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p-prices-msg – 6/6/08

 

Prices for various medieval items.

 

NOTE: See also the files: commerce-msg, measures-art, measures-msg, guilds-msg, coins-msg, occupations-msg, p-Engsh-coins-lst, p-lawyers-msg.

 

************************************************************************

NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.

 

Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

************************************************************************

 

From: lee at sq.sq.com (Liam R. E. Quin)

Date: 18 Aug 91 22:56:48 GMT

Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada

 

I have lots more stuff like this, some with prices for more every-day sorts

of things.  If I get replies, I'll see if I can post some more.  If you

reply, please say where you saw this article...

 

I don't believe there could be 13,340 poor people at a funeral, or at any

rate I find it strange, but that's what it says!

 

Lee

 

As usual in these postings, _l_ _s_ _d_ are Pounds, Shillings and Pence:

        12_d_ = 1s, 20_s_ = 1_l_.

 

I've kept the old spelling, but with s for tall-s. _Italics_ ; [[my notes]]

 

 

_A shorte draught of the charge of the buriall of our lord and maister

[Henry Percy] earl of Northum-

berland : [who died 28. Apr. 1489.] whose soule Jesu pardon._ [[see footnote]]

 

_From a_ MS. _sheet ( once Peter Le Neve's esq.) now in the hands of the

publisher._

 

April 28.

4.H.7.1489. [[printed in the margin next to the large `F']]

 

First, for the balmynge, fencyng and scowering of the corse,    _l_._s_._d_.

with the webbe of led and chest         --             ---     13   6   8

  _Item_, for the wax of the herse, by estimation      ---      26  13   4

  _Item_, for the tymber and paynting of the herse     ---      5   0   0

  _Item_, for 400 torches, after 2_s_. 8_d_. the peece  --      53   6   8

  _Item_, for a standart        --      --      --       ---     4   0   0

  _Item_, for a baner      ---           ----           --       3   6   8

  _Item_, for his cote armer of seynet, betyn with his amys --   5   0   0

  _Item_, for 12 baners of sarcenet, betyn with my lord's armys,

                        at 10 _s_. the pece     ---     ---      6   0   0

  _Item_, for 100 pensells of sarcenet, at 12 _d_. the pece      5   0   0

  _Item_, for 60 scutchions of buckeram betyn with my lord's

armys (hole armys) at 12 _d_ the pece, for the chaire,

herse, and church       ---             ---             ---      3   0   0

  _Item_, to 40 poor men, for the bering of torches on horseback,

one day (from Wresill to Lekinfield) 18 myles at 2_s_. a man --- 4   0   0

  _Item_, for 100 men on foote, at 6_d_.a man a day; _viz_. from

Lekinfield to Beverley 1 day; and at Beverley the day of the

burial, 1 day           ---                     ---             5   0   0

  _Item_, for the suffrages of 6 churchas the wil met the corse

by the way, after 13_s_. 4_d_. the church (besids the torches) - 4   0   0

  _Item_, for the reward to two officers of armys, for their

helpe and payne in orduring, during the said buriall, at 10 _l_.

the pece for coming from London, their costs and reward --     20   0   0

  _Item_, for al maner of dues belongiong to the churche where

the corse shall rest  ---        ---            ---       --   20   0   0

  _Item_, for 12 gownes, for lords (after 3 yerds in a gowne,

at 5 _s_. the yerd)        ---          ---             ---     21   0   0

  _Item_, for 20 gownes for gentlewomen (after 3 yerds in a

gowne, at 5 _s_. the yerd)      ---             ---            15   0   0

  _Item_, for 24 gownes with hods, for lords and knyghts (at

10 _s_. the yerd, and after 5 yerds in every gowne and

hode) with the executors          ---            ---     ---    60   0   0

  _Item_, for 60 gownes with typets for squyers and gentlemen

(at 6 _s_. 8 _d_. th yerd, and after 4 yerds in every gowne

and typett)         ---             ---             ---        80   0   0

  _Item_, for 200 gownes for yeomen an headfor. . . . . (after

3 _s_. 4 _d_. the yerd, and after 3 yerds in every gowne) -- 120   0   0

  _Item_, for 160 gownes of course black, for pore folke, for

torch bearers and outher (after 3 yerds in a gowne, and after

2 _s_. the yerd)           ---             ---         ---     42   0   0

  _Item_, for 400 yerds of course black, for hangonge the

church & the chapells, (at 2 _s_. the yerd)     ---      ---   40   0   0

  _Item_, for 500 priests that will come to the said buriall;

& if they do not, the outher must be fulfilled the next day;

after 12 _d_. the pece, according to the will.       ---        25   0   0

  _Item_, for 1000 clerks that comyth to the said buriall,

after 4 _d_. the pece   ---              ---           ---     16  13   4

  _Item_, for 100 gownes for gromes & gentlemen's servants

(after 3 _s_. 4 _d_. the yerd, & after 3 yerds in every gowne)  50   0   0

  _Item_, for the dole at the said buriall, after 2 _d_. to

every pore body that comyth the day of the burial; [allowing

the number of the said poor folks to be, as I presume they were

on the said day of burial] 13340, after 2 _d_. the pece,

according to the will           ---             ---       --- 123   6   8

  _Item_, for the costs & expencs of meat and drinke, &

horse-meate, going and comyng to the said buriall (_viz_. one

day from Wresil to Lekinfeld, by the space of 18 myles; and

one day tarrying at Beverley, for the buriall; & one day,

returning from Beverley to Wresil, 18 myles)        ---       266   13   4

  _Item_, for the mortuaries, his armys, his huishe-men, his

maister of the horse, and all such other things to be had of

my lord's owen store in the house.

                                                             -------------

                                Sum of all the said charges

                                                             -------------

 

[[the space for the sum is blank]]

 

This was reprinted in Francis Peck [1692-1743]'s _Desiderata Curiosa: Or,

A Collection of Divers Scarce And Curious Pieces Relating To Matters Of

English History; Consisting Of Choice Tracts, Memoirs, Letters, Wills,

Epitaphs, &c... A New Edition, Greatly Corrected, With Some Memoirs Of The

Life And Writings Of Mr. Peck_ [By T. Evans], Printed in London for

Thomas  Evans, 1779.

 

Apart from being a hot contender in the Longest Title Awards of the time :-),

it's quite fun...

 

 

There is a footnote on the first page of this:

 

Note 1: Henry Percy, E. of Northumberland, in the 4. H.

        7. being lieutenant of Yorkshire, and commanded by

        the king to levy those moneys, which were then extorted

        from the country, to carry on the war in Brittany;

        the vulgar, conceiving him to be the cause of that tax,

        tumultuously murthered him at Cockledge near Thresk

        (eighteen mules north of York) upon the day of S. Vitalis

        the martyr.  Whereopun he was buried at Beverley,

        where he hath a stately monment, but much defaced.

        _Baron_. Vol.I. p.282. _b_.

 

--

Liam Quin, lee at sq.com, SoftQuad, Toronto, 416 239-4801; the barefoot programmer

 

From: lee at sq.sq.com (Liam R. E. Quin)

Subject: Mediaeval Prices

Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada

Date: Tue, 17 Aug 93 00:49:54 GMT

 

// This is one of a very occasional series of articles from old books; I post

// an installment every few months.  This one is from an 1883 transcription

// of a 16th Century collection of old manuscripts relating to Berkeley (in

// England, not California... Pronounced `barkly').

// The document gives prices from Edward Ist's reign and for two later times.

//

// Notes on Orthography (letters & spelling) and on Units of Money at the end

// of this document.  In general, the original spelling is retained.

 

*

 

(The Lives of the Berkeleyes, Vol I, p. 161, 1321)

 

*

 

Prices of Corne Cattle Pultry &c.

 

*Also* theis Accompts will truely informe this noble Family what were the

vsuall prices of Catle, Corne, Pultry and other provisions expended in the

house of this lord, and as the same were vsually bought and sold in fayres

and marketts duringe that twenty and seaven yeares of Edward the first

raigne, wherein this Lord lived a Baron, viz\t.

