Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rights and Responsibilities in Medieval Guilds

Rights and Responsibilities in Medieval Guilds is a fun educational site aimed at middle school students. It describes requirements for membership and the duties of merchants, craftsmen and bakers. It was created by Kacey Marton and Allyson Terry of the Portola Middle School Highly Gifted Magnet Program in Los Angeles, California.

From the site:

A guild is a group of people who have mastered one certain field, craft, or trade. Guilds were extremely important in medieval times, especially to the economic life of the towns and villages. There was usually one guildhall in a town, which was also the location of an annual guild feast, where members of the guilds in that particular town would gather with their wives and play cheerful games after eating a huge, delectable feast. Most of the different types of guilds (and their shops and stalls) were stationed in one large part of the town, and some of the guild members even lived on a block filled with guilds. Some even lived in extra rooms or dens that were a part of their shops. In the picture to the left, various types of guild members work together to build and decorate a wall and below guild members are doing a variety of activities in a village. Please study examples of each of the important guilds by clicking on their name to the left.

Guilds were very much based on rights and responsibilities, which set standards for the guild's services and products. In order for someone to get into a guild, they must be within a certain age group, and meet other requirements, depending upon the guild. If they had all of the right requirements, their parents would pay for someone who was already in the guild to take their child as an apprentice. After years of training in how to master the trade or craft, the apprentice was “tested” by creating a masterpiece and having it evaluated by the other guild members. If the masterpiece was of great quality, made with guild ethics in mind, and at the level that was expected after the amount of training that they had undergone, then the apprentice officially became a member of the guild.


M-Dawg said...

This site will be great for my low level 9th graders. Thanks! :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm one of the authors of the site and am now a senior in high school. I can't believe this project actually is being seen by people other than our seventh grade history teacher. That's the power of the internet, I guess. I hope the teacher finds the site helpful!