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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Guild Records

Guilds were organisations of craftsmen and tradesmen which controlled both the conditions under which each trade was practised in boroughs and those who were allowed to practise it. Admission to a trade was usually acquired by inheritance or by apprenticeship. Members of guilds were also admitted as freemen of the borough, thus granting them significant political power and influence.

The Record Office holds a collection of records for the City of Durham Corporation. In the collection you will find the minutes of guild meetings which were held for the 'calls' of tradesmen so that they could be admitted freemen. The minutes include the names and trades of those called and whether they were approved or rejected. The collection also includes lists of admittances of freemen with some indexes. You will find full details of the collection in catalogues which can be searched online on the Search the Catalogue page.

You will find other Durham City guild records in the collections held by Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections.