-the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


By the fifteenth century Glasgow had established itself as a prominent trading centre and its trading activities were under the control of the city`s Merchant Guild, the precursor of today`s Merchants` House (see picture) whose headquarters are in George Square. The craftsmen were organised in a quite different body, the Trades House, whose offices are in Stockwell Street, and these two bodies played an important role in developing trade and industry. They also held influential positions within the burgh`s administration and were involved in charitable work, especially looking after the widows and families of their deceased members.

The Protestant Reformation of 1560 ushered in important changes in the social and political life of Scotland and for over a hundred years there was repeated turmoil as the various factions fought against each other. Locally, this led to the Battle of Langside (1568) between the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots and Regent Moray, and as a result of her defeat the young queen fled to England where she was eventually beheaded in 1587.

This article is based on the guidebook "The Glasgow Guide".

The Merchants` House Buildings which stand in George Square.
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