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There is a whole lot of interest in what people did in the Middle Ages. What kinds of jobs did they have? What kind of work did they do?
Some of this interest comes from the proliferation of Role Playing video games. In a lot of these games you can be a potter, blacksmith, Armorer, Miller and much more. It is quite fascinating and there actually were a whole lot of interesting jobs in the Middle Ages.
I am going to give you a list of the more popular and well known ones. Then I am going to cover some that you might not know - and they are no less interesting.
I also have a list of further reading at the bottom of this page. Of course, when you say "Middle Ages" it covers a thousand years and things changed over these centuries but generally there were four different orders during the Middle Ages:. This article, for the most part covers the fourth category of Craftsmen and laborers.
Guilds were a very important part of Medieval life and medieval jobs. They were bands of men and women that joined together for profit and mutual protection. Each guild revolved around a particular craft or the trade of a particular type of item. The Guilds established standards, set prices, and determined skills.
A good example of this would be a merchant guild that dealt in wool. Getting a job in a particular craft meant joining a guild and following the rules for craftsmanship and pricing. A young person could be given a job as an apprentice with a master craftsman. This wasn't a paid job however. It was often the case that the young persons family actually paid the master craftsman to take on the apprentice.
After a period of time as an apprentice the young person could possibly be promoted to the position of journeyman. As a journeyman, he would now become an assistant to the master and get paid. He would learn the craft more fully. And eventually, if he had acquired the necessary skills, and had the money to pay his guild dues he could in turn become a master craftsman.
This application to become a master craftsman often had some kind of a test where the journeyman would make something that showed he had fully mastered all aspects of the craft.
This object was called a "Masterwork". Merchant Guilds: These were typically guilds of traders who were involved in the various aspects of trading items commerce. They would typically purchase rights to trade from the king and would establish monopolies.I'm asking this for a story I'm writing--it takes place in medieval times.
Thank you! I appreciate it. I think I need to clarify I'm talking about medieval jobs, not modern ones. The Lady in waiting whose job was to Depends on the era and location yrs in general, but some made it to their 80's and 90's. Also referred to as Smiths. Under him a staff of people might consist of brewers, tapsters, cellarers, dispensers, cupbearers and dapifer. The duties might also include supervising building operations, clerk, and keeping accounts.
He also tended to the chapel. This was sometimes bestowed upon a great baron as an honor and some royal castles had hereditary constables.
Worked as swine-herds, prison guards, and did odd jobs. This was achieved only after long and arduous training which began in infancy. His staff included farriers, grooms, carters, smiths and clerks. He also oversaw the transporting of goods. Responsible for the guardrooms. The person also insured that no one entered or left the castle withour permission. Also known as the door-ward. He checked that everyone began and stopped work on time, and insured nothing was stolen.
Senior officer of a borough.Being in the business of resurrection wasn't pretty.
We're pretty spoiled. Because there have been some weird and terrible gigs throughout the course of human history. Drake Baer and Vivian Giang contributed to previous versions of this article. The Groom of the Stool — formally titled, the Groom of the King's Close Stool — was responsible for helping the king to go to the toilet.
This post was actually considered an esteemed position in early modern England. Resurrectionists would dig corpses out of graveyards and sell them to medical schools. Controversy over this practice came to a head upon the discovery of the crimes committed by 19th century serial killers William Burke and William Hare. These two "resurrection men" couldn't wait to merely dig up bodies. Fullers had to stand in tubs filled with water and alkaline chemicals — oftentimes that meant stale urine collected from public restrooms, according to the Encyclopedia of Ancient History — and stomp, scrub, and wring the cloth to get it clean.
Rat catchers snagged the disease-carrying rodents that once ran rampant in residential neighborhoods. Some rat catchers made it big, like Jack Black no, not our Jack Black. Black was given the awesome title of "rat-catcher and mole-destroyer" by none other than Queen Victoria. Women more particularly shuddered when they beheld him place some half-dozen of the dusty-looking brutes within his shirt next his skin; and men swore the animals had been tamed, as he let them run up his arms like squirrelsand the people gathered round beheld them sitting on his shoulders cleaning their faces with their front-paws, or rising up on their hind legs like little kangaroos, and sniffing about his ears and cheeks.
Sounds totally healthy. Surprisingly, sometimes being a whipping boy came with a few sweet perks.
38 Odd Jobs That No Longer Exist
The ill-fated Charles I elevated his whipping boy to the position of the first Earl of Dysart inaccording to the History of Parliament. Computer used to be somebody's work title. Before electronics took over, these workers — usually women — would convert figures and crunch other numbers by hand, according to NASA. Remember that awesome Bravo show Tabitha's Salon Takeover? Back in ancient Rome, it was even worse.
Ornatrices were enslaved hairdressers responsible for creating the ornate and insane looks that were popular at the time. An ornatrix had to deal with lots of gnarly ingredients to cater to fashionable Romans — hair dye was made up of rotten leeches, squid ink, pigeon poop, and urine, according to Listverse.
