REBUILDING THIS SECTION SO SOME LINKS MAY NOT WORK YET !
Preston Guild Merchant
The official title of Preston Guild is actually the "Preston Guild Merchant".
Guilds were originally set up by groups of people with a common interest, or groups with the same goal in mind. People who worked in similar types of business would set themselves up into a Guild, in an attempt to further the interests of its members within the local community. Local Guilds would have included trades such as the Masons, the Smiths, the Carpenters, and the Cloth Workers Guilds. Guilds are known to have existed in this country prior to the arrival of William I (William the conqueror) in 1066.
William I decided that the Guild Merchant idea should be used throughout the country. For the payment of a fee, selected boroughs gained the right to a small measure of self rule. These area had rights to localised law making and setting up of a law court. Preston applied for, and was granted, the right to hold its Preston Guild Merchant during the reign of Henry II in A.D.1180.
The 20 Year Rule
The date the first Preston Guild Merchant was held is not accurately recorded, although several references have been made to the guild celebrations. The first accurate reference to the holding of a Preston Guild is in 1328. At that time a decision was made that the festival would be repeated every 20 years. This decision would soon be broken. High taxes, plague and pestilence, all contributed to many cancellations of the 20 year rule. It was not until 1542 that the 20 year rule was kept to religiously.
There is a local saying which refers to Preston Guild and the 20 year rule. If, when talking to someone, to want to say "I haven't seen you for years", you say "I haven't seen you since Preston Guild" which again means "once in a blue moon !!".
One of the main reasons for the cancellation of the Preston Guild Merchant celebrations was the outbreak of the second world war. Preston was due to hold its Guild celebrations in 1942 but this was obviously out of the question. In 1946, one year after the end of the war, the decision was made to extend the 20 years to 30 years which took the Guild celebrations to 1952. The Guild celebrations held since that date have followed the 20 year rule.
Preston Guild Collectables
It has become a local tradition to collect Preston Guild memorabilia. These items of purely local interest appear at each Guild Merchant and are collected by many. Items range from the extremely cheap Guild badges, to the exquisite pottery and silverware items which are expensive to buy.
Preston Guild items have been made for almost any purpose you can possibly think of. I have seen cups, plates, jugs, tea pots, biscuit tins, tea caddies, soap tins, bottle openers, jig saw puzzles, and ash trays. The items to the left are just a few of the available items that the devoted collector tracks down in their never ending search. What makes Guild memorabilia more interesting is that all items are dated with the Guild year.
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