This article builds on a prosopographical database containing the names and details of eleven apprentices, 628 goldsmiths, silversmiths, and goldbeaters, one widow running a workshop, and five jewellers, all of whom were active in Bruges between 1363 and 1600.1 It also includes a few jewellers who were listed as members of the goldsmith guild. A prosopographical database is a useful tool for analyzing family networks. Each entry in the database presents, as far as this is known, data about the career of the goldsmith, family connections, and about commissions, rather than providing detailed biographies.2 These data spring from indirect sources as no membership lists survive for the gold- and silversmith guild of Bruges of the late medieval period. A first source, the wetsvernieuwingen, which began in 1363, mentioned at least 415 goldsmiths, silversmiths, and goldbeaters.3 The wetsvernieuwingen are lists of the annual renewal of the city council and the guild committees. The guild committee was called the eed. It consisted of a president, the deken, and three to five committee members, called vinders. The wetsvernieuwingen recorded three warandeerders from 1513 onwards; those were able guild members responsible for the quality control of products. The database runs until 1600, which is an arbitrary limit in order not to run further into the early modern period.

The database also relies on the following indirect sources: financial account books of the city council of Bruges and similar account books from the recette générale de toutes les finances of the Burgundian and Habsburg Courts.4 City councils and courts regularly ordered jewellery and silverware from goldsmiths for the purpose of gift exchange.5 Since the place in which the city account books mention the acquisition of silverware and the rent of stalls by goldsmiths differed between account books – thus slowing down the historian’s work – and because the city usually commissioned products from the same silversmiths for years, only a representative number of account books, but not all of them, underpin this database. The data spring from at least one book in every ten years between the period boundaries in this article (see Appendix 1 for the specific years). The same decision applies to the recette générale (see Appendix 2). The database only includes the names of figures for which the sources clearly state the profession of gold- or silversmith and indicate Bruges as place of residence. Some of the most frequented goldsmiths, such as Willem van Vlueten were also named orfèvre de mondit Seigneur or valet de chambre, signifying a close cooperation with the court and responsibility for the acquisition and maintenance of its silverwork. In total, the recette générale mentioned the names of 35 goldsmiths from Bruges between 1412 and 1600. The database also includes the names of goldsmiths Gailliard transcribed from a copper plate with personal quality marks for the period 1568-1636, in 1854.6 Viaene also compiled a list, in 1969, of 140 names of goldsmiths for the period 1320 to 1520.7 Since no membership lists have survived from this period, my database offers the largest reconstruction of the goldsmith community of Bruges to date.

The database in support of this article is thus not exhaustive, as it can be expanded, but still representative. The guild consisted of about 44 members in 1454 and about 80 in 1562 and seems to have grown at a rate of about five goldsmiths a year in both guild account books.8 Of the 44 members in 1454, however, 33 had been mentioned in various other documents. This means that only eleven persons, or 30 per cent of the members for that year, would have remained unknown had they not been listed. Whether this image is representative is hard to tell considering only one fourteenth-century membership list exists. Of Gailliard’s list of goldsmiths from the copper plate for the period 1568-1597, only 40 out of 83 people were mentioned elsewhere. Yet this number is affected by the early career status of many of these goldsmiths. Those who joined between 1585 and 1597 would not yet have been established enough to feature prominently in other documents. For the period 1568-1585 solely, only 30 per cent of the names on the copper plate remain unidentified. It is likely that my research population as a whole formed 60 to 70 per cent of the entire membership of the gold- and silversmith guild of Bruges. As the wetsvernieuwingen and account books feature prominent goldsmiths, the research population is likely to overrepresent the most successful goldsmiths.

