Craftsman Craft & Trade Definitions

These are the definitions of the results from the 2-8 tables, as may be needed. Though obtained from a number of tables and sub-tables, the results are all listed here together in alphabetical order. The headings for the subtables can be found entered alphabetically among the rest, but the results from the sub-tables are ganged and entered alphabetically under it. The reader should be careful when looking for a given entry, though, for some of the related entries have been ganged for the ease of explanation.

The Alchemist/Apothecary includes those who keep shops for selling non-perishable commodities like spices, drugs, comfits, and preserves, who prepare and sell remedies for physicians, herbalists who trade specifically in medicinal and culinary herbs and spices and physician’s remedies, as well as formal alchemists. Alchemists are those who pursue the art and science of transforming base metals into the noble metals, silver and gold, or longevity with the elusive Lapis Philosophicus. the Philosopher’s Stone. or its elixir (derived from the Arabic for the Greek meaning “dry tincture”). Because most cannot afford this pursuit without a commercial interest to support them, they make their living practicing the skills they learn in their studies, making soaps, perfumes, soothing unguents, glues, chemical dyes, combustibles, distilled essences and drugs, or working with those who wield magick to provide substances that will carry a dweomer.

These are the folk who speculate on the nature of the universe, of mineral and organic substances. From a very esoteric, philosophical, and spiritual point of view (to avoid confrontations of faith) they seek to classify the elements with their dialectic, Aristotelian reason and logic. They do not rely on empirical test and study, except in the pursuit of specific projects (not whole, transferrable concepts) for that is neither the scholar’s method nor the medieval way of thought. Their work encompasses what are known today as inorganic and organic chemistry, pharmacy, geology, theoretical physics, and a smattering of natural philosophy.

For Antiquary/Sage see “Philosopher/Scholar.” ,

An Artificer is a craftsman who makes mechanisms of various sorts to solve the problems and fill the needs of those in business of commercial production of some sort. They make “machines,” the medieval term for any and all mechanical devices, for the use. of water power or animals) lib the mechanisms of watermills for grinding grain for flour, olives for their oil, fulling cloth, beating blumes of raw metal, as well as ox-driven mills and freight cranes and elevators. The more advanced followers of’ this craft may work. in fortifications, engineering sieges and designing various defense systems for castles and citadels, but those who are also skilled in smithcraft can be makers of the small mechanisms used to make mechanical toys and other, similar small devices.

The Astronomer/Astrologer can be either an astronomer or mathematician, or a combination of both. The player is warned that the medieval usages of the terms astronomer and astrologer are the reverse of the modern usages. In the context of the game, astrologers will be men who simply chart the courses of heavenly bodies and catalogue stars and constellations, mathematicians figuring the timing of feasts and religious festivals that are timed by the movements of the heavenly bodies, as is the Christian Eastertide. Astronomers are the prognosticators, seers into the heart and past, charters of future events, who believe in the powers that emanate from the planets, stars and other heavenly bodies and the influence they have on the characters and affairs of men. They use the heavens as a map provided by the gods to that which They have in store, in order to predict the timing of momentous events that will affect their societies, such as war, famine, pestilence, droughts, floods, and the like. Knowing the movements of the heavenly bodies, they predict trends and events, at large and in the lives of people, according to the relationship between the heavenly bodies at their birth and their current positions.

The Barber/Leech is a catch-all trade that encompasses the duties of the modern barber, trimming the hair. powdering. pomading. and perfuming it, shaving men’s faces, but more importantly, he pulls teeth that have gone bad when needed (or not). He also sews up cuts and tends to common injuries, and bleeds the sick either through the use of actual river leeches or by incision. Bleeding the sick will be the most common manner of treating most illness’, due to the fact that sickness is believed to be due to an imbalance in the “humors” of the bodies, and one had to drain the body of those evil humors, or “bad blood”, before the patient can recover.

This group includes midwives. While midwives birth babies, they are also the principles for ministering to sick women, as it is unseemly for a man to do so, especially when that patient is a married woman. Only women may be midwives and only women may minister to other women in need of medical attention.

The Basketmaker is just that, but the GM should not allow his thinking to be confined by the term itself. These folk weave all manner of domestic implements and accessories from reeds, rushes, and willow withies, including mats for floor-coverings, protective coverings for jars and flasks, panniers (paired baskets slung across the backs of beasts of burden), trivets on which to set hot dishes at table, coverings to fill shutter-frames to block open windows, and the like.

The Bellfounder is a smith who specifically works in casting molten metals. He will work in bronze primarily, but may ‘work in cast iron, too. He will cast. bells, as the name indicates, but again, the GM shouldn’t allow his thinking to be confined by the term itself. Bellfounders are also known as potters for the fact that they cast cauldrons and pots for domestic use, and many other domestic implements, as well, including such common items as candle recesses to hang on walls.

A Bowyer as the name implies, is one who makes bows, as a lawyer is one who practices at law. A Fletcher makes arrows, making clean straight shafts, binding heads, and cutting and binding the fletching on them that make them fly true, or the special fletchings (spirals) which cause the shaft to spin in flight. The wares of the fletcher are called “fletchery.” These terms are also commonly used to refer to archers, as these craftsmen must also be able to test the quality of the shafts they have made. Due to their dependence. on wood (ash, hazel, elm, yew, etc.), both members of these trades will most commonly be found in wooded areas, though this doesn’t necessarily mean exclusively rural areas. Due to the demand for longbows, regulations were passed as to who could own bows of what woods. in the same manner as the Sumptuary laws.

The Bookbinder is just that, one who takes loose pages and binds them into a book, or one who takes the pages out of old books and rebinds them into a new cover to give the book a new lease on life.

A Brewer brews beer, as the name implies. Women dominate this craft. The female form of the craft title being Brewster. Vinters make wine, This trade is dominated by men. One who makes mead, or honey wine is called a “maker of honey”.

A Broderer is one who practices the art and craft of embroidery for both the embellishment of clothing and cloth articles but also in the making of damask and other sorts of embroidered cloths.

Builders

The Carpenter entry generally refers to those who raise wood frame structures, install wood paneling, build draught screens, make doors, and the similar structural and structure-related work in wood. Most villages maintain a carpenter for common work like making and repairing the hafts and handles of tools, raising and repairing sheds and barns, and making common carts like timbrels and simple wagons for farm use. Actual master carpenters for raising houses and making furniture (see “Cabinetmaker/Joiner”) will be migratory, generally dwelling in towns, whence they must be summoned at need.

Glaziers put together windows, as they do today, but after the fashion of leaded cut-glass windows or stained-glass.

Marblers are masons who work solely in marble or alabaster, often both cutting and sculpting the stone.

The Masons cut stone, but the names of their positions are rather specific. Hardhewers cut stone free in the quarries and smooth and dress them at the building site. Setters mix and lay the mortar and actually place the stones in the building process.

Pargetters lay interior decorative flooring.

Paviors lay street surfaces.

Plasterers put the finishing layer of plaster on masonry and half-timbering.

Plumbers install piping to carry water, as today, but in terracotta, wood, bronze, and/or lead, However, the GM should not allow his thinking to be confined by the term itself. Plumbers perform most work in lead, and much in tin, making gutters and down spouting, making the sheets of lead for protective sheeting and installing them on roofs to cover plain wood roofs, and the like.

Roofers/Thatchers. bundle and lay thatched roofs of gorse, broom, and the like, a highly specialized skill, but they also lay shingle and tile of terracotta or stone (slate).

A Tiler burns and lays brick, sometimes called “wall tile,” and makes and lays tiles for roof and floor, Such men will be rare, and itinerant in order to stay busy enough to make a living.

Butchers will generally deal with only one sort of animal as the mainstay of their trade – either fowl, beef or oxen, pork, or sheep. The head, entrails, fats, and blood are often the payment taken in barter by the butcher in return for the service he renders, turning only the hide and lean meat over to his patron after the job is complete. Hooves and sinews may be sold to the knacker for boiling down for gelatin and glue. The hard fats or lard are worth roughly four times as much as the meat and can be sold to the chandler for making tallow candles. The blood is used for such things as blood pudding (sausages), and the entrails are turned into sausage casings, and bladders and stomachs and the and the like turned into various useful items.

A Capper/Hatter simply enough, makes caps and hats of all styles.

A Cabinetmaker/Joiner makes interior furnishings : cupboards, chests, and the like, as well as furniture, distinguished as separate from the structural work of a carpenter. This entry also includes specialists like marquetry joiners and veneering joiners who make particularly fine furniture. These craftsmen will generally be migratory, dwelling in towns whence they must be summoned at need.

A Cartographer is one who renders maps for a living.

A Carver is one who makes decorative carvings in wood, ivory, or bone. When he works in ivory or bone, he may work only in one or the other, not both ‘lest he succumb to the temptation to substitute the cheaper bone for ivory and so cheat the public. Each carver will usually specialize in a single material.

The Champion or duelist is a paid professional armsman who protects the; honor of nobles or anyone else who can pay their fee to take their place in the judicial duel in the stead of those barred by custom, like ladies and clergymen, or disqualified by physical debility. Since a crime committed by a servant, apprentice, or journeyman against his master is considered treasonable, no serf has a right to challenge any man of higher estate (freeman, clergy, or noble), nor lepers to challenge any non-leper, nor any bastard any person born in holy wedlock. Bastards and the physically deformed will he allowed to appoint champions. while lepers, serfs. and servants (et al.) in the above cases will not. In practice, not only might a man standing accused in a court of law challenge his accuser to a duel, but a witness might be challenged, too, no matter which side brought him. If the witness loses the duel his evidence is discarded, So the champion can be of importance in many circumstances.

Historically, witnesses in France were so often challenged in hopes that the their evidence would be thrown out that by the end of the 1200’s it was common practice to disallow any witness who could not legally be compelled to back his testimony by force of arms.

