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The Stonemasons' Guild of St. Stephen and St. George - Unincorporated Association

 

Monday 3rd September 2018




 

Summary

 

Talks began in 2006 about the formation of a prestigious stonemasons’ Guild in Norwich with the primary aim of re-introducing quality craft training into this area with rich architectural history but a paucity of skilled local craftspeople to maintain it.

 

The Stonemasons’ Guild of St. Stephen and St. George was raised from the roots of historic guilds in Norwich (notably the 16th Century Civic Guild of St. George).

 

This newly-formed craft Guild has since formally admitted 11 craft Apprentices - all young people from the local area - two academic Apprentices and a court of members. It continues to grow steadily in membership, strength and influence. The Guild is on course to achieve its objective of training 40 stonemasons and a further 40 masons’ mates by 2024.

 

The main Guild Lodge in the historic centre of Norwich continues to grow in reputation and has been extremely active in its first years as a centre of education for the public whilst also serving as a fully functioning masonry training workshop. Talks are now in progress for additional Guild lodges in The Cotswolds, Germany and France and the trading arm of The Guild, Gildencraft, is now attracting commercial stonemasonry contracts for months in advance.

 

This commercial arm will serve as a source of income for the, previously self-supporting Apprentices but also, crucially, a means of immersing them in intensive training. With the support of the Master Stonemason, they will gain invaluable practical experience in site-work, banker work and management techniques that are impossible to teach properly in an artificial classroom environment.

 

Alongside these local endeavours, The Guild continues to work more broadly to preserve the community and culture of stonemasonry: described and defined by UNESCO as the ‘intangible heritage’ of the craft.

 

The time has come for the Guild to establish itself formally as a legal entity of some description and, in doing so, to declare its scope and objectives and to protect the interests of its hard-working members for the foreseeable future.

 

This document does not constitute the full Guild rules (which are known and understood by all Guild members) but outlines the rules establishing and governing the Guild as an unincorporated association.

 

Rules

 

  1. Association name: The name of the association is The Stonemasons’ Guild of St. Stephen and St. George

 

  1. Association logo: The association logo is the Guild emblem and bears the colours of the patron saints of the Guild and a block of stone which is the honoured material of our craft.

 

  1. Association type: The association type is a Guild in the tradition of The Great Guilds i.e. a collegiate and company guild in livery which works locally to support the training and wellbeing of its members (frith) and internationally to support the craft and culture of stonemasonry.

 

  1. Organisation purpose: The purpose of our organisation is to provide a classical apprenticeship in stonemasonry to a group of young people (projected to number 40 masons and a further 40 mates by the year 2024) and to support the culture and ‘intangible heritage’ of the craft of stonemasonry within this group and beyond. The Guild will also encourage connections and outreach work with other craft organisations in the UK, in Europe and globally. The Guild will offer support in the traditional manner of Guild frith to the group of contributing craft Guild members.

 

  1. Guild membership: Membership of The Guild is restricted to persons aged 18 and over who satisfy the membership qualifications and are eligible to be a member.

 

  1. Prospective craft members of The Guild are required either to have completed a full craft apprenticeship (7 years) or to be in the process of an apprenticeship with The Guild.  Any other Guild members are accepted by invitation only.

 

  1. Prospective Guild members need not be proposed by existing members but can apply themselves or are invited to Guild membership.

 

  1. Where a prospective Guild member has themself applied for Guild membership, this application will be considered and ultimately approved or declined by the unanimous decision of The Executive Craft Committee (consisting of The Guild Master, The Chairman, The Secretary and The Cofferer).

 

  1. Applicants for Guild membership are not entitled to any of the privileges of The Guild until such time as they are accepted for membership.

 

  1. There are no qualifications or criteria required for becoming a Guild member as a Yeoman member but craft members must have completed a craft apprenticeship, or be in the process of an apprenticeship with The Guild and all other members are accepted by invitation only.

 

  1. Executive Craft Committee: The day-to-day running of The Guild is under the control of the Executive Craft Committee which consists of: The Guild Master, the three Officers of The Guild and no more than 8 other members of The Guild.