Entry costs

Several types of costs were involved in gaining entry to the trade. These costs matter because they can tell us something about the accessibility of the guild. The largest cost item was that of learning the trade. No contracts between apprentices and masters survive to tell us more about the costs involved in apprenticeships. The period of time required to learn the trade in Bruges was six years, which was a very long apprenticeship in comparison with the usual four years in other trades.9 According to the guild regulations, the keure, of 1441, the apprentice had to be a freeman of the city, which was unusual among other crafts, and had to pay a fee to the guild.10 The fee apprentices had to give to the guild amounted to 20 schellingen groten (s. gr.). Next to that, the apprentice was also obliged to give the deken and vinders 12 groten (gr.), the clerk 2 gr., and to donate 12 gr. to the confraternity connected to the guild.11 Though the guild itself asked the same fees from all apprentices, undertaking an apprenticeship would be more expensive for those who had to become freemen first. In 1478, the guild repealed the first two articles of their keure, those that stated the fees for apprentices. They were replaced by a similar arrangement, but this time the clerk would get 6 gr. instead of 2.12 In the guild account book of the year 1530-1531, the fee had increased to 22 s. gr., a rise of 2 s. gr.13 The 1553-1554 account book confirms this fee.14 Notable, however, is that apprentices could pay the fees in several instalments.15 Six persons started their apprenticeship in the year of the first account book, while two had paid a second instalment towards their fees that year.16 The second account book mentions only four new apprentices, plus one who was apprenticed in the workshop of a widow and paid in instalments.17 None of them are known to have become masters. After their apprenticeship, members of the guild could work as journeymen. People who had been apprenticed in Bruges paid 20 s. gr. after their apprenticeship to receive ‘the freedom of the trade’. Children of masters had to be fifteen years old to obtain the ‘freedom of the trade’ and had an advantage as they only paid 12 gr. to the deken and eed, 12 gr. to the fraternity, and 2 gr. to the clerk, on condition that the father was a master when the child was born.18 These fees were not extortionate and probably represented about a month’s wage.

The fee for those who wanted to become masters in 1441 depended on whether they had learned the trade in or outside Bruges. Those who had learned the trade in Bruges had to pay 2 pounds gr., while those who came outside the city had to pay 3 pounds gr. The latter also had to give the deken and vinders 12 gr., the clerk 2 gr., and the confraternity 12 gr.19 After the changes made to the keure in 1478, those who learned the trade in Bruges had to pay 3 pounds gr. and had to donate a silver bowl, while those who had learned their trade outside ­Bruges had to pay double, that is 6 pounds gr. and a silver bowl. In addition to this they paid 12 gr. to the guild, 12 gr. to the confraternity, and 6 gr. for the clerk.20 This sudden increase in fees was not necessarily a strategic move in order to keep newcomers away but rather a financial one by a struggling guild, according to the keure. The guild had been experiencing financial difficulties and had therefore asked the city council to increase the fees.21 By 1530-1531 a further increase had taken place as new masters now paid 3 pounds 2 gr. These numbers were not unusually high in comparison with the fees of other guilds in ­Bruges and the high guild fees in Ghent, but considering that they represented several months’ worth of wages for a craftsman, building up the capital would have been a significant and perhaps unattainable goal for many journeymen, especially as investment costs for materials had to be paid for on top of that. While two masters were able to pay the sum in one go, three others paid this fee in instalments, a system which at least facilitated access to the guild.22 By 1553-1554 fees had come down again. In 1544 Charles V had ordered a lowering of the guild fees to 5 s. gr. for the guilds in Bruges.23 In 1553-1554, ­Pieter Cnoop bought his freedom for 1 pound 2 s. gr. Baptiste Plockin paid in instalments and gave 11 schellingen denieren towards the fee, while masters from outside Bruges paid 10 s. d. each.24 Van Molle assumes that the latter were paying lower fees because they were masters from smaller villages and towns in the area, in this case Hondschote and Veurne. On 13 October 1476, Charles the Bold had decreed that goldsmiths from surrounding towns and villages were obliged to become members of a goldsmith guild in a nearby city.25 This could account for the increase in members in the first half of the sixteenth century.

