The Regulations of the Garment Cutters' Gild of Stendal, 1231
The regulations of the craft gild of garment cutters of Stendal were taken from the
rules of their fellow craftsmen at Magdeburg. They made provisions for meetings and
elections of officers, membership of the gild, and fines for breaches of their law.
John and Otto, by the grace of God, margraves of Brandenburg.... We make known ... that
we, ... desiring to provide properly for our city of Stendal, have changed, and do change,
for the better, the laws of the gild brethren, and of those who are called cloth-cutters,
so that they might have the same laws in this craft as their gild brethren the
garment-cutters in Magdeburg have been accustomed to observe in the past. These are the
1. No one shall presume to cut cloth, except he be of our craft; those who break
this rule will amend to the gild with three talents.
2. Thrice a year there ought to be a meeting of the brethren, and whoever does not
come to it will amend according to justice.
3. Whoever wishes to enter the fraternity whose father was a brother and cut cloth
will come with his friends to the meeting of the brethren, and if he conduct himself
honestly, he will be able to join the gild at the first request on payment of five solidi,
and he will give six denarii to the master. And if he be dishonest and should not conduct
himself well, he should be put off until the second or third meeting. But any of our
citizens who wish to enter the gild, if he be an honest man, and worthy, will give a
talent to the brethren on entry into the gild, and will present a solidus to the master.
But if a guest who is an honest man should decide to join our fraternity, he will give
thirty solidi to the gild on his entry, and eighteen denarii to the master.
4. But in the time of the fairs, that is of the annual fair, any guest, even if he
be not of the craft, will be able to cut cloth during the whole fair.
5. If any of our burgesses holding office wish to enter the craft he will abjure
his office, and, on entrance to the gild, will present one mark of gold freely to the
brethren, and to the master eighteen denarii.
6. If any brother has been accustomed to prepare cloth in his house and is wont
to cut or sell it at the wish of others, he will either cease or have no part in his
7. Whatever two parts of the brethren have decreed to do the third part ought to
consent to do; but if that third be unwilling, each will amend with three solidi, and will
pay them at the next meeting.
8. Every year a master and four other good men who shall preside over the affairs
of the gild will be faithfully chosen.
9. Moreover whoever goes contrary to these decrees and is unwilling to obey the
master and brethren according to justice, his contumacy ought to be referred to the
judgment of his superior....
From: F. Keutgen, ed. Urkunden zur Städtischen Verfassungsgeschichte, (Berlin:
Emil Felber, 1901), pp. 356-357, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A
Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936;
reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 246-247.
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© Paul Halsall, September 1998