 

    Wheat the Quarter at  ...    ...    2s 4d, 3s, 4s and 5s

    Maslin the Quarter at ...    ...    2s, 2s 4d, 3s and 4s

    Barly the Quarter at  ...    ...    20d, 2s 8d, 3s 4d, and 4s

    Beanes the Quarter at ...    ...    2s, 2s 8d, 3s 4d, and 4s

    Otes the Quarter at   ...    ...    20d, 2s, 2s 4d |    [f.193]

    Pillcorne, from the Mill,

        the Quarter at      ...    ...    ...    3s, 3s 8d

    An Oxe at       ...    ...    ...    ...    10s---11s---12s

    A Cowe and Calfe at   ...    ...    ...    9s---10s

    A bacon Hogg at ...    ...    ...    5s---5s 6d

    A fat porket at ...    ...    ...    2s---2s 2d

    A fat sheep at  ...    ...    ...    17d---18d---20d---2s

    A Lamb at       ...    ...    ...    ...    10d---12d

    A Goose at      ...    ...    ...    ...    3d

    A Capon at      ...    ...    ...    ...    2d             [p.162]

    A Hen at ...    ...    ...    ...    1d ob~

    A Duck at       ...    ...    ...    ...    1d

    4 Pigeons       ...    ...    ...    ...    1d

    20 Eggs  ...    ...    ...    ...    1d

 

*And* in the fifteenth yeare of Kinge Edward the second, when thys Lord dyed,

the prices stood thus . viz\t.

  *Wheat*, the quarter    ...    ...    ...    4s

    Maslin the quarter    ...    ...    ...    3s

    Barly the quarter      ...    ...    ...    3s

    Beanes the quarter    ...    ...    ...    3s

    Otes the quarter       ...    ...    ...    2s

    Fetches the quarter   ...    ...    ...    20d

    Malt of wheat the Quarter    ...    ...    6s

    Malt of Otes the Quarter     ...    ...    2s 2d

    Malt of Barly the Quarter,   ...    ...    4s

    A Quarter of Apples   ...    ...    ...    10d

    A Sturgeon in the xix th. of Edward the }

        second sold for                       }  26s 8d

    An oxe at       ...    ...    ...    ...    20s

    An Oxe hide     ...    ...    ...    3s 6d

    A Cowe and a Calfe, at       ...    ...    12s---13s---15s

    A sheep, beetweene    ...    ...    ...    17d and 2s

    A Sheepskyn, accordinge to the growth of

        the fell, at 4d., 5d., 6d. such as were killed

        for provision of the house.

    A Lambe, at     ...    ...    ...    ...    12d

    A goat Skin, at ...    ...    ...    4d ob~

    A Goose, at     ...    ...    ...    ...    3d

    A Ducke, at     ...    ...    ...    ...    1d q/r

                                      The rest as before.

    Threashing a quarter of wheat       ...    2d

    Threashing a quarter of beanes     ...    1d ob~

    Threashing a quarter of Oates       ...    1d

    Wages of a day laborer       ...    ...    ob~ q/r // laborer _sic_.

    A yeomans bord wages, per diem     ...    1d ob~

    A groome or Pages boord wages per diem    1d // orig. p/~ di&e-bar;

 

// p. 163

 

    And by a proclamation in the viij th. of this kinge, none might sell

wine in theire Tavernes, above iij d. the gallon.

// Margin note: Claus: 8. E. 2. m: 2.

 

*In the* tyme of Kinge Edward the third, generally about theis rates as

followe, but the further in his longe raigne of fiftye yeares, the dearer.

As thus viz\t.

    Wheat the quarter      ...    ...    ...    5s 4d---7s---10s

    Barly the quarter      ...    ...    ...    4s---5s 4d

    Beanes the quarter    ...    ...    ...    4s

    Otes the quarter       ...    ...    ...    2s 8d---3s 4d

    Bay salt the quarter, ...    ...    18d

    An Oxe from 14s. to   ...    ...    ...    24s

    A Sowe and six pigs   ...    ...    ...    5s

    A boare  ...    ...    ...    ...    4s

    A Calfe  ...    ...    ...    ...    2s

    A Store pigge or shote       ...    ...    12d

    Pigeons, the dozen    ...    ...    ...    3d---3d ob~---4d

    An Haggard Falcon      ...    ...    ...    20s

                              In the residue little variation  | [f.195]

 

*And* in the tyme of Kinge Richard the second, for the two' and twenty yeares

of his raigne, the prizes of graine, Cattle and pultry, were rather cheaper

then dearer, but the difference in effect that was, was in

the temperature and season of the yeare.      // prizes, _sic_. for prices.

 

    A weight of wool (beinge . 21 pound) called pondus,   ...    5s.

    A sacke of wool at    ...    ...      7li. 6s. 8d.---8li.

    Onions, a Bushell      ...    ...    ...    ...    ...    8d.

    Eggs . 20 for a peny, which in 150. yeares did never rise nor fall.

 

*And at* this day, wherein I write, Anno 1622, the Comon prizes of the like

Comodities in the same place, is generally thus. viz\t.

    Wheat the Quarter      ...    ...    ...    36s

    Maslin the Quarter    ...    ...    ...    26s 8d

    Barly the Quarter      ...    ...    ...    20s

    Barly malt the Quarter       ...    ...    24s

    Beanes the Quarter    ...    ...    ...    20s

    A draught Oxe, about  ...    ...    5l. // l. [sic] for li.

// page 164

    A Cowe and a calfe about     ...    ...    3li.10s.

    A Sheepe about  ...    ...    ...    8s

    Eggs 5 for      ...    ...    ...    ...    1d

 

*And* theis prizes stand in resemblance of the like corne and Cattle in my

old former valuations; which as well for the instruction of him that delights

herein, As for avoydance of the like error this lord fell into, I have

clustered here togeather.

 

*As for* horses in those active old ages of the three Edwards, and of kinge

Richard the second, the lord Berkeleys have payde for horses of service in

the warrs, and for the saddle, and draught, as deere as nowe in our dayes;

100li., 100 markes, 50li., 30li., 20li., 10li. 20 nobles, 5li., &c.

 

// Margin note:

// Polichr: lib: 7

// cap: 38.

*But* of yeares of dearth and of extremities, when through scarcity prizes

were as deere as nowe, mentioned in divers Chronicles, I have not spoken; But

desire to bee vnderstoode of the comon and usuall prizes in each ordinary

and temperate yeare.

 

// Margin note:

// com&p-tilde;i predc&t-tilde;. in

// Castro de Berkeley.

*And* theis Accompts will further informe this noble family, That when this

lord was free from forren imployments, hee went often in progress from one of

his Manor and farme houses to an other, scarce two miles a sunder, making his

stay at each of then for one or twoe nights overseeing and directinge the

forementioned husbandries, And soe backe to | his standinge houses // [f.196]

where his wife and family remayned, which was very great, as after appeareth,

sometymes at Berkeley Castle, at Wotton, at Bradley, at Awre, at Portbury,

And vsually in Lent, at Wike by Arlingham, for his better and neerer

provision of Fish: where, for his famous

// Margin note:

// Com: 6. et 7. E:

// 2.inCastro do Berk:

weares of Rodly, Geron, and Put'house, he had a spetiall Officer called

Piscator de Berkeley, whose annuall Accompts, comonly came vnto 30li. per Ann~;

for fish there taken: Some of which doe speake, That of antient custome, the

Constable of Berkeley Castle was vpon the first sunday in Lent allowed a salmon

for his dinner, which in this Seaventh of Edward the second, cost---x d. ob~.

 

*

 

Monies, Weights and Measures, and Other Terms:

    Taken from Chambers' English Dictionary, except some marked [SOED] which

    are from the Shorter Oxford English Dictionar (2 Vols, Oxford).

 

    q/r = quadrans = farthing = quarter of a penny (0.25d)

    ob~ = obulus = halfpenny (0.5d)

    1d is a penny (denarius, plural is danarii)

    1s is a shilling (solidus, plural is solidii), worth 12d

    1li is a pound (librum, plural libra), woh 20 shillings, i.e. 240d.

 

    a noble was a gold coin worth 6s 8d. (80d, or 1/3 of a pound)

    a mark was the value of 8 ounces of gold or silver; 123 4d (!)

 

    a Quarter is eight bushels.

    a bushel is (a dry measure of) 8 gallons.