The goldbeaters formed a separate group within the gold- and silversmith guild. They were allowed to send their own vinders to the committee.26 According to the 1441 keure, children of master silversmiths of the guild could learn the craft of goldbeating for half the usual fee, and vice versa.27 The group was probably rather small and was first mentioned in the wetsvernieuwingen in 1406 and then again in 1418, after which they provided two or three vinders to the committee every year.28 Remarkable is the fact that there were no goldbeaters in the guild committee during the final two decades of the sixteenth century, with the exception of one in 1583.29 The wetsvernieuwingen of 1585 show no goldbeaters either and mention that they were all dead.30 Those of 1586 mention that the goldbeaters were all dead or had left.31 This was an indication of the crisis that reigned in Bruges between 1576 and 1585 during the Dutch Revolt, as Calvinist leaders took control of the city.

Dambruyne’s analysis of entry fees for the guilds of Ghent in the sixteenth century shows strong fluctuations in prices dependent on political interference. In Ghent, the goldsmith guild had the second most expensive fees, up to 14 pounds between 1500 and 1540. Between 1540 and 1577, however, the entry fees for each guild had come down to 20 s. gr.32 We have no evidence that the fees were ever as high among the goldsmiths in Bruges as among those of Ghent. The fees for apprentices, journeymen, and masters constituted one up to several months of full wages. These fees were probably the least costly component to setting up as an apprentice or master considering other investments involved, such as apprenticeship contracts or setting up a workshop. In all these aspects, children of masters would have held an advantage. Many of the established goldsmiths would have been able to make the investment for their sons, considering that in 1410-1411, for instance, twelve goldsmiths lent the city of Bruges money, with sums varying between 3 and 12 pounds.33 Nonetheless, the guild was not averse to newcomers, knowing that they could financially benefit them, and showed flexibility through payments in instalments.

Committee oligarchy

The wetsvernieuwingen showed 449 names as members of the guild committee. In some cases, it was not clear whether two similar names constituted just one person or two or three, and in other cases names that slightly differed turned out to be the same person. As such, about 415 individuals could be identified plus a few cases of doubt. These 415 persons held a total of 1263 guild positions, existing of dekens, vinders, vinders of the goldbeaters, and warandeerders. As the goldbeaters represented 55 persons in 263 positions, the remaining 360 goldsmiths took up 1000 positions between 1363 and 1600. This means that every goldsmith represented in the committee held an average of three positions. The majority of committee members, however, only occupied one position throughout their career, while others held several. Masters who had held more than ten committee positions were not exceptional, especially among the warandeerders. Many of the masters that could be found in the city and court account books also feature as members of the guild committees, although the most high-profile goldsmiths, such as Jan Peutin, do not figure prominently. In short, although one can hardly speak of a monopoly, some goldsmiths served in the guild committees much more frequently than others. The reason for this could, of course, be that the guild was relatively small and not everyone would have wanted to become a committee member, considering the time constraints involved. This does not necessarily mean that the committee was undemocratically monopolized, since the majority of the masters only took up one function. Masters could only take up one function every second year. The committee would have counted six members around 1454, when the guild held 44 members. In 1455, six other members would have occupied the committee positions. Consequently, during those two years, twelve members out of 44, or just over one in four members, would have served in the committee.

Using Gailliard’s list of names transcribed from the copper plate with personal marks, it is possible to compare in which year a master started his career as a master and the date on which he first served in the committee.34 Between 1568 and 1597, 83 new masters signed the list. Of those 83 masters, 35 held a position in the committee before 1600, and many more probably did after that year. These masters occupied a committee position rather soon after signing the copper plate, as appendix 3 shows. They often started off as warandeerders and later became de­-ken or vinders. This is unusual as committee members, especially warandeerders, needed to be ‘the best and most able [goldsmiths], those who understood the gold- and silversmith work the best, both people born outside and inside the country’, according to the keure.35 The social position of new members within the guild seems to have risen quickly during the second half of the sixteenth century, while the guild probably lost many established masters, thus creating considerable fluidity in the guild committee. Perhaps this was the reason why the guild had started to neglect the quality check around the 1560s, while many newcomers served as warandeerders in the following decades. Fraudulent goldsmiths produced work of inferior quality without being found out. Judicial process documents reveal that complaints from guilds from Antwerp and Brussels had reached Bruges. Antwerp goldsmiths complained that salesmen sold some of this inferior work.36 The process documents demonstrate that governmental rules were not clear and often not followed. Bruges asked several cities in the Low Countries which customs they pursued when examining the quality and ­whether this quality check was even necessary, for instance for small chains.37

