Medieval Crafts


Could You Have Found a Job or
Succeed as Vagabond 500 Years Ago?

No disrespect, but we bet that many a long-term unemployed has entertained, at least for a moment, the idea of traveling back in time (and abroad) and checking the job listings of say, London, circa 1550. In fact, who hasn’t imagined, from the safety of one’s mind, of course, how Medieval townsfolk went about their business?
You could meet Cornelis Bos, for example, who killed time drawing what looks like taxis driven by satyrs. Have a chat with Willielmus de Lench, a grain thresher, or try a brew with Matild de Grafton, an alewife, all common names and occupations of the time. Or you could find easier pickings as a jarkman, another word for vagrant.
There are plenty of records about that particularly gruesome time to be alive anywhere, but as the saying goes, history is told by the powerful. So while you may know well the legend of King Arthur and his gallant knights, for instance, there’s no word about their ostler, the guy who’d take care of their horses. Which, as most occupations of poor people, would run in families.
Don’t be discouraged though. Even if we may not find a suitable position for a person of your qualifications, you still may learn a thing or two about how people would make a living then, some of the common surnames that have survived to these days, and the surprisingly variety of outlaw types populating the era.
Oh, and throughout this post, check the exquisitely elaborated 1550 art of Cornelis Bos. Most important of all, you may be Continue reading