The Chandler will usually deal in more than one type of candle, though he will keep a constant supply in the works of the type his clients demand of him most – beeswax, waxberry (bay-), or tallow dipped tapers, rushlights, even some lamp oils – the quality depending upon the class of folk who come to him most.

A Charcoaler slow-burns or chars wood or peat down to charcoal to sell for household or industrial use fuel, as the name implies.

The Monk and Priest are described in detail in the notes for the Clergy Social Class.

The Scrivener/Rubricator includes professional scribes who hire their services out by the task to write letters for people, scribe copies of books, accounts, contracts, or important papers, and textwriters who specialize in scribing or copying long tracts and treatises. Rubricators are those who practice the art of rubrishing, that is, they draw and paint colorful headings and even undertake some modest illumination in record rolls, manuscripts, and books. This group is kept very busy from July through August when the nobles have their household accounts enrolled into the record for the year and the Exchequer collects its due.

A Cofferer is one who makes boxes and chests or various types, materials, and sizes for household storage, business security, and shipping of goods, for all commercial and domestic uses.

The Cook/Chef entry is fairly self-explanatory. The reputations of’ nobles and inns alike hinge on the quality of the board they set for their guests. The Piemaker, Saucer and Waferer are all specialists encompassed in this entry, usually found in independent shops or serving in the kitchens of the great houses. Waferers in particular specialize in making thin pastry wafers and pastries composed of fine and fragile wafers, like philo.

A Cooper is a maker of barrels. He, knows just enough of carpentry to make the staves and just enough of blacksmithing to forge the iron binding-hoops.

The Courtesan/Prostitute includes all types of women and men who trade on their looks and skill in bed, from the common street drabs to the high-paid uptown professionals who survive on their personality, looks, style, and more importantly their discretion.

The more prestigious members of this trade, who live on their manners and skill as hosts and hostess’, their knowledge of fashion and the graces of the aristocracy and nobility, and more importantly on their willingness to be of service socially and politically rather than for an easy tumble, are found on the Free Commoner tables, previously.

Those indicated here are the baser and more common sort.

Criminals

The Brigand/Highwayman can include outlaws or “wolfs heads” on the run from the law, simple roadway robbers, kidnappers, and other such unsavory folk who make their way by preying upon those who travel without sufficient protection through the more remote rural or wilderness areas that they haunt. They are often out-of-work mercenaries or ex-mercenaries, and as such are generally better equipped than the average outlaw. The name “brigand” comes from the name of the best armor the common run of mercenaries can afford at their rate of pay, which will be brigandine (see Chapter 5. for a description).

Draughlatch/Catburglar is a thief (Knave) who breaks and enters by stealth while the master, family, and staff are asleep or gone from home so as to relieve the home of their valuables. The sorts of valuables taken will be much more of the housewares and decorative appointments than would be expected by the modem mind, as fewer people in the period have very much jewelry. When out, one’s jewelry is generally worn, for display but also for the fact that in and of itself it is portable wealth, on hand if needed while out.

The Cutpurse is the medieval equivalent of a pickpocket. A Padfoot is similar in concept to a mugger or stick-up man. The name comes from his ability to sneak up on his victims with great stealth.

Fences are a type of merchant that specializes in disposing of stolen property, then as now. Many innkeeps of the seedier sort who entertain thieves and worse will engage in fencing stolen goods, also.

Forgers come in a great variety. The GM should not make the mistake of jumping to the conclusion that a forger is always one who copies the writing of others so as to deceive by composing documents in their handwriting. In the period of the game that is actually only one small aspect of the forger’s art. The GM must be aware of the fact that writing is considered a highly skilled and specialized art. The nobility rarely have the skill of writing, and even when they do, they use their chaplains or secretaries for taking dictation. Handwriting is not one of the means used for identifying a person because of this.

The GM must understand that a signature is not acknowledged as a legal instrument. No document can be validated by a simple signature, only with a seal of wax or lead, which must be attended by witnesses. This is when the bulk. of forger-smiths are employed, to cut the dies, which are made of metal, The forger is usually also a goldsmith in this case, used to working on a small and intricate scale. False seals on documents, writs, charters, and letters of various sorts are often used to defraud victims in a variety of ways,

Well-to-do freemen who can afford to do so retain secretaries of their own to emulate the practice of the noble class to whose wealth and prestige they aspire, especially in the towns. That leaves only a small group of common craftsmen and lesser merchants in the towns writing their own correspondence, and it is generally considered an onerous task. Most free folk go to textwriters and scriveners’ shops to get their correspondence written, and those who can’t read go to get their correspondence read to them. Thus, the forger must take care to emulate the writing of the proper person.

The other aspect of forgery that the GM must take care not to overlook is the forging of painted works and especially making copies of important artifacts, relics, jewels and jewelry, and objets d’art, using common materials to sham items made of precious substances.

All of these uses of the forger’s skills and more are discussed in the description of the Knave Trade.

The Trickster/Confidence Man usually has a particular scam that he runs, rarely changing it, except in the finer details. He may approach Merchants as a fellow Merchant himself who has fallen under bad circumstances, having been arrested and his goods confiscated for the debts of his king as a foreign national, in need of passage money to the capital, to the city where his foreign correspondent resides, or back home, or perhaps pleading for some small relief to get him back on his feet after having lost his cargo at sea, to storm or pirates or to highwaymen. Alternately, he might accost the common folk for his daily bread as a pilgrim, or at some church establishment to receive alms, or go about in his “small-clothes” lamenting the loss or theft of his outer clothing and begging for replacements, or as a proud tradesman accost the. people carrying the tools of some trade complaining that he could find no honest work, and so needs must beg money for lodgings and food. There is also the practice of assuming the identity of various important or noble personages in order to lodge with and be entertained in honor and style by lesser folk and social pees at the host’s expense, With no news media and no real tradition of accurate portraiture, impersonation could make a quite comfortable, if somewhat risky, way of life. As long is one keeps track of the actual whereabouts of the subject of the impersonation and doesn’t encounter another who actually met the person whose place has been usurped, and as long as one’s general description fits what might be obtained by word of mouth or correspondence, the risk is manageable.

These are only a few of the most. popular cons in the period of the game. All of these and more are discussed in the description of the Knave Trade.

A Cutler deals in finished blades for domestic use and sharpens blades far both domestic and for combat use.

The GM will please note that this is all the cutler does. He neither makes the handles for the blades, nor the cross-guards, nor pommels, nor installs any of these pieces on the knife. Such is the extreme specialization and division of labor in medieval industry.

The Dyer labors over steaming tubs of dyes stirring with his great paddle, dying both finished goods and raw materials. Though he generally deals  with cloth, he also dyes leathers.

Entertainers

The Acrobat/Mummer can be a member of a wandering troupe or of a band on retainer to a town or noble retinue, called a “wait.” Wandering troupes commonly have a town or farm where they usually winter. In this case, the character’s home will occasionally or even usually be the troupe’s wintering spot. Mummer are actors but skilled in the special arts of the “dumbshow,” as mimes. They represent characters and situations by mimicry, gestures, or actions, without speech, chiefly to exhibit more of his story than could be otherwise included.

The player will please note that this entry can also include regular repertory-type troupe actors, similar in nature to the wandering acrobat bands, playing the courtyards of large inns, but particularly when the GM’s theater bas reached the Elizabethan level, with special buildings designed and built for their purposes.

A Feltmaker beats the material he is felting until the fibers are rendered and inter-tangled in a cohesive mat. Most fibrous vegetable materials can be rendered in this way, but wool is also commonly so treated, especially for the making of hats, which can then be shaped with the clever application of steam.

A Gemcutter/Lapidary does indeed design and cut gems of all grades, both opaque and transparent, in facets or en cabochon, but the OM must Understand that 1heo name of this trade is strictly meant. Expressing the division of labor in true medieval fashion, the Gemcutter/Lapidary does this and this only. The creation of settings and the placing. of the stones in those settings is the work. of the jewelers alone, one of the types of smiths (gold-, silver-).

A Girdler is a maker of belts in leather, metal, even silk, or combinations of these materials for domestic clothing and also to tab scabbards of’ weapons as a part of the Warrior’s war harness, especially that of the Knight.

A Glover, simply enough, is a maker of gloves of all kinds and in all materials.

The Guard/Yeoman encompasses all common lower echelon footmen, full or part-time, who fill out the ranks of the armies of the land in times of trouble and stand watch-duty in the walled towns and cities, their lords’ castles, and/or share royal castle-duty rotations with their lord’s Knights or sergeants. This Station is otherwise described under the Free Commoner notes, previously.

An Herbal is one who collects and preserves and also makes preparations from the herbs that grow either in his garden or in the surrounding countryside, discussed in the Skill description of the same name in Chapter 3., as follows.

For Midwife see the description of the “Barber”, previously.

A Horner is a worker in horn, whether for making handles for tools or domestic implements, decoratively carven accents, or the like. See also “Carver” above.

The Herald is not only a crier and announcer of visitors, but the carrier of challenges at tourneys, an official charged with the carrying of the lords’ proclamations to his subjects throughout the land and his messages to other lords. He is highly trained and educated in recognizing the heraldic devices that identify all the titled families of the kingdom in which he lives, the subtle differences that mark the generations of the same family, and the marks of cadence that distinguish one branch of a family from another. The player will have to check with the GM to for the particulars on the station of the noble family for which the character’s father works.

The Huntsman/Trapper might be one of the several itinerant officers of the forests discussed at length under the Huntsman Trade or a freeman Trapper wandering the wilderness running a line of traps for fur-bearing animals.