This period is in many ways remarkable. The high number of members in 1562, 80, relates to a steady growth after 1544; the year in which Charles V restricted the guild membership prices. By comparison, Antwerp counted 120 masters during its heydays in 1566.38 The early years of the 1560s nonetheless marked a high point for the guild in Bruges in terms of membership. However, the following forty years proved to be disruptive for the guild and the Low Countries in general. The lists of committee members reveal little continuity in the committee in this period. Perhaps an outflow of established masters gave space to younger ones in the committee. This discontinuity is also visible in Antwerp, where guild membership had decreased to 75 masters by 1605.39 The previous thirty years had seen large emigration streams from Antwerp. Both years for which we have membership numbers, 1454 and 1562, show the fluidity of the committee positions, meaning that many of the guild members had held at least one position. This is also visible if we look at the membership numbers as a whole. If the 628 masters of the database represent 70 per cent of the membership and the guild would have held a total of 900 masters, then the 415 persons in the guild committee would have represented 46 per cent of the membership. This suggests that one in two goldsmiths served in the committee.

Family businesses

At the start of their career, independent master goldsmiths would have needed starting capital. A journeyman aspiring to become a master would thus have profited more than in most trades from inheriting or working in a family business or network (interpreted here as a connection of at least two directly related people in the same profession). The son of a master goldsmith could work in the workshop of his father as an apprentice and take over the business after the latter’s death. Naturally, newcomers to the city who did not have such family connections would have found it harder to set up their own business. In order to broaden our understanding of the social composition of the guild, this section deals with the question of family networks, and in particular father-son connections, and whether they dominated the guild.

Amongst the goldsmith population that I have studied, many surnames indeed occur more than once, likely indicating family connections. We cannot presume, of course, that everyone who shares a surname is automatically related. Yet, considering that the guild was not a large one and that family businesses were financially advantageous and ubiquitous among guilds, especially goldsmith guilds, we can assume that a family connection did indeed exist in the majority of cases. Among 627 persons on the list, 274 people would then have had a family connection with another person on the list. Of course, only those who also lived around the same time would match. This group of 274 persons represented 99 families, the majority of which consisted of just two people with the same surname. Some of them were actually newcomers, such as brothers or nephews who had moved to the city at the same time. Other families held larger networks and passed on their trade for generations. The most extensive goldsmith families were named Crabbe, van Asse­nede, de Backer, van den Berghe, Cailliau, Cnoop, Cnuut, de Doppere, Hughelynck, Huuchs, Kieken, Lijms, van der Meere, Monier, Schapelynck, Schelhavere, van der Straele, Vermeer, Volden and de Wachtere. These families counted at least four goldsmiths. The most prominent goldsmiths did not seem to have offspring working in the guild in ­Bruges. There are no evident namesakes for Lodewijck de ­Blasere or Jan de Leeuw, nor for Willem van Vlueten, who originated from Utrecht.

40 Per cent of the members on the list had direct family connections within the guild. The guild was thus not closed to newcomers. Although a strong presence of families characterized the goldsmith guild of ­Bruges, families did not monopolize it. They were, however, ­overrepresented



within the guild committee. The 274 persons with a suspected family connection took up 72 per cent of the committee positions. This is a high percentage, considering that this group only represented 40 per cent of the membership population. A few of these families had also sprung from migrants. Out of the 726 committee positions occupied by goldsmiths with family connections, 285 were taken up by the twenty most numerous families mentioned. The guild might not have been family-dominated, but the guild committee was. Yet, in each family usually just one person was in office for several terms, while the rest only served once or twice. The guild committee positions do not seem to have been particularly sought after. The openness of the guild committee towards newcomers thus depended mostly on the political situation, the financial situation of the master, and a willingness to serve in the committee. Goldsmiths with a family tradition would have found it easier to build up their careers and could afford taking up a post in the committee by the end of it.

