Guild drawer from Alsfeld, around 1600

Alsfeld properly!Year of origin of the oldest preserved guild letters

On August 11, 1355, Landgrave Heinrich II issued the first guild charter for Alsfeld. It was even two guild letters for two different trades in one document: 1. for the garment cutters or merchants, 2. for the garment makers or wool weavers. Both craftsmen processed the same raw material, which was of great importance in Alsfeld: sheep’s wool.

The wool weavers wove the cloth, then rolled it, then roughened it and finished the surface with the cloth shears. This woolen cloth was then bought from them by the garment cutters and sold as merchants and cloth merchants on the surrounding markets all the way to Frankfurt at the fair.

This guild charter is of particular importance because it strengthened the craftsmen and merchants striving for importance and power, and thus at the same time the emerging bourgeoisie, against the old-established patrician families who had held power until then. The right of “The Four from the Commune” meant that four guildmasters were to join the city council. Although this right of artisans to participate in the city government was initially withdrawn after Henry’s death, it was finally codified in the Corebrief of 1429. MNic