Toastmasters and Medieval Guilds
Guild, also spelled gild, an association of craftsmen or merchants formed for mutual aid and protection and for the furtherance of their professional interests. Guilds flourished in Europe between the 11th and 16th centuries and formed an important part of the economic and social fabric in that era.
The Medieval Guilds
The medieval guilds were generally one of two types: merchant guilds or craft guilds. Merchant guilds were associations of all or most of the merchants in a particular town or city; these men might be local or long-distance traders, wholesale or retail sellers, and might deal in various categories of goods. Craft guilds, on the other hand, were occupational associations that usually comprised all the artisans and craftsmen in a particular branch of industry or commerce. There were, for instance, guilds of weavers, dyers, and fullers in the wool trade and of masons and architects in the building trade; and there were guilds of painters, metalsmiths, blacksmiths, bakers, butchers, leatherworkers, soapmakers, and so on.
Guilds performed a variety of important functions in the local economy. They established a monopoly of trade in their locality or within a particular branch of industry or commerce; they set and maintained standards for the quality of goods and the integrity of trading practices in that industry; they worked to maintain stable prices for their goods and commodities; and they sought to control town or city governments in order to further the interests of the guild members and achieve their economic objectives.
The internal structures of medieval craft guilds are well known from documents and were generally alike throughout Europe. Assemblies of the guild’s members enjoyed some legislative powers, but the control of guild policy lay in the hands of a few officials and a council of advisers or assistants. The guild tended to be an extremely hierarchical body structured on the basis of the apprenticeship system. In this structure, the members of a guild were divided into a hierarchy of masters, journeymen, and apprentices.
The Guild Of Toastmasters
The Guild of Toastmasters today, is built on the very same foundations as the Medieval Guilds of old. Just as you had the Guild of Butchers or the Guild of Bakers, we are the Guild of Toastmasters, upholding an age old tradition. Within the Guild of Toastmasters we have various ranks and officials and again we follow the trusted methods of old.
“Loyalty: We are faithful to those we represent, while honouring our obligation to serve those who have engaged us.”
When you join the Guild of Toastmasters you will become an Apprentice of the Guild of Toastmasters and as such you will be taught the craft of a toastmaster. You will be in service to learn your trade and as you progress in the various aspects of your trade you will eventually rise to become a Master. Your training will continue and will be determined by yourself, in the various route you choose, culminating in the rise to Fellow.
All members of the Guild of Toastmasters are entitled to use the various letters after their name in the following format:
- Apprentice - Patrick Phelan ACMS
- Master - Sean Quinn MCMS
- Fellow - Seamus O'Brien FCMS
Because all our enrolled members of the Guild of Toastmasters will have been professionally trained by by the Acadamh Barr Feabhais - Academy of Excellence they will also be allowed to use the designated letters after their name in the following format:
- John O'Hara - AAcF ACMS
- Tom Griffin - MAcF MCMS
- Liam O'Hanlon - FAcF FCMS
The Guild of Toastmasters here in Ireland are the only 'Toastmaster' group or organisation that are allowed to use the designated letters after their name as outlined above. All our Enrolled Toastmasters will have a Certificate showing their credentials together with their 'Collarette & Medallion'. As part of the Full Guild of Toastmasters Uniform, they will also have a 'St.Patrick's Breastplate' which is worn over the Breast Pocket.
The Guild of Toastmasters follow the ideals of both the Craft Guilds and the Merchant Guilds and as such are extremely professional in the execution of their duties.
The Guild of Toastmasters is open for membership to both ladies and gentlemen, so feel free to get in touch if you have an interest in joining the Guild of Toastmasters.
The Hunting Pink Tailcoat
Why the 'Hunting Pink Tailcoat'? Well it all began many years ago in the late nineteenth century, when a certain 'Toastmaster' by the name of William Knightsmith (given name William Smith) wore the 'Hunting Pink' to distinguish himself from the waiters. At first it was greeted with derision by his colleagues, but the Prince of Wales greatly admired it and once it had received the Royal seal of approval the red tailcoat became the uniform for all Toastmasters. More About William Knightsmith
There are of course many occasions when the red tailcoat is inappropriate. Toastmasters are required to wear white or black tie (black tailcoat or dinner jacket) at City Banquets, Corporate Functions and Livery Dinners, and a similar dress code will usually apply to Jewish Weddings.
Needless to say, the red tailcoat of a Toastmaster does serve a practical purpose. It is always clearly visible in a gathering of any size, it lends him an air of approachable authority and ensures that he will not be mistaken for the host, a guest or indeed any member of the venue staff.