PowerPoint: Medieval Life - Occupations in Medieval Times
A merchant class quickly developed once feudalism was established in Europe. These merchants became wealthy in their own right, owning grand homes of their own comparable to the best in the land. They transported the products of craftsmen, labourers, and skilled workers across the nation, and internationally as well, furthering trade and acting as envoys between the regions they served. <ul><li>Medieval society was like a jigsaw puzzle . </li></ul><ul><li>Each segment was an integral piece of the complete system. </li></ul><ul><li>Without any one part, the system could not work. </li></ul>As villages developed alongside the castle, occupations began to differentiate during the Middle Ages. The growth of many towns directly resulted from the introduction of commercial endeavours which were necessary to sustain the castle or the manor, as well as the local populace. <ul><li>Medieval Society was divided between </li></ul><ul><li>two (2) classes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positions of status </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positions with no status </li></ul></ul>
The main intention was: “ to promote economic welfare of its members and guarantee full employment at high wages by restricting membership” (Bishop) This organization was a prototype of the modern trade union and functioned in an almost identical manner. Virtually every medieval occupation had its own Guild, including bell ringers, minstrels, candle makers, grocers and wavers. The Guild was of primary importance during the Middle Ages. Initially a rudimentary plan designed to support a certain group of workers, the guild system rapidly expanded throughout Europe.
Medieval jobs included: Domestic jobs inside the castle or manor included: Tanners Soap makers Cask makers Cloth makers Woodwards Roadmenders Laundresses Bakers Grooms Pages Huntsmen Doctors Painters Innkeepers Potters Slingers Glass makers Shipwrights Sailors Butchers Fishmongers Farmers Herdsmen Millers Clergy Parish priests Candle makers (chandlers) Gold and silver smiths Plasterers and Painters Brick and tile makers Personal attendants Ladies-in-waiting Chamber maids Brewers Poulterers Fruiterers Slaughterers Dispensers Cooks Cupbearers
Following are occupations that prevailed during the Middle Ages. Even though the individuals who held the positions have long since disappeared, often leaving no record of their existence, their legacy is still very visible in modern surnames. See if you recognize them. Almoners Ensured the poor received alms. Atilliator Skilled castle worker who made crossbows. Bailiff In charge of allotting jobs to the peasants, building repair, and repair of tools used by the peasants. Barber Someone who cut hair. Also served as dentists, surgeons and blood-letters. Blacksmith Forged and sharpened tools and weapons, beat out dents in armour, made hinges for doors, and window grills. Also referred to as Smiths. Bottler In charge of the buttery or bottlery. Butler Cared for the cellar and was in charge of large butts and little butts (bottles) of wine and beer. Under him a staff of people might consist of brewers, tapsters, cellarers, dispensers and cupbearers.
Carder Someone who brushed cloth during its manufacture. Carpenter Built flooring, roofing, siege engines, furniture, panelling for rooms, and scaffolding for building. Carters Workmen who brought wood and stone to the site of a castle under construction. Castellan Resident owner or person in charge of a castle (custodian) Chamberlain Responsible for the great chamber and for the personal finances of the castellan. Chaplain Provided spiritual welfare for labourers and the castle garrison. The duties might also include supervising building operations, clerk and keeping accounts. He also tended to the chapel. Clerk A person who checked material costs, wages, and kept accounts. Constable A person who took care (the governor or warden) of a castle in the absence of the owner. This was sometimes bestowed upon a great baron as an honour and some royal castles had hereditary constables. Cook Roasted, broiled and baked food in the fireplaces and ovens.
Cottars The lowest of the peasantry. Worked as swine-herds, prison guards and did odd jobs. Ditcher Worker who dug moats, vaults, foundations and mines. Dyer Someone who dyed cloth in huge heated vats during its manufacture. Ewerer Worker who brought and heated water for the nobles. Falconer Highly skilled expert responsible for the care and training of hawks for the sport of falconry. Fuller Worker who shrinks and thickens cloth fibres through wetting and beating the material. Glaziers A person who cut and shaped glass. Gong Farmer A latrine pit emptier. Hayward Someone who tended the hedges. Herald Knights’ assistant and an expert advisor on heraldry. Keeper of the Wardrobe In charge of the tailors and laundress.
Knight A professional solder. This was achieved only after long and arduous training which began in infancy. Laird Minor baron or small landlord. Marshal Officer in charge of a household’s horses, carts, wagons and containers. His staff included farriers, grooms, carters, smiths and clerks. He also oversaw the transporting of goods. Master Mason Responsible for the designing and overseeing the building of a structure. Messengers Servants of the lord who carried receipts, letters and commodities. Miner Skilled professional who dug tunnels for the purpose of undermining a castle. Minstrels Part of the castle staff who provided entertainment in the form of singing and playing musical instruments. Porter Took care of the doors (janitor) particularly the main entrance. Responsible for the guardrooms. The person also insured that no-one entered or left the castle without permission. Also known as the door-ward.
Reeve Supervised the work on lord’s property. He checked that everyone began and stopped work on time, and insured nothing was stolen. Senior officer of a borough. Sapper An unskilled person who dug a mine or approach tunnel. Scullions Responsible for washing and cleaning in the kitchen. Shearmen A person who trimmed the cloth during its manufacture. Shoemaker A craftsman who made shoes. Known also as Cordwainers. Spinster A name given to a woman who earned her living spinning yarn. Later this was expanded and any unmarried woman was called a spinster. Steward Took care of the estate and domestic administration. Supervised the household and events in the great hall. Also referred to as a Seneschal. Squire Attained at the age of 14 while training as a knight. He would be assigned to a knight to carry and care for the weapons and horse. Watchmen An official at the castle responsible for security. Assisted by lookouts (the garrison)
Weaver Someone who cleaned and compacted cloth in association with the Walker and Fuller. Woodworkers Tradesmen called Board-hewers who worked in the forest, producing joists and beams.
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