For many years, the guilds of Lochac have been a valuable resource for the Arts & Sciences, providing a wealth of knowledge, instruction and fellowship to artisans; and certainly the standards of work and teaching produced by the guilds reflects the vitality of the Kingdom. The following guidelines have been formulated at the request of the Crown, to protect the active role the guilds play in fostering the Arts.
Guilds in Lochac
Medieval guilds, also called Companies, Societies or misteries, were associations of professional crafts – or tradespeople. Guilds had their origins in the religious fraternities of the early Middle Ages, and many guilds still bear religious associations in their names or charitable activities. These associations evolved into commercial entities to meet the needs of the growing professional and merchant classes. A guild served to protect its members by regulating commerce ad trade, and providing business and social support for members and their families. Guilds often developed great wealth and prestige, and wielded considerable economic and political influence.
Membership in a guild was usually strictly regulated and ranked with members being required to meet high standards of workmanship and training. In contrast to feudal relationships, gu9ilds were democratic bodies, with elected masters and a Court of Officers who oversaw the running of the association. These officers could include the Guildmaster, the Upper Warden who served as the deputy to the Guildmaster, the Renter Warden who managed the property and assets of the guild, the Bedle who was responsible for the guilds finances. Guilds managed their own affairs with charters or ordinances, a set of rules decided by the members in their best interests. Such ordinances governed the daily operations of the guild, often in considerable detail regarding business restrictions, pricing structures, training and safety standards, members’ benefits and penalties, social obligations and more. An example of a period charger, of the Arras Guild of Shearers from 1236, can be found below.
Although guilds were self-determining, Royal patronage and association were keenly sought. Particularly important guilds might even boast the King as a member or honorary master. Many guilds were recognised as “official” bodies, being granted Charters by the Crown. Such London Guilds or “Livery Companies” so honoured included the Weaver’s Company (in 1511), the Company of Goldsmiths (1300), the Guild of the Body of Christ of the Skinners of London (1349), The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors (1327), and the Mercer’s Guild (1394). Such a charter was by no means essential to the functioni9ng of a successful guild however, the Painters Guild traces it ordinances to 1283 while the Stainers Guild is mentioning in 1268. These two guild combined in 1502 as the Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers, and received their first charter from the Crown in 1581.
A Royal Charter could be granted or confirmed more than once, or revoked. The Leatherseller’s Charter was granted by King Henry VI in 1444, and the Company sought to confirm its status by obtaining another Royal Charter from James I in 1604. The Company was forced to surrender its privileges in 1685 when King Charles II issued the Company with a new charter asserting the royal prerogative. This was revoked by the Court of Assistants in 1689, and the Leathersellers reverted to the authority of their 1604 charter. King Charles II’s charter was declared void, and the King’s Great Seal attached to it was broken into fragments as an act of defiance.
In the SCA, guilds are rarely commercial associations. Although the term “guild” is occasionally used to refer to a local group which organises projects for their Shire or Barony, generally it refers to an association of people who wish to focus on an aspect of the Arts & Sciences. Arts & Sciences guilds in Lochac range from smaller groups who share a common interest in a particular field, to larger and more formal associations which emulate the structures and practices of the great mediaeval guilds. It is this type of Guild this document discusses.
Guilds in Lochac
In Lochac, a new guild forms in response to a shared interest by a number of people in a particular area of the Arts & Sciences which is not already covered by an existing guild, and a desire to develop this interest together in a more structured way than a household or group of friends might. Anyone may start or administer a guild; there is no requirement to be a Peer, an Officer or even a paid members of the SCAA Inc., although of course the latter is strongly encouraged
Arts & Sciences Guilds are considered Kingdom-wide entities and membership must remain open to all who wish to join. No-one is obligated to join a guild in order to practice any Art or Science if they do not wish to do so.
Guilds in Lochac have traditionally had enormous freedom in determining how they operate, although the ideal of a historical basis should be borne in mind. By this stage, a proposed guild should have an idea of the following:
- Range and scope of activity in the Arts & Sciences. Guilds usually have a broad base (cooking, embroidery, painting, etc) to allow its members to explore many avenues in an art
- How it will organise its operations and activities: regular meetings or events, appoint of officers and rankings, charter /ordinances / guidelines
- Any other activities: newsletter, email list, competitions, gifts, a Patron to inspire the guild, etc.
