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Ordinance for the Dark Dyers and Ironers in Hesse (November 15, 1580)

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[9] No master shall take an apprentice from another, under penalty of 2 gulden.

[10] Under threat of the same penalty, every master shall do the work that is brought to him to the best of his ability, so that they [the customers] are assured [of receiving quality work]. No master shall in any way take work, as could happen, from another.

[11] If it should happen that a master dies and his surviving widow considers taking over the workshop, and if she should have a youth who had been attached to her husband, she shall then practice the craft. And she shall also be allowed to retain the youth for his years of instruction as long as she remains a widow.

[12] If a master’s widow wishes, on the other hand, to sell her workshop to a journeyman, then, provided that the journeyman has otherwise appropriately conformed to this ordinance, she shall be required to sell half of the business to the guild and half to the journeyman.

[13] Also, no master shall be allowed to take renters, or move in with others, or live in a village where he constructs a workshop to the detriment of the craft, so that there will be no unauthorized workers practicing this craft to lessen the master’s work.*

[14] No unauthorized worker, hand-dyer, or incompetent worker shall enjoy the right to live in the places or locations where a proper master lives or anywhere else in our principality. Our officials shall pay constant attention to this matter.

[15] Every active master shall be required to provide one night’s lodging to journeymen who frequently come wandering and who seek lodging with him for the night. He shall give them to eat whatever the house has to offer, and every journeyman shall be content or seek better lodgings at his own expense.

[16] The masters in our principality shall assemble annually on the Monday after the annual St. Michael’s Market** in Cassel, at an agreed-upon place, and there, on the advice of the previous master of the craft, select and confirm two new masters as elders to serve as masters of the craft.*** These two shall maintain good order and enforce these regulations. They shall also help and cooperate with our officials in every place. And if a master is unable to attend for a justified reason, he shall also be obliged to send one thaler. If, however, anyone stays away out of contempt, without justification, he shall be punished according to the judgment of the masters and journeymen who are present. The fine shall be divided evenly between us [the landgrave] and the guild.

[17] So that none of our subjects is overcharged in the future, it is our will that henceforth an apron with 10 gores shall not cost more than 12 pence, one with 12 gores [not more than] 14 pence, so that the charge shall always correspond to the length and quality of the apron. For cloth that is 2 cubits wide, however, one shall give and receive 4 pence, and for that which is one cubit wide, 2 pence; and for drill****, one shall give and receive 2½ pence for one cubit of cloth. The merchants, however, shall pay one thaler for a hundred cubits of fabric. Should anyone take more or less than is outlined here, he shall pay a penalty of 4 gulden to us and the guild, to each his half.

[18] As to the glue-hide stock***** that is necessary for this craft, each master shall purchase this as much as possible in the place where he resides, although, if he is unable to acquire sufficient quantities there, he may import it from elsewhere. Also, every master shall allow another to purchase as much glue-hide stock from him as he has in excess, for which the fixed price is a quarter of a sack for 7½ albs and not more. If anyone shall prevent another from acquiring the material, either through disfavor or other methods, so that the latter does not receive his supplies, he shall pay 2 gulden. Otherwise, everyone shall offer for sale materials that are in excess of his own needs.

* This provision prohibits shifting production into the countryside, beyond the regulatory power of urban guilds. Such measures were a common defense against the practice of “putting out” production, especially of cloth, to rural artisans – trans.
** St. Michael’s Day, or Michaelmas, falls on September 29 – trans.
*** The landgrave creates (or confirms) a principality-wide association of the masters of this craft. This is the final step in the migration of guild-formation and regulation from local and corporate to state control – trans.
**** A weave of cloth with a triple thread and a pattern visible on both sides of the fabric, comparable in modern German to canvas or ticking – trans.
***** Scraps of animal hide used to manufacture glue – trans.

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