Medieval Occupations and Jobs

People in the Middle Ages worked in a variety of jobs, some of which continue today and others that have disappeared in time. Farmers harvested crops using sickles and scythes. Bakers made unleavened bread for different customs and occasions. Blacksmiths created everyday objects and weapons from wrought iron and steel. Candlemakers made candles from fat, tallow, and beeswax. Carpenters cut timber to make fences, beams, planks, doors, and furniture. While apothecaries sold wine, spices, herbs, and medicines. There were several other jobs and activities carried out by medieval people. You can find them below.

Essential Medieval Professions and Jobs

Medieval society was structured hierarchically, with a few essential professions and jobs necessary for society’s functioning. Some key occupations in the Middle Ages included carpenters, bakers, farmers, miners, and stone carvers. 

Medieval Occupations and Jobs: Minstrel. Musicians & Storytellers

Medieval Minstrel

Medieval minstrels sang, played musical instruments, and told engaging stories. Here’s what life was like for a minstrel in the Middle Ages.

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Medieval Occupations and Jobs: Miller. What they did and how they did it.

Medieval Miller

Millers were some of the most important tradesmen in the Middle Ages. Learn more about this medieval profession and how millers lived.

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Medieval Occupations and Jobs: Butcher. History of Butchers & Types of Meat

Medieval Butcher

Middle Ages butchers prepared meat, fish, and fowl for the people in a castle or a city. They sometimes had stalls in a marketplace.

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Medieval Jobs in the Castle

Working in a medieval castle was both challenging and rewarding, but it varied greatly depending on one’s position and duties within the castle. Nobles and their families typically lived in castles, and the castle staff was responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the household and maintaining the castle’s defences. Explore servants, cooks, messengers and other occupations linked to the Lords and the needs of a castle or fort. 

Medieval Occupations and Jobs: Cook

Medieval Cook

Medieval Cooks usually prepared their food over an open fire. They sometimes shared communal ovens for everyone on the premises of a town.

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Medieval Professions Related to War and Justice

Medieval weapon makers, knights, and executioners. These are some jobs related to warfare and justice in the Middle Ages. 

Medieval Jobs Linked to the Sea and Trading

Life for medieval sea traders was difficult and dangerous but also potentially lucrative. Sea traders in the Middle Ages often travelled by ship to trade goods such as spices, textiles, and precious metals with other ports around the Mediterranean, North Sea, or Baltic Sea. Popular jobs included traders, sailors, innkeepers and other occupations relating to travelling, hosting, and trading. 

Medieval Professions: The Sailor

Medieval Sailor

Being a sailor in the middle ages meant living a lonely and difficult life, as they would often set sail for months or even a year at a time.

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Medieval Occupations for Religion and Medicine

Scribes, astrologers and other medieval occupations relating to religion and medicine. 

Medieval Crafting Professions

Medieval crafting jobs varied greatly depending on the craft, but they were generally highly skilled and required a great deal of training and expertise. Craftsmen in medieval times were responsible for producing a wide range of goods, including clothing, armour, weapons, tools, furniture, and household items. These medieval occupations required specific knowledge and craft.

Books about Medieval Life