There was no police force in the medieval period so law-enforcement was in the hands of the community.
The Manorial Court (Trial by Jury)
The manorial court dealt with all but the most serious crimes. It was held at various intervals during the year and all villagers had to attend or pay a fine. All men were placed in groups of ten called a tithing. Each tithing had to make sure that no member of their group broke the law. If a member of a tithing broke a law then the other members had to make sure that he went to court.
The Lord’s steward was in charge of the court. A jury of twelve men was chosen by the villagers. The jury had to collect evidence and decide whether the accused was guilty or not guilty and, if found guilty, what the punishment should be. Fines, shaming (being placed in stocks), mutilation (cutting off a part of the body) or death were the most common forms of punishment.
Guild’s members met at least once a year (and in most cases, more often) to elect officers, audit accounts, induct new members, debate policies, and amend ordinances. Officers such as aldermen, stewards, deans, and clerks managed the guild’s day to day affairs. Aldermen directed guild activities and supervised lower-ranking officers. Stewards kept guild funds, and their accounts were periodically audited. Deans summoned members to meetings, feasts, and funerals, and in many cases, policed members’ behavior. Clerks kept records. Decisions were usually made by majority vote among the master craftsmen.
These officers administered a nexus of agreements among a guild’s members. Details of these agreements varied greatly from guild to guild, but the issues addressed were similar in all cases. Members agreed to contribute certain resources and/or take certain actions that furthered the guild’s occupational and spiritual endeavors. Officers of the guild monitored members’ contributions. Manufacturing guilds, for example, employed officers known as searchers who scrutinized members’ merchandise to make sure it met guild standards and inspected members’ shops and homes seeking evidence of attempts to circumvent the rules. Members who failed to fulfill their obligations faced punishments of various sorts.
Punishments varied across transgressions, guilds, time, and space, but a pattern existed. First time offenders were punished lightly, perhaps suffering public scolding and paying small monetary fines, and repeat offenders punished harshly. The ultimate threat was expulsion. Guilds could do nothing harsher because laws protected persons and property from arbitrary expropriations and physical abuse. The legal system set the rights of individuals above the interests of organizations. Guilds were voluntary associations. Members facing harsh punishments could quit the guild and walk away. The most the guild could extract was the value of membership. Abundant evidence indicates that guilds enforced agreements in this manner.
A hierarchy existed in large guilds. Masters were full members who usually owned their own workshops, retail outlets, or trading vessels. Masters employed journeymen, who were laborers who worked for wages on short term contracts or a daily basis (hence the term journeyman, from the French word for day). Journeymen hoped to one day advance to the level of master. To do this, journeymen usually had to save enough money to open a workshop and pay for admittance, or if they were lucky, receive a workshop through marriage or inheritance.
Masters also supervised apprentices, who were usually boys in their teens who worked for room, board, and perhaps a small stipend in exchange for a vocational education. Both guilds and government regulated apprenticeships, usually to ensure that masters fulfilled their part of the apprenticeship agreement. Terms of apprenticeships varied, usually lasting from five to nine years.
Guilds are companies of merchants who have certain legal protections that help them operate their field of business in an area. Many Guild Associations are very powerful in their region, and can command vast wealth and influence over current affairs. In its simplest form, a Trade Guild is a group of individuals who all agree on a certain set of standards and practices, and who have the legal right to forbid commerce of their kind by tradesmen who are not members of their guild.
What this means is that if a Blacksmith's Guild exists in a town, then no person may legally accept money for Blacksmithing goods or services within that wall without being a member. Being a member generally means paying regular dues to the Guild organization and also agreeing to follow their standards of commerce and production. This usually means not selling substandard goods, not breaking any local trade laws, not selling to criminals, and other protective restrictions, and also usually includes a standard price of given goods. When all members of a trade agree to fix their prices, it makes them all more profitable because they are no longer competing with one another for the lowest bid. It also means that anyone who attempts to sell goods without the permission of the Guild risks fines or arrest, depending on the local laws.
If a tradesman wishes to participate in more than one market, they must be members in good standing of all relevant Guilds, and that includes the ubiquitous Merchant's Guild, the Guild that is in charge of all buying and selling to the public in their area of authority. Anyone buying or selling anything to the public must be a member of the Merchant's Guild in good standing.