The Husbandman is a simple man who breeds and raises common livestock on farms and larger estates, having all the knowledge necessary for their daily feeding and grooming so as to maintain them in optimum condition. The Beastmaster may be a falconer, a Master of Horse breaking young horses to the saddle and training warhorses to the needs of their Knight owners in battle, a trainer of hunting dogs and guard dogs, or fighting cocks, bear- or bull-baiting dogs, or performing animals such as dancing bears for performing troupes, and so on and so forth. The GM will have to assign a particular type of beasts the parent will specialize in – sheep, cattle, pig, horse or fowl (chickens, geese, swans, etc.) for husbandmen or most commonly horse, hawk, or hound for beastmasters, though bears, monkeys or any other sort of beast is possible especially in association with wandering entertainers.

Regardless of whether Husbandman or Beastmaster knows all of the common cures for the simple troubles and ailments that commonly beset the beasts he takes care of, and enough of midwifery to help them in birthing, though be is not as good as a true healer at curing actual diseases unless he has the Barber/Leech Trade as well.

A Jeweler is a silversmith or goldsmith who specifically specializes in making articles of’ jewelry, especially those in which gems/jewels are set. A jewel can be anything from a small piece of enamelwork. to natural or cut stones, facetted in prong-settings to catch the light or cabochon in bezel settings, carven stones or gems like cameos or those used as personal seals. No other craftsmen set jewels, not even the craftsmen who cut or grind or polish the stones for making jewelry.

Laborers

A Carter carries goods either locally, from farm to market, or any goods or articles, belongings or wares for lord or merchant from town to town, with his own cart(s) and/or wagon(s) and horses. It is usual for several to band together in a company to represent those who ply the same route when there is high traffic between.

The Fuller, or walker, washes and beats cloth after weaving in order to compact the weave and fibers in the cloth. to help prepare it for market, prior to combing and shearing the surface (the final steps).

A Longshoreman is one who frequents or is employed’ along the shore, here specifically, a laborer who is engaged to load and unload ships’ cargoes, whether by hand, on his own back, or by the aid of a crane, and transfer goods from ship to dock and from dock. to ship.

The Maid/Servant can be any of the free staff that work. for pay or privileges in the middle class and wealthier houses, free or noble, for lack of other skills and education. They may be engaged in any of the many household departments from the stables or cellar stores to the kitchen or upstairs domestic chambers. They and their families often take great pride in serving a particular family or house from one generation to the next.

A Porter can be either a gatekeeper monitoring the traffic through one of the entrances to a castle, walled town, or some similar type of fortification, or one who carries loads for other people for his livelode (livelihood). whether transporting goods from warehouses to clients for merchants or carrying parcels for the well-to-do out shopping or helping travelers with their belongings.

Watercarriers or waterleaders are a type of porter specializing in carrying water to houses in those neighborhoods where there is no water service by pipe or well.

The balance of the Laborers should be fairly self-explanatory.

A Lanternmaker does just that.

A Lattener is a type of’ smith who makes and applies latten in decorative metalwork. Latten is a brass-like alloy of copper, commonly used for decorative inlay-work in other metals, especially in the form of personal mottos along the flats of weapon blades, but also on domestic implements, around the sides of cooking pots, for instance.

Lawyers

An Attorney is a lawyer with full power to conduct his client’s affairs at law, with full leave to act as his client’s agent, to argue his cases and causes, buy writs in his name, and receive judgements without having to get his constant approval and ratification at every step. These highly skilled and responsible men keep in close contact with their clients, however, as those whom they serve generally take a very active interest and closely supervise them, Unless they have no knowledge or interest in the law, or simply have no time for it due to the volume of domestic concerns (very common for great magnates), most clients will keep in as regular contact as they may with their attorneys to ensure their “great causes” are properly and zealously pursued.

The Juror is just that, however, in the English system of justice an he is a paid professional, an expert witness commonly called forth to offer testimony. In this case, the character’s parent is a juror with connections to or the patronage of the officer in charge of empaneling juries in either the hundred, shire, or one of the royal courts (GM’s discretion).

A pleader is a man trained at law, a lawyer, but more specifically he is trained in the arts of rhetoric and belles lettres. He is hired for his skill in speaking to plead the cases of others in court so that a man’s ignorance need not be bared before the world. Their arguments and points are summed up for the client as the pleader proceeds, and must actually be ratified by the client and verified before being accepted by the court, to ensure that the case is argued as the client intends.

The Questmonger is one who makes a business of conducting inquests, with connections to a [local] government official to keep him steadily busy, or he may be a questman, an official elected annually in parish or town wards, a member of a “quest” appointed to make an official inquiry, commonly with connections or patronage that enables them to be returned to the office year after year or returned to new panels repeatedly. Those who engage in these practices are held in contempt by the common folk, for they are the instruments by which the wealthy commonly win their court cases. A man waging his suit at law is expected to pay the travel expenses, bed, and board of those who heIp him. Jurors also have to be wined and dined or “laboured,” to win their sympathy and acquaint them with the facts of the case from their point of view, while questmongers are paid a fee for their services.

A Sergeant-at-Law is a lawyer who has served with distinction for no less than 12 years, and more commonly 16 years. This appointment is not automatically granted due to time served, but is a special honor conferred only upon the worthy. From here, the next step in a career at law is to be appointed as a judge by the Crown.

The solicitor is a clerk at law who works in a town where a particular court is located (hundred, shire, central royal). He is hired to search the rolls in which the writs and actions of the court are recorded and to keep his client informed of any actions taken against him, so that the client have sufficient time to prepare his defense or an answering suit. The solicitor is also present to keep tabs on the workings of the court, the cases on the dockets, the judges assigned, and the like to advise the client on the timing of his actions and the furthering the pursuit of any cases he may have pending.

A Limner is a professional illuminator who illustrates books, scrolls, and other documents and manuscripts for a living, either with black & white line drawing, limited color, or full color high-quality paintings (up to an entire page or double-page spread in size).

A Lorimer is a craftsman who makes decorative fittings of all kinds of metal for saddles, bridles, reins, and other pieces of horse harness. Their guild is placed under the supervision of the saddlers.

A Magister/Scholar is a man with a complete university education, who has succeeded in his final examination and been awarded his certificate, qualified to teach. He will be a master of the core of medieval education, the Trivium and the Quadrivium, but should also specialize in at least one other area (see Scholar description). 1f he is truly charismatic and remarkable of wit, he may teach at a university and attract a body of student followers, otherwise he will work in a noble or royal household as the Magister (master) of one or more children, a traveling companion and perhaps also a confidante, responsible for their education and for keeping them out of trouble.

Merchants

Merchants are dealers in mass quantities of raw materials like timber, wool, grain, metals and the like, but also in the finished products of various artisans and crafts. They are importers and dealers in most any commodity from fish, fruit, oil, metals, wood, and wool, to silk, sweets, ornamental stones, precious stones for jewelry, and rare spices, but they deal only in “foreign” goods and/or exporting the products of their home town. The word “foreign” is placed in quotes here to mark the fact that to the medieval mind, any persons or goods originating outside of a town and the neighboring hinterland that supplies it is considered foreign. Whether the goods come from the next town over, the next shire, the other end of the kingdom, or another country entirely, native townsfolk (especially the merchants) will consider them foreign. Their numbers can include the lowly itinerant hawkers and huxters crying their wares in the streets, circulating from town to village, though these were generally reviled and persecuted for their lack of permanent shops of their own, commonly accused of selling stolen and/or inferior goods by the resident local merchants.

These may be beer- or winesellers, mercers or drapers dealing in cloth and finished textile goods; grocers handling all manner of fresh produce brought in from the fields; wood-, cloth-, or ironmongers selling scraps and secondhand goods. Cornmongers deal in all sorts of grain that are grown in the kingdom, importing any that aren’t grown locally that are popular with the people at home. Haberdashers deal in every sort of fashionable ready-made major piece of clothing and necessary accessory that can be had from abroad. Haymongers deal in all sorts of fodder for livestock. The rest of the entries on table 2-12.f should be fairly self-explanatory.

Milliners deal in ribbons, laces, beads, and sewing notions for the hair and for trimming and brightening clothing. as well as trimming. designing, and selling hats and cauls for both men and women, and headdresses and wimples for ladies of gentle. birth. The name is derived from the original source of such things – Milan (milan-ery, millinery).

Though the player may have determined a specialty for the goods his family deals in table 2-12.f, the player should be aware that the merchant specialty represents the type of goods the family will always have a line on, always having a shipment en route if they are sold out, but the family will always be on the lookout for other goods they can obtain at a reasonable price on which they think they can turn a profit, and so will usually also have various assorted odds-‘n-ends of other goods, samples that have been acquired by their associates and agents, on hand.

A Miller is a tenant in a mill who grinds the grain the local tenant farmers bring, in return for a fee, in the form of a small portion of the grain ground. They have universally horrid reputations as cheats and Knaves as a body. One. of’ the more popular jests among the common folk afflicted by millers in the period is :

“What is the boldest thing?”

“Why, the shirt of a miller.”

“Why?”

“Because it holds a thief by the throat daily!”

A Millwright builds, equips, and repairs mills of all types, as all other wrights make and repair the goods in which they specialize.

The Ostler is a stableman who takes charge of and sees to the care of horses and other mounts at inns, hostels, hospitals, bordellos, professional stables, and the like.

The Painter/Stainer is an artist that either works in frescoes on walls or on cloths that can be rolled up and carried about as the family moves (there are no stretched canvasses in use in the period of the game). The difference between painting and staining is that a stainer works in dyes to color the fabric itself, rather than applying paint to the surface.

A Pewterer is a smith who specializes in making pewter alloys and executing works in pewter.

The Philosopher/Sage is a man with an advanced university education, but who prefers quiet contemplation and scholarly pursuits, the recording of his thoughts, observations, and theories, to competing for the student attention and attendance with his lectures at a university, though he may have taught at a large institution at one time. The areas in which he may direct his attention in the pursuit of philosophy (esp. theology) are listed, at least in part, in the description of Scholars in the Trades (which the GM should see when setting specifics). The same is doubly true in determining the area(s) of expertise as a “Sage.”

