By Judith M. Bennett
Ladies brewed and bought lots of the ale under the influence of alcohol in medieval England, yet after 1350, males slowly took over the exchange. by way of 1600, such a lot brewers in London - in addition to in lots of cities and villages - have been male, no longer woman. Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England investigates this transition, asking how, while, and why brewing ceased to be a women's alternate and have become a alternate of fellows. Drawing on a large choice of assets - similar to literary and inventive fabrics, courtroom files, money owed, and administrative orders - Judith Bennett vividly describes how brewsters (that is, lady brewers) slowly left the exchange. She tells a narrative of industrial progress, gild formation, altering applied sciences, leading edge laws, and at last, enduring rules that associated brewsters with drunkenness and affliction. analyzing this example of probably dramatic swap in women's prestige, Bennett argues that it integrated major parts of continuity. ladies would possibly not have brewed in 1600 as frequently as they'd in 1300, yet they nonetheless labored predominantly in low-status, low-skilled, and poorly remunerated projects. utilizing the reviews of brewsters to rewrite the heritage of women's paintings through the upward thrust of capitalism, Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England deals a telling tale of the patience of patriarchy in a time of dramatic fiscal swap.
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Extra info for Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600
Our most direct evidence of domestic brewing comes from elite households. In 1333-34, the household of Elizabeth de Burgh, Lady of Clare, brewed about 8 quarters of barley and dredge each week, each quarter yielding about 60 gallons of ale. Brewing varied by the season of the year, with vast amounts