Some Guilds are powerful enough that their network extends into whole regions, or has reciprocity with other like Guilds in neighboring areas. These powerhouses can command entire market-shares and often have agents in many places to arrange their finances.
COMMERCE AND CONTRACTS
The primary way a character interacts with a Guild is through the acquisition and execution of contracts. Contracts are legal documents that are created using special language and legally bind the parties who agree to the terms of the document. The invention of the legal contract was an important step historically for the Merchant class because it allowed commercial interests to exist with the nobility. Ordinarily, as a highborn noble may legally use and abuse any of their subjects as they wish, a noble could simply refuse to pay for a delivery or goods, or in any other way break faith on an agreement. Since only a noble may prosecute a noble who they believe has violated their interests, the merchant was left without recourse. However, with the advent of the contract, the noble affixes their sign or seal to the document, and in effect, agrees to sue themselves on behalf of themselves, as they clearly document their own practical or financial interest to be harmed if the agreement not be fulfilled. This gives the merchant a way to hold a nobleman to their bargains, and, after a fashion, helps the nobility as well as it makes merchants feel safer in a more reliable investment.
The Guilds receive large, special, or formal orders in the form of contracts. These arrive occasionally to the Guildmaster, who assigns their completion to members of the Guild and provides compensation. All contracts, in order to be enforceable, need to be registered with the Master of Coin or her assigned representative and in order to receive that approval, a contract must have the appropriate level of taxes marked to go to the city upon the completion of the assignment. The tax rates for contracts is usually relatively even, though Guilds that are in the special favor or disfavor of the Master of Coin might be given lower or higher tax rates as appropriate, or ask that the taxes are paid up front.
Possible guilds of Amber
Each Guild owns a little piece of the city's/counties market as part of their rights as a Guild. This is usually put into terms of a specific in-game Skill, and making use of that skill outside of the Guild illegal. Sometimes this can be more than one skill. Conversely, there might be two distinct trades within a specific Skill, perhaps academic instruction being judged a different trade than the creation and copying of books. Ultimately, what constitutes a legal trade and its boundaries are the province of the city's Master of Coin.
If a character is discovered accepting coin in payment for their goods or services using that skill illegally, including using or fulfilling a contract to that end, the Guilds are within their rights to enforce their status against that person to the limit of the local laws - fines, imprisonment, or even death, depending on the temperament of the Ruler of the city/County. If no existing guild owns that trade, it is free to use without punishment - the Guilds have no standing to pursue damages because they did not lose any potential earnings since they weren't there to collect.
Guilds begin only having control over one trade. Because of their monopoly on that kind of commerce, however, the guilds are able to attract all of the local professionals and provide an excellent place for training and commerce.
Common concerns of the craft guilds were the protection of members from outside competition, ensuring fair competition between members, and maintaining standards of quality for the product. Only masters in the trade would generally be allowed to sell the product or to employ others to produce. To become a master one would have to meet a number of criteria including being a member or burgess of the community, to have completed an apprenticeship in the trade, and to have paid an entry fee to the guild. The status of burgess (or bourgeois) was distinct from that of a native or resident of a community. As a burgess, one was entitled to full municiple rights which usually entailed participation in government, judicial benefits, and freedom to trade. For the craftsman becoming a master not only signified mastery of the craft but also an attainment of a social standing above that of the majority of the population of a community who were mere natives or residents. There would frequently be reduced guild fees for the children of masters. This led to the continuity of family dynasties in particular trades. Many guilds had the stipulation of producing an example of the trade, or masterpiece, to demonstrate mastery . Members of the clergy and individuals who were in the employ of a ruler were usually exempted from these regulations.
The Guilds systems are a machine to produce both more talented masters of their art, and to expand their financial influence over time and distance.
Guild members pay a yearly fee to maintain their membership. Members are expected to gain expertise in their important skills in order to advance, as well as obey the bylaws of their organization.
Each rank of Guild Membership comes with some benefits and drawbacks. Advancing through the Guild is a purely social arrangement. At any given rank, you lose the benefits of previous ranks unless noted.
