the town. The idea of selling one kind of product in one area still happens today. Some cities have jewellery quarters for example.

Members of the guilds paid a membership fee and the guilds became powerful and wealthy. Some guilds built their own meeting places call guildhalls where meetings and banquets took place. Guilds also helped their members if they fell ill and looked after their family after they died. Guilds used their wealth to put on plays called mystery plays that were based on stories from the Bible. The word mystery is probably a mispronunciation of a medieval word for guild or craftsmen.

Henry II recognised the powers of the guilds and wanted his share of their wealth. Henry claimed that every guild had to be licensed and pay a tax straight to the King. Any guild that was not licensed was fined.