From war to peace: archery and crossbow guilds in Flanders c.1300-1500

Crombie, Laura (2010) From war to peace: archery and crossbow guilds in Flanders c.1300-1500. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis engages with a broad range archival source from across Flanders to analyse
poorly understood urban groups, the archery and crossbow guilds. The development
and continuing importance of the guilds, as military and social groups, and as agents of
social peace, will be analysed over six chapters. Chapter one traces the guilds’ origins
and continuing military service. Proving a foundation date or a definitive origin for
most guilds has proved impossible, but their enduring military importance can be
established. In contrast to the assumptions of Arnade (1996), stating that after 1436 the
guilds rarely served in war, I have shown that guilds served across the fifteenth century.
Chapter two examines the guild-brothers themselves, through a prosopographical study
of the members of the Bruges guilds. Many writers have assumed guilds to be ‘elite’
but no study to date has attempted to prove the status of guild-brothers. My use of
several hundred different sources reveals numerous important details about guilds’
composition. Many ‘elites’ were present, but so too were members of all crafts and, in
comparison with the militia records of 1436, many richer crafts were greatly underrepresented, but crucially no profession was excluded.
Chapters three and four analyse respectively the devotions and community of the
guilds. Both show the centrality of choice; that guilds were reactive and complex
groups changing in response to the needs of members, who could include women,
children and priests. Chapter five steps back from the guilds to examine their
relationships with authorities. The rulers of Flanders granted privileges to guilds, but
they also socialised with them. Great lords patronised and joined guilds, helping them
gain rights and lands, but such relationships were mutually beneficial. Urban authorities
also supported their guilds, through money, wine, cloth and even land the towns
cherished their guilds not just as defenders, but as representatives of civic ideology.
Chapter six demonstrates the guilds’ displays of honour and civic prestige at their best,
through a study of their competitions. Competitions brought hundreds of armed men
together, yet they did not provoke violence, rather, through the language of brotherhood
and symbols of commensality, competitions rebuilt damaged communities. A study of
competitions is far more than a study of spectacles; it is an analysis of the greatest
forms of civic representation and the guilds becoming agents of social peace.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Small, Dr. Graeme and Strickland, Prof. Matthew
Date of Award: 2010
Embargo Date: 15 April 2017
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-2830
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2011
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 07:27

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