Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GUILD, n. Also †gild. Sc. usage: an incorporated society of merchants in a burgh, in medieval times and statutorily till 1846, having the exclusive privilege of trade within the burgh, and, in the case of the four large cities and of Perth, still represented on the Town Council. The word is now sometimes erroneously applied to the Trade or Craft Incorporations. Freq. attrib., and in phrs. and combs.: (1) Dean of Guild, the president of the Merchant Guild where this still exists, and a constituent member of the town council (see Dean). By the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1947, every burgh must now have a Dean of Guild and Dean of Guild Court, consisting of two to four members of the Town Council, whose main function is to act as the planning authority for the burgh, the anomalies in the position and duties of the Dean of Guild in the various burghs, specified under Dean, being however perpetuated in the above Act; †(2) guild box, the treasury and funds of the guild; a chest containing these; (3) guild brother, a member of the guild fraternity; (4) guild burgess, a burgess of a town elected by virtue of his membership of the merchant guild. Also burgess (†burger) of guild; (5) guild offence, an offence against the Dean of Guild's jurisdiction. Dmf. 1709  Miscellany B.R.S. (1881) 180:
The burgh has a dean, who is not a dean of gild, it not being a gild toun.
Slg. 1727  Slg. Guildry Bk. (1916) 91:
The treasurer to provide a suit of clothes with some shifts, shoes, and a pair of stockings, hat, and wig for the guild officer.
Edb. 1779  H. Arnot Hist. Edb. 508:
The merchants have not, as merchants, any vote in electing the town-council; for the whole merchant guild is represented by the merchant members of the town-council for the time being.
Sc. 1846  Acts Parl. 9 & 10 Vict. c.17:
It shall be lawful for any Person to carry on or deal in Merchandize, and to carry on or exercise any Trade or Handicraft, in any Burgh and elsewhere in Scotland, without being a Burgess of such Burgh, or a Guild Brother, or a Member of any Guild, Craft, or Incorporation.
Abd. 1867  W. Anderson Rhymes 9:
At twal, to the Chaumer the Magistrates cam', Whare they met wi' the Guild, an' they a' got a dram.
Abd. 1900  E.D.D.:
Burgesses enter the Guild on payment of a fee at election. They elect their own Dean.
Slg. 1956  Scotsman (4 April) 6:
An appeal for ¥500 towards the cost of erecting a cairn to commemorate the Battle of Bannockburn was issued yesterday by the Merchant Guild of Stirling, which was instituted in 1119.
(1) Gsw. 1703  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S. 362:
For making the divisione of the dean of gilds court hall in the tolbuith.
Edb. 1753  W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 237:
The Extraordinary Council, which is only summoned at the Election of Magistrates and Members of the Dean of Guild's Court.
Sc. 1951  Sc. Daily Mail (5 Dec.):
Mrs —, Peterhead, who altered her property without a warrant, was severely censured by the Dean of Guild Court yesterday.
(2) Slg. 1697  Slg. Guildry Rec. (1916) 81:
All which [charters] . . . are appointed to be put immediately up into the Guild box.
(3) Gsw. 1701  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 325:
John Campbell, merchand, burges and gild brother of this burgh.
Inv. 1709  Miscellany B.R.S. (1881) 190:
Any burges acting in the double capacity of tradsman and gildbrother at the same time is contraire to the fifth article of the act of sett and the custom and constitution of the burrows.
Sth. 1741  in C.D. Bentinck Dornoch (1926) 278:
When General Sinclair of Rosline was made a burgess in 1741, he was also admitted a “Guild Brother of the Burgh.”
Edb. 1817  in J. Colston Guildry Edb. (1887) 66:
Persons admitted Guild-brethren, in terms of the Sett of the Burgh, still possess certain privileges.
Sc. 1828  Scott F. M. Perth xx.:
Those who occupied the higher seats were merchants, that is, guild brethren.
(4) Abd. 1715  Burgh Rec. Abd. (B.R.S.) 352:
The sute roll of the haill burgers of gild and free craftsmen wes called.
Sc. 1887  E. Bain Merchant Guilds 119:
Down to the beginning of the eighteenth century the craftsmen rigidly excluded burgesses of guild from their societies.
Abd. 1954  Abd. Press & Jnl. (9 April):
Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the Burgesses of Guild will be held . . . for the purpose of Electing the Dean of Guild for the ensuing year, in terms of the Guildry Regulations.
(5) Sc. 1892  Justiciary Reports (1891–93) 216:
Guilty of a guild offence within the meaning of the Glasgow Police Act 1866.

[O.S.c has gild, gyld, a brotherhood, a (merchant) guild, from early 15th c., gild box, 1634, gild brother, from c.1470.]

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"Guild n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2018 <>



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