 

  1. Executive Craft Committee Officers: The Executive Craft Committee has the following Officers who are elected by the members for one year terms:

Chairman - who chairs all Executive Craft Committee meetings when present.

Secretary - who is responsible for the keeping of all books and records of The Guild, including the members’ register (containing the names and addresses of every member and such other contact details as the member supplies) and minute-taking in all Executive Craft Committee meetings.

Cofferer - who ensures that the financial affairs of The Guild are kept in good order and that annual accounts and a financial report are submitted to the Executive Craft Committee for it to put before the full Guild membership at the next Common Hall.

 

  1. Executive Craft Committee Members: Up to 8 additional Executive Craft Committee members may be co-opted by the Officers and existing Executive Craft Committee for a term of one year, after which time they may be re-elected.

 

  1. A quorum for the Executive Craft Committee meetings is four and must include The Guild Master and/or an Officer nominated by The Guild Master.

 

  1. The members present will elect a chair for any meeting where the Chairman is not present.

 

  1. The number of Executive Craft Committee members will be limited to 12 at any one time and all positions (including Chairman, Secretary and Cofferer) are nominal and may be taken up by any co-opted Craft Guild members of Freeman status or higher as agreed by a majority consensus of the existing Executive Craft Committee members preferably at Annual General Meeting. Additional members will remain in their position until such time as their yearly term has elapsed or until a replacement member has been selected.

 

  1. Membership of committees, including as Officers and general members of the Executive Craft Committee, will be automatically continued each year unless the member gives written notice of resignation or there is a majority decision of the members of the respective committee to release or replace the committee member (where possible, this should take place at the Annual General Meeting.

 

  1. Members are always eligible for re-election to the Executive Craft Committee for further terms as Officers, auditors or general members with no restriction on the number of terms.  Where possible, retirement from or re-election to positions and co-opting of new members should take place at the Annual General Meeting.

 

  1. Minutes of Executive Craft Committee meetings must be taken and made available to all craft Guild members as soon as practicable after meetings.

 

  1. The Executive Craft Committee has the following powers and responsibilities:             

           (i) Supervision and direction of the day-to-day running of The Guild.

(ii) Preparation and presentation to the Common Hall of a written annual report on The Guild and its activities (annexing the annual accounts and the Cofferer’s financial report)

(iii) Appointment of sub-committees whose membership must include at least one member of The Executive Craft Committee, to which it may delegate powers and duties on such terms as the Executive Craft Committee sees fit.

 

  1. Annual General Meeting: An Annual General Meeting will be held around Easter and will coincide with the presentation of accounts on 30th April, (or failing that, as soon as possible thereafter). The Annual General Meeting must be called by The Secretary of the Executive Craft Committee on 14 days’ written notice to the members stating the time, date, and place of the meeting and the business to be conducted. The business will include

i) presentation and summary of explanation by The Cofferer of a) The Guild’s annual accounts for the financial year last ended and b) a budget for The Guild’s current financial year for approval of the members (if they so decide).

ii) consideration of The Executive Craft Committee’s annual report to which separate reports from The Master’s Office and Clerk’s Office are appended.

iv) election of Officers, members and auditors as required.

v) any other such resolutions as are stated in the notice of the meeting.

 

  1. The quorum for the Annual General Meeting and any Special General Meeting is four members or at least 66% of the voting members, whichever is larger. These meetings must include The Guild Master and/or an Officer nominated by The Guild Master.

 

  1. Special General Meeting: At any time, the Executive Craft Committee or any two members may, by a joint written notice, request The Secretary to call an extraordinary meeting of members and The Secretary must then call a Special General Meeting on no less than 21 days’ written notice to all members stating the time, date and place of the meeting and the business to be conducted.

 

  1. Resolutions and voting: Resolutions and decisions at all General Meetings, Executive Committee or any sub-committee meetings are passed and made if so voted by a majority of 66% or more of those members present and voting when the vote is taken.

 

  1. Voting may, at the discretion of The Chair, be undertaken by a show of hands, by ballot or by a show of hands followed by a ballot.