Emigration and Immigration

The mobility of goldsmiths is visible in their migration patterns, both in terms of newcomers to the guild and goldsmiths moving away from ­Bruges. Remarkably, emigration increased when guild membership reached a peak in the second half of the fifteenth and again in the second half of the sixteenth century, when many goldsmiths left Bruges to deploy their skills elsewhere. In a study on migration and the city, Boone remarks that London’s tax lists for the period 1440 to 1484 mention high numbers of immigrants from the southern Low Countries working in luxury industries, such as goldsmiths.40 An explanation for this, according to Cassagnes, might be that they left Flanders because of cutthroat competition in Bruges and because they would find less demanding customers in England.41 It is in any case likely that England had a market for the skills of Bruges’ goldsmiths. Lien Bich Luu points out that in 1468 at least 113 alien goldsmiths worked in London, Southwark, and Westminster.42 She also quotes an estimate claiming that 417 foreigners joined the goldsmith guild in London between 1479 and 1514.43 Using an estimate of 232 foreigners for the period of 1535 to 1562, Luu concludes that there was less migration in the second period.44 Perhaps it became more attractive for goldsmiths to remain in the Low Countries. Frequently, goldsmiths of Bruges also became buitenpoorters, a status that helped them maintain citizenship while residing outside the city. At least 30 goldsmiths requested this status in the sixteenth century. The buitenpoortersboeken only reveal the destination of four of these goldsmiths; two of whom ended up in London.

By the second half of the sixteenth century, migration of Flemish people to England increased dramatically. While there is no direct or systematic proof of this being the case for the goldsmiths from Bruges, the fluidity in committee membership within this period, as previously mentioned, and the references to the death and departure of the goldbeaters point in this direction. By the second half of the century, Flanders had fallen into an economic, political, and religious crisis which prompted thousands to flee. Some had fled to Antwerp first, hoping to find anonymity and work in the city, but then moved on to England, the Holy Roman Empire, or, eventually, to the newly founded Dutch Republic. Reformed stranger churches, which offered financial and moral support to refugees, formed in English and German cities. According to Gezels, London was also a popular destination for goldsmiths fleeing from Ghent. He points out that many goldsmiths from Ghent had turned to Calvinism.45 Schlugleit saw similar indications for Antwerp as he believed many goldsmiths fled Antwerp out of fear of religious persecutions.46 There is no systematic evidence for the popularity of Protestant beliefs among the goldsmiths, only the indications mentioned above.

One Lutheran goldsmith from Bruges, Cornelis Volckaert, was, however, beheaded in 1553. The wealthy goldsmith had served on the guild committee twice and converted to Lutheranism around 1546. He had commissioned translations of Lutheran books and distributed them in Bruges.47 His son, Denys Volckaert, later moved to Antwerp, and by 1568 worked as a goldsmith in London and had become a member of the Dutch Reformed Church there.48 Van Molle sees yet more evidence in a note from Zeger van Male, a prominent citizen of Bruges, that mentioned that the guild was not in good shape by 1590-1591 and that several goldsmiths had fled Bruges for religious reasons and for employment. According to van Male, some went to England and many to Frankfurt, Wesel, and Augsburg.49 No goldsmiths were directly involved in the Reformed consistory of Bruges during the period 1578-1584, though Pieter Dominicle, whose family contained numerous goldsmiths, was a member of the city council between 1578 and 1584. This was a time in which Reformers politically and religiously dominated the city. Pieter Dominicle fled to England afterwards.50 Two members of the Monier family, a family of goldsmiths from Bruges, took up the occupation in Frankenthal, a well-known centre in the German Rhineland for Reformed refugees from the Low Countries and for goldsmithing.51