Officially establishing a guild is a simple process:
- An announcement of formation is published in the Kingdom newsletter, Pegasus and on the Lochac email list if possible, to notify the populace and attract potential new members. This announcement could also be published in the Arts & Sciences magazine, Cockatrice and local newsletters and email lists to reach the widest possible audiences.
- The Kingdom Arts & Sciences Officer should also be informed of the formation of a new guild, with the contact details of the master (or other designated contact person), and any other relevant information. Guilds are encouraged to send a report of their activities to the Arts & Sciences Officer at least once per year.
Once established, a guild may:
- Register a bade for use; this badge should be registered to an individual, as is College of Heralds policy. They are encouraged to develop pageantry, livery and regalia as appropriate
- Open a bank account to handle fund, if necessary. Please note in this case that the guild must appoint a financial officer (Reeve, Beadle), and must abide by Australian financial regulations. The financial officer must provide a report to the Kingdom Exchequer by 31st July annually
- Hold a class(es) at the Annual Guild Day, held annually.
After being established and active for a minimum period of one year and a day, some guilds may decide to seek the prestige of special patronage form the King or Queen. Note that Patronage may be sought from either of the Royal couple, and that Royal patronage does not preclude other patronage from a Peer or a Royal Peer.
Once the petition is received by the KMoAS, they will review it to ensure that the petition and the Guild meets the requirements, and shall forward the petition to Crown for Their consideration. If the Crown approves the petition, They shall instruct the Livery Warden (Guild Deputy) to mediate a suitable date for the petition to be formally presented in Court. This proposal should include:
- Ordinances of the guild, preferably modeled on period charters to demonstrate the guild’s commitment to promoting historical authenticity. The ordinances should cover such details as the name, scope and aims of the guild, as well as daily operations of the guild, appointing of officers, means of amending the ordinances etc. The members of the guild should show their support for these ordinances by affixing their signature or seal.
- List of current membership and officers. There is no specific minimum membership for a guild seeking royal recognition, but it is recommended that the guild be of sufficient size and activity to ensure the continued viability of the guild (King’s / Queen’s discretion).
- Statement of activities, preferably including summaries of previous reports to the Kingdom Arts & Sciences Officer. This demonstrates the guilds ongoing activity and contribution to the Arts and life of the Kingdom.
- In return for Royal assent, a guild may offer the or the King / Queen may ask for certain boons. Such boons could include the presentation of gifts once per reign or per year, as some guilds already do. The boon could also be requested to teach or support the Arts & Sciences in some concrete way (such as teaching collegia, or sponsoring a competition or prize), the desire for the guild to present livery and pageantry, or some other activity.
- Guilds seeking Royal recognition must report to the Crown as requested, and the Kingdom arts & Sciences Officer at least once per year. Continued failure to report may, at the King’s / Queen’s discretion, be grounds for withdrawing Royal favour with the loss of all privileges.
The petition may be granted at the discretion of the King or Queen, with the advice of the Kingdom aRts & sciences Officer and if desired the Masters of the livery Companies of Lochac.
Once Royal patronage and the Charter is granted, in addition to previous benefits a guild may:
- Organise to formally present the Charter and receive Royal recognition in Court
- May register the name, device and badge, free of charge following the current College of Heralds policy
- Be given the right to bear Arms in t he form of an Award or Grant of Arms bestowed upon the guild, or other badges, colours, etc at the discretion of the Sovereign
- Use the styles “King’s / Queen’s Guild”, “King’s / Queen’s Company”, “Livery Company of Lochac”, etc as appropriate
- Be encouraged to develop and use such livery, regalia, pageantry and display as appropriate.
Appendix A: Arras Charter of the Shearers, 1236
The Arras Charter of the Shearers, 1236 can be found online athttp://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1236Weavers5.html
Corporation of London-City Livery Companies –https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/history/Pages/livery-companies.aspx
City Livery Companies and their Heraldry – website currently down
The Painter’s Hall – https://www.paintershall.co.uk/history/
Kingdom of Atlantia Arts & Sciences Handbook –http://moas.atlantia.sca.org/handbook/