Journeyman fraternity

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Journeyman brotherhood refers to a union of craftsmen under the idea of ​​brotherhood - in contrast to a journeyman's association . In the traditional sense, this was a ritual act with an ethical claim. In modern times, the term has been covered up from romantic to banal "drinking and drinking brothers" ideas.

Origin of brotherhood in craft

The first journeyman's brotherhoods arose at the Gothic construction huts of the Middle Ages. These construction huts had a monopoly on clerical construction and were not associated with the masons 'and stonecutters' guild, but an independent organization with its own statutes and jurisdiction. Part of their ritual was the “brotherhood” to which the Strasbourg stonemason ordinance of 1459 invokes time and again. In the introduction to the same it says:

"In this way, masters and journeymen of our very common Hantwercks would all who were then in chapter wise by each other to Spyr, to Stroßburg and Regensburg in the name and instead of our and all masters and journeymen of our very common Hantwercks reported that Solich old Harkumen is sobered mothered, and united to us this order and brotherhood like and free, and which unanimously upset, also praised and promised for us and all of our follow-up care, so keep writing afterwards. "

In the well-known regulations of the building huts, reference is made again and again to the brotherhood, but it is not known in what form this brotherhood was presented. However, there are indications that the brotherhood of construction huts has survived to this day.

Journeyman Society in the Guild

When the German construction works organization was finally broken up in 1731, it was taken over by the masons 'and stonemasons' guild. At the same time there are first evidence and documents of the oldest German artisan association, the society of righteous foreign bricklayers and stone masons , which the brotherhood still cultivates and identifies through it; Such a brotherhood is unknown to the equally old righteous foreign carpenters and they do not understand themselves as a brotherhood. This is an indication that the "brotherhood ritual" of the righteous foreign bricklayers and stone masons could be the brotherhood of construction huts, because no other professional group is known to have the journeymen so early on with the idea of ​​brotherhood united. It was not until the Romantic era that numerous journeyman's associations were founded that adorned themselves with the name of brotherhood.

Journeyman's associations as brotherhood

The journeyman association of the Roland brothers , which was largely split off from the righteous foreign masons at the end of the 19th century , may know the ritual of the “brotherhood”. The Fremde Freiheitsschacht , founded in 1910, maintains and lives the traditions of a journeyman's brotherhood, the focus of which is the three-year journey as a construction journeyman. Not only do the strangers address each other as freedom brothers with “brotherly heart”, they also stand for one another until after death according to the maxim “freedom, equality and brotherhood”. On the other hand, it is unknown to the journeyman association of the Vogtlanders , which arose from freely wandering, unorganized journeymen, or to the newly emerging free travelers . Whether the ritual brotherhood is known to local journeyman associations such as the Gewandhaus journeyman or the Brotherhood of the Rose is questionable and rather unlikely.

There are journeyman associations not only in Germany. In England they are called Journeyman or Yeoman Guild , in France Compagnonnages . It is very likely that the old Compagnonnages knew a ritual adequate to the brotherhood.

See also


  • Ferdinand Janner: The construction huts of the German Middle Ages. EA Seemann, 1876.
  • The Strasbourg stonemason ordinance of 1459.


  • Reinhold Reith , Andreas Grießinger, Petra Eggers (eds.): Strike movements of German journeymen in the 18th century - materials on the social and economic history of urban handicrafts 1700–1806. O. Schwartz, Göttingen 1992, ISBN 978-3-922135-66-1 .

Web links

Individual evidence