If you were a young boy on a warship back in the seafaring days, your quick hands would be called upon to stuff gunpowder back into cannons, according to the Civil War Trust. Your title: Powdermonkey.In the good old days before electricity and massive industry, many jobs that now require no or little labor, were undertaken by humans.
This list looks at ten jobs that are now mostly extinct. Each job contains at least one element of the bizarre. Be sure to add your own favorites to the comments. We have all heard of the court Jester — the fool who was permitted to insult the king without losing his head — as long as it made the king laugh. It was a job that came with accolades and with fear.
It is also a job unlike any existent today. But, while the job did vanish from history for hundreds of years, as recently as one Kingdom Tonga has appointed an official jester. He was later embroiled in a financial scandal. The American jester to the Tongan court was Jesse Bogdonoff and he is pictured above. A tosher was someone who scavenges in the sewers, especially in London during the Victorian period. The toshers decided to cut out the middle man and it was a common sight in 19th Century Wapping for whole families to whip off a manhole cover and go down into the sewers, where they would find rich pickings.
As most toshers would reek of the sewers, they were not popular with the neighbors. Similarly, the mudlarks were people who would dredge the banks of the Thames in the early morning when the tide was out.
They would have to wade through unprocessed sewerage and even sometimes dead bodies in order to find little treasures to sell. In a kind of weird twist, this is now the popular hobby of some middle class Londoners who travel the banks to clean up trash. A Knocker-up was a profession in England and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable.
The knocker-up often used a long and light stick often bamboo to reach windows on higher floors. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week for this job. This all leads to the obvious question: who knocks up the knocker-up? Toad doctors were practitioners of a specific tradition of medicinal folk magic, operating in western England until the end of the 19th century. Needless to say this job would also require growing or gathering up a large collection of toads, and in the case of doctors who used just the leg, chopping their legs off to give to their patient.
A dog whipper was a church official charged with removing unruly dogs from a church or church grounds during services. In some areas of Europe during the 16th to 19th centuries it was not uncommon for household dogs to accompany — or at least follow — their owners to church services.Medieval Crusaders. Step back into history get Medieval facts and information about the famous people, life and events of Medieval England.
Medieval Jobs Interesting history, facts and information about the life of the people who lived in England during the Medieval times. Medieval Jobs - The names of the Medieval people who worked on the manors The Lord of the Manor was based in the Manor House and from here he conducted the business of the manor.
The names of the Medieval jobs of the people who worked on the manors are described as follows:. For additional facts and information about Medieval Manors read the following articles:.
His land would be equivalent to 30 - acres. A Medieval yeoman was required to be armed and trained with a bow. Wealthy yeoman would be expected to also be trained and armed with a sword, dagger and the longbow. Yeoman were therefore often employed to guard and protector the nobility. These jobs are explained and defined in the following list of Medieval Jobs:.
Medieval Jobs The Medieval Times website provides interesting facts, history and information about these great people and important historical events which scatter the Medieval History books including Medieval Jobs.
The Medieval Times Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts about the fascinating subject of the lives of the people who lived during the historical period of the Middle Ages. The content of this article on Medieval life and times provides free educational details, facts and information for reference and research for schools, colleges and homework for history courses and history coursework.
Medieval England. Medieval Jobs Interesting history, facts and information about the life of the people who lived in England during the Medieval times Medieval Jobs - The names of the Medieval people who worked on the manors The Lord of the Manor was based in the Manor House and from here he conducted the business of the manor.
The names of the Medieval jobs of the people who worked on the manors are described as follows: Vassal - A Vassal or Liege was a free man who held land a fief from a lord to whom he paid homage and swore fealty.
A vassal could be a Lord of the Manor but was also directly subservient to a Noble or the King Bailiff - A Bailiff was a person of some importance who undertook the management of manors Reeve - A Reeve was a manor official appointed by the lord or elected by the peasants Serf - A serf was another name for a peasant or tennant. Medieval Serfs were peasants who worked his lord's land and paid him certain dues in return for the use of land, the possession not the ownership of which was heritable.
The dues were usually in the form of labor on the lord's land. Medieval Serfs were expected to work for approximately 3 days each week on the lord's land. Peasant or Villein - A peasant or villein was a low status tenant who worked as an agricultural worker or laborer. A peasant or villein usually cultivated acres of land Cottager: A low class peasant with a cottage, but with little or no land who generally worked as a simple laborer Servant: Servants were house peasants who worked in the lord's manor house, doing the cooking, cleaning, laundering, and other household chores For additional facts and information about Medieval Manors read the following articles: Lady of the Manor Lord of the Manor Manor House Manorialism Medieval Jobs - The Role of a Yeoman A yeoman owned his own land and often farmed it himself.