With few exceptions, apprenticeship began in the teens and lasted from seven to ten years. Though it wasn't unheard of for sons to be apprenticed to their own fathers, it was fairly uncommon. Sons of master craftsmen were by Guild law automatically accepted into the Guild; yet many still took the apprenticeship route, with someone other than their fathers, for the experience and training it offered.
Apprentices in larger towns and cities were supplied from outlying villages in substantial numbers, supplementing labor forces that dwindled from diseases such as the plague and other factors of city living. Apprenticeship also took place in village businesses, where a teenager might learn milling or felting cloth.
Apprenticeships were formally arranged with contracts and sponsors. Guilds required that bonds of surety be posted to guarantee that apprentices fulfilled expectations; if they did not, the sponsor was liable for the fee. In addition, sponsors or the candidates themselves would sometimes pay the master a fee to take on the apprentice. This would help the master cover the expenses of caring for the apprentice over the next several years.
The relationship between master and apprentice was as significant as that between parent and offspring. Apprentices lived in their master's house or shop; they usually ate with the master's family, often wore clothes provided by the master, and were subject to the master's discipline.
Apprentices are the initiates of the Guild, and as such are both able to receive training and guidance in their art, but also are expected to learn on the job and must work very hard. To become an Apprentice, a prospective applicant usually need only apply to be accepted, so long as they don't have some obvious deficiency such as being an outlaw, intrinsically incapable of learning a difficult skill, or Blacklisted.
Apprentices have ample access to Instruction, and may learn all ranks of their Guild's Skills. Apprentices are provided room and board - they do not need to provide their own food.
Apprentices are provided access to Professional Tools by way of their Master's workshop so that they can perform their work.
Apprentices are not full members of their Guild. They do not pay any seasonal Guild dues.
Upon reaching a certain level of ability (to be determined) in one of their Guild's Skills, they are eligible to become a Journeyman
Journeymen are those students of the art that have graduated from Apprenticeship and are trusted enough to found their own semi-independent business. They must still work under a Master. While it’s typical to continue under the Master that apprenticed them, they are free to seek out another master in the guild to work under.. Usually Journeymen are asked to leave their area of tutelage and found their business in a new area so as not to compete with existing Masters and to expand the Guild's influence geographically. In the cases of new settlements, this rule is relaxed until the city's population can reach more stable numbers.
Journeymen are full Guild members and can legally fulfill contracts they hold.
Journeymen are well-connected within their Guild and benefit from the group's organization and structure.
Journeymen are full members of their Guild and are expected to pay a small Guild Due once per year, usually on the order of 10% of what a Master would need to pay. This payment goes to their Master. The Guildmaster determines the quantity of Dues.
Once the Journeyman is able to provide a "Masterpiece" sample of their Skill to the rest of the Masters, they may be granted the title of Master. For crafting guilds, this can be a specific item, but for other types of Guilds, an equivalent demonstration is performed.
Masters are the foundation of every Guild, and they are known for their excellent workmanship and elite service. They are who give the Guilds their reputation and their legitimacy. Masters are also entrusted with training and teaching the next generation of Apprentices, and can benefit from their hard work - especially in very powerful Guilds that attract a lot of young Apprentices.
Masters gain the assistance of Apprentices to use for their commercial benefit. The Apprentices can be used to work one Contract that the Master holds, or for Mass Production. This frees the Master's own time up to create Masterwork items, or whatever else they may wish to do with their time.
Masters pay large Guild Dues to remain in good standing with their Guild, (to be determined.) As with all fees, the Guildmaster determines and collects them.
Masters who become very influential and successful in their Guilds might be granted Officer status by appointment of the Guildmaste
The Officers of the Guild serve an important function in that they are responsible for the Guild's overall health and its ability to take and hold influence in the marketplace. Officers are like Masters in most respects except that they are also tasked with making new inroads, advertising, and solving mercantile problems in the city.
Officers retain all the benefits of Masters and work on expanding the reach and influence of the guild. As such, they generally have the first opportunity to benefit financially from those actions.
Officers pay the same as Masters.
Officers might become the Guildmaster should a new Guildmaster be required for some reason. The local Guildmaster is selected by appointment from the parent Guild, but it is traditional that the vote of all the local Masters is heavily considered.