As mentioned previously, immigration to the city affected the guild. Throughout the period under consideration, the guild doubled in numbers. The decisions of the city council or the counts concerning the citizenships fees largely affected access to the guild. A first large stream of newcomers joined between 1441 and 1445. In 1441 Philip the Good ordered a reduction in the citizenship fees for four years, after what Jamees describes as decades of ‘excessive expenses which acceptance to a guild entailed’.52 Between 1418 and 1478, 38 goldsmiths bought citizenship, 22 of whom did so between 1441 and 1445.53 At least fourteen out of the 44 goldsmiths listed in 1454 were newcomers to the guild, but looking at the names, Viaene believed there might have been up to twelve more.54 Between 1361 and 1486, 82 goldsmiths became citizens of Bruges.55 Of these 82 newcomers, two were inhabitants of Bruges buying citizenship. We do not know the provenance of six others.

The other 75 migrants originated from 54 different cities and towns, most of which were located within the Holy Roman Empire, the Northern Netherlands, and France. The Northern Netherlands represented by far the biggest group as twenty newcomers originated there, more specifically from the following towns and villages: Nijmegen, Amsterdam, ’s-Hertogenbosch, Breda, Deventer, Grave, Dordrecht, Delft, Heesch, Middelburg, Nieuweland, Rilland, Utrecht, Zierikzee en Zwartewale. Areas of the Holy Roman Empire near the Netherlands also represented a high number of newcomers, fourteen, from Braunschweig, Neuss, the area of Cologne, Duisburg (four), Kleef, Rees, and Unna. One person came from Strasbourg. Only six people came from Brabant, from Antwerp, Leuven, and Brussels. Another fourteen came from France, mostly from northern France, just outside Flanders, and Paris (six). Excluding the two inhabitants of Bruges, only twelve persons from Flanders bought citizenship. This means that according to the data from the poortersboeken, the guild primarily received newcomers from areas outside Flanders. Of the group from Flanders, one had lived in Kool­kerke, near Bruges. Another person came from the ‘Camerlincx ambacht’, a region near the Belgian coast. A little further south, some newcomers came from Lille and Hesdin, others from various places such as Tielt, Geraardsbergen, Kortrijk and Ieper. Finally, four originated from Hainaut, one from Bilbao in Spain, and two places remain unidentified.

The citizenship lists for Bruges contain many errors, however. Consequently, the database does not record all migrants, nor does it include citizens that did not specifically mention the profession of goldsmith. From the 83 known migrants, those who bought citizenship to become a freemaster of the guild, only eight served in the guild committee. One of them was Willem van den Cruce, who originated from Kortrijk and held six positions in the guild committee between 1496 and 1527, three of which as deken. While this could indicate that the guild committee was dominated by locals, this impression may be incorrect as it likely that migration numbers were higher.


This article investigated accessibility from the angle of a very specific economic sector: the luxury industry. The goldsmith guild of Bruges was a capital-intensive guild and could thus be expected to be more exclusive or inaccessible than other guilds. In other words: we might expect goldsmith guilds to form an exception to the growing view that guilds were more open towards newcomers and less monopolistic than scholars have hitherto thought. This, however, has proven not to be the case. The goldsmith guild of Bruges was also more open and accessible during the late medieval period than would traditionally be expected.

