Coat of ArmsThe Worshipful Company of SaddlersThe Saddlers Company
Origins

Trade guilds or Mysteries, which grouped together merchants or craftsmen with similar interests and imposed regulations for the benefit of their members and the community in which they operated, have a long history.

The word guild derives from the Saxon gildan (to pay), and refers to the subscription paid by members. Mystery comes from the Latin 'Mysterium', meaning professional skills.

Thus while the recorded history of the London guilds dates from the 12th Century, it is likely that similar organisations existed in pre-Conquest England.

The medieval guilds, initially at least, were tightly-knit groups of men - and women - who sought to protect their trade and used the advantages given by the strength of the group to remedy the weakness of the individual in a feudal society, not least what are now deemed social services.

 

Court portrait of HRH Frederick, Prince of Wales, KG, Perpetual Master 1737-1751
Court portrait of HRH Frederick, Prince of Wales, KG, Perpetual Master 1737-1751