The Guildmaster is the single person in charge of the local organization. They are expected to act in the best interest of the Guild at all times, and are the local authority in any and all disputes. They also collect the money that is paid in dues, and are expected to use that money for the good of the Guild.
Guildmasters retain all the benefits of Masters and officers.
DUES: The Guildmaster pays no dues of his own, and collects all of the dues from other members of the Guild.
Because all of the Guilds operate on ancient charters, they all have some common bylaws that must be followed to maintain a membership in good standing. Violating these bylaws, depending on the severity of the violation, may be cause for expulsion and Blacklisting. Blacklisted characters may never join that Guild again, and may be prevented from joining other Guilds in the local area.
Article I: No member of a Guild will market or sell sub-standard goods and services or misrepresent their goods as worthy.
Article II: No member of the Guild will attempt to directly compete with any other member in good standing of the Guild. Prices should be colluded upon and fixed in a given market.
Article III: No member of the Guild will knowingly engage in illicit, illegal or infamous actions that may bring negative attention or outcomes upon the Guild, especially in actions directly involving the Guild's primary services.
Article IV: The local Guildmaster may draft and enforce additional restrictions upon his chapter of the Guild, so long as those rules do not supersede Articles I through IV.
Contracts that are guaranteed by the city's legal system by way of the Master of Coin must also include a city tax at a rate that varies from Guild to Guild. The proceeds of such taxes go into the city's Treasury.
MASTER OF COIN
The Master of Coin ensures that the county remains healthy in terms of its economic supremacy. They are in charge of making sure taxes are collected, the labor force of each city is organized and productive, and that the Trade Guilds abide by the city's laws. They also act as a liaison for the Trade Guilds to the Ruler and coordinate with the Officers of given Trade Guilds on their cooperation with civic construction that requires their assistance to create.
The Master of Coin has the following powers:
The Master of Coin works with the Count and the council to set policy, develop budgets and track finances.
Contracts that are guaranteed by the city's legal system by way of the Master of Coin must also include a city tax at a rate that can vary from Guild to Guild. The proceeds of such taxes go into the city's/Counties Treasury.
Examples of contracts to get startup costs and for apprentaciships:
John of Cayworth [villein] holds from his lord one house and thirty acres of land. For his right to this land, he must pay the lord two shillings a year at Easter and Michaelmas. At Christmas he must give the lord one cock and two hens worth four shillings.
He must harrow [cultivate] the lord's land for two days during Lent at sowing time with his own horse and harrow. He receives from the lord each day that he harrows three meals.
He must carry the manure of the lord's animals for two days using his own two oxen. He receives from the lord three meals each day that he carries the manure.
He must carry wood from the lord's forest to the manor house for two days in summer. He receives from the lord three meals each day that he carries wood.
He may not cut the timber growing on his land without the consent of his lord or the bailiff, and then only for the purpose of building.
After his death, his survivors will pay to the lord the best animal that he had, unless he has no living beast, and then the lord will receive no payment.
And if his sons or daughters wish to continue holding his house and thirty acres after his death, they must make a payment to the lord equal to the entire rent for one year, and continue paying the rent as set down in this contract.
This Contract is entered into by and between ____, [AN INDIVIDUAL, OR TYPE OF
BUSINESS ENTITY] (“First Party”), and ____, [AN INDIVIDUAL, OR TYPE OF BUSINESS
ENTITY] (“Second Party”). The term of this Agreement shall begin on [BEGIN DATE] and shall continue
through its termination date of [END DATE].
The specific terms of this Contract are as follows:
In consideration of the mutual promises set forth herein, the First Party covenants and agrees that it shall
The Second Party covenants and agrees that it shall ___________
This Contract may not be modified in any manner unless in writing and signed by both Parties. This document and
any attachments hereto constitute the entire agreement between the Parties. This Contract shall be binding upon the
Parties, their successors, heirs and assigns and shall be enforced under the laws of the State of....
Non-compete: Some companies choose to include non-compete clauses in their Employment Contract. If signed, that means that when your employee moves on with his or her career, they won't be legally allowed to work at a company that is one of your direct competitors. Usually, you'll want to note a period of time in the non-compete clause, such as one or two years.