To reach that conclusion, this article has examined the accessibility of Bruges’ goldsmith guild between 1363 and 1600 from four directions. First, it has looked at the entry costs for masters and apprentices. Like in any other guild, masters’ sons would have found it easier to enter the guild since they did not have to pay the citizenship fees. Local newcomers were also advantaged, as they received a reduction in guild entry fees. There is no evidence that the fees for joining the guild were extortionate. The fees were nonetheless a threshold, but the possibility of paying them in instalments further alleviated that burden. Gold­smithing was not an easily accessible profession as it required a high starting capital which probably regulated the accessibility of the trade more than anything else. The apprenticeship too was long and thus costlier than was the case for most other crafts. A second angle, however, the degree to which newcomers featured in the guild, shows that the goldsmith guild was not averse to newcomers. On the contrary, the guild, like the city, needed newcomers, for instance when the upheavals of the second half of the sixteenth century left the guild devoid of goldbeaters or when extra fees for newcomers served to feed the guild’s finances. Many new masters joined the guild especially in times of reduced citizenship or lower guild entrance fees. Keeping newcomers out was not always in the interest of the guild. A third way to measure accessibility is the extent to which kinship dominated the trade. The database reveals only 40 per cent kinship ties among its population. The kinship figures for Bruges’ goldsmiths are higher than Prak’s early modern examples, but nonetheless demonstrate the openness of the guild. Nevertheless, goldsmith families did dominate the guild committee as 72 per cent of those who had held a position also had family connections to other goldsmiths, some of whom had previously migrated to the city. Finally, this analysis examined the ways in which migration, and in its wake the political and economic context, impacted the guild. In comparison with Ghent’s goldsmith guild, Bruges goldsmith guild counted both more goldsmiths and more newcomers. While the guild attracted many newcomers, goldsmiths also frequently emigrated during the period under consideration. In the early fifteenth century, the heydays of the craft in Bruges, the guild membership was very small but numbers grew after political interventions and in times of crisis.

The conclusion that the goldsmith guild of Bruges was more open to newcomers than expected also helps scholars further understand the dynamics of accessibility when compared to other guilds. The goldsmith guild in Ghent, for instance, was characterized by immobility between 1543 and 1580 as the number of goldsmiths declined from 21 to 10.56 The immobility was not due to inaccessibility. Despite low fees and no citizenship costs, Ghent’s goldsmith guild did not manage to attract newcomers. The dynamics that help shape accessibility demonstrate the importance of the market, rather than pressure towards monopolization from the guild. Prak shows low numbers of kinship relations for London, s’-Hertogenbosch, and Vienna, but higher numbers of local goldsmiths for Rotterdam and apprentices for Antwerp. Market dynamics that instigated mobility, especially in a city known for its trade in and production of luxury goods such as Bruges, prove more influential for the accessibility of a guild than any impulse towards monopolization by guild members. The guild profited from having newcomers. While a luxury craft that depended on the demand for goods on the market like the goldsmiths was more open to newcomers than expected, some less capital-intensive crafts with a stable market demand like the butchers were more monopolistic.57 What is thus often lacking in current understandings of the accessibility of trades is a vision that differentiates between types of guilds or economic sectors and market contexts.

About the author

Silke Muylaert is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she studies sixteenth-century Reformed migrants. Her doctoral studies at the University of Kent focused on the foreign churches in England. Prior to this, she became invested in goldsmiths while studying at Ghent University.


Appendix 1

Table including all city account books of Bruges consulted for the database
Start date and end date of the accounts used
03.02.1360 - 02.02.1361 02.09.1461 - 01.09.1462
02.02.1370 - 02.02.1371 02.09.1470 - 01.09.1471
02.02.1380 - 02.02.1381 02.09.1471 - 01.09.1472
02.09.1390 - 02.09.1391 02.09.1480 - 01.09.1481
02.09.1400 - 02.09.1401 01.01.1491 - 31.08.1491
02.09.1410 - 01.09.1411 02.09.1500 - 02.09.1501
02.09.1420 - 01.09.1421 02.09.1510 - 02.09.1511
02.09.1430 - 02.09.1431 02.09.1520 - 02.09.1521
02.09.1439 - 02.09.1440 02.09.1530 - 02.09.1531
02.09.1440 - 02.09.1441 02.09.1540 - 02.09.1541
02.09.1442 - 02.09.1443 02.09.1550 - 02.09.1551
02.09.1443 - 02.09.1444 02.09.1560 - 02.09.1561
02.09.1444 - 02.09.1445 02.09.1570 - 02.09.1571
02.09.1445 - 02.09.1446 02.09.1580 - 02.09.1581
02.09.1446 - 02.09.1447 02.09.1590 - 02.09.1591
02.09.1447 - 02.09.1448 02.09.1600 - 02.09.1601
02.09.1449 - 02.09.1450
Source: SAB. 216 Stadsrekeningen