The Antiquary/Sage is much the same as the Philosopher, a man with an advanced university education, except that be specializes in the extremely old, particularly interested in ancient history, society, politics, and recovering from ancient cultures what he well knows has since been lost through tragedy, calamity. or carelessness. These sages tend to specialize in a particular region. those countries and cultures that have occupied it, and many that have bordered it, over the course of time.

The Physician or Surgeon is not to he confused with the Leech/Midwife or Barber/Leech. The Physicians are prominent, respectable men with advanced university degrees who do their utmost to preserve the standards of education in their field. Physicians are diagnosticians and theorists, rarely making house-calls, even prescribing treatments without actually seeing a client. In their snobbery, they have an overwhelming tendency to dismiss and ignore the body of knowledge of the country leeches and midwives in herb lore and craft, even banning these folk. from their guilds. The barbers and leeches they look down upon as common butchers. As can be expected one must pay for their reputation; their fees are exorbitant.

The Surgeons are the best to be had when. surgery is required, highly trained and usually battle-trained with the most extensive knowledge of internal anatomy. They are protected by the same patrons that make use of the Physicians, and will occasionally go to university to obtain the degree that will allow them to broaden their practice and raise their status.

The Pointmaker cuts and sews on the laces and/or ribbons applied to garments to tie them together, especially at the shoulders of jerkins or doublets and ladies’ bodices to tie the sleeves on which change style from year to year, much more quickly that the overall styles of the gowns, and on hosen to tie them together and hold them up, and down the fronts or backs of their jerkins, doublets, and bodices to close them tight. He also makes plain and fancy metal points for binding the ends of the points (laces or ribbons) so they can be more easily threaded through lacing holes and to prevent their ends from fraying with wear.

The Pouchmaker/Purser makes all sorts of bags and pouches out of all sorts of materials, large and small, heavy and light, with and without closures, for a variety of uses, domestic and commercial, for fashionable wear or for carrying coin or freight.

A Saddler is a maker of saddles.

A Salter is one who salts down meats and/or fish to preserve them.

A Shearman both cuts fabric for clients (a highly skilled job) and shears the surface of cloth. a finishing process whereby the nap of a fabric, usually woolen or a wool-blend, is brushed up and then sheared off as close to the surface as may be, for a smooth, neat appearance. Both sorts of shearing and a bit risky, due to the fact that the shearman is financially liable for the value of any cloth he mis-cuts or damages. Shearing is always done to the face of new cloth before it is cut to measure and sewn into garments, but is also done, usually every year, to older garments to give them a fresher, newer appearance.

The Blacksmith, unlike the other smith, specialties, encompasses a great number of basic smith skills. and even some related carpentry, especially when he serves out in the country as the only such resident professional craftsman. He, makes and replaces horseshoes, nails, sharpens blades, repairs pots like a tinker, makes and repairs barrels like a cooper, makes and repairs all sorts of iron/steel farm tools, makes and repairs cart and wagon fittings like a wainwright, and so on and so forth. He must make do in the countryside for the trade isn’t brisk enough in any one area for him to specialize as a. cooper, etc., as he might in a town setting. Every village with a lord in residence will have a blacksmith, probably resident at or near the lord’s range of domestic buildings. Elsewhere, only one in four (25%) of villages will have a resident blacksmith, and it will be among the larger in the area with the greatest flow of traffic for his trade.

A Spinner takes raw animal fibers (wool, camel hair, etc.) or plant fibers (flax, cotton, hemp, etc.) and twists them by spindle and distaff and draws them into thread for sewing or weaving. It takes approximately five spinners to keep a single weaver steadily supplied to keep working continuously at his loom. The spinner’s trade is dominated by young women, and women in general, to the point that those women who find no mates and continue at the craft are called “spinsters”. This is so strong that even today the female side of a family is referred to as the distaff side.

The Spurrier, simply enough, is a type of smith who makes spurs.

Suttlers are weighers of goods who are responsible for the marking   of “tare”, the deduction of the weight of the vessels or packaging in which goods are shipped or traded when they are weighed, and of “tret”, the gauging of how much of a given load will be ruined waste material by the time it is received. This is a closely watched and regulated occupation. Those so employed work closely with the local .authorities and merchants to be sure that the rates and measures are just.

A Tanner/Tawyer prepares and cures hides, removing the hair from the outside and any remaining flesh clinging to the inside and processing them, so they will be tough enough for the many commercial uses to which leather is put. The tanner specifically bathes the hides in a pit or tub with oak bark and acacia pods, rich in tannin, while tawyers use a mineral tanning method, imbuing (rubbing) the skins with alum, salt, dung, and other agents such as an emulsion of egg yolk. The tanners empty their tubs right out in the streets, and the waters become quite noisome, as does the quarter of the town in which the tanners gather to make their workshops, which are usually forced to be located adjacent to the butchers’ shops, the knackeryards and charnel houses, in a district referred to as the Shambles in the period of the game.

The Tapeter is one who weaves tapestries and wall hangings of the High Medieval Gobelin sort much admired today, also called arras’, after the town of Arras which was so famous for its tapestries for all similar products to be so called, regardless of actual town of origin.

A Tinker is one who goes about crying his services in the streets and lanes, collecting damaged pots and pans. usually of the common sort, normally of tin (hence the name) in order to repair them. In order to stay in business and stay busy enough to make a living, they must normally range a wide area.

The Wainwright is a type of carpenter, a maker and repairer of wagons and carts, and especially cart and wagon wheels, with limited smithying skills to work the iron needed to make the hardware pieces he requires.

The Wood-/Trailsman/Guide includes local villagers and freeholders who know their way around their own district and are familiar with the surrounding settlements and have done some travelling about, who know something of the wilderness and woodcraft, including the officers of the forest – Foresters, Verderers, Woodwards, Regarders, Agisters, Reeves of the Forest Vills, Rangers and other professionals who look after noble and royal woodland prerogatives by special writ or permission. The player will need to work out the details with the GM, who has the definitions for all these positions. Forest lands and the rights to exploit those lands will be deeply coveted, difficult for nobles to pry from the hands of their reigning monarchs, and jealously guarded by all who hold them.

For Adventurer results the character will have been raised in the household of one who is or was himself a PC-caliber Adventurer character of some sort, as determined in Chapter 2. The GM will have to check the descriptions of the Trade rolled and decide how familiar the PC will be with the parent’s trade and the people connected with it. This information should be included in the briefing prepared for the player prior to actual play. The parent’s trade should probably be treated as if it were at least a Secondary-type skill for the character for purposes of being familiar with those in the trade, his father’s master in the trade, colleagues and other prominent practitioners of the Trade, even those at the apex, looked up to by the parent and all others in the Trade.

Landbound Commoner Stations

For a description of Household Officer see both the free townsman and free rural commoner entries. The only difference between those entries and this one is the fact that landbound families are only found in the lower-ranking household positions such as butler, Pantler, cook, huntsman, groomsman, body servant, personal messenger, usher or Doorward, and are not tolerated as hangers-on after the fashion of a courtier.

The “Steward/Bailiff” entry indicates that the parent is an officer of his lord, but specifically involved in supervising and expediting the agricultural work of the estate on which he lives, or the administrative block of estates of which it is a part. He will be very popular with many of the locals as a result, generally, due to the usually oppressive nature of his work enforcing the requirements of week-work, making boon-work demands during the harvest when the tenants have crops of their own to get it, and so on.

Village Officers” are those elected by the residents of a village to be in charge of the ordering and management of the resources and labor of the village in cultivating the land and livestock to the best advantage and greatest profit. Of these, the reeve is chief, but these also include the hayward who makes sure the drainage and boundary ditches in the village remain clear, and that all hedging and hurdles between lands and for keeping livestock on private property and/or out of the common fields remain in good repair, and the aletasters who make sure that all of the beer brewed by the local alewives for serving the villagers is of proper strength and purity, as required by the law – the Assize of Beer and Bread. These offices can only be held by landbound tenants, and are generally rotated through the residents so the burden of serving in these offices doesn’t become too onerous. Indeed, providing proof (sufficient corroborating testimony) that one has never had a parent required to serve in any such office is deemed legally sufficient to prove free status.

The ploughman is a husbandman who works for an entire village and/or on the local lord’s demesne. Those he works for all contribute to the teams that pull the ploughs, and the ploughman directs and manages the work of the ploughing while also helping to care for the beasts through the ploughing seasons.

The herdsman or herder makes his living working for an entire village and/or the local lord’s demesne by caring for their beasts as well as his own, or he may have none of his own. He may be a cow-or oxherd, swineherd or shepherd (player’s discretion). The oxherder takes the beasts in his charge from the entire village or lord’s demesne at the end of the fall ploughing and sees to their care through the winter.

The dairyman or deye (female) not only collects the milk from the village milchcows in the morning but culls the cream, makes the cheeses and ages them, churns the milk for butter and then presses it into the forms to make it usable, and commonly also keeps the village chickens, ducks, geese and other fowl. He commonly makes his home and headquarters at the home farm of the local lord or religious house that rules the village or dominates it, hard by the village grange and tithing barn(s) even in the absence of such a dominant presence in the village.

The simple farmer is just that. Farming is all he is concerned with, that and taking care of his agricultural responsibilities to his lord. The extent of his lands are determined by his landbound class (villein, bordar, cottar, serf).

For a description of Craftsman see both the free townsman and free rural commoner entries. The only difference between those entries and this is the fact that, at the landbound social level, the family is also engaged in a craft or manufacturing trade of some sort, most commonly one of the domestic household crafts (chandlery, spinning, weaving, dying, etc.) , in order to supplement their income from farming which is likely insufficient on its own to provide for the needs of a whole family.