Sample Short-term Lease Agreement
This agreement is between ____ (landowner) and ___ (tenant), for the lease of certain parcels of land for the purpose of__________ [describe agricultural purpose(s) and operation].
- The parcel(s) contained in this agreement are is/described as follows: [parcel location,acreage, bounds, features, condition, etc.]
The term of this lease shall be from ____ to ______except as terminated earlier according to the provisions below.
The tenant agrees to pay a lease fee to the landowner of $_ per acre or $_ total, per year. The tenant agrees to pay such sum at the beginning of the lease term and on the anniversary thereof unless otherwise mutually agreed. A late penalty of up to [ ]%/month may be assessed on all late payments. This lease fee may be renegotiated annually.
Permitted Uses: The tenant is permitted all normal activities associated with the above
purposes, including but not limited to:
The tenant agrees to employ standard best management practices. It shall not be considered a default of this Lease if weather or other circumstance prevents timely practices or harvesting.
Prohibited Uses: The tenant shall not, unless by mutual agreement to the contrary,
engage in any of the following activities on said parcel(s):
The tenant agrees to prepare an annual management plan for review by the landlord,
complete annual soil testing, and apply amendments as indicated at his/her own expense. The tenant agrees to proper disposal of trash and waste. The tenant further agrees:
The [landowner/tenant] agrees to pay all taxes and assessments associated with this
The farmer agrees to provide the landowner with evidence of liability insurance
Either party may terminate this lease at any time with _ month notice to the other
party. The tenant agrees not to assign or sublease his/her interest.
The terms of this lease may be amended by mutual consent.
A default in any of these provisions by either party may be cured upon written notice by the other party within __ days of receipt of such notice. Any disputes occurring from this lease may be resolved by standard mediation practices, if necessary.
Landowner retains his/her right to access the parcel(s) for the purposes of inspection
with prior notification to the tenant.
Other special terms and conditions in this lease:__
Attachments may include:
Plan of land
NRCS or other Farm Conservation Plan
Proof of insurance
Other documents as mutually agreed
I, John of St. Maximin, lawyer, place with you John Cordier, money-changer, my son William Deodat, as an apprentice, so that you may teach and instruct him in the art of money-changing, for two complete and continuous years from this date. I promise by this agreement that I will take care that my son will serve his apprenticeship with you and that he will be faithful and honest in all his dealings for the whole of the said period, and that he will not depart from you nor take anything away from you. And if it should happen, which God forbid, that the said William should cause you any loss I promise to reimburse you by this agreement, believing in your unsupported word, etc. Also I promise to give by this agreement for the expenses of the said William food, that is bread and wine and meat, fourteen heminae of good grain and fifty solidi of the money now current in Marseilles, at your request, and to provide the said William with clothing and necessaries, pledging all my goods, etc.; renouncing the benefit of all laws, etc.
To this I, the said John Cordier, receive the said William as a pupil and promise you, the said John St. Maximin, to teach your son well and faithfully the business of money-changing, etc., pledging all my goods, etc.; renouncing the benefit of all laws, etc
I, William, barber of Sestri, in good faith and without equivocation, place my self in your service and engage myself to work for you, Armand the barber, making my home with you, for learning the art or craft of barbering for a period of two years, at the salary or wage of forty solidi in the mixed money now current in Marseilles, promising to be faithful to you in all things, not to rob you, or take anything away from you, and not to leave you for a greater or less wage for any reason whatsoever, and to give you in good faith whatever money I am able to take, to tell you the truth, and to bear faith to you in all that I do.
I also promise to reimburse you for all expenses you incur on my behalf; and I promise to do all these things by agreement, and under pledge of one hundred solidi in royal crowns, the pledge being forfeited when the agreement is broken. For greater security I swear upon the Holy Gospels, touching them with my hand. And I pledge all my goods, etc., and renounce the benefit of all laws, etc.
And, I, the said Armand, admit all the foregoing, and promise by this agreement to give to you, the said William, forty solidi every year as your wage, and to provide for you, in sickness or in health, food and clothing for two complete years. Pledging all my goods, etc., renouncing the benefit of all laws, etc.
