Ah! They don’t make them like they used to!
This is right to a certain degree..with everything mass produced for a global market…is anything made with love and care? and have people forgotten how to make goods of their own besides relying on a computer program? Arguments for both sides welcome!
Anyway, enough moaning and more finding out how people became craftsmen in the Middle Ages. As you know Guilds had control of merchants and craftsmen in the Middle Ages. This meant that they also controlled the training of the craftsmen. At 14, a boy would become an apprentice to learn their trade. A master craftsman trained him. He lived with the master’s family, slept in the workshop and worked their to learn his trade. Working conditions were often harsh. Apprentices worked very hard and could often be punished by their masters if they did something to upset them. At the end of the seven years an apprentice became known as a journeyman. He was free to work for anyone and was paid by the day. You may have heard this saying said about a player who has played for many clubs (*cough Robbie Keane…dream come true to play for Alfreton Town!) So it comes from the French for ‘day’ – ‘journée’ = journeyman!
If a journeyman wanted to be a master craftsman, he had to pass a special test of the guild and make his own masterpiece after which he could own his own workshop and train apprentices if he passed.
So there you go, the life of a craftsman is a long journey and one that is often harsh and challenging!
For more on the Middle Ages, be sure to check out more blogs here at The Áed