These jobs are explained and defined in the following list of Medieval Jobs: Armorer - Medieval Jobs A medieval armorer held an important occupation in the medieval workforce. Armor had to be uniquely made to fit its wearer and was considered one of the specialist Medieval Jobs Apothecary - Medieval Jobs An apothecary dispensed remedies made from herbs, plants and roots.
Medieval physicians were expensive and a priest often held this occupation, often the only recourse for sick, poor people. Artist - Medieval Jobs Artists were employed in the later medieval era by kings and nobles.
At first an artist painted heraldic designs on early furniture and then it became fashionable for portraits to be painted Medieval Jobs - Astrologer An astrologer studied the stars and planets but regarded as a mystical person Atilliator - Medieval Jobs The occupation of a castle atilliator was to make crossbows Bailiff - Medieval Jobs The occupation of the castle bailiff was to manage the castle estate or farm Baker - Medieval Jobs Bread was a daily staple of medieval life, and good bakers were employed by nobles in their castles.
Barber - Medieval Jobs A barber had many occupations in relation to personal care. Barbers would cut hair but would also serve as dentists, surgeons and blood-letters. Blacksmith - Medieval Jobs The blacksmith was one of the most important, albeit lowly, occupations of the medieval era. Blacksmiths forged weapons, sharpened weapons, repaired armor. Bottler - Medieval Jobs a bottler had a responsible occupation and was in charge of the bottlery which was intended for storing and dispensing wines and other expensive provisions.
Butler - Medieval Jobs The butler was responsible for the castle cellar and was in charge of large butts of beer.Leech Collector (Worst Jobs in History)
The room in the castle called the buttery was intended for storing and dispensing beverages, especially ale. Bower or bowyer - Medieval Jobs tThe bowyer manufactured bows, arrows and crossbows Candlemaker - Medieval Jobs The candlemaker made candles to light the castle. Candles were supplemented by lighting from torches, lanterns and rush dips.Here are the top 10 weirdest jobs in the world:.
Someone actually earns a living watching paint dry. Imagine being paid to watch TV all day! Well for one lucky employee this dream has become reality.
Top 10 Strangest Jobs In History
If you think the London Underground is bad, you should see the trains in Japan. Not for the light-hearted. The job of a snake milker is to collect the venom of poisonous snakes in jars for use in anti-venoms and other medication.
They do this to test for flavor and texture in comparison to rival dog food brands and human food. They make sure their judgment is accurate, the members of staff have their sense of smell tested monthly. As part of a team of marmite tasters, he is responsible for checking each batch of Marmite is the correct texture, consistency and flavour.
In the 30 years he has been working there, he has eaten around 3, jars of the stuff! What service. Close Menu Employer Branding. Talent Acquisition. The Employer Brand Index.
The Employer Branding Podcast. Feeling a bit bored with your job and fancy a change? Why not try one of these jobs out? Tags jobsjudgepizza deliveryProfessionalsleeptasterTVWeirdwork.Our medieval and historically-inspired fantasy settings are crawling with blacksmiths, farmers and priests.
But which unusual medieval professions have not made it into our fond reminisces of the past, and why? Feel free to suggest more in the comments below! A medieval professional making chain mail. Looks like a riveting task…. In a medieval church, the Ostiary was literally the doorkeeper.
He would ensure that no unbaptised people entered the church during the Eucharist. This medieval profession evolved from the Roman habit of having a slave to attend to the door.
An Ostiary, shooing away an illuminating young fellow who seems to be sitting in a field.
This unusual historical profession involved literally leading bears from village to village. Bears were mostly used for bloodsports like bear baiting, in which packs of dogs were set to fight against the bear. They were often spectacular and fantastical, with music, costumes of animals and people, acrobats and even floats. Musicians and playing troupes tended to be itinerant, and so someone had to be in charge of engaging them.
Byit had become a full time, independent office. The term seems to originate from the s, but the profession itself dates back to the medieval era. All the colours of the rainbow! In medieval London, for example, there were no raised pavements and people had to walk, by and large, on the bare earth. The ground was covered with the excrement of both people and animals, as well as animal entrails and rotting food. In fact, the inhabitants of medieval London — human and animal — produced 50 tons of excrement a day, and plenty of that ended up on the street one way or another.
Top 10 Strangest Jobs In History
Other measures, such as protective overshoes, also came into use. Muck rakers were the brave men who cleaned these filth-ridden streets, and were employed by the city to collect muck — feces, debris and soil — and take it beyond the city limits by boat or cart.
They were better paid than the average working man, which is no surprise considering the repulsive conditions they had to work in. They could earn in 11 nights what a skilled labourer 6 months to earn. For more about labour and wages in the Medieval world, read here. This is a medieval goat with explosive diarrhoea. That was a squire with a clean shield. Looks like a crappy job to me…. We will never send you more than one email per month, we hate spam too! This bear is unimpressed.
Mind you, that lead looks very flimsy…. Tell us what you think! Cancel reply. Currently Reading. Search for:. Featured Posts Let's design a medieval village: Introduction What were medieval houses and structures built from?