    A Quarter of corn may have weighed about a quarter of a ton at

    one time, I don't know if it still would!

 

    Fetch = Vetch, a grain [SOED]

 

    Maslin = Mixed Grain, esp. rye mixed with wheat.

    Also, bread made of the same. [SOED]

 

    Pilcorn = A kind of oat, in which the glumes or husks do not adhere to

    the grain, but leave it bare.  Also called pilled oats. [SOED]

 

    Porket = a small or young pig or hog; a young hog fattened for pork

    [SOED]

 

Orthography:

    \t. is a superscript t with a dot centred below it;

    ob~ shuld have the ~ through the ascender of the b, for obulus, halfpenny

    q/r should be a q with a subscript 3 at a slight angle, for

    quadrans, farthing.  (the "3"is actually a kind of terminal r)

    The signs for currency (li, s, d) are superscripted with a centred dot

    beneath them on the baseline.  Simarly the th in xix th.

    *Blackletter* is thus marked.

    A | indicates a new page in the original, together with the folio;

    I am using the 1883 (and only printed?) edition, and page numbers (marked

    with p.nnn rather than f.nnn) refer to that edition.

    An em dash is indicated as --- and is set (1883 edition) with no spaces

    on either side.

    Notes in [brackets] are as printed;

    // Notes like this are mine (i.e. Liam's)

 

 

:font BemboNarrow: -monotype-bembo-medium-r-normal--*-300-60-83-p-*-iso8859-1

:colours: #fffaf2, #93600d

:terminal: tx -geometry 41x21

:cd-music: BillyBragg002,TimBlake001,Eloy017,Faure001

 

--

Liam Quin, Manager of Contracting, SoftQuad Inc, +1 416 239 4801 lee at sq.com

[Thyrsis, village-shepherd] Flushed with wine in the noontide, under the pine

lies sleeping --/But lo, Love Himself has taken the crook, and shepherds them.

[Myrinus - Love the shepherd; trans. F. L. Lucas, Golden Cockerel Press, 1936]

 

 

Article 49247 of rec.org.sca:

From: vnend at nudity.uucp (David W. James)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: thought experiment

Date: 17 Oct 1993 22:40:24 -0400

Organization: Acta non Verba, Skillman, NJ

 

In article <DDF2-041093225410 at cu-dialup-0323.cit.cornell.edu> DDF2 at cornell.edu (David Friedman) writes:

)Incidentally, does anyone have period prices, in silver, for foodstuffs? It

)would be nice to know whether I am correct in believing that we are rich

)enough to get through the winter.

 

        Not exactly...

 

        For example, a short entry in one of the portions of the Domesday

book that I have reads:

 

In Reigate Hundred

        REIGATE, in lordship.  Queen Edith held it.  Then it answered

        for 37 1/2 hides, now for 34 hides, for the King's work.  Land

        for ... In lordship 3 ploughs;

        67 villagers and 11 smallholders with 26 ploughs.

        2 mills at 12s, less 2d; meadow, 12 acres; woodland, 140 pigs from

        pasturage; from grazing, 43 pigs.

        Now it is assessed at 40 liber and pays as much.

 

Lots of that kind of thing...

 

The other economic references I have handy are all at least 300 years later,

when an entry in the rolls reads like:

 

John Aylred: 1/2 qr. wheat 2s., 1/2 qr. barley 20d., 1/2 qr. peas 15d.,

        2 pigs 4s. Sum: 8s 11d...

 

There are also entries for prices paid at fairs, again, 300 years later,

but they tend to ignore food for the items brought in to be traded.

For example, I find that in 1243 20 tuns of wine went for 38 pounds,

8s 8d; in 1244 436 tuns 844 pounds, 14s at the Boston fair (a tun,

according to the footnote (original entry in 'dolia') was 252 gallons.)

In 1250 100 tuns went for 189 pounds 10s.

 

In 1244 5 horses went for 15 pounds, 6s 8d at Winchester, and in 1247 7 horses

at St Edmunds went for 20 pounds.

 

The purchases of the Durham Cathedral priory at Boston in 1299 includes:

 

11 ells cloth for tunics                 1 10  8

100 ells canvas                                   2 1  3

24 furs lamb                               3 12  0

400 hlf almonds                                   3 3  0

100 hlf plus 5 lbs rice                          1 1  6

50 lbs ginger                                     3 6  8

26 lb rock sugar                                  2 12  0

25 lb morocco sugar                       1 0 10

14 lb saffron (!!!!)                             4 18  0

 

and then some grouped purchases, including:

 

4 lb galingale

4 lb cinnamon

15 lb pepper

all:                                                2 7  0

 

I'll leave it up to you to guess what, if any, relation there may have

been between prices in 1299 and those in 993; I *certainly* don't know...

 

Kwellend-Njal

--

vnend%nudity.UUCP at Princeton.EDU  or vnend at Princeton.EDU if that doesn't work.

 

 

From: jliedl at nickel.laurentian.ca

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Livres vs. Pounds in 1515

Date: 8 Nov 93 15:10:05 -0500

Organization: Laurentian University

 

Good day, good gentles of the Rialto, from Ancarett Nankivellis.

 

In article <UgqnFDa00YUnILFasF at andrew.cmu.edu>, David Schroeder <ds4p+ at andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

>

> I'm working on a class for the upcoming East Kingdom University where

> I plan to explain the mechanics and the business of printing to my

> "students" in the context of a presentation from a Master Printer

> seeking backers from the nobility and wealthy merchant families.

>

> I have a few decent sources on French costs, but they're all given

> in French livres, rather than English pounds...  and they're not

> given with any sort of context, like the relative costs of labor,

> of food, housing, taxes, etc.  If anyone has any insight into

> pointers to books that might help me sort out these monetary

> matters I would greatly appreciate it.

>

I can't give you equivalences, myself, but a pointer to a few sources

on the subject.

 

First and foremost is _The Cambridge Economic History of Europe_

vol. 5.:  _The Economic Organization of Early Modern Europe_

(NY and Cambridge:  Cambridge Univ. Press, 1977).

 

For an old but good compilation of prices see Georg Wiebe's

_Zur Geschichte der Preisrevolution des 16 und 17 Jahrhunderts_

(Leipzig: 1895):  he has an index of comparative prices.

 

I can't remember where it is offhand but someone in the last twenty

years (a team of historians) compiled a "shopping basket" of goods

and priced them for England throughout the EMod period. It may

be referenced in the CEconHist.

 

Sorry, I'm an intellectual historian, not an economic one. Hope

this helps, anyway!

 

Ancarett Nankivellis

Janice Liedl

Laurentian University, Canada

JLIEDL at NICKEL.LAURENTIAN.CA

 

 

From: Tim at f4229.n124.z1.fidonet.org (Tim)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Livres vs. Pounds in 1515

Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1993 19:59:19

 

Scripsit Bertram:

 

DS> I have a few decent sources on French costs, but they're all given

DS> in French livres, rather than English pounds... and they're not

DS> given with any sort of context, like the relative costs of labor,

DS> of food, housing, taxes, etc.  If anyone has any insight into

DS> pointers to books that might help me sort out these monetary

DS> matters I would greatly appreciate it.

 

I should suggest that your first stop probably ought to be the *Cambridge

Economic History of Europe*, which, if it doesn't have rough equivalents

(and rough equivalents is all you're going to find, I'm afraid, since a

lot of things that were expensive for them are cheap for us and vice

versa), will almost certainly have an excellent bibliography.

 

Another place to try is the *Fontana Economic History of Europe (1972),

which is about a decade more recent that the C.E.H. (but of course not as

thorough).

 

Books on numismatics (of which, alas, I know very little) would be a good

place to look, as well, since most coins represented a certain value in

the standard money of account.

 

    Tadhg, Hanaper

    ocitor!tim.4229 at rwsys.lonestar.org

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Question on prices of goods.

From: vnend at nudity.UUCP (David W. James)

Date: Sat, 23 Jul 94 08:30:43 -0500

 

In article <9407211258.AA07105 at roym.batdd1.pica.army.mil> mortonr at pica.ARmy.MIL writes:

>Greetings from Malcolm Douglas!

