Summa Inter Mediocria
"A Guilds contribution to the Country’s welfare is not only commercial and practical but also academic to a degree which cannot be overstated"
"We are often told that stone masonry is a dying craft - this is not so! However, it is true that the culture of the craft is potentially in danger of being lost in the United Kingdom if the current masons who were lucky enough to be brought up in this tradition don't pass it on.
In Britain, it is often suggested that it is too costly for governments and companies to support the guild tradition when in fact many of the more economically successful countries, such as Germany, still value and invest in traditional forms of training within a modern context. We even see these crafts traditions in places like Italy where investment is aiding economic recovery, where a system of 100% 'modernity' (and the alienation of employees) has failed.
We continue with the ideals of making people feel part of something special and proud without it being detrimental to the modern running of a 21st Century Company. In fact, it actually has a positive affect on everything from quality of the work produced to reduction in sick leave and increased productivity.
These are some of the many reasons we support the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage."
Guild Master 2017
If We Build It They Will Come
Walk over Fye Bridge in Norwich and go past the Mischief pub, and on most weekdays you will hear the sound of chisel on stone. Walk a little further and in the churchyard next to the pub you will see young people working at their bankers (benches). Take a few more steps and come and see what we are building here – something that is new whilst being old.
The Guild of St. Stephen and St. George has its roots in the Gild moot of 936 when guilds were ordered by King Athelstan to meet at regular intervals. The guild was dedicated to St Stephen in 1089 previously being dedicated to The four crowned martyrs.
Our Guild master comes from The Guild of Master masons (now EGMM) founded in 1096 and has been in constant existence ever since.
The Guild of St. Stephen and St George (here after know as The Guild), is a tripartite collegiate guild, supporting Craft, Collegiate and Frith (members welfare) goals for its apprentices and members. The craft, and to some extent the collegiate objectives are realised through the guilds trading arm Gildencraft C.I.C where real conservation, construction and design projects are being taken.
UNESCO recognises that failure to deliver the transmission of traditional craft skills to future generations is one of the biggest threats to world heritage. Gildencraft will be playing a key role in guaranteeing that stone masonry skills are passed on to future generations, thereby sustaining built heritage for the wider community, including through our partnership work with museums and libraries.
The Guild has within its court membership and board of masters a diverse group of senior academics and academically recognized craft masters.
The Guild membership is always 70% or more Craft members (meaning members who have either masonry qualification and portfolio or references and portfolio of work) their place in the guild depends on the length and quality of their experience.
The Guild has no connections The Worshipful Company of Masons' or with Freemasons or Freemasonry all our masons work with stone as a career.
The remaining 30% can be redemptive members (those who have an interest in the craft of stone masonry and are wiling and able to help with the apprentices journey and the other works of the guild.
The Guild as a trainer.
As with all activities where wide and extensive knowledge and skill are necessary, freedom of expression and advancement come through discipline, learnt technique and self mastery.
The Guild as hub.
A guild with its international links to all aspects of society act as crucible for high achievement and free thought. Stone masonry in common with the other great crafts is a fusion of all the arts, crafts and trades. The guild gives the community.
The Guild as a living archive.
All professions over time become culturally individual. Stone masonry with its long varied history and importance in the development of human culture and heritage has a huge internationally important legacy of craft technique, literature, song and ...... Living masons working in the modern world carry on, in differing degrees this legacy, but there are fewer than ever working masons who were brought up in the society where these traditions were passed on.
For many reasons; modern capitalism, the rise of intolerance in the view of others, the get rich quick mantra and the cult of self, there are real dangers that in many part of the world, including the UK this rich tapestry could be lost in a way that is true and relevant.
The Guild holds and increases a library, collection and archive to keep this rich world alive for future generations of both crafts people and the wider public. This is not only in the form of books manuscript and other media but aurally and manually taught in a craft and community context.
The guild system relies on the most human of characteristics, personal relationships and trust built up over a number of years. In a world where young and old are feeling more and more alienated a feeling of belonging and knowing where you fit in is a wonderful thing to have.
Advancement through the guild is only possible through meritorious servitude, all that is asked from a new apprentice is curiosity and hard work.
The importance of all qualifications, certification and advancement to be hard won can not be overstated giving the receiver self confidence and the skills to back it up.
All guild members have a part to play in the ceremonial life of the guild whether it be guild or civic processions or the mystery plays.
Participation in the ceremonial life of the guild forms the glue that holds the guild members together into the future.
Within the Guild there are a number of clubs for members
UNESCO adopted a convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in 2003 which included traditional craftsmanship. The UK was not one of the 127 countries to sign up to the convention.
A UNESCO statement noted: 'Any efforts to safeguard traditional craftsmanship must focus, not on preserving craft objects - no matter how beautiful, precious, rare or important they might be - but on creating conditions that will encourage artisans to continue to produce crafts of all kinds, and to transmit their skills and knowledge to others."
Intangible cultural heritage encompasses culture, folklore, legend, lifestyle, crafts (building and arts), rituals etc.
The board of Masters of The Stonemasons' Guild of St Stephen and St George wholeheartedly support UNESCO in this aim.
The Guild has within its court membership and board of masters a diverse group of senior academics and academically recognised craft masters.