|Preston Guild Merchant|
1952 Colour silent, Only part of a 50minute film is shown here of the Preston Guild Lancashire in 1952, GVs include the Mayor Mr J.J Ward, the proclamation 30th August 1952, Church processions, Parades and childrens events.
The celebration is held every 20 years.
King Henry II granted Preston the right to have a Guild Merchant in 1179, when he gave the town it's first royal charter.
The Guild was an organisation of traders, craftsmen and merchants. It had a monopoly of trade in the town and only it's members could carry on a craft or business. Newcomers could only trade here with the permission of the Guild, and such approval was not given lightly.
At intervals the Guild Merchant updated it's membership lists, to ensure that people were not falsely claiming the right to trade in the town. Anybody who claimed to be a member of the Guild had to come to Preston and, in a public court, swear loyalty to the Mayor and the Guild Merchant. His credentials were checked and if he was eligible, and paid a small fee, he would then be admitted or re-admitted as a Burgess (the name for a member of the Guild Merchant).
There is some evidence of a Guild Court in 1328, but the first reliably recorded celebration of the Guild was in 1397, when it was already more than two centuries old. These gatherings for renewing membership were infrequent. It was soon accepted that they were needed only once in a generation. As a result, from 1542 onwards, Preston Guild took place every twenty years.
The rarity of the celebration, and the fact that large numbers of people congregated in Preston for the occasion, made the Guild a special opportunity for feasting, processions and great social gatherings. In this way the great festival which is the Preston Guild was born, hundreds of years ago, and continues to flourish today.