 

>      Does anyone out there know where I can get a list of common

>items and corresponding prices from around 1600?  I have latched onto

>a couple of castle inventories, but they date from the 1700's.  If

>anyone has any ideas, sources, or even a list, could you please contact

>me directly through email?  I've gotten a bit too busy here to keep

>up with everything on the Rialto (sigh).

>      Many thanks to all,

>                     Malcolm Douglas

 

I've occationally posted prices paid for items at English fairs (which was

where a lot of the non-locally produced items a household might use were

purchased in the 13th and 14th centuries.  Unfortunately, in this case,

the data I have is from the middle ages, not the renaisance.

 

Check for the records of orders of monks, King's orders and such.  See if you

can find an itemized list for the cost of coronations, tourneys and such.

I don't know about household budgets, but perhaps one or two survived...

 

Kwellend-Njal

 

 

From: Lisa Steele (2/28/95)

To: Alfredo1 at aol.com

CC: markh at sphinx

French & Italian Money

 

  Below is a list of various prices which I started keeping track

of while reading various secondary sources. Unfortunately, when I

started I wasn't paying attention to place and date, but in general

the information is based on Med. France and Italy from 9-15C.

 

        Many different monetary systems were in use throughout the

Middle Ages. The most common used one livre (pound) = 20 sou

(shillings) = 240 derniers (silver pennies). The dernier--measuring

about 5/8" in diameter and containing 1/3 silver--was the largest

actual coin for much of the period; the other large units were used

for bookkeeping. Other coins included the obolus or halfpenny,

worth 2 per dernier, and the farthing, worth 4 per dernier. The

Byzantine money system used 1 gold bezant = 12 silver militarisia

= 24 silver keratia; the Muslim system used 1 denier = 10 dirhams

(drachmas).

 

        In 13-15th century Florence, there were two parallel money

systems. The gold system was based on the florin, which contained

3.536 grams of gold. The silver system was the familiar lire = 20

soldi = 240 denari or (piccioli). Later quattrini or coins composed

of four piccioli were added. Certain contracts, especially imports

and exports, were payable in gold; wages were generally payable in

silver. When the florin increased in value, real wages fell, even

though the number of coins paid stayed the same. In 1400, a florin

was worth about 75 soldi.

     When first issued in 1252, the florin weighted 72 grains and

was 24 carats fine. The weight of the florin was frequently debased

by foreign mints, forcing the government to periodically issue new

coins with higher weights and content.

     Gold florins were sometimes issued in small leather bags

sealed by the Mint. Strict penalties were assessed on anyone who

altered the contents of such bags.

        Venice used a similar system, otherwise it was unique in

Europe. The pound affiorino or a fiorini was a common money of

account, equal to 20/29ths of a florin. It was divided into 20

soldi or sous affiorino of 12 derniers affiorino apeace. The florin

was sometimes divided into 29 soldi affiorino or 348 dernier

affiorino for accounting. After the introduction of the florin

larghi (a new coin issued to redress the debasement of the florin)

in 1450, accounts were often kept with one florin divided into 20

soldi a oro and 240 derniers a oro.

        The supply of money (and therefore its value) varied widely

due to fairs, harvests, ship sailings, and the noble's

expenditures; in some places, pepper and saffron were both used

instead of coin.

 

Salary Info.

Actor                      17 d. per show

Barber (13C)               20 sol./yr.

Carder                     10 s. per load (salma) of wool carded

Civil servant, major       300 l. per year

Civil servant, minor       70 l. per year

Domestic servants          1 l. per year & board

Factor                     115 l. per year

Instructor, civil law      440 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, rhet & poetry  350 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, medicine       300 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, phil. & morals 70 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, logic          20 fl./yr (1451)

 

Keeper of the Chmpgn Fair  200 l. per year

Keeper of the Chmpgn Seals 100 l. per year

Laborer, semi-skilled      10 d. per day

Laborer, skilled           2 s. per day

Laborer, skilled master    1 l. per day (Florence)

Laborer, unskilled         20 sol. per day (Florence)

Laborer, unskilled         7 d. per day

Master mason               2 s. per day (c.1229)

Mason at site              1 s. per day (c.1229)

Mason at quarry            24-30 d. per week & board

Exceptional mercenary leader  30,000 l. per year

  (the leader used this to recruit a force)

Stonecutter                2 s. per day (c.1229)

University instructor      20 to 440 l. per year

Weaver (journeyman)        2 s. per day

 

Services:

Bake another's grain       2-4 d per loaf

Bleeding                   15 s

Bone setting               1 l

Carding                    10 soldi per load (salma) of wool

Changing currency          10% of amount charged

Copying                    4 s. per page

Laundress                  1 s. per load

Marine insurance           5% of amount to be insured

Painting (by Botticelli)   35 fl.

Physician consultation     10 l.

Tooth extraction           5 l.

Sculpture, Palazzo della   3,000 fl. (Michelangelo and Lenoardo da

Signoria, Florence                    Vinci

 

Real Estate:

Cottage, small             2 l/year rent (Florence)

Farm & vineyards           750 l

Farm (ave)                 380 l

Farm (poor)                160 l

House, large               20-50 l/year rent (Florence)

House, small               3 l/year

House & shop               36-42 l/year

House & vineyard           128 l, 11 s

Lime (used for mortar)     9 l, 8 s

  year's supply for church or

  castle maintenance

Shop                        42 fl./yr. (Florence)

Shop near Orsanmichele      118 fl./yr (Florence, 1427)

Shop on P. della Signoria   27 fl./yr (Florence)

Vineyard                    64 fl.

 

Goods:

Book of laws (14C)           40 fl.

Bounty, wolf in city (14C)   10 so.

Bounty, wolf in cntrysd(14C) 5 so.

Butter                       7 d/lb.

Capon                        6 d

Eggs (dz.)                   8 d

Eggs, roasted (10)           1 d

Eggs, tempering paint (13C)  30 d.

Finch, roasted (10)          1 d

Fine, insulting guesture     20 so. (14C)

Fine, insulting words        20 so. (14C)

Fine, push to ground         100 so.  "

Fine, threat w. knife        40 so.   "

Fine, throwing stones        3 lire   "

Fine, breaking tooth         10 lire  "

Fine, dung in mouth          25 lire  "

Fine, disturbing peace       1,000 lire  "

Fine, garbage in public      20 so.   "

Fine, offal in public        40 so.   "

Grain (3 bushels)            2 lire (Florence)

Meat pie w. roast capon      8 d

Meat pie w. roast hen        5 d

Mule                         10 fl.

Olive Oil                    18 d/jar

Pheasant, roasted            13 d

Saracen Ransom:

Man                         2 s

Woman                       5 s

Child                       1-2 s

Wheat (staio or .7 bushel)   15 soldi (Florence)

Wheat (staio)                60 soldi (Florence, famine)

Wool (43 pounds)             2 l., 13 s.

Wool (204 bales)             600 florins (Florence)

 

    A major problem with price conversions is that many persons relied

for their living on a combination of

in-kind and cash payments. For example, a Roman rent for a vineyard (1/2

pezza) was 3.5 soldi per year, plus

4 bushels of onions, one-fourth of the new wine, half a canister of

grapes, and food and drink for the

monastary's representatives when they came to collect the rent. With a

series of such tenants, a monastary

might be able to provide for itself without having to purchase supplies

for cash.

======================================================================

 

 

From: dani at telerama.lm.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: medieval currency

Date: 22 Feb 1995 11:17:59 -0500

Organization: Telerama Public Access Internet, Pittsburgh, PA USA

 

Isabelle:

>Dani--I know that prices in Paris at that time were outrageous. Students

>got ripped off big time, especially foreign students. I'm just going to

>assume that four pounds Parisian was a good sum of money.

 

[You may have noticed that I cancelled my earlier article, as it contained

a misleading arithmetic error.]  I agree that that's more useful than

trying to assign a specific modern dollar figure.  Just to provide a

couple more data points, Chretien de Troyes, at about that time, wrote

that 20 sous per week was not a living wage, but that 1500 sous per week

would be considered a fortune for a Duke.  (A denier was a nominally

silver 'penny' containing a sliver of silver.  Twelve deniers made a

sous and twenty sous made a livre, or [troy] 'pound'.  Not that you ever

saw a pound.)

