The Guilds and medieval jobs

London in the Middle Ages was a lot smaller than the city is today. The houses were made of wood and they were built very close to each other. Streets were covered in mud, or at some places stones called cobbles. Shops in the street had signs on them to show what they sold, because people couldn’t read.


Merchants and craftsmen joined to form powerful groups called Guilds to keep the good quality of their products.
– A boy of the age 11-12 could go to a guild where a guildsman began his education which lasted for 2 years. The boy was called an apprentice.

– Then the boy became a journeyman and went to other towns to learn from other guildsmen. He also received wages (earned money).

– Then he made his masterpiece (at the age of 16) and if he could save enough money, he could start his own business.

In towns, only its guilds could sell things. The streets were usually named after the craftsmen who owned a shop in that street (e.g.: Baker Street, Bread Street etc.).

Each guild had its own symbol called a coat-of-arms to show its product.

Look at the signs and the jobs. Then match the jobs with the job descriptions.




jester an old word for someone whose job was to manage an inn, a house with a pub downstairs and a hotel upstairs
innkeeper someone whose job is to blow liquid glass into shapes in order to make containers and other objects
artist someone in the past whose job was to entertain an important person by saying and doing funny things
herbalist someone who delivers messages to people, often as their job
glassblower someone whose job is to make bread, cakes etc.
hunter someone who grows, sells, or prepares herbs for use in medicine or who treats ill people with herbal medicines
baker a professional performer in music, dance, or the theatre
messenger someone who chases and kills wild animals