The Household Servant entry is fairly self explanatory. The GM must determine the Station of the household to which the character’s servant parent(s) is attached. They are generally discharged in the evening after the clean-up following supper has been completed each day, returning at daybreak. only those working upstairs as personal servants directly for the master of the house or estate, or their officers, sleep overnight in the house.

Common laborer families are engaged in various forms of labor for rather small daily wages, porting parcels for shoppers at market, carrying building materials, clearing and digging ditches, raking refuse, hauling water, as the results of table 2-8.d indicate, whatever can be found to keep bread on the table, particularly seasonal harvest work and maintenance in the rural districts.

Those of these stations generally also have at least a “toft and croft” to tend and till in addition to their housework or labors.

Free Rural Commoner Stations

The Government Service (local shire) entry indicates a member of the royal administration, but more specifically on the local, shire level, or one of the offices of the King’s Officers of the Realm, in the offices of the Sheriff, Coroner, or King’s Escheator, Justices of the Forests, Justices’ Keepers, and so on, as laid out under the heading “Shire Government” following table 2-13., as their assistants and/or clerk. The actual positions of Sheriff, Coroner, and Escheator are reserved for those of knightly rank, the natural place and function of the resident local Law-worthy Knights, Knights Bachelor or Knights Banneret in local medieval government. Many of the other, lesser, keeperships of manors or forests, chases, or parks  may be open to common administration, though this speaks of connections and higher (university, Church) education.

A gentleman, or man of gentle birth, is a farmer descended from a line of pastoral (minor, landed) Knights who either no longer desire or do not have the financial means to afford the trappings of their former knightly Station. If any branch of a knightly family fails to train for and earn the gilded spurs of knighthood for three generations in succession, that branch loses that right thenceforth. They simply become “gentlemen”. This does not mean that they have no privileges, they still have access through their family to positions in great lordly houses as clerks or officers, and their children may be taken in as pages and grow into positions of their own in the household, perhaps eventually recovering knighthood through service.

Gentlemen are accorded a degree of respect in their local communities due to their blood, recorded even in the Sumptuary Laws as above their commoner neighbors, and their circumstances are considered unfortunate, viewed with sympathy by the nobility in whose houses they usually render service in order to maintain some dignity and ties to their Class of origin. Their lands are worth a minimum of £12 up to £20 a year (somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 to 480 acres).

Franklins, a purely English term, are freeholders of extensive property. They are wealthy men of the country, farmers and husbandmen, who have prospered and raised themselves up without the benefit of noble blood. Their lands may be worth anywhere from £2 up to £10 a year, certainly no less than 60 acres and up to 240 acres.

The Scholar/Lawyer is just that, but in this instance it indicates a clergyman in the rural areas, a lawyer on retainer to one or more noble families to look after their interests in the local courts and the royal shire court (as appropriate to the character’s origins), a scholar working in the noble household directly either temporarily as a chronicler writing the (most flattering) history of the family, or as a magister (tutor and chaperone) to one or more of the household children.  The lower the station of the noble, the more children a single magister may be responsible for, those serving nobles of the rank of earl or greater will have only a single charge each. If there is a university town in the region, the scholar or lawyer parent might alternately be involved in teaching one or more lectures to the students periodically, even a master with a fellowship there.

The Courtier, Household Service entry is explained under the Free Townsman notes, but for the Rural Classes it should be understood to also specifically include the men of business or men of affairs employed by the nobles to send hither and yon about the country to sell the produce of their estates, to act as keepers for smaller blocks of lands and manor estates, take care of procuring their household needs in the markets and especially the fine imports they crave from the larger ports, to make inquiries into the houses of other nobles after marriages for their children, to consult well-connected Recommendresses for the same, as a messenger or go-between to facilitate communications and business with those of lesser rank, and to work alongside their legal counsel on their behalf in the courts and offices of government in securing the documents and dispensations they require to make their affairs run as desired as smoothly as may be. Without such agents or courtiers working for their interests at court and abroad in the realm they would never have time to attend to the details of running their honors and estates and orchestrating the complex details, social and legal, of their families, their personal needs, and the wide range of other assets and associations.

This Courtier works in the same manner as the Courtier described above, having the same duties and responsibilities, BUT with the difference that he is something of a “free lance” or free agent. He works wherever he finds opportunity to cultivate relationships with various patrons, but without being counted as a member of any one noble’s household as is the Courtier discussed above. Achieving that level of patronage is what this Courtier aspires to.

The Chapman indicated here is the same as that discussed under Free Townsman, except that the character’s family either owns or rents their home and land out in the rural areas and the itinerant merchant father must make a stop at the major market towns first when he starts his yearly circuit to purchase and pick up the stock he will peddle for the season. At the end of the season he will return to winter at the farm with his family.

The Yeoman/Common Farmer owns his own farm. Yeomen are the class from which the ranks of footmen soldiers in the service of the Crown are drawn, especially the archers, who often may also serve in a domestic capacity during peacetime. The GM will find a number of household positions noted as being held by Yeomen in the rosters of the King’s and Queen’s household in the pages following the Craftsman Crafts &Trades Notes. He is the master of a farm as large as roughly 90 acres, but generally around 30 to 50 acres, which may be a combination of owned and rented fields. He brings in about £1 in profits each year, more in  bumper crop years, less in years of dearth, and keeps at least one servant if not three or four.

None who fall below this Station are allowed to vote in the general elections for the Knights of the Shire when they are summoned to appear in Parliament (the King’s Great Council), or take any part in government aside from civil service (shire or royal clerk, radman/messenger, or the like).

The Craftsman/Farmer is equivalent to the impoverished Craftsman described under the Free Townsman notes insofar as the extent of his business in his craft. He enjoys a higher standard of living, however, due to the portion of lands he holds and farms in the common fields in addition, on the order of a villein’s virgate or smaller yeoman farmer. His fellow villagers lend him aid in return for his labor at his craft. Between the two he and his family are comfortable.

The Household Servant entry is fairly self-explanatory, but there is a distinction drawn among those in service between those working “above stairs” (valets and chambermaids) and those that work “below stairs” (cooks and kitchen sluts, stablehands, etc.). The GM must determine the Station of the household to which his servant parents are attached.

The Dayworker/Common Laborer will be engaged in various forms of labor for rather small daily wages, carrying materials, digging ditches, raking refuse, whatever can be found to keep bread on the table, in addition to farming a small plot such as a Cottar or Bordar might hold.

Free Townsman Commoner Stations

The Steward/Sheriff (Shire Gov’t Service) or Mayor (Town Government) is in charge of the administration of the town. The steward or sheriff is an appointed official serving at the king’s (sheriff) or his lord’s (steward) pleasure administering the affairs of a town in his lord’s feof, thus falling within feudal or baronial law under that lord’s care. If the pleasure and confidence of the lord has been earned, this appointment can last for life. In the case of the chief town of a shire, the official in charge will be a sheriff, based at the castle attached to the town. If the town has a royal charter, the sheriff will have no part of the administration of the town itself. that will be in the hands of a mayor. In the case of a town in a lord’s feof, all business must come through the office of the steward, including writs and official correspondence. Even royal agents aren’t allowed to trespass on their official business but must deliver the papers up to the steward, except by a special writ when the steward fails to act in accordance with the dictates of the Crown.

The Mayor part of this entry applies only to free-chartered towns. The mayor is a man elected by the aldermen of the wards into which the town is divided, from among their own ranks. To be chosen for either position, or for any of the other posts in the town government (secretary, treasurer, coroner, etc), one must be a property-owning burgess – the wealthiest members of the guild merchant, doctors, lawyers, or other well-heeled professionals, but including the members of the wealthy craft-guild halls only occasionally. The term of service was for life or at pleasure unless ousted for misconduct. The mayor is responsible for representing the town interests to the Crown or his sheriff, or the lord by whom the charter was granted, for finding collectors to gather tax monies, for organizing the levies when called for, Some towns may have a mayor and no councilors or aldermen, or there may be a panel of councilors or aldermen and no mayor. When there are both, the mayor acts as the chairman. The mayor might make as much as £125 per year. Often the relationship between a town and the local sheriff is adversarial, the sheriffs always attempting to assert feudal rights where charters have granted freedoms.

In London, the candidate for mayor must have proven his worthiness for the office first by having served as sheriff for the city for a year before standing for the mayoral election.

The Alderman/Councilor (Town Government Service) is a representative of one of the wards into which a town is divided for the purposes of government, To be chosen for this position, or for any of the other posts in the town government (secretary, treasurer, coroner, etc), one must be a property-owning burgess – the wealthiest members of the guild merchant, doctors, lawyers, or other well-heeled professionals, but including the members of the wealthy craft-guild halls only occasionally. The aldermen call themselves barons, and take for themselves the rank and dignity of peers. They are chosen from among the wealthier and wiser of each of the wards by those of the much more numerous body of common councilors, whose numbers are set by the town charter, varying between four and twelve per ward. The term of service was for life or at pleasure unless ousted for misconduct. The aldermen with or without a mayor are powerless to enact any legislation regarding the citizens of the town without the assent of the councilors. The councilors of Norwich numbered 80, and each of the four wards into which the town was divided (Conesford, Mancroft, Wymer, and Ultra Aquam) was represented by six aldermen. London had 24 wards, with an alderman for each and 12 common councilors.

An Affluent Merchant includes all wealthy members of the guild merchant, wardens and masters who, with their ready capital, finance the acquisition and shipping of the majority of the kingdom’s imports and exports. The larger and more wealthy the merchant guild, the more likely the merchants will be to form splinter guilds devoted to interests concerning a limited variety of goods, such as the grocers or drapers. The affluent generally rule their guilds, setting rules for quality of goods and measures, setting rules and regulations for apprentices, journeymen, and the admittance of new masters. They are always burgesses, that being a basic requirement for membership in the guild.

