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Medieval life and 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 20-40 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

Medieval Jobs - The Role of a Yeoman
A yeoman owned his own land and often farmed it himself. His land would be equivalent to 30 - 120 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.

Other Medieval Jobs
Although many people were employed on the Manors and in farming their were also many different jobs and occupations in the towns (also refer to Medieval Guilds)  and also in the Medieval castles. 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. 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. An 11th century candlemaker called Graham Overhill is credited with inventing a candle - clock. A candle was produced with twelve lines on it. When lit at the top of the hour, the candle would burn from line to line at the rate of one hour for each line. The medieval clock!

  • Carpenter - Medieval Jobs
    The occupation of the carpenter was diverse. Carpenters built furniture, roofing, siege engines and wood panelling. Carpenter: a skilled craftsman who shaped or made things of wood. Carpenters were highly skilled and considered to be elite tradesmen
    Castellan - Medieval Jobs
    A castellan was the occupation of the person who had been appointed as custodian, or in charge of, the castle

  • Chamberlain - Medieval Jobs
    The title originated with an officer of a royal household who was responsible for the chamber, which included the administration of the king's household's budget. This occupation was later extended to collecting revenues and paying expenses

  • Chancellor - Medieval Jobs
    A chancellor was a secretary to a noble or royal person

  • Chaplain - Medieval Jobs
    The chaplain was responsible for the religious activities of a castle servants and men at arms. The duties might also include that of a clerk and keeping accounts. A priest would usually looked after the spiritual needs and confessions of the nobles and their families

  • Clerk
    A clerk was employed to keep accounts

  • Clothier - Medieval Jobs
    A clothiers made clothes for the nobles and required having a knowledge of various fine and expensive materials

  • Constable - Medieval Jobs
    A constable was the occupation of the person who had been appointed as custodian, or in charge of, the castle

  • Cook
    A cook was employed in the castle kitchens roasting, broiling, and baking food in the fireplaces and ovens.

  • Cordwainer - Medieval Jobs
    A cordwainer was a shoemaker or cobbler, a craftsman who made shoes

  • Cottar - Medieval Jobs
    A cottar was one of the lowest peasant occupations, undertaken by the old or infirm, who had a series of low duties including swine-herd,, prison guard and menial tasks

  • Ditcher - Medieval Jobs
    The ditcher a labourer who dug castle moats and foundations

  • Ewerer - Medieval Jobs
    The ewerer brought and heated water for the nobles

  • Fletcher - Medieval Jobs
    the fletcher crafted and manufactured bows and the flights of arrows

  • Gardener - Medieval Jobs
    The medieval gardener needed a knowledge of herbs and plants. A gardeners work was critical to the safety and protection of a castle - castle walls had to be kept clear of ivy or anything else that could be used to climb the castle walls and gardeners were expected to dig defensive ditches

  • Herald or harker - Medieval Jobs
    A herald was a knights assistant and an expert advisor on heraldry. The herald (or harker) would declare announcements on behalf of the king or noble to the public. Normally this was done on a given day when the public would assemble at the base of a castle tower or in the town square and the herald would shout out the news

  • Herbalist - Medieval Jobs
    A herbalist was usually a member of a religious order such as a monk or friar who would plant and maintain medicinal plants, roots and herbs

  • Janitor - Medieval Jobs
    The janitor, or porter, was responsible for the main castle entrance and for the guardrooms. The janitor also insured that no one entered or left the castle without permission

  • Jester - Medieval Jobs
    the jester, also referred to as the fool, entertained the court

  • Keeper of the wardrobe - Medieval Jobs
    The room in the castle called the wardrobe was intended as a dressing room and storage room for clothes and used by lord of the castle. The keeper of the wardrobe was in charge of the tailors and laundress.

  • Knight - Medieval Jobs
    It was the duty of a knight to learn how to fight and so serve their lord according to the code of chivalry. Weapon practise included enhancing skills in the two-handed sword, battle axe, mace, dagger and lance.

  • Marshal - Medieval Jobs
    The Marshal was the officer in charge of a household's horses, carts, wagons, containers and the transporting of goods.

  • Messenger - Medieval Jobs
    Messengers were lesser diplomats of the lord who carried receipts, letters, and commodities. The occupation of a messenger was often dangerous as if the message delivered was less than favorable the messenger was often the victim of the incurred anger of the recipient leading to the saying "don't kill the messenger". Messengers were eventually made exempt from punishment by law due to the news they delivered.

  • Minstrel - Medieval Jobs
    Minstrels provided castle entertainment in the form of singing and playing musical instruments. Minstrels often would record the deeds of heroic knights in songs giving the knight great publicity and establishing respect and additional status

  • Moneylender - Medieval Jobs
    Moneylenders were the medieval bankers - also see sections relating to the Knights Templar

  • Page - Medieval Jobs
    The life of a castle page would start at a very young age - seven years old. A page was junior to a squire. It was the duty of a page to wait at table, care for the lord's clothes and assist them in dressing. The page was provided with a uniform of the colours and livery of the lord.

  • Painter - Medieval Jobs
    Medieval castles ere highly colorful and the services of painters were often required

  • Porter - Medieval Jobs
    The janitor, or porter, was responsible for the main castle entrance and for the guardrooms. The porter also insured that no one entered or left the castle without permission

  • Physician
    Physicians were a very highly regarded and respected occupation. Bleeding, lancing and surgical procedures were practised.

  • Potter - Medieval Jobs
    Potters were craftsmen of in clay, porcelain and early forms of ceramics. Basically they produced pots for cooking and storage and occasionally worked as sculptors. Potters were members of medieval craft guilds

  • Reeve - Medieval Jobs
    The reeve supervised all work on a lord's property. The reeve ensured that everyone began and stopped work on time

  • Scribe - Medieval Jobs
    Most scribes came from religious establishments where reading, writing and comprehension skills were learned.

  • Scullion - Medieval Jobs
    Scullions were the lowest of kitchen workers whose duties included washing and cleaning the kitchen

  • Sheriff - Medieval Jobs
    The sheriff was an important official of county who was responsible for executing judicial duties

  • Shoemaker
    A shoemaker or cobbler or cordwainer was a craftsman who made shoes

  • Spinster - Medieval Jobs
    Spinster was the name of the occupation given to a woman who earned her living spinning yarn. The spinning wheel was invented during the medieval era. Later the term spinster was used to describe any unmarried woman

  • Steward - Medieval Jobs
    The steward took care of the castle estate and household administration including the events in the great hall. This occupation was also referred to as a seneschal

  • Squire - Medieval Jobs
    A squire was junior to a knight. It was the duty of a squire to learn about the code of chivalry, the rules of heraldry, horsemanship and practise the use of weapons. It was also their duty to enter into the social life of the castle and learn courtly etiquette, music and dancing. The squire served in this role for seven years and became a knight at the age of twenty-one. Sometimes knighthood was conferred earlier as the reward for bravery on the battlefield

  • Watchman - Medieval Jobs
    A Watchmen was an official at the castle responsible for security. Also night-watchman
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