The Guild of the Holy Cross was already in existence in 1269 when Bishop William Giffard granted a licence to the brethren to build a chapel and found a hospital. In 1403 it was united with two other religous fraternities dedicated to the Blessed Mary and St. John the Baptist.
The Guild was administered by a Master, Aldermen and Proctors and membership was not confined to Stratford but covered a wide area of the Midlands. Apart from its religious and fraternal activities, the Guild owned extensive property in the town and maintained almshouses and a school in the Guildhall.
The Guild was dissolved in 1547 and its property taken into the hands of the Crown. When Edward VI granted a charter of Incorporation to the town in 1553, most of the functions and property of the Guild were taken over by the new Corporation.