 

  1. Voting by proxy is not allowed.

 

  1. Giving notice: Any notice required or allowed to be given to any member under these rules is validly given if:

(i) a paper copy is sent by post to the address of that member as given in the register (in which case it is deemed to be given two days after posting)

(ii) a paper copy is given to them personally

(iii) an email to the effect is sent to the member’s email address as given in the register.

 

  1. Any notice of personal data, committee meeting agenda items or any other business given by any Guild member to The Secretary is deemed given if a hard copy is delivered in person or a copy is sent by post or email to the address most recently notified by The Secretary to Guild members as being correct.

 

  1. Changes to personal details: It is the responsibility of individual members to inform The Guild and The Secretary of The Executive Craft Committee of any changes to personal details including name, address, email address or any other contact details held as soon as practicably possible. Any failure to do so may affect the inclusion of that member in Guild correspondence which may in turn lead to a breach of the terms of their membership.

 

  1. Sale of Alcohol: The Association will not sell, or be appropriately licenced to sell alcohol.

 

  1. Financial Year: The Association’s financial year will end on 30th April of each year. An income and expenditure account must be made for the preceding year and the balance sheet struck at that date.

 

  1. Accounts Auditors: Two members of the Executive Craft Committee who are not to be Officers, are elected by all assembled members in Annual General Meeting for a one year term to audit the annual accounts as prepared by The Cofferer.

 

  1. Honorary Apprentices: The Executive Craft Committee may choose to offer what is known as an honorary apprenticeship to individuals who have made what they consider to be a significant contribution to the life of The Guild and who are seeking knowledge or training but who are not suited to become a full craft or academic Apprentice. Individuals admitted to The Guild as Honorary Apprentices have no rights to attend any craft training workshops or to sit on any Guild committees or meetings, nor do they hold any entitlement to vote on any Guild matters. Honorary Apprentices can visit The Guild Lodges without invitation and may attend any Guild events to which they are expressly invited.

 

  1. Honorary Members: The Executive Craft Committee may choose to offer what is known as an honorary membership to individuals who have made what they consider to be a significant contribution to the life of The Guild but who are not suited to become full redemptive Guild members. Individuals admitted to The Guild as Honorary Members have no rights to sit on any Guild committees or meetings and hold no entitlement to vote on any Guild matters but may visit Guild Lodges by appointment and attend sny Guild events to which they are expressly invited.

 

  1. Classes of Full Membership: There are 11 classes of membership with various eligibility criteria as described below.:

 

Craft Yeoman - On becoming a craft Apprentice or mate and acceptance by Guild Master

 

Guild Craft Yeoman - On acceptance by Guild Master and signing Guild apprenticeship indenture

 

Redemptive Yeoman - On completion of 4 years service and acceptance by executive committee

 

Craft Freeman - On achieving pre-eminence in the opinion of the Master or becoming a journeyman after 4 year apprenticeship

 

Redemptive Freeman - On completion of 10 years of service

 

Guild Craft Freeman - On completion of 7 years apprenticeship with the Guild and acceptance of masterpiece

 

Craft Liveryman - On becoming a master or foreman of a job as a full Mason and receiving invitation to this position

 

Redemptive Liveryman - On completion of 20 years of service

 

Guild Craft Liveryman - On completion of full apprenticeship with the Guild and becoming a Master with 30 years experience.

 

Liveryman Royal - On becoming a craft member whose years in Guild plus age total 90+

 

Guild Liveryman Royal - On having served apprenticeship with the Guild and when years of Guild service plus age total 90+

 

  1. Guild membership subscription fees: There is no annual subscription fee for Guild members but yeoman apprentices must give a loaf of bread, a bottle of beer and 33 pence (GBP).

 

  1. Future entrance and subscription fees may be changed by a resolution at the Annual General Meeting

 

  1. Members’ rights: Craft yeoman members may be co-opted to sit on any Guild committees (except The Executive Craft Committee) but have no entitlement to vote.

 

  1. Redemptive yeoman members may be co-opted to sit on any Guild committees except exclusive craft committees (including the Executive Craft Committee) but have no entitlement to vote.

 

  1. All craft freemen and liveryman members are eligible to be co-opted to sit on any Guild committees and are also entitled to vote.