Be it known to present and future aldermen that Ouede Ferconne apprentices Michael, her son, to Matthew Haimart on security of her house, her person, and her chattels, and the share that Michael ought to have in them, so that Matthew Haimart will teach him to weave in four years, and that he (Michael) will have shelter, and learn his trade there without board. And if there should be reason within two years for Michael to default she will return him, and Ouede Ferconne, his mother, guarantees this on the security of her person and goods. And if she should wish to purchase his freedom for the last two years she may do so for thirty-three solidi, and will pledge for that all that has been stated. And if he should not free himself of the last two years let him return, and Ouede Ferconne, his mother, pledges this with her person and her goods. And the said Ouede pledges that if Matthew Haimart suffers either loss or damage through Michael, her son, she will restore the loss and damage on the security of herself and all her goods, should Michael do wrong.
April the ninth. I, Peter Borre, in good faith and without guile, place with you, Peter Feissac, weaver, my son Stephen, for the purpose of learning the trade or craft of weaving, to live at your house, and to do work for you from the feast of Easter next for four continuous years, promising you by this agreement to take care that my son does the said work, and that he will be faithful and trustworthy in all that he does, and that he will neither steal nor take anything away from you, nor flee nor depart from you for any reason, until he has completed his apprenticeship. And I promise you by this agreement that I will reimburse you for all damages or losses that you incur or sustain on my behalf, pledging all my goods, etc.; renouncing the benefit of all laws, etc. And I, the said Peter Feissac, promise you, Peter Borre, that I will teach your son faithfully and will provide food and clothing for him. Done at Marseilles, near the tables of the money-changers. Witnesses, etc.
This indenture witnesseth that John Nougle of London haberdasher has put Katherine Nougle his sister apprentice to Avice Wodeford silkthrowster of London to learn her art and to dwell with her and serve her after the manner of an apprentice from the feast of Pentecost in the fifteenth year of the reign of King Richard II until the end of seven years thence next following and fully complete. During which term the said Katherine the said Avice as her lady and mistress in all things lawful and honest well and faithfully courteously and diligently to her power everywhere shall serve, her secrets keep, and her lawful and honest commandments everywhere gladly do. She shall not do damage to her said mistress within the said term nor see to be done by others to the value of twelve pence or more per annum but to her power shall impede the same or forthwith give warning thereof to her mistress. She shall not waste inordinately the goods of her said mistress nor lend them to anyone without her order or special commandment. She shall not commit fornication or adultery in the house of her said mistress or without during the said term nor play any unlawful or unseemly games whereby her said mistress may have any loss. She shall not customarily frequent a tavern save to do there the business of her said mistress nor shall she contract matrimony with any man during the said term save with the assent will and counsel of the said John and of Thomas Nougle citizen and tailor of London uncle of the same apprentice. She shall not withdraw unlawfully from the service of her said mistress save by reason of such matrimony as is aforesaid during the said term nor absent herself by day or by night. With her own money or other during the said term she shall not buy or sell without the licence and will of her said mistress nor knowingly keep any secret that may be to the loss or prejudice of her said mistress from her. But well and faithfully honestly and obediently shall bear and hold herself both in words and deeds towards her said mistress and all hers as a good and faithful apprentice ought to bear and hold herself according to the usage and custom of the City of London during all the said term. And the said Avice the said Katherine her apprentice in her art which she uses by the best and most excellent means that she knows or can shall diligently teach treat and instruct or cause to be instructed by others, punishing in due manner. And also shall find to the same apprentice sufficient victuals and apparel linen and wool caps shoes and lodging and all other necessaries during all the said term as is fitting to be found such an apprentice of that art according to the custom of the said City. And for the fidelity of the said apprentice and that all and singular the aforesaid covenants on her part shall be well and faithfully kept fulfilled and observed in all things as is aforesaid Adam Byell citizen and tailor of London shall be pledge and mainpernor binding himself his heirs and executors for the said apprentice by these present and the said apprentice binds herself firmly and all her goods present and future wherever they may be found. In witness whereof the aforesaid parties together with the aforenamed pledge to these indentures interchangeably have put their seals.
John Hende then mayor of the City of London John Shadworth and Henry Vanner then sheriffs of the same City. Given at London on the feast of Pentecost in the fifteenth year aforesaid.