 

Again, it's hard to convert meaningfully to modern currency:  If you

focus on the low end, it turns out that people lived on sums that

are so small, in terms of our economy, as to be meaningless.  At the

high end, figures are also misleading, in part because there was a

lot less money in circulation.

 

-- Dani

 

 

From: lsteele at mtholyoke.edu (Lisa Steele)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: medieval currency

Date: 23 Feb 1995 02:59:31 GMT

Organization: Mount Holyoke College

 

  I second Dani, one can translate the coinage into (1) the metalic

content of the actual coins and figure out the modern value of the silver

and gold; or (2) look at buying power. My rough rule of thumb is 1 pound

or livre = a master's daily wage or about 20 days pay for a journeyman or

more money than a peasant may see in a year. One gets into, of course,

questions of currency devaluation, etc. E-mail me if you want some cost

estimates.

  See generally Braudel, _Med. in Age of Philip II_ and Steele, _Med.

France_ at 31.

  -- Esclarmonde de Colloure

 

 

From: james at nucleus.com (James Prescott)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: medieval currency

Date: 25 Feb 1995 23:55:36 GMT

Organization: Nucleus Information Service

 

MISS PATRICIA M HEFNER (HPGV80D at prodigy.COM) wrote:

 

: I'm looking at a copy of an assessment of houses in Paris that was done

: in 1282/83. One assessment is "4 pounds, 10 sous Parisian". I have

: another list of texts that were used at the University. These prices

: are given in denomnations of solidi, sous, or shillings (all noted with

: an s.), and d. for denarii or pence. Does anybody know how this would

: stack up against modern currency? I'd appreciate any information. Right

: now it looks a little confusing because I get confused with anything

: that has to do with numbers. Yours in Service, Isabelle

 

Never an easy determination, as will become apparent, but here

goes.

 

For reference, 1 pound had 20 sous, each sou had 12 denarii, for

a total of 240 pence to the pound.

 

In the late 1300's a Paris pound was 489.5 grams. Let us assume

that the weight was the same a century earlier. At that time in

most European cultures a pound of money was the same as a pound

weight of silver.

 

So, 4 pounds 10 sous of silver is 2203 grams. With a modern Troy

ounce at 31.1 grams, that is 71 modern ounces of silver. I don't

have a newspaper handy to look up today's silver prices, but just

for illustration assume $10 (US) an ounce.

 

So, the crude equivalent is $710, assuming pure silver. There are

further complications due to coining practices, but let's keep

this reasonably simple.

 

Second method.

 

It is common to use eggs for this method, but you could use almost

any other commodity you wish. The price of 30 eggs is roughly the

same as the price of one chicken, by the way. I think this is still

very approximately true today, is it not?

 

Anyway, in the late 1300's you could get one chicken or 30 eggs

in Paris for one Paris sou.

 

If we get our modern eggs at $1.25 (US) the dozen, then 4 pounds

10 sous would have the purchasing power of approximately $280 (US).

 

Third method.

 

We know that the wages of a skilled Venetian craftsman was about

40 ducats per year, which at about 9 sous per ducat, is about 18

Paris pounds per year, or four times the assessment.

 

Let's pay our "skilled Venetian craftsman" $2 (US) per hour (a

*most* arbitrary choice intended to enforce a somewhat medieval

standard of living). That would be approximately $3750 (US) per

year. That would make our 4 pounds 10 sous worth about $940 (US).

 

On the other hand, psychologically a skilled Venetian craftsman

was near the top of the non-noble heap, so $60000 (US) per year

might not be unreasonable. That makes our 4 pounds 10 sous worth

about $15000 (US) in psychological terms.

 

Fourth method.

 

As a rough rule of thumb, one hour of unskilled labour purchased

0.5 kilogram of grain. Using another rule of thumb, grain was one

sixth the price (per calorie) of eggs. This gives (via modern

cookbook and calculator) a price of one sou for about 9 kilograms

of grain. This gives unskilled wages of about one sou per 18 hours

of work. At 3000 hours per year (yikes -- that means 60 hour weeks)

the annual unskilled wage would be about 8 Paris pounds 5 sous per

year.

 

That is not out of line with the estimate for the "skilled Venetian

craftsman", and is subject to the same arbitrary conversion to

modern money.

 

But note that our 4 pounds 10 sous is about half the annual wage

for an unskilled craftsman.

 

Fifth method

 

There is a very crude, but fast, rule of thumb that says that a

silver penny can purchase dinner and a bed at a simple country

inn. So, 4 pounds 10 sous can purchase 1080 such nights of riotous

living. If we arbitrarily feed and house a family of five for four

pence a day, our amount could keep that family for 270 days. This

is not out of line with the estimates from methods three and four.

 

So, we have five different, somewhat arbitrary methods for

"understanding" how much 4 pounds 10 sous is in modern terms.

 

As I indicated, not a simple computation. It all depends on whether

you want to convert precious metal prices, basic commodity prices,

basic wages, or "psychological impact".

 

All my best,

Thorvald Grimsson/James Prescott (james at nucleus.com)

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Subject: Re: medieval currency

Organization: The University of Chicago

Date: Sun, 26 Feb 1995 16:04:10 GMT

 

" At that time in most European cultures a pound of money was the

same as a pound weight of silver."

 

(James Prescott "That time" seems to be late 13t c.)

 

Are you sure? This is four centuries or so after the Carolingian

monetary reform that set up the system. I don't know what the pound

of account was worth by then, but I would be surprised if it was

still close to a pound of silver. As I remember, Cipolla (_Money,

Prices and Civilization in the Mediterranean World_, or some title

close to that) says that, on average, medieval silver currency

inflated at about 100% a century.

 

"There is a very crude, but fast, rule of thumb that says that a

silver penny can purchase dinner and a bed at a simple country inn."

 

When?

 

David

(Cariadoc thinks a penny is what a Frank gets when he tries to make a

dirhem.)

 

 

From: lsteele at mtholyoke.edu (Lisa Steele)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: French & Italian Money

Date: 28 Feb 1995 22:30:56 GMT

Organization: Mount Holyoke College

 

  Below is a list of various prices which I started keeping track

of while reading various secondary sources. Unfortunately, when I

started I wasn't paying attention to place and date, but in general

the information is based on Med. France and Italy from 9-15C.

 

        Many different monetary systems were in use throughout the

Middle Ages. The most common used one livre (pound) = 20 sou

(shillings) = 240 derniers (silver pennies). The dernier--measuring

about 5/8" in diameter and containing 1/3 silver--was the largest

actual coin for much of the period; the other large units were used

for bookkeeping. Other coins included the obolus or halfpenny,

worth 2 per dernier, and the farthing, worth 4 per dernier. The

Byzantine money system used 1 gold bezant = 12 silver militarisia

= 24 silver keratia; the Muslim system used 1 denier = 10 dirhams

(drachmas).

 

        In 13-15th century Florence, there were two parallel money

systems. The gold system was based on the florin, which contained

3.536 grams of gold. The silver system was the familiar lire = 20

soldi = 240 denari or (piccioli). Later quattrini or coins composed

of four piccioli were added. Certain contracts, especially imports

and exports, were payable in gold; wages were generally payable in

silver. When the florin increased in value, real wages fell, even

though the number of coins paid stayed the same. In 1400, a florin

was worth about 75 soldi.

     When first issued in 1252, the florin weighted 72 grains and

was 24 carats fine. The weight of the florin was frequently debased

by foreign mints, forcing the government to periodically issue new

coins with higher weights and content.

     Gold florins were sometimes issued in small leather bags

sealed by the Mint. Strict penalties were assessed on anyone who

altered the contents of such bags.

        Venice used a similar system, otherwise it was unique in

Europe. The pound affiorino or a fiorini was a common money of

account, equal to 20/29ths of a florin. It was divided into 20

soldi or sous affiorino of 12 derniers affiorino apeace. The florin

was sometimes divided into 29 soldi affiorino or 348 dernier

affiorino for accounting. After the introduction of the florin

larghi (a new coin issued to redress the debasement of the florin)

in 1450, accounts were often kept with one florin divided into 20

soldi a oro and 240 derniers a oro.

