Ordinances of the Guild Merchant of Southampton
Few ordinances of such gild's survive, although over 100 towns had them.
These included association, brotherhood, college, company, confraternity, corporation, craft, fellowship, fraternity, livery, society, and equivalents of these terms in Latin, Germanic, Scandinavian, and Romance languages such as ambach, arte, collegium, corporatio, fraternitas, gilda, innung, corps de métier, societas, and zunft. In the late nineteenth century, as a professional lexicon evolved among historians, the term guild became the universal reference for these groups of merchants, artisans, and other individuals from the ordinary (non-priestly and non-aristocratic) classes of society which were not part of the established religious, military, or governmental hierarchies. Much of the academic debate about guilds stems from confusion caused by incomplete lexicographical standardization. Scholars study guilds in one time and place and then assume that their findings apply to guilds everywhere and at all times or assert that the organizations that they studied were the one type of true guild, while other organizations deserved neither the distinction nor serious study. To avoid this mistake, this encyclopedia entry begins with the recognition that guilds were groups whose activities, characteristics, and composition varied greatly across centuries, regions, and industries.
Although the members must give up some of their money to help, they are not hesitant because they know the Gild would do the same for himself if they were to face the same predicament. Knowing that the Gild is always there to help each other out strengthens the relationships between each member, and the strength of the Gild will grow. The Gild is always there to help any of their members. Even if a gildsman is ill, “two approved men of the Gild shall go to visit him and look after his condition” (“Ordinance of the Gild Merchant of Southampton” 328). By helping and supporting each other, the Gild grows stronger and more prosperous.
Davies states that this version was to become known as the ‘Paxbread’, but P Studer in his introduction to The Oak Book of Southampton thinks it more likely that this name was applied to the original Anglo-French version. The origin of the name Paxbread (or Paxbred) is not obvious, but Studer believed ‘bred’ means board or tablet, while ‘pax’ could refer to the Easter meeting of the Court Leet, at which the Oak Book would have been used.
St. Benedict. “Rule of St. Benedict.” Weber 257-262.
“The Ordinance of the Gild Merchant of Southampton.” Weber 327-330.
Weber, Eugen, ed. The Western Tradition, Volume 1: From the Ancient World to Louis XIV.
Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1995. Print.