 

  1. Any redemptive freemen and liveryman members are eligible to be co-opted to sit on any committees except exclusive craft committees (including the Executive Craft Committee) and to vote in the same.

 

  1. Trustees and Guild property: There will be three Trustees of the Guild who are The Cofferer and two other members elected in General Meeting.

 

  1. The first Trustees are The Cofferer and two other members elected at the first Member’s Meeting at which these rules have been adopted.

 

  1. A General Meeting may remove or appoint Trustees at any time (except that The Cofferer cannot be removed as a Trustee as long as s/he is Cofferer but ceases to be a Trustee on ceasing to be Cofferer, at which time the new Cofferer automatically becomes a Trustee).

 

  1. A Trustee holds office until death, resignation or removal through the formal process in a General Meeting.

 

  1. All property of The Guild including money (except cash up to £1000 held by The Cofferer at any time for Guild purposes) is to be held and used by The Trustees for the benefit of The Guild.

 

  1. The Trustees will hold and use The Guild’s property in accordance with all lawful directions of The Executive Committee.

 

  1. Guild Premises: The main Guild Lodge is at:

St. Clement’s Church, Colegate, Norwich, NR3 1HZ

 

  1. The owner of these premises is:

Norwich Historic Churches Trust

 

  1. The Guild will expand to use several premises in various locations (in The UK and abroad) as Guild Lodges, workshops and offices.

 

  1. Employment and other contracts: The Guild may engage employees on such terms as The Master’s Office, The Clerk’s Office or The Executive Craft Committee decides.  It is delineated in The Guild Rules which office or budget is responsible for the employment and remuneration of respective employees.

 

  1. All terms of employment will be made by Trustees and will state that The Trustees are the employers on behalf of The Guild for the time being.

 

  1. Secretary may enter into contracts as agent for the members provided that no such contract involves property or money beyond the value of £1000.

 

  1. All other contracts between The Guild and any other person are made by The Trustees as agents for the members unless The Executive Craft Committee instead authorises any one or more of the Officers or other members of The Executive Craft Committee to enter into a contract as agent for the members.

 

  1. Indemnity and limitation of liability: Full indemnity out of The Guild’s funds is given to:

    1. Trustees against all payments and other liabilities properly incurred by them as Trustees.

    2. Officers and other members of The Executive Craft Committee against all payments and other liabilities properly incurred by them in the exercise of their duties or powers for The Guild.

    3. Every Trustee, Officer or other member entering into any contract on behalf of the members against all payments and other liabilities incurred by them in connection with that contract.

 

  1. The liability of Trustees, Officers or other members entering into any contract for The Guild and the liability of any members on whose behalf the contract is made is limited to the assets of The Guild.

 

  1. The limit of each member’s indemnity given to Trustees, Officers or other members in any calendar year in relation to any contract entered into by them for The Guild is a sum equal to £500.

 

  1. Legal proceedings: No Trustees, Officers or members shall be bound to bring or defend any actual or prospective claim or proceedings or incur any actual or prospective liability for legal costs (including to any legal costs that may be payable to another party) unless they are first satisfied that they shall be sufficiently indemnified or otherwise protected against having to pay such costs and any other judgement against them (except as to the extent of £100) in one or more of the following ways:

    1. Indemnity out of The Guild’s assets

    2. Personal indemnities from some or all of the members

    3. Legal expenses insurance

 

  1. Non-payment of sums due to The Guild: On a member being given a written notice of demand by The Secretary for payment of any sum already due from that member to The Guild, failure to pay that sum in full within 14 days (or such longer period as may be specified in the notice) is in serious breach of the rules and may be disciplined accordingly, save to the extent that there will be no appeal from a decision of The Executive Craft Committee, unless The Executive Craft Committee decides that there are special circumstances making it fair for the member to be able to appeal to an appeals committee.

 

  1. Borrowing and charges: The Executive Craft Committee may borrow money if authorised by a resolution of the members in General Meeting and on the terms authorised in that resolution.

 

  1. The Trustees shall make such dispositions of Guild property and enter into such agreements as The Executive Craft Committee directs for the giving of security of such borrowing.