        The supply of money (and therefore its value) varied widely

due to fairs, harvests, ship sailings, and the noble's

expenditures; in some places, pepper and saffron were both used

instead of coin.

 

Salary Info.

Actor                      17 d. per show

Barber (13C)               20 sol./yr.

Carder                     10 s. per load (salma) of wool carded

Civil servant, major       300 l. per year

Civil servant, minor       70 l. per year

Domestic servants          1 l. per year & board

Factor                     115 l. per year

Instructor, civil law      440 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, rhet & poetry  350 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, medicine       300 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, phil. & morals 70 fl./yr (1451)

Instructor, logic          20 fl./yr (1451)

 

Keeper of the Chmpgn Fair  200 l. per year

Keeper of the Chmpgn Seals 100 l. per year

Laborer, semi-skilled      10 d. per day

Laborer, skilled           2 s. per day

Laborer, skilled master    1 l. per day (Florence)

Laborer, unskilled         20 sol. per day (Florence)

Laborer, unskilled         7 d. per day

Master mason               2 s. per day (c.1229)

Mason at site              1 s. per day (c.1229)

Mason at quarry            24-30 d. per week & board

Exceptional mercenary leader  30,000 l. per year

  (the leader used this to recruit a force)

Stonecutter                2 s. per day (c.1229)

University instructor      20 to 440 l. per year

Weaver (journeyman)        2 s. per day

 

Services:

Bake another's grain       2-4 d per loaf

Bleeding                   15 s

Bone setting               1 l

Carding                    10 soldi per load (salma) of wool

Changing currency          10% of amount charged

Copying                    4 s. per page

Laundress                  1 s. per load

Marine insurance           5% of amount to be insured

Painting (by Botticelli)   35 fl.

Physician consultation     10 l.

Tooth extraction           5 l.

Sculpture, Palazzo della   3,000 fl. (Michelangelo and Lenoardo da

Signoria, Florence                    Vinci

 

Real Estate:

Cottage, small             2 l/year rent (Florence)

Farm & vineyards           750 l

Farm (ave)                 380 l

Farm (poor)                160 l

House, large               20-50 l/year rent (Florence)

House, small               3 l/year

House & shop               36-42 l/year

House & vineyard           128 l, 11 s

Lime (used for mortar)     9 l, 8 s

  year's supply for church or

  castle maintenance

Shop                        42 fl./yr. (Florence)

Shop near Orsanmichele      118 fl./yr (Florence, 1427)

Shop on P. della Signoria   27 fl./yr (Florence)

Vineyard                    64 fl.

 

Goods:

Book of laws (14C)           40 fl.

Bounty, wolf in city (14C)   10 so.

Bounty, wolf in cntrysd(14C) 5 so.

Butter                       7 d/lb.

Capon                        6 d

Eggs (dz.)                   8 d

Eggs, roasted (10)           1 d

Eggs, tempering paint (13C)  30 d.

Finch, roasted (10)          1 d

Fine, insulting guesture     20 so. (14C)

Fine, insulting words        20 so. (14C)

Fine, push to ground         100 so.  "

Fine, threat w. knife        40 so.   "

Fine, throwing stones        3 lire   "

Fine, breaking tooth         10 lire  "

Fine, dung in mouth          25 lire  "

Fine, disturbing peace       1,000 lire  "

Fine, garbage in public      20 so.   "

Fine, offal in public        40 so.   "

Grain (3 bushels)            2 lire (Florence)

Meat pie w. roast capon      8 d

Meat pie w. roast hen        5 d

Mule                         10 fl.

Olive Oil                    18 d/jar

Pheasant, roasted            13 d

Saracen Ransom:

Man                         2 s

Woman                       5 s

Child                       1-2 s

Wheat (staio or .7 bushel)   15 soldi (Florence)

Wheat (staio)                60 soldi (Florence, famine)

Wool (43 pounds)             2 l., 13 s.

Wool (204 bales)             600 florins (Florence)

 

    A major problem with price conversions is that many persons relied

for their living on a combination of

in-kind and cash payments. For example, a Roman rent for a vineyard (1/2

pezza) was 3.5 soldi per year, plus

4 bushels of onions, one-fourth of the new wine, half a canister of

grapes, and food and drink for the

monastary's representatives when they came to collect the rent. With a

series of such tenants, a monastary

might be able to provide for itself without having to purchase supplies

for cash.

 

  For sources, see bibliographies to Steele, _Tapestry_; Steele, _Med.

France_, and Steele, _Med Italy_ (forthcoming), all from White Rose Pub.,

Box 933, Amherst, MA 01004-0933.

 

 

From: dani at telerama.lm.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: French & Italian Money

Date: 28 Feb 1995 19:26:52 -0500

Organization: Telerama Public Access Internet, Pittsburgh, PA USA

 

Lisa Steele <lsteele at mtholyoke.edu>:

>the information is based on Med. France and Italy from 9-15C.

 

A caveat:  This is something of which the poster was clearly aware,

but which seems worth stressing for people who use the information:

These are data-points, not averages or 'typicals'.  Over a period of

six-hundred years, there were tremendous fluctuations in prices,

wages (among things, this period spans the Black Death), and the

precious-metal-content of coins.

 

By way of analogy, someone might truthfully tell you that in the U.S.,

between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, the dollar was 90%

silver and apples sold for five cents.

 

>Exceptional mercenary leader  30,000 l. per year

>  (the leader used this to recruit a force)

 

So 30,000 l. was the price (rent) of a small army.

 

-- Dani

 

 

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 20:34:35 EDT

From: Elysant at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - prices in 1520

 

> What is being used is the Troy measurement system as adopted by the English

> for their currency, where the base of 1 Troy pound of silver equals 1 L

> sterling.  Troy measures were commonly used in currency and precious metal

> conversions across Europe and therefore make a common base for evaluating

> prices.  I suspect that the conversion from guilders and stuivers to Troy is

> because the silver penny and its equivalents were the most common measure of

> value in medieval Europe.

 

> To my knowledge, Troy measure was not used for measuring commodities (other

> than bread and precious metals) so the price per pound is likely based on

> the 16 ounce Avoirdupois pound.

 

This use of weights is also discussed in one of the medieval price list

articles I have.  It is a web page, so for those interested, here's the URL:

 

http://www.regia.org/costs.htm

 

On the first page the author states:

"...In its simplest form Early English money was divided into pounds,

shillings and pence.  Unfortunately the subdivisions were not the same as our

pre-decimal coinage.  The pound was the Troy pound (approx 11.5 modern ounces

or 373 g) divided into 240 pennies (making a Saxon penny about 1.55g).  To

make matters even more complicated, the shilling did not have a constant

value, varying from 4 - 6 pence, not on the more recent 12 pence".

 

The other list I have lists items from various times during the MA and is

compiled from several different book sources.

 

A few cooking related items from that list include:

 

Dried fruit (e.g.   raisins, dates,     1 - 4d/lb, up to 6d rare  ?14th c

              figs, prunes) almonds rice

Spices (cannamon, cloves, mace,             1 - 3s/lb            ?14th c

pepper, sugar etc.)

Saffron                                     12 - 15s/lb          ?14th c

Wine    Best Gascon in London               4d/gallon             1331

        Best Rhenish in London              8d/gallon             1331

Cow                                         6s                     1285 - 1290

Sheep                                       1s 5d                 mid 14th c

Pig     Somerset                            2s                     1338

        London                              3s                     1338

2 chickens                                  1d                     14th c

2 dozen eggs                                1d                     14th c

80 lb cheese                                3s 4d                 late 13 c

Salted herring (wholesale)                  5 - 10/1d             1382

Oats    London                              1s/quarter             1338

 

Also mentioned:

Cost of feeding a knight's or               L30 - 60               15th c

merchant's household per year               up to L100             15th c

 

Elysant

 

 

[submitted to the Florilegium by "Alderton, Philippa" <phlip at morganco.net>]

From: J.Spiritstone <spiritst at PRAIRIE.NODAK.EDU>

To: SCA-UNIVERSITAS at LIST.UVM.EDU <SCA-UNIVERSITAS at LIST.UVM.EDU>

Date: Monday, December 27, 1999 12:03 PM

Subject: Re: [SCA-U] Medieval vs modern economics

 

>This is from my Renaissance and Reformation class:

>Income and expenditures in the 16th Century

>

>        Lyon    Antwerp         US      UK      France Italy

>        1550    1600           1950's-------------------->

>

>Food:   80%     79              22      31      38     46

>Shelter: 15%    11              10      14      8     6

>clothing: 5%    10              14      13      11     15

>

>totals: 100     100             46      58      57     67

>

>NO discretionary income         33 to 54% discretionary income

>

>Food was a status symbol, if you could hold feasts of great excess to show

>respect to people or for weddings you were doing good.

