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Regional Identity and Economic ChangeThe Upper Rhine 1450-1600$
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Tom Scott

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206446.001.0001

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Country Crafts and Regional Guilds

Country Crafts and Regional Guilds

Chapter:
(p.102) 4 Country Crafts and Regional Guilds
Source:
Regional Identity and Economic Change
Author(s):

Tom Scott

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206446.003.0005

The two metropolises, Strasbourg and Basel, faced no sustained challenge to their ascendancy, even if they competed for commercial control of the southern stretch of the Upper Rhine. Rather, the centrality of the regional ‘county’ and lesser market towns was repeatedly challenged by economic competition in their own backyard. That competition took three principal forms: the towns resented the rise of craft production in the countryside, which eroded the traditional function of urban centres; they objected to the establishment of rural salt-chests, which infringed the lucrative urban monopoly on stapling salt; and they feared competition from new rural markets, some in franchised villages, others held informally at church-ales or at weddings, which undermined the autonomy of borough markets. The very existence of territorial guilds placed urban craftsmen on almost the same footing as rural artisans, thereby diluting the function of the lesser or district towns as central places. This chapter examines the grievances concerning country crafts and staples, and the possible countermeasures open to towns or territorial rulers.

Keywords:   Upper Rhine, country crafts, competition, towns, staples, grievances, salt-chests, central places, territorial guilds, rural artisans

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