Riving For Panelstuff Or Palefencing

work,1 and it is probable that these were culled from the general class of artisan, for the time being only, although they may have been paid at a higher rate when so engaged.

Next in order come the woodworkers attached to the Church, who appear to have been lay-brothers as a general rule, and to have been free from the power of the King's master craftsmen. The monasteries maintained large numbers of masons, carpenters, joiners, carvers and illuminators, probably paying very little in money, but lavishly in produce and accommodation. From the high standard, both in skill and artistic inspiration (monastic fifteenth-century work is, obviously, a labour as much of love, as of duty) which the ecclesiastical workers possessed, transcending even^those of the King's men, it is certain that their conditions of life must have been easy and enviable.

The third class of artisans were those engaged in work for the laity, from the yeoman farmer to the belted knight and baron, under the guidance, and subject to the dominion of the Trade Guild or the Lord of the Manor. No artisan could leave his village or

1 The proviso, in these royal mandates, is always inserted, that the King's carpenter has power to collect workmen, " other than those in the fee of the Church."

locality without sanction from the Lord or the Guild, and a strange workman without employment was a rogue and a vagabond, a " masterless man " who could be arrested and summarily hanged without trial. In this regard the laws regulating labour were harsh and stringent. In other particulars, the workman had an easy life, one of plenty and of reasonable leisure. His hours were long, and holidays were few. Thus in 1408, at Windsor, four carpenters received 6d. per day, and six received 5d. f°r 365 days in the year. Even at the present day, on the Continent, it is customary (or was until the last fifteen years) to work 011 Saturday afternoon and on Sunday morning. The Windsor records do not indicate, in any way, that the workmen were paid for clays on which _

no work was done. True« the King was usually impatient, and his work had to be executed in the shortest possible time, but there is no suggestion of extra payment for overtime, although such payments do occur in the records where a great number of hours are worked in the one day.

A marked distinction appears to be made between the hours of labour in summer as compared with winter. Five o'clock in the morning to eight in the evening, in summer, was the general rule, but liberal allowance had to be made for "noil using^he'/idze.

schenes " (the midday Xote the natural bent growths of timber, or " knees."

JOINERS' PLANES OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURA,

JOINERS' PLANES OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURA,

  1. A long or " trying "-plane or " jointer." 2. I.arge round plane for working hollow mouldings.
  2. Rabbet plane for large rebates. 4. Compass plane for shaped surfaces.
  3. Smoothing plane. 6. Compass plane.

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam.

meal, hence the modern word luncheon), for " drinkynges "l and for " sleepynges,"-occupying in all from three to three and a half hours.

The standard wage of the country artisan, in the fifteenth century, appears to have been 6d. per day. In London this was increased from 25 to 30 per cent, but living there was proportionately dearer. His hours of actual labour cannot have exceeded eight in the day, although in the next century this number was extended to ten and even more. Comparisons of wages, reckoned in money, however, are misleading, as the actual value of the currency alters. Before 1543 (when Henry VIII first began to debase the currency) silver contained iS dwts. of alloy to 12 ozs., and the pound was coined into 45 shillings. In 1546 it was debased to the extent of 8 ozs. in 12 ! It would be out of place here, to trace the far-reaching effect of this iniquitous procedure on the

1 This custom has survived in Hertfordshire, where the morning draught is known as a " beever."

• This time was allowed in summer only.

0 0

Post a comment