>

>Clothing was a status symbol, to distinguish yourself from the poor. "Long

>coats or jackets with fur collars, belts with silver or gold clasps.

>Clothing

>was so precious that it was left to offspring in official wills"

>Credit to Dr. Ineke Justitz, North Dakota State University.

>

>I know it's really late period, but it really gave me an idea about where money

>was going. Hope that helps!

>

>Samee'nah al-Zahra

>Korsvag, Northshield, Midrealm

 

 

Subject: Re: [SCA-U] Medieval vs modern economics was Re: [SCA-U] cotton

     undies?

Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 10:54:35 -0800

From: Heather Rose Jones <hrjones at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU>

To: SCA-UNIVERSITAS at LIST.UVM.EDU

 

On Sat, 25 Dec 1999, sunshinegirl wrote:

> > From: Heather Rose Jones <hrjones at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU>

> snip

> The Welsh laws

> > also list common domestic animals -- their use, their valuation, and so

> > on.  They mention horses, cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, geese,

> > dogs, cats ...

> snip

>

> I would be interested in a comparative value on somethings.

> For example - what would a cow cost in the middle ages (take your pick as

> to time)  How many days labor would that be?  What would be the equivelent

> (days labor, etc) in modern terms?

> I read someplace that a nutmeg was worth its weight in gold. What would be

> the modern $ of that?

 

Here's a brief summary of the value of domestic animals in medieval Welsh

law.  Note that the age of the animal affects its value.  Values are given

in "legal pence" -- i.e., using a standard reference amount, although

actual payment would most likely be in kind rather than coinage.

 

Horses

 

fetus - 14 days old = 4 p

15 days - 1 year = 24 p

2-3 year = 48 p

4 year until trained = 60 p

destrier = 240 p

palfrey = 120 p

sumpter = 120 p

draft horse = 60 p

untrained horse = 60 p

 

(there follows the value of various equine body-parts)

 

Cattle

 

Female

 

birth - Winter Kalends = 6 p

>from Winter Kalends, 2p more for each season until first pregnancy

at first pregnancy + 4p

while pregnant, 2p more for each season until calving

after calving 40p total

then until the 2nd calving, 2p more for each season

then through the 5th calf 60 p total

afterward, by appraisal

 

Male

 

(similarly to female, except the mile-stones are based on ploughing rather

than calving)

 

Pigs

 

birth until "it goes grubbing" = 1p

>from then until weaned (3 mo. old) = 2p

then until St. John's Day = 4p

St. John's Day until New Year = 15p

New Year until following St. John's Day, + 4p

afterward = 30 p total

 

Sheep and Goats

 

birth to Winter Kalends = 1p

Winter Kalends until 1 year old = 2p

after that = 4p

a ram = twice that (8p)_

 

Cats

birth until eyes are open = 1p

thence until it kills mice = 2p

after it kills mice = 4p

 

Poultry

 

goose = 1p

gander = 2p

brooding goose = 1/2 p for each chick

hen = 1p

cock = 2p

chick, until it can fly = 1 farthing

after than until sexual maturity = 1/2 p

 

Dogs

 

(Here we hit another facet of the Welsh legal system: value was affected

by social status as well as by inherent worth.)

 

The King's Dogs

Staghounds

- birth to opening eyes = 15 p

- thence until it leaves the kennel = 30 p

- one year old = 60 p

- an unskilled adult hound = 120 p

- a skilled adult hound = 240 p

Lapdog = 240 p

 

A Nobleman's Dogs

Staghounds -- half the value of a king's hound (at any given stage)

Greyhound -- ditto (although the value of a king's greyhound wasn't given)

Lapdog = 240 p

 

A Free Man's Dogs

Lapdog = 120 p

 

A Villein's Dogs

Lapdog (or any other type of dog) = 4 p

 

Misc. Dogs (owner unspecified)

Herding dog = the value of the most valuable beast it guards

Guard Dog = 24 p if on duty, if not there is no value

 

Falcons

the nest = 240 p

a "red" chick (before fledging?)

- king's = 120 p

- nobleman's = 60 p

a "white" bird (after fledging?)

- king's = 240 p

- nobleman's = 120 p

a tiercel (i.e. male falcon) = 24 p

 

Sparrowhawks

nest = 24 p

"red" chick = 12 p

"white" = 24 p

 

Any bird of prey belonging to a villein = 1 p

 

Bees

- an old colony = 24 p

- first swarm (of the year?) = 16 p

   - a swarm from that one = 12 p

- a "bull" swarm (meaning unclear) = 12 p

   - a swarm from that one = 8 p

- a swarm that occurs after August = 4 p

the values of swarms hold until Winter Kalends and after that they cound

as "old colonies" at 24 p, except for a post-August swarm which doesn't

attain full value until May Day.

- a queen bee = 24 p

 

Deer

- Winter Kalends to St. John's Day = 60 p

- St. John's Day to Winter Kalends (the hunting season) = 780 p [sic]

 

Misc. Wild Animals

- badger -- no value

- hare -- no value

- wolf and fox -- no value

- any wild animal kept as a pet

   - of the king or queen = 240 p

   - of a nobleman = 120 p

   - of a villein = 1 p

- beaver = 120 p

- marten = 24 p

 

It's hard to set up a comparison scale for these values based on, for

example, a day's skilled labor, because the value of labor depends on the

status of the person doing it.  For example, a value of a day's ploughing

in the spring is set at 1p.  One comparison scale might be found in the

nature and value of the "food render" -- i.e., the "tax" in kind paid

twice yearly by each manor in a lord's control.  The winter render due

>from a "free" manor consists of:

 

- a horse-load of the best flour

- a meat steer

- a vat of mead

- seven thraves (bundles) of oats for fodder

- a 3-y.o. pig

- a salted flitch of bacon three fingers thick

- a tub of butter three fist-breadths deep and three wide

 

and for this 240 p can be substituted, with the expectation that half will

go for bread, a quarter for drink, and a quarter for everything else.

 

One other thing to keep in mind about the legal values of things noted

above is that these amounts are set for compensation, not for purchase

(although presumably the two are related).  So these amounts are what you

would have to pay if you caused the destruction of an animal (or its

usefulness) rather than being what you would pay to buy one. A comparison

can be seen if you look up the individual legal values of the components

of the food render, to the extent that they can be found listed:

 

- a horse-load of the best flour = ?

- a meat steer = 60p

- a vat of mead = ?

- seven thraves of oats  at  4p/thrave = 28p

- a 3-y.o. pig = 30p

- a salted flitch of bacon = ?

- a tub of butter = ?

 

It isn't clear where the oats go in the accounting of the 240p money

equivalent, but the steer and pig alone add higher than the theoretical

60p "everything else" category.  So if the cash alternative for the food

render is intended as what it would cost to purchase the components, then

it's clear that the "legal value" of animals is set _higher_ than their

actual market value.

 

And furthermore, the law texts as we have them were compiled over a period

of several centuries.  It is unclear to what extent actual market

prices/costs remained stable over that period or to what extent the legal

valuations eventually became disconnected with reality.

 

Economics is _not_ one of my specialties.

 

Tangwystyl

*********************************************************

Heather Rose Jones         hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu

**********************************************************

 

 

Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 17:21:29 -0700 (PDT)

From: Robin Carroll-Mann <rcmann4 at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Interesting medieval food article

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

-----Original Message-----

From: "Kai D. Kalix" <kdkalix at gmx.de>

>> Medieval food was bland.

 

> Yes, it was. At least for peasants, and for noblemen, too, I suppose, if

> there wasn't a feast going on. Spices were way expensive. OK, you can always

> season with herbs. But if salt is equal in price with gold, everyday-food

> will be bland (at least to modern palates).

