THE MIDDLE AGES: THE MEDIEVAL CRAFTSMAN
The Medieval Craftsman
Training of a Craftsman
Types of Craftsmen
Skilled craftsmen were of vast importance to the medieval town
castle. They helped to mend metalwork, mill crops, build houses, and do many other
important things. Without their expertise in the making of goods, most of the
medieval towns would not
have survived because individual families could not have produced all the necessary
to sustain life in the village. Also, the carrying on of the family profession was
honor, and many families were famous in their profession.
Children usually began their formal training for their profession
around the age
of eleven or twelve. They would either learn and carry the family business, or
could become an apprentice to a local craftsmen. They trained for seven years
before moving out and starting their own shop, or taking the families on. Most
married, and their wives would help in the labor of day to day life, and then
producing children to continue the cycle. Also, almost all craftsmen were free.
Different Types of Craftsmen
There were many professions which the children could choose to
take-up, and all were
equally important in the society. All parts of the town depended on the
craftsmen's goods. Millers ground the grain that the farmer's provided
them. They were integral part of the society and were also the richest of craftsmen.
They were also the most
disliked. They paid the lord to operate his mill and everyone was
required to use his mill. Blacksmiths made the tools which most of the other workers
needed to do their job. They also had an agreement with the lord. In return for
charcoal, they performed all of the castle's metal working needs. Bakers were
responsible for providing food made out of bread to those
who were not farmers. The farmers grew many of the necessary items to feed the town's
hunger. Shoemakers and seamstresses kept the town's clothes in descent shape.
Candlemakers helped keep the homes lit. Thatchers helped to make thatch roofs for
barns and other buildings. Carpenters repaired wooden objects like buildings and
carts. As you can see, if any one part of the town
failed, the entire Medieval structure suffered along with them.
The unions of the past were known as guilds. They were one of the most
organizations of that time. They flourished because of the main reasons they were
formed: to protect the business from the merchants, to ensure high standards and a
high quality of work, and to look after the old and sick members of the guild. The
regular town merchants needed protection from the merchants who came in a provided
cheap labor. The people of the town always wanted the job to be done right
the first time, with as little money spent as possible. The guilds helped ensure that
the job would be done right by having training requirements for their workers. Also,
when the workers became ill, or became too old to work any longer, the guild supported
them and their families. They usually had a central shop which was
elaborately decorated and showed their wealth.
To go back, click here.