With the greatest disposable wealth, and hence clout, this Station commonly the strongest and most influential body in town society, due mostly to their constant concern with the affairs of the town. The more numerous by less affluent will generally be more difficult to motivate to raise their voice in public policy except when there is a persistent abuse being suffered that they require redressed, but even then, they are not likely to stay focused.

The Lawyer-Attorney/Pleader/Solicitor practices law in one of the several roles in the courts. An attorney is a lawyer with full power to conduct his client’s affairs at law, with full leave to act as his client’s agent, to argue his cases and causes, buy writs in his name, and receive judgements without having to get his constant approval and ratification at every step. These highly skilled and responsible men keep in close contact with their clients, however, as those whom they serve generally take a very active interest and closely supervise them, Unless they have no knowledge or interest in the law, or simply have no time for it due to the volume of domestic concerns (very common for great magnates), most clients will keep in as regular contact as they may with their attorneys to ensure their “great causes” are properly and zealously pursued.

A pleader is a man trained at law, a lawyer, but more specifically he is trained in the arts of rhetoric and belles lettres. He is hired for his skill in speaking to plead the cases of others in court so that a man’s ignorance need not be bared before the world. Their arguments and points are summed up for the client as the pleader proceeds, and must actually be ratified by the client and verified before being accepted by the court, to ensure that the case is argued as the client intends.

The solicitor is a clerk at law who works in a town where a particular court is located (hundred, shire, central royal). He is hired to search the rolls in which the writs and actions of the court are recorded and to keep his client informed of any actions taken against him, so that the client have sufficient time to prepare his defense or an answering suit. The solicitor is also present to keep tabs on the workings of the court, the cases on the dockets, the judges assigned, and the like to advise the client on the timing of his actions and the furthering the pursuit of any cases he may have pending.

Affluent Craftsman encompasses all wealthy members of the craft-guilds, their wardens and elders, and masters of manufactories that can be found in the towns. They are always burgesses, like their merchant counterparts, and members of the influential crafthalls or guilds. In the chartered towns, common councilors often be drawn from those of this Station. These men generally rule their crafthalls setting the standards for the trade, setting rules and regulations concerning apprentices, journeymen, and the admittance of new masters. When there are not enough craftsmen of a single trade to make a guild, several crafts may band together to form a regional corporation for mutual support. The banding together of diverse craftsmen will be much more common among the smaller boroughs of the countryside, often a measure taken out of self-defense against the powerful guilds-merchant in their own towns and in the larger shipping ports. With their wealth  and hence clout, these men are normally voted into administrative positions not only in their own guilds, but also occasionally over the towns as well. The crafts tend to clash over economic priorities with the merchants, who import and export manufactured goods, but the merchants tend to dominate the crafts.

Affluent craftsmen generally keep three to five domestic servants, some times more, in their fine half-timbered houses, usually with a brick or stone undercroft (cellar) and first floor. The annual income of an affluent craftsman can range from £15 to £20 a year. .

Courtier, Government Service or Noble Service indicates the parent is an untitled dependent to the court of a nobleman. They can be found in the courts of greater barons and those of higher magnates, dealing in favors of one kind or another, running errands, personal favors, full purses, and business concessions, testing allegiances and loyalties, looking to glean what secrets he may find. But there are courtiers of all levels and means to be found hanging on to noble courts and households of all ranks. Those who have gained sufficient favor and proved useful can be found as household officers.

The Constable/Beadle/Sergeant is an officer charged with maintaining the peace, of responding to and issuing the Hue and Cry to apprehend malefactors and then hold and present them to the courts, especially in the wards of the chartered towns, While there are others of this title, rank, and function as a part of the policing of each shire, we are concerned here with the constable, two to four beadles and four to six sergeants attached to the alderman of each ward in a town.

The Merchant/Chapman entry covers the entire gamut of importers and exporters who ply the roads and waters of the realm with their goods, making sure they get where they are needed. The attics or garrets of their half-timbered homes, and also commonly the stone undercrofts (cellars) are used to store the wares awaiting a buyer or carrier for shipment, as the average merchant cannot generally afford to build and maintain a separate warehouse of their own. The town guild is likely to have large a few warehouses for the storage of commodities commonly traded in bulk through the town.

The chapman is a type of wandering merchant who takes his wares by cart, horse, or mule on a circuit of the more remote rural areas from spring through fall. The takes orders to fill the particular needs of the people on his circuit, lord and commoner alike. Due to the remoteness of the areas served, the lesser lords as well as the common folk depend upon his services.

The merchant entry is strictly tied to Town environs, where the chapman is a wanderer and can have his base in either Town or Rural areas, though leaning to Town in order to get his stock to travel with, however, just as easy for the towns to be the first stop on his route from a Rural home.

Craftsman stands for just that, a common craftsman working for his bread at the craft indicated by table 2-12. If there is a local craft hall, this craftsman will be a member, admitted to the freedom of the town, but not necessarily a burgess (GM’s discretion). Those who do not own property will not be allowed to participate in elections or stand for office such as common councilor or alderman. Either way, this craftsman is assumed to own the tools of the trade and make enough of a living to afford to rent a shop and home. The craftsman with burgess status will be better off financially, maintaining two or three domestic servants.

The renter will be known as an impoverished craftsman, though he will have the means of maintaining a two- or three-room half-timbered cot with a bedroom loft above built up some alley or side-street, or a single-floor flat above his workshop, built up against the sturdier home of a burgess or tucked up against the town walls. This level of craftsman has enough business to take on one apprentice at a time, and perhaps to use the services of a journeyman occasionally to keep things rolling along. Most of these have only a little extra to keep in stock or materials on hand, but enough to maintain a servant.

Because they cannot afford the fees to take the freedom of a free town, the impoverished craftsmen are usually found gathered in the liberty or neighborhood designated as under the view of the Church where no such fees are charged. Unfortunately these are not the best of neighborhoods. For the ease of entry, they also attract many low types of poor reputation. In the free towns, residents lacking burgess status must seek permission from the town to marry, for that right belongs to the free burgesses. In practice, this causes a great number of Common Law marriages and illegitimate children.

The common farmer is a simple master of a farm as large as roughly 90 acres, but generally around 30 to 50 acres (equivalent to a rural yeoman), which may be a combination of owned and rented fields located in the immediate precincts of the town. He owns his own plough, team, tools, and other supplementary livestock (cows, chickens, etc.) and sells what he doesn’t personally need of his crop within the town where it is most often needed. He is a burgess keeping a half-timbered or timber and stone house either within the walls of the town or within a safe, close distance outside convenient to a gate. He will bring in about £1 in profits each year, more in  bumper crop years, less in years of dearth, and will keep at least one servant if not three or four.

The Gentleman, Franklin, Common Farmer and Craftsman/Farmer entries on the Free Rural Commoners table provide additional incidents of farmers of varying Stations to reflect their predominance in the primarily agrarian medieval society. There must be farmers to raise the crops to feed the people, especially the high concentrations of people in the towns where most of the residents are concerned with manufacturing goods and movement of those goods and raw materials.

A Journeyman is a man duly trained in a craft by way of a registered apprenticeship who is either too poor or too new to the craft to afford their own tools, or to afford even to rent a shop of his own if he does own the tools. Most crafthalls and guilds have a minimum requirement that all journeymen travel and practice their craft for no fewer than three years, during which time they are sometimes referred to as “improvers”. Journeymen hire out on either piece-work or a weekly basis to masters who need additional hands to work the materials to fill the orders for goods they have taken on. They often stay on in the shops in which they served their apprenticeships, thus increasing the income of the shop. When the master has no son, he may marry his daughter off to his journeyman so she will have a strong and capable pair of hands to help her keep the business going on his death. Because the licenses to take the freedom of the town, purchase property, and enter the craft hall or guild are expensive, many journeymen never become recognized masters of their crafts, but work their entire lives in other men’s shops. Lacking burgess status, journeymen must seek permission from the town to marry, for that right belongs to the free burgesses. In practice, this causes a great number of Common Law marriages and illegitimate children.

The Dayworker/Laborers form the body of common and temporary residents in the towns, made up of itinerant journeymen, maids and house servants, boatmen, bargemen, sailors, dock workers, porters, ditchdiggers, waterleaders, manual construction laborers, scavengers, refusemen, ragpickers, and all other manual laborers and all those seeking piecework for daily wages. They rent the damp, musty cellars or drafty empty garrets of the wealthier burgesses homes, or flats in apartment towers, throw up wooden shacks in alleyways, up side-streets, or under the steps of the larger homes of the better-off, where ever they can find a place. Lacking burgess status, journeymen must seek permission from the town to marry, for that right belongs to the free burgesses. In practice, this causes a great number of Common Law marriages and illegitimate children.

The Common Classes

The remaining people of the medieval world, the commoners or simply “Commons”, comprise the Third Estate, the lowest of society’s three recognized classes. These are “Those Who Work” or “Those Who Toil”, responsible for producing most of the food in the medieval agrarian society and producing all consumer goods, raising buildings, repairing them, carrying goods from place to place, and so on. The Commons are composed of both free and un-free elements, the un-free elements ranging from largely self-directing Villiens to the sometimes harshly oppressed Serfs.

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The Freemen

The Free Commoners have the right to travel as they please about their lawful business (despite the fact that this is discouraged and frowned on by the Crown and governing nobility, who prefer they at least stay within their native shire, if not their home village or even their hundred), to engage in the trade of their choice, to dispose of their produce and property as they see fit, marry whom they wish, and similarly dispose of their children in marriages.

Freemen are just that, free, to conduct their lives and business as they wish within the bounds of the law. These rights are what separate them from their landbound cousins who are also accounted among the Commons, who fill much the same function in society, doing much the same work. The Class of freemen encompasses the merchants and itinerant chapmen, and laborers of the towns, as well as the ubiquitous farmers of the agrarian medieval world who make up the overwhelming majority.

