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Gilds

These were associations of merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen in self-governing corporations with their own lands, property, meeting houses and regulations. They dominated the social life and hierarchy of most substantial English towns through to the 16th century and in some cases survive (in much diluted form) through to the 20th century.

The three main types of gilds were gild merchant, religious gilds and craft gilds; though functions overlapped. Records in this section relate to craft gilds.

Membership was controlled by means of a term of apprenticeship and was usually restricted to freemen of the borough; a substantial entry-fee was charged but heirs of established craftsmen might pay less.

Records include rules and ordinances, accounts, papers relating to the property of the gild and records of admissions.

Catalogues of Carlisle gilds' records:

Butchers' gild

Merchants' gild

Shoemakers'gild

Smiths'gild

Tailors'gild

Tanners' gild

Catalogues of Kendal gilds' records:

Shearmans' gild - contact Kendal Archives directly for details of records in reference WDRG

Shoemakers' gild - additionally, contact Kendal Archives directly for details of records in reference WDK/50