Appendix 2

Table including all the account books of the ADN Série 1 B (recette générale des finances) consulted for the database. Start date and end date of the accounts used
B.1897 (01.05.1412-16.10.1412) B.2140 (01.01.1490-31.12.1490)
B.1920 (03.10.1419-02.10.1420) B.2169 (01.01.1500 -31.12.1500)
B.1923 (03.10.1420-02.10.1421) B.2214 (01.01.1510-31.12.1510)
B.1925 (03.10.1421-02.10.1422) B.2294 (01.01.1520-31.12.1520)
B.1927 (03.10.1422-02.10.1423) B.2339 (01.01.1527-31.12.1527)
B.1929 (03.10.1423-02.10.1424) B.2345 (01.01.1528-31.12.1528)
B.1931 (03.10.1424-02.10.1425) B.2351 (01.01.1528-31.12.1529)
B.1933 (03.10.1425-02.10.1426) B.2357 (01.01.1530-31.12.1530)
B.1935 (04.10.1426-31.12.1426) B.2418 (01.01.1540-31.12.1540)
B.1942 (01.01.1431-31.12.1431) B.2482 (01.01.1550-31.12.1550)
B.1969 (01.01.1440-31.12.1440) B.2539 (01.01.1559-31.12.1559)
B.2004 (01.01.1450-31.12.1450) B.2602 (01.01.1570-17.06.1570)
B.2040 (02.10.1460-30.09.1461) B.2608 (04.07.1570-31.12.1571)
B.2077 (01.01.1470-03.04.1470) B.2662 (01.01.1580-31.12.1580)
B.2078 (01.05.1470-31.12.1470) B.2724 (01.01.1590-31.12.1590)
B.2121 (01.01.1480-31.12.1480) B.2782 (01.01.1600-31.12.1600)

Appendix 3

A comparison between the date in which a goldsmith inscribed his mark into the cupper platebetween 1563 and 1597 and the first time he served the guild committee
Name Inscription Committee position
Adolf Beyts 1568 1575
Jan de Laghos 1568 1571
Jacob Coene 1568 1569
Maerten Crabbe 1568 1570
Adriaen Bultynck 1568 1571
Jan Billet 1569 1572
Cornelis van Halmale 1570 1574
Loys Blommaert 1571 1577
Rombout de Doppere 1571 1574
Christiaen Scapelynck 1571 1576
Cornelis Blommaert 1571 1579
Jacob de Brune 1572 1576
Heindrick Boureye 1572 1578
Claeys Scapelynck 1573 1582
Loys van Nieukercke 1573 1577
Lucas Dassonneville 1573 1577
Gillis Canneel 1575 1580
Cornelis Schelhavere 1575 1583
Guillaume de Saincthilaire 1575 1580
Joos vander Straele 1576 1577
Jacop Hughelynck 1578 1586
Steven van Zoom 1579 1595
François Ghyoet / Guijot 1579 1582
Jan de la Fosse 1579 1588
Cornelis van Nieukerke 1579 1585
Pauwels Lyms 1584 1585
Mathijs van (H)essche 1587 1589
Christiaen Parte / Partille 1587 1591
Aernout vander Meere 1587 1599
Cornelis de Cuenynck 1587 1589
Name Inscription Committee position
Loys Daugnies / Doignies 1587 1592
Daneel Besoete 1587 1590
Jan Crabbe 1587 1594
Samuel Hughelynck 1587 1591
Simoen Thilly 1587 1595
Guillaume Peerman 1597 1600