For those who do not enjoy the success available to many in commerce of the towns (the overwhelming majority), the Clergy is an open avenue for advancement in prestige, influence, and income freely available to free folk (roughly 2% of the overall population). The wandering Players, Troubadors, Minstrels, Acrobats and other entertainers without land and without lords, are traditionally forsaken by the Church as standing outside the social structure, and are primarily comprised of younger sons of the free Classes or runaways of the landbound Classes. This is the readiest source of adventurers, their retinues and servants, except for the younger sons of nobles who have the advantage of a tradition of arms as well as the freedom to wander, and so just as perfect for the purposes of the game.

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Free Townsmen Commoners

Of “Those Who Work”, free townsmen make up the approximately 10% of the population dwelling in the towns. Those who live in the towns are somewhat of an anomaly in the feudal world, for they are often free of most feudal ties and signeurial and manorial duties. Those that remain to them are generally discharged as a yearly money payment, collected by the chartered town government as ‘scot and lot’(taxes) and paid to the lord or the Crown in a lump sum. The nobility struggled throughout the period to bring them under their thumb and define them in more concrete feudal or signeurial terms. Due to their wealth, they resisted, almost an emergent Fourth Estate, but due to the fact that their role in society is still to work, to transport, to trade in the goods that all desire and need to live, they remain part and parcel of the Third Estate. As a body, the towns act as a necessary part of the manorial and feudal systems, providing the means for redistributing goods where they are most needed, taking on the role of lords as a body over the lands and villages in the hinterlands that support them, yet another cog in the great bureaucratic medieval machine.

Those folk who are drawn to the towns come because they have the freedom to do so, and usually as a means of improving their lives, for the towns represent opportunities in commerce, crafts, and society. Living in a town isn’t generally enough to give a man rights or representation in the government of the town. This lies in the hands of “burgesses”, free men of the towns, who own property and pay a yearly tax to help discharge the signeurial debt to the chartering lord (“scot”), and also subject to being chosen to serve in town government (“lot”). Being subject to “scot and lot” are considered requisites to being counted among the burgesses of a given town or borough.

Crafts and trade are only brisk enough for the greatest few in the towns to ignore the agricultural basis of life in the surrounding medieval world. At harvest time, even the laborers of the towns come out into the fields and surrounding rural lands to help bring the crops in, however. They could well go hungry if the harvest is not gathered in time, and the pay for harvest-work is better than that paid for farm work at any other time of the year.

The wealthiest of the free folk of the towns love nothing better than using their wealth to ape the ways of their noble superiors, buying small estates in the countryside where they can take their leisure, like gentlemen-born, so the wealthiest townsfolk return to working the land like noble lords, bringing the social cycle full circle.

Free Rural Commoners

The Free Commoners have the right to travel as they please about their lawful business (despite the fact that this is discouraged and frowned on by the Crown and governing nobility, who prefer they at least stay within their native shire, if not their home village or even their hundred), to engage in the trade of their choice, to dispose of their produce and property as they see fit, marry whom they wish, and similarly dispose of their children in marriages.

Freemen are just that, free, to conduct their lives and business as they wish within the bounds of the law. These rights are what separate them from their landbound cousins who are also accounted among the Commons, who fill much the same function in society, doing much the same work. The Class of freemen encompasses the merchants and itinerant chapmen, and laborers of the towns, as well as the ubiquitous farmers of the agrarian medieval world who make up the overwhelming majority.

For those who do not enjoy the success available to many in commerce of the towns (the overwhelming majority), the Clergy is an open avenue for advancement in prestige, influence, and income freely available to free folk (roughly 2% of the overall population). The wandering Players, Troubadors, Minstrels, Acrobats and other entertainers without land and without lords, are traditionally forsaken by the Church as standing outside the social structure, and are primarily comprised of younger sons of the free Classes or runaways of the landbound Classes. This is the readiest source of adventurers, their retinues and servants, except for the younger sons of nobles who have the advantage of a tradition of arms as well as the freedom to wander, and so just as perfect for the purposes of the game.

When the Free Common family comes from the vicinity of a town (or city), the village, hamlet, thorpe, isolated farmstead or manor, etc. (GM’s discretion) in which they dwell is administered by an agent – bailiff or reeve – of the municipality that holds sway there. The town or city of administering the district lies within roughly 10 or 15 miles of the family home, and holds no less than c.500-1,000 in population (GM’s discretion). Produce of all similar villages and farms in the district is brought to the town or city to contribute to the markets there. While they are still disparaged by the town residents as being “rustics”, they at least have exposure to town life and commerce, much more sophisticated than those hailing from truly rural reaches of the countryside.

When the Free Common family is located in a rural setting, it is located in a village, thorpe, or hamlet of a castellarium (a group of villages, etc, designated to support a castle) or the demesne of a manor (the manor’s immediate lands) of a noble or ecclesiastical lord (GM’s discretion). This is likely to lie at least 10 or 15 miles from any village, etc. that lies within 10 or 15 miles of any town, city or borough (GM’s discretion). These lands are administered either by a lord in residence, or by an absentee lord through his resident agent, known as a bailiff.

These lands are located more towards the outskirts of whatever village (etc.) they fall within, or may be a completely self-contained freehold farm outside the village (etc.) itself completely. When the family also rent lands from the local lord, those rented lands are found within the demesne itself.

Of the full-time farmers among “Those Who Work”, freeman farmers are largely the upper crust. Most folk of this Class have a fair holding in land, no less than 30 acres, most commonly 50 to 90 acres, and sometimes as much as 120+ acres. This more than feeds them and provides them with a fair amount of profit to buy apprenticeships for their sons into a craft in town, dower off any daughters to help build the family fortune, perhaps send a child off to be educated for a career in the Clergy, but concentrating on adding to their land holdings, perhaps even enough to partition off parcels for any beloved younger sons. Those so fortunate as to achieve a large enough holding of land may attract the attention of the impoverished gentry or lesser nobility, and through an advantageous marriage match gain a little blue blood, and thus begin to climb the social ladder in earnest. Though the loss of the labor of young hands cane be a burden to a common farming household, they comprise another great resource for adventurers, their retinues, and servants in the context of the game. Some contract the wanderlust from traveling players or chapmen and strike out alongside them to see the wider world and perhaps find their fortunes.

The familiar term of “peasant” is actually a generic label applied to the body of common freeman craftsmen, farmers, and/or laborers by those of higher station, who also refer to them as the “great common rabble”. Nevertheless, peasants are free men.

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The Un-Free:

Landbound Commoners

Landbound Commoners are primarily concerned with farming, though they may well be engaged in other activities to supplement that, as seen in the stations available for them. Families of this class are found in the villages, thorpes, or hamlets of a castellarium (a group of villages, etc, designated to support a castle) or the demesne of a manor (the manor’s immediate lands) of a noble or ecclesiastical lord, or municipal council (GM’s discretion).

When the family comes from the vicinity of a town (or city), the village, hamlet, thorpe, isolated farmstead or manor, etc. (GM’s discretion) in which they dwell is administered by an agent – bailiff or reeve – of the municipality that holds sway there. The town or city of administering the district lies within roughly 10 or 15 miles of the family home, and holds no less than c.500-1,000 in population (GM’s discretion). Produce of all similar villages and farms in the district is brought to the town or city to contribute to the markets there. While they are still disparaged by the town residents as being “rustics”, they at least have exposure to town life and commerce, much more sophisticated than those hailing from truly rural reaches of the countryside.

When the family is located in a rural setting, it is located in a village, thorpe, or hamlet of a castellarium (a group of villages, etc, designated to support a castle) or the demesne of a manor (the manor’s immediate lands) of a noble or ecclesiastical lord (GM’s discretion). This is likely to lie at least 10 or 15 miles from any village, etc. that lies within 10 or 15 miles of any town, city or borough (GM’s discretion). These lands are administered either by a lord in residence, or by an absentee lord through his resident agent, known as a bailiff.

The class of “villein” is the highest of the landbound Classes of the Third Estate. A villein is a common village farmer or Husbandman who has some limited personal and landed property rights, and most importantly is not bound to his land as a serf is. The term villein and its modern day definition comes from the fact that the folk of this Class and all those of the Classes beneath them were generally rude and crude in their way of life, lacking all the refinements of nature, manners, and living that marked and were pursued by the Classes above them, and so they were considered prone to evil ways.

Like most of the landbound Classes, the villein is something of a slave, bound to his lord, but the villein has guarantees against being maimed or killed by him. The average landholding of a villein is a “virgate”, consisting of roughly 30 to 40 acres (depending on the quality of the land) in the common village fields. This is the amount of land a pair of oxen are able to cultivate in the course of a year, which by his wealth and station the villein will own and contribute to a village team of 8. This amount of land is also considered sufficient to support the average commoner and his family. Poorer villeins may certainly have smaller holdings, as small as 15 acres, while a well-to-do villein might have as many as 90 acres, or so. The head of a villein household night also pursue some other trade in addition to farming, but generally in the cold winter months when the fields lie under snow and he has more time on his hands, and the land will still be his primary source of his bread. Pursuit of a hand-craft will be much more prevalent among those villeins with smaller holdings in land to supplement the proceeds of their fields to support their families.

The “bordar” is a lower Class of villein bound to manorial (signeurial) service to his lord. Bordars are farmers also, who occupy “cots” – small one- or two-room cottages with a loft above and a croft (field) of roughly five acres of tillable land in the village extending back behind the house, rather than in the surrounding common village fields. He may also hold from five to as much as 15 acres (called a “bovate”) in the lord’s demesne, which he works at the lord’s will (GM’s discretion). The bovate is the amount of land a single ox is able to cultivate in the course of a year, which lone ox those bordars who hold this much land will also own and contribute to a village team of 8. The head of a bordar household (and those children who are old enough), might also sell his labor services, or pursue some craft or trade in addition to farming during lulls in the work on the land, particularly in winter, to provide the additional income needed to support his family. Though he does not own his home or the land he occupies, the bordar’s heirs usually assume the cot after he dies, once the fees are paid from the estate and by the heir (heriot and relief).