-------------------------

 

Mustard.  Garlic.  Horseradish.  Verjus/vinegar.  And, as you mention,

herbs.

 

I'm not an expert on the economics of salt, but take a look at the

chart on this page:

http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/SPICES1.htm

In 15th century England, a pint of salt cost half a penny, at a time

when a mason earned 6-8 pence per day.  For comparison, the same chart

says that a gallon of milk or a pint of butter cost a penny, and a

chicken cost five pence.  I think salt was well within the means of the

working class.

 

I don't know what salt prices were like elsewhere.

 

Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom

 

 

Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 19:59:15 -0400

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] [jenne at fiedlerfamily.net: [SCA-Laurels] Commodity

        prices database]

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

The author of _Beer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance_, Richard Unger,

along with Robert Allen, has up this useful database of grain/commodity

prices 1260-1914; some of you may be interested in it:

 

http://www.history.ubc.ca/unger/htm_files/new_grain.htm

 

Also, if you are interested in the history of hopped beer production,

you want the book mentioned above.

--

-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

 

 

From: Marc Carlson <marccarlson20 at hotmail.com>

Date: November 25, 2005 10:34:31 AM CST

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org

Subject: [Ansteorra] RE: Interesting site - Costs

 

> From: L T <ldeerslayer at yahoo.com>

> Costs in Medieval Times

>   http://members.tripod.com/Lord_Eadric/medieval.html

>   I can't garuntee how accurate this is...but it would be a  

> starting  place for those who wanted to

> get more indepth with their personas

 

And as that - a foundation to give a general ballpark idea of costs  

and such, it's probably not a bad thing.  And as a gaming source it's

just fine (since that's what it was compiled for  :) )

 

There are some issues that make it problematic for anything more  

serious, even if all the details are accurate.  The most obvious of  

which that not everywhere in the Middle Ages uses English money  

(although there are a lot of similarities in coinage systems and  

relative worths).  Also, these are prices from a wide area of time,  

and with inflation, coin debasements, and so on, some prices may not  

be evenly comparable.

 

For an interesting comparison, in 1349/1350 in London, a regulation  

was passed regarding prices and wages, and detailing many of these.  

Found in 24 Edward III. AD. 1350, Letter-Book F. fol. clxxxi

"Regulations as to wages and prices in the City"; and translated and  

printed in Riley's Memorials (and reprinted at http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/histshoe/RileysMemorial/

Fclxxxi.htm)

 

It is believed that these regulations were passed to try to limit  

price gouging and inflation in the wake of the Plague and is itself  

indicative that the the prices were moving around.  It would be  

interesting to know what wages and prices were outside of London  

(since prices in London have traditionally been higher than elsewhere).

 

Marc/Diarmaid

 

 

Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 18:23:18 -0800

From: "Warrior Chef" <Warrior-Chef at earthlink.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Calculate present value of money from

        1257-present day

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

To help with calculating costs:

Calculate present value of money from 1257-present day

 

       This currency converter produces present-worth values for money

through history, using a wealth of different systems. It applies to the UK

and US, and depending on the method used, you can get price and value

comparisons all the way back to 1257.

       In 2004, $1.00 from 1900 is worth:

       $22.37 using the Consumer Price Index

       $19.02 using the GDP deflator

       $108.01 using the unskilled wage

       $149.07 using the GDP per capita

       $575.24 using the relative share of GDP

 

http://eh.net/hmit/

 

 

Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 16:27:24 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spices for preservation of meats

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Spices were expensive, but were not beyond the reach of anyone who could

acquire a modicum of wealth.  As for the relative cost, who, when and where

must be considered in the equation.  A couple of papers on the subject of

spice prices can be found at:

 

http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/SPICES1.htm

 

http://www.econ.yale.edu/seminars/echist/eh05-06/Freeman's%20Paper.doc

 

The hunt was often reserved to the nobles, but not necessarily the meat.

For example, for centuries the German Jaegermeister's have had the privilege

to sell part of the meat taken in the hunt as part of their wages and were

to provide a portion of the hunt to orphans, widows and the needy.

Domesticated livestock are outside of the purview of the hunt and in many

jurisdictions birds and fish were taken commercially and sold in the

markets.

 

Bear

 

> Remember pepper alone was as

> expensive as the purchase of a slave or a sheep.  We find spices in

> nobles' household accounts but lower classes not only could not afford

> spices, they seldom had meat as hunting grounds were owned by the nobles

> and it was forbidden to hunt on them. Meat was for the nobleman it was

> thought that as he needed it for strength in wars riding his horse and

> wearing armor.

>

> Christy Campbell or Ysabelle wrote:

> Can anyone point me at information on the period uses of spices to

> preserve meat?

 

 

Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 23:21:54 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Spices for preservation of meats

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

The second URL comments on an apothecary in Barcelona (IIRC) selling pepper

for 5 sous per pound and that the price was fairly consistent with the price

earlier in the century.  If I'm correct about the coinage, that would have

been the equivalent of the English five silver pennies. At about the same

time in England, a single sheep sold for about 48 to 50 pence with the

capacity to return that value in wool in one to four years depending on the

market.  Take the values quoted with a grain of salt, because I haven't been

able to verify them fully.

 

The first URL provides some 15th Century values with comparisons to modern

currencies.  At the beginning of the 16th Century, prices dropped by about

1/3, when the Portuguese cut out the Arab middlemen.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 10:25:05 -0500

From: "Lisa Sawyer" <ysabeau.lists at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Book Review - WAS: Bread Labor

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

I've been meaning to post about this book I found that is really

fascinating. While this isn't exactly answering your question, it does

contain some interesting information about cooking.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Maids-Men-Baronial-Thirteenth/dp/

1842124994/ref=sr_1_1/002-4721091-8879261?

ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193843098&sr=8-1

 

The book is based on the daily accounts of the Countess of Leicester (Simon

De Montfort's wife). There are comparisons to the daily accounts of other

notables in the 13th century to determine if her accounts are common or

uncommon.

 

The part that pertains to bread was very interesting to me. It goes into the

prices of wheat, how the wheat was obtained by a large household and from

whom. Apparently, they had figured out exactly how many loaves of bread

could be baked from a set amount of wheat. They didn't use bushels but I'll

use that as an example. The amount of loaves from a bushel was a standard

that was used almost universally. They had standards for other products as

well.

 

The accountant would record that he gave the cook so many bushels of wheat

on a particular day. The cook had to report back how many loaves of bread

s/he baked from the wheat. This implies that they ground the wheat in-house

and then baked the loaves. It doesn't say what the turnaround time was. If

there was a discrepancy between the amount of wheat given to the cook and

the loaves of bread returned, then they had to be accounted for (such as a

percentage of the wheat was moldy or something).

 

The book is fascinating with the little details. It isn't an overview...it

is a lot of little details. Sometimes, I wish it had more details but I

could see how that could bog things down considerably. It is a fairly easy

read as is. They give the prices for comparison purposes which is also

fascinating. The accounts also can give an indication of how the spices

where used...if you could see a specific page which the book unfortunately

does not do...At the top of the page it indicates how many people were in

the household on that particular day as well as all the pantry items

consumed. While you don't have a menu, you can sort of guess based on the

spices consumed how spiced the food actually was.

 

One of the interesting details was the fact that leather was purchased to

create something for the Countess that they think resembled chaps. It is

guessed that the leather garment was created to protect the Countess' legs

because she liked to ride astride instead of side saddle. The entry includes

the cost of the hide, how much the tailor was paid, etc.

 

One of the other interesting details fresh in my mind was that the Countess

borrowed a carriage from someone else for [a] trip. She paid the driver 5s each

way. According to the book, this was a high amount because the carriage

required five horses to pull it.

 

Anyway, I'm over 3/4 through on my first reading and I'm fascinated by the

little details. None of the items are terribly new or shocking for most of

us, but they are interesting when put into perspective as they are in this

book. The one thing I need for the next pass is a clear understanding of the

monetary system...I understand the references to pounds, d, and s enough to

get a comparative idea but I would like to know how many s go into a d, how

many d go into a pound, etc.

 

Ysabeau of Prague

Barony of Bryn Gwlad

Ansteorra

 

<the end>



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