The Guild is a community of working stonemasons with international connections and membership. The origins of the Guild can be traced back to the first ‘Gild Moot’ called by King Athelstan in 936AD and much of the Guild structure, including some rules, are rooted, earlier still, in the Clodian Laws of 55BC.
As with any successful, historic organisation, The Guild has evolved over time, holding to some principles and practices and relinquishing others. We seek to build continually on our knowledge and understanding of innovations within the craft and of the diversity of craft techniques and culture globally. Although we embrace academic and technical advances within the craft, the ancient, skilled techniques, often employing hand tools, remain central to our teaching and practice. The traditionalism in our practice is not borne out of pretension, rigidity or slavish nostalgia but is the result of centuries of development of the finest methods which have never been bettered.
The Guild maintains its historic tripartite template, which ensures that our efforts are divided equally between craft, collegiate (academic) and frith (members’ welfare) objectives. The Guild provides teaching in traditional craft skills to a select few; from classical apprentices through to world-class craft Masters but also offers educational and outreach services to various organisations. We believe that the fundamental principles of craftsmanship have value for everybody, not just for those working in craft; we have shown that these principles can be taught to all who wish to improve their effectiveness and wellbeing.
With the privilege of Guild membership comes a responsibility to share the practical knowledge, culture and history of the craft of stonemasonry with a broadest possible audience; to improve public understanding and appreciation for the craft and for traditional crafts in general. The special role of Guild Remembrancer is always held by one elected Guild member who is entrusted with the task of holding, sharing and celebrating the cultural heritage of our Guild by word of mouth alone. Our unique history and culture is of great importance to us and is often of great interest to others.