Serfs are the bottom rung on the social ladder, the lowest members of the Third Estate, save only actual slaves. Unlike slaves, serfs are protected from their lord’s abuses by custom. The serf is bound to the manor whose lands he works, and he must get approval for his comings and goings when leaving the estate from the lord himself or one of his appointed officers (reeve, bailiff, steward, etc.) if he can find one who will take the responsibility for that decision. If the lord is willing, the serf may pay an annual tax to his lord in order to pursue a life away from the manor.

While the serf is bound to the land, the land is also bound to the serf. Although the lord might sell off some land and its serfs, by force of custom the lord may not sell the land and move the serfs on them to other lands he still owns. Serfs have no rights in property at all, and all property, including personal belongings whether earned or gifted to him, are considered to have been lent to him and actually belong to his lord. This includes the hut/hovel in which he lives, which the lord is said to have “allowed” him to build.

In practice, the serf can buy a license from his lord to live outside the manor and pursue his own aims and goals. the only weakness in this lies with the fact that the PC might be called back to service when the lord has a need for him.

IF a landbound commoner can escape his lord and live his life openly in the confines of a town with a royal charter as a free man for a year and a day or longer, and prove it in open court if or when found again and summoned to court on account of a writ of neifty, by common custom (law) he is freed utterly of any signeurial bonds and the heirs of his body along with him, in perpetuity.

“Town air makes men free.”

Running off and hiding in plain sight for a year in a royal borough might be a plan the landbound PC might try to execute to obtain his freedom permanently, rather than living with paying for the yearly license to live away from the demesne, always subject to recall if his lord has a need for him.

Alternately, any characters of the Serf Class might be paired with a character of noble birth related by blood to the lord of the manor whence he comes, and should be allowed an opportunity to earn his freedom through service so he can actually enjoy the fruits of his labors and adventures, marry, and pass them on to his children. This is a much more difficult path to take, but richer for the opportunities to roleplay, and rewarding in the end when the goal is achieved.

The Stations of the Clergy: Priest

The priest is a is a member of the clergy who has been through the minor orders and ordained in all the major holy orders.

Priests make up 2-5% of the general population.

Minor orders are conferred upon those pursuing an education in the Church or specifically studying for the priesthood, involving first tonsure and ordination as either an Acolyte, Lector (one who reads), Ostiary (doorkeeper), or Exorcist. Of these, the Acolyte is the highest in prestige. These four are called “minor orders” because perpetual celibacy was not required of them.

Those studying for the practice of law rarely go beyond minor orders in their career path unless they specialize in canon law or civil law. No prospective clergyman would take further vows (major orders) in the church unless a benefice was offered for his maintenance.

The usual minister bestowing minor orders was a bishop; but some abbots could give the tonsure and minor orders to their subjects.

After receiving all the minor orders, the clergyman could receive ordination in the major orders.

The major orders are the final ones: Subdeacon, Deacon, and finally Priest. The reason these orders are considered “major” is with ordination to the subdiaconate, both the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours (the Divine Offices) and perpetual celibacy become mandatory. An acolyte does not have to perform the Divine Office and can marry without Papal dispensation if he leaves his holy course of study before becoming a subdeacon.

Neither the minor orders nor the subdiaconate are considered a part of the sacrament of Holy Orders, but are instead viewed as preparatory offices to the priesthood.

The parish priest is in charge of a town or village chapel or church and its parish, generally equal to a whole large village/small town or collection of small villages, generally encompassing about 100 families. He is responsible for teaching the congregation the equivalents of the Paternoster, Ave, Creed, and the seven (or nine) Virtues and deadly sins four times during the course of the year. He is supported by the tithes and the proceeds of the glebe lands allotted to his church, which he must help work with his own hands, right alongside the common farm folk of his parish. The house appendant to the church  in the priest’s care, in which he lives, is called the parsonage.

A monk or priest who dwells exclusively in a religious house of some sort, either in a town or a rural setting, who is unable to come or go except by the permission of his abbot/prior (monks) or Father/Mother Superior (priests) is called “cloistered”.

rector is a type of priest appointed to take care of a church that does not belong to either a parish, a chapter of canons, or a religious order. Thus, he is not the parish priest, his church is not be the central parish church or belong to a religious house or community, though he may have charge of a seminary or university college. A rector is not allowed to perform baptisms, confirmations, anoint the sick, or conduct a marriage or funeral without the permission of his parish priest except in an emergency. His regular duties are comprised essentially of regular masses, taking confessions, teaching (“song school”), and administration. Unlike the vicar who fills in for an absentee priest, to whom all excess income must be sent, the rector takes care of a satellite church of a parish founded because the population is too great for the parish church alone to serve its needs. He is allowed to manage the lands and income awarded to the rectory wholly on his own behalf and that of his congregation.

The chaplain/confessor is a priest or monk in the service of a noble family or higher clergyman, whose duties include performing private services for the family/household, supervising private devotions for family members, hearing confessions (as applicable) and also working as a scribe, bookkeeper or personal secretary. They are often assigned to individual members of the household, particularly the lady of the house, or the daughters, for whom they may also act as chaperone, or the eldest son and heir, also often filling the position of family tutor (“magister”).

The Stations of the Clergy: Friar

Friars live among the poor in the towns, tending to the sick and destitute, preaching to the poor commons, the most neglected by the Church at large. Friars differ from monks in that they are called to a life of poverty and sworn in service to whatever community they encounter. The Franciscan order, or Friars Minor, stressed minority or humility. The humble wandering friars stop and minister to those in need where ever they may be found, allowed the use of the parish churches to celebrate the High Mass, and to hear confessions and imposes penances (as applicable). The organizations of the friars themselves stand outside the hierarchy of the regular clergy, bishops, archbishops, etc.;  friars are responsible only to the superiors of the religious house whence they hail, which superiors themselves are bound only to answer to the high prelate of the Church himself.

The Stations of the Clergy: Pardoner

The wandering pardoner, also called a “questor”, is an official appointed by the high prelate of the prevailing religion and invested with the power to grant indulgences (absolution in advance for transgressions against the faith) for various sins in exchange for alms, of which he is allowed to keep a small portion (from 1//10th to 1 in 8). Pardoners commonly carry saints’ relics and for a nominal (set) fee in alms he will allow his patrons to view them, perhaps even touch them. An ambitious pardoner can bring in more than £60 per year in income. These men are not well-liked by their brothers in the Church, however, as can be seen by the following contemporary quote :

“Fie! Penny preacher, murderer of all the world. How many a soul dost thou cast with thy filthy lucre (money) from [the Light’s] own sunlight to the bottom of [Darkness], where there is no more hope for them! Thou promisest so much indulgence for a single halfpenny or a single penny, that many people trust thee and dream falsely that they have done penance for all their sins with that penny or that halfpenny as thou babblest to them. so they will do no right penance and will go straight to [the Darkness] where there is no more hope for them …. Thou murderer of right penance, thou hast murdered right penitence in our midst, which is one of the seven most holy things of the highest that God hath, It hath been so murdered by penny-preachers that there are few among us who will still do penance for our sins; for they count on thy false promises. For the penny-preacher preacheth to them so long and in such manifold words of our [Light’s] passion that men take him as a true messenger of [the Light] : for he weepeth in his preaching and useth all manner of deceit whereby he may coax pennies from his hearers, and their souls into the bargain.”

A wonderful piece of clerical invective out of the history books, and stemming from the common occurrence not so much of corruption among the pardoners as of knaves, rogues and other tricksters pretending and posing as pardoners for the sole purpose of seducing the innocent into parting with their ready coin. The common religious is appalled at the basic premise of the trade, as well, however, and especially at its impact on the people, their piety and respect for the Church, their habits of worship, and also the sapping of monies that could otherwise have found its way into the poor-boxes of the local churches, which are expected to provide constant charitable services to the needy who daily flock to their doors. This does not mean that the people do not take comfort from the ministrations of the pardoners, just the same. Few think of the impact elsewhere when the pardoner comes calling down their own lane – such a convenience! All the servants of the Church are largely considered to be equal by the people, so giving money to one is as good as giving it to the local parish priest in their eyes. The fact that it goes straight to the prelate and into the pardoner’s purse doesn’t even occur to most of them.

The Stations of the Clergy: Prior

prior is either the right-hand man or second in command of an abbot, usually in a large abbey that requires much energy and attention to administer, or he rules a satellite monastery of his own which has been created by some other house because it became too large in population and wealth, in which case he answers to the abbot of the founding house. All priory lands belong to the sponsoring house, but are completely subject to the discretion of the prior of the satellite house, called a “priory”. Priors and their successors are always appointed and anointed by the abbot of the house that sponsored them. They are elected for life or until the majority of the inmates can convince the local bishop that a new one is needed due to advanced age, incompetence, corruption, and so on.

The Stations of the Clergy: Abbot

The abbot is the official in charge of a monastery or abbey and is not necessarily a priest, though he must be a brother or monk sworn to the vows of the order to which the abbey or monastery belongs. The abbot can be the equivalent of anything from a prince to a baron in the hierarchy of the Church, depending on the wealth of the religious house in his care, how well endowed it is with lands and income. Abbots and their successors are always elected by the inmates of the monastery from among their own number. They are elected for life or until the majority of the inmates can convince the local bishop that a new one is needed due to advanced age, incompetence, corruption, or the like. If he rules a large abbey that requires much energy and attention to administer, the abbot may well have a prior as his right-hand man or second in command.