Ordinances of the Guild Merchant of Southampton
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.
The Oak Book, written in Anglo-French, was translated by William Overey, town clerk in 1473, and presented to the Gild in 1478. 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.