Archery and Crossbow Guilds in Medieval Flanders, 1300-1500

Archery and Crossbow Guilds in Medieval Flanders, 1300-1500

Laura Crombie


Boydell Press



First full study devoted to the archery and crossbow guilds which grew up in Flanders in the middle ages.
The notion of "guilds" in civic society might conjure images of craft guilds, the organisations of butchers, bakers or brewers set up to regulate working practises. In the towns of medieval Flanders, however, a plethora of guilds existed which had little or nothing to do with the organisation of labour, including chambers of rhetoric, urban jousters and archery and crossbow guilds.
This is the first full-length study of the archery and crossbow guilds, encompassing not only the great urban centres of Ghent, Bruges and Lille but also numerous smaller towns, whose participation in guild culture was nonetheless significant. It examines guild membership, structure and organisation, revealing the diversity of guild brothers - and sisters - and bringing to life the elaborate social occasions when princes and plumbers would dine together. The most spectacular of these were the elaborate regional shooting competitions, whose entrances alone included play wagons, light shows and even an elephant! It also considers their social and cultural activities, and their important role in strengthening and rebuilding regional networks. Overall, it provides a new perspective on the strength of community within Flemish towns and the values that underlay medieval urban ideology.

Laura Crombie gained her PhD from the university of Glasgow; she is currently a teaching fellow in medieval history at the University of Leicester.


June 2016
6 black and white, 1 line illustrations
269 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781783271047
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS010020
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Archery and Crossbow Guilds in Flemish Civic Society
'For security, guard and defence' of this town: guilds' origins and military service
'Guild-brothers': guild organisation and the membership of the archery and crossbow guilds of Bruges 1437-1481
'For Drinking in recreational assemblies': the Archery and Crossbow Guilds as Social and Devotional Communities
'For the honour of the Duke and of the Town': Guilds and authority
'For friendship, community and brotherhood': Archery and crossbow competitions as part of civic honour and identity
Archery and Crossbow Guilds and their Competitions in Regional Networks and as tools of Social Peace
Conclusion: Guilds in Civic Society