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Medieval Sourcebook:
Commune of Richirzegcheide:
Grant of a Gild to the Carpenters, 1180

The carpenters' industry was of great importance in the days when timber was used so plentifully in the construction of houses. It was all the more so by reason of the increasing size of towns. Hence the carpenters soon organized themselves, charging an admission fee, regulating their social and fraternal activities, making rules for apprenticeship and membership, and protecting themselves and their customers from injustice. As was often the case on the continent, they received their charter from the city corporation.

. . . Be it known . . . that in those times in which Theoderic in Mulingazzin and Henry Flaco were mayors of the citizens, they, with the advice and common consent of the officials of Richirzegcheide, agreed for the honor of St. John the Evangelist, for the sake of usefulness, to concede a fraternity to the carpenters who were petitioning them. And this was approved in the City Hall in the presence of the officials of Richirzegcheide. They shall have this fraternity by this law; that every carpenter, that is dreslere, wishing to join the said fraternity will give twelve solidi for the fraternity. And it was decreed that every apprentice, who is commonly called leirtint, should pay four solidi on his entry. But others who are not of the craft of these brethren, and who wish to have the said fraternity, will give twenty-four denarii for the same fraternity. Also they ought to enjoy this law, that, whatever man or woman of the fraternity should depart this life, there will be given for his obsequies at death four pounds of wax; and, for his vigil, six men, who will watch diligently, are appointed; and, to his burial the men and women who are of the fraternity shall all be compelled to come. He who neglects to watch when he is ordered will give two denarii for satisfaction. Whoever is unwilling to be present at the funeral of a brother or sister, as has been said, will pay just as much.

Also it has been decreed that whatever guest or citizen sells the timber or other merchandise of the brethren to another, and does not pay for it on the next day at the latest, if the seller makes a complaint about it, whatever brother remains a debtor in such a way shall give ten denarii to the brethren for satisfaction. Also it has been decreed that if any of the said brethren who are said to be carpenters shall give their work to a guest or citizen, or shall promise him work, and then delay more than two weeks, if it be a citizen or guest who is impeded in this way, and if he complain about it, then the brother who hindered him by delay shall pay ten denarii for satisfaction to the brethren. Witnesses, etc.


From: F. Keutgen, ed., Urkunden zur Städtischen Verfassungsgeschichte,(Berlin: Emil Felber, 1901), p. 353; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 238-239.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, October 1998


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