Women in the Guilds

| Guild Hall Entrance | Development of Craft Guilds | Early Regulations |

| Apprenticeships | Journeymen | Women in the Guilds | Social Services |

| Great Weakness of the Guild System |

When girls are placed as apprentices, usually at the age of seven or eight, the masters' wives take charge of their training. Most guilds exclude women but some allow women to join, though at the same time excluding them from full participation in social activities. Some of the guilds allowing women are those of the butchers, ironmongers, shoemakers, hot-food sellers, bookbinders, and goldsmiths. Still others, such as those involving domestic activities such as brewing, spinning, and silk making, are exclusively female industries. If a woman finds herself widowed, she is allowed to practice the trade of her deceased husband. These women can then become masters in the trade but usually are required to give up their membership in their guild if they marry men belonging to different guilds.

Exploring Outside of Guild Hall

The Lives of Renaissance Women
A Co-operatively Planned Humanities Unit for the Late Intermediate Level. The purpose of this unit is to illuminate the lives and contributions of all classes of women who lived between 1350 to 1650 in Western Europe and England--The Renaissance. The unit offers seperate activites with great informational handouts to cover the following topics: Renaissance Women in General; The Portrayal of Women in Renaissance Paintings; Female Renaissance Artists; Extraordinary Renaissance Women; Elizabeth I: Renaissance Ruler; Family Tree-Wives of Henry VIII; Renaissance Witch Trials; Marriage in the Renaissance; Courtly Love; and a wonderful bibliography.


Bunson, Matthew E. (1995). Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. Facts On File. New York, New York.

Clare, John D. (ed.) (1993). Fourteenth Century Towns. Random House, UK.

Hale, John. (1994). The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance. Atheneum. New York, New York.

Hale, John R. (1965). Renaissance. Time Incorporated. New York, New York.

Harrison, Molly (1978). Children in History: 16th and 17th Centuries. Hulton Educational Publications, LTD., Cambridge, UK.

Jordan, William Chester (Ed.) (1996). The Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia for Students Vol.2.. Charles Scribner's Sons. New York, New York.

Painter, Sidney (1951). Mediaeval Society. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York.

Strayer, Joseph R. (Ed.). (1985). Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Volume 6. Charles Scribner's Sons. New York, New York.

Walker, Paul Robert (1995). The Italian Renaissance. Facts on File, New York, New York.

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Authors: Bonnie Panagakis, Chris Marszalek, Linda Mazanek
School: Twin Groves Junior High School, Buffalo Grove, Illinois 60089
Created: November 25, 1997 - Updated: