Welcome to the website of the Merchant Guildry of Stirling. This website is provided to give friends and members details of the history and activities of the Guildry along with latest news and articles. If you are aware of news and updates to share with the Guildry, please let us know.
The Merchant Guildry of Stirling cannot trace its exact origins. The Guilds of Europe stem from the establishment of city life after the end of the Roman Empire. Although Scotland had a small population, its burghs were well established by the 12th century. The famous Laws of the Four Burghs (of which Stirling was one along with Edinburgh, Roxburgh and Berwick) became the municipal laws for all the Scottish Burghs. From the beginnings of the Guildry no-one could engage in commerce unless he was a burgess of the town. It was formed to protect trading rights. Guildry members were not manual workers and were forbidden by the Laws of the Four Burghs to be so.
The Burgh Reform Act of 1833 provided for the election of Town Councils, and the Burgh Trading Act of 1846 abolished the privileges of Merchant Guilds. The Guildry then assumed its present form as an interesting survival, with the Society maintaining the ancient traditions of the Town.
Message from the Dean
In 2019 we celebrated 900 years of the life of the Merchant Guildry of Stirling, a body which has had a continuous existence since its foundation although its remit has changed over the centuries. The primary function now is through its Charitable Trust as a grant making organisation to local charities. We also award history prizes to all the local Secondary schools and to the University and Forth Valley College which provides a focus on history which is so relevant to the Guildry. Guildries were originally the ruling councils for towns and burghs and today the Guildry looks back on this long history with pride and with a determination to preserve our traditions whilst still being forward looking and a very central organisation to 21st century Stirling.
It is humbling to have been elected the first lady Dean of the Merchant Guildry in 900 years and I am proud of my association as a Guild Brother with this ancient, prestigious and friendly organisation. We are a vibrant social group with regular meetings and talks on topics both local and more remote. I invite you to browse our website and get in touch with any comments or questions. Come and join us and meet a wide variety of people with one central idea in common – a love for Stirling and a desire to further Stirling’s place with Scotland and furth of Scotland.”
Elizabeth Roads LVO
Dean of the Guildry of Stirling