Decline of Guilds

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About
From the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, guilds formed an important part of the economic and social fabric of Europe. Guilds contributed to the good government and economic prosperity of the towns and cities where they were located, setting and maintaining standards for the quality of goods and the probity of trading practices. In addition to their economic and educational functions, guilds served the social and religious needs of their members by building and maintaining guildhalls, churches, and chapels. Guilds performed charitable work not only among their own members but also within the community at large.