Medieval Occupations - Baker, Barrister, Bookbinder
Medieval Occupations
(Jobs in the Medieval Age)


The Baker was a common occupation but not as easy as some may think. In the Medieval Ages there was a period when bakers began cheating the public at such a rate that public outcry reached the ears of several kings. As bread was a daily staple of Medieval life, the bakers knew that they could charge a lot of money for minimal portions of their products. As such, kings levied laws against bakers stating that they were to lower their pricesand keep honest. In fact the common term "A Baker's Dozen" (meaning 13 instead of 12) came from this time period. Any baker caught selling less than an even dozen was strictly and harshly punished. As a result bakers began adding one extra loaf to be certain their count would be correct or even over the amount decreed by law.
Good bakers were often invited and employed by the rich and elite as personal cooks and chefs inside the safety of castles. Their duties included the preparation of dinners and large feasts. There were exceptional bakers of all classes.

The Barrister was a professional lawyer. Legal arbitration was popular during the Medieval Ages as people challenged claims to land, inherited holdings and even common law. Different provincial territories were usually subjected to the laws of the local lord who governed them. As such, litigation could easily arise between the residents of two neighboring communities.
Often a local priest would be consulted to act as a Barrister but as times progressed people realized that there were high wages to be earned for the skilled and professional lawyer. After much litigation and arbitration arose and as disputes became difficult to settle under the umbrella of conflicting laws, a new system for order was instituted. A policy called "The King's Law" became the sole source of legal behavior permissable throughout sovereign lands. Each successive king could change any law he deemed fit but the people were bound legally to adhere to it.
Barristers became well respected during the Medieval Ages and helped to write and form many of the laws that we still practice today.

An occupation that was extremely important but receives very little credit is the position of the Medieval Bookbinder. This skill was very important as diaries, journals and manifests were being written during the time period. News of discoveries, law, science, medicine, technology and industry were recorded on paper and were then bound together in the format of a book by professional binders.
As there were no machines for printing, each journal and book was meticulously and painstakingly handwritten. The Bookbinder had to be careful when setting the pages together to not tear, damage or destroy any portion of the manuscript.
Many of these books still survive today in Churches and museums and serve as a testament to the excellent work performed.
Bookbinders usually joined a guild where they learned the trade as an apprentice.

eXTReMe Tracker