 

  1. All members, whether or not voting on such resolution and all members joining The Guild after the passing of such resolution are to be taken to have assented to the resolution as if they had voted in favour.

 

  1. Amendment of the rules: These rules may be amended by a resolution in a General Meeting passed by strictly more than 66% of the full craft Guild membership at a Common Hall.


 

Appendix 1

 

Disciplinary Committee

 

  1. Any member who is in serious or persistent breach of the rules or who otherwise acts in a way which, in the opinion of The Executive Craft Committee, is seriously or persistently inappropriate for a member of The Guild may be required by The Executive Craft Committee who, under these circumstances will also stand as the Disciplinary Committee, to attend for a hearing before it to explain his/her conduct.

 

  1. The Secretary will notify the member in writing at least 14 days before the hearing of

    1. The time, date and place of the meeting.

    2. The conduct alleged to:

  • Be a serious and persistent breach of the rules specifying which rule/s or;

  • Be seriously or persistently inappropriate for a Guild member

    1. The available penalty/penalties.

 

  1. The member may respond in writing to The Executive Craft Committee and will also, in any case, be given a fair opportunity at the oral hearing to refute, explain or excuse his/her conduct and to say why s/he should not be penalised or what penalty is appropriate for any proven allegation.

 

  1. The procedure to be adopted for the oral hearing will be entirely at the discretion of The Executive Craft Committee.

 

  1. The member does not have any right to be represented at the oral hearing (by a lawyer or otherwise) but it will be at the discretion of The Executive Craft Committee as to whether the member is allowed to have such representation.

 

  1. There will be no oral hearing in any matters if either:

    1. The member waives his/her right to an oral hearing or;

    2. The The Executive Craft Committee resolves and writes to the member stating that it is not considering suspension or expulsion and that, consequently, an oral hearing is not proportionate.

 

  1. If The Executive Craft Committee find any allegations to be proven on the fact it may:

i. Suspend the member from some or all rights and or benefits of membership for a period determined by The Executive Craft Committee with or without conditions or;

ii. Expel the member with immediate effect.

 

  1. The decision as to whether any allegation is established and the appropriate penalty must be made and notified to the member on the day the hearing is concluded or the following day.  The decision must also be made known to the other members by noticeboard or newsletter within a reasonable time following the decision.

 

  1. Appeal committee: A member who is expelled or suspended from any rights or benefits of the membership for a period of longer than one month has the right to appeal against the decision by written notice to The Secretary within 14 days of receiving the decision of The Executive Craft Committee.  The notice must state the reasons why the decision should be set aside or varied either on the finding of proof of any allegation or the penalty or both. There is no right of appeal where any other action has been taken.

 

  1. The Appeal Committee will be constituted of three members appointed by The Executive Craft Committee, including at least one person who sits on The Executive Craft Committee.

 

  1. The Secretary will notify the member in writing by at least 14 days before the oral hearing stating the time, date and place at which the hearing will be conducted by The Appeal Committee. The member shall be given fair opportunity at the oral hearing to explain why the Disciplinary Committee’s decision should be set aside or altered.

 

  1. The procedure to be adopted for the oral hearing will be entirely at the discretion of The Appeal Committee.

 

  1. The member does not have any right to be represented at the oral hearing (by a lawyer or otherwise) but it will be at the discretion of The Appeal Committee as to whether the member is allowed to have such representation.

 

  1. The Appeal Committee may set aside the decision of The Disciplinary Committee if it is satisfied that the decision was unreasonable, disproportionate or otherwise unfair or if the proceedings leading to the decision were either unreasonable, unfair or prejudicial to the member.  The Appeal Committee must not consider new evidence which was not put before The Disciplinary Committee unless it is satisfied that there are good reasons why that evidence was not put before The Disciplinary Committee and for allowing the new evidence to be considered.

 

  1. If The Appeal Committee does set aside or alter the decision of The Disciplinary Committee it may:

i. Suspend the member from some or all rights and or benefits of membership for a period determined by The Executive Craft Committee with or without conditions or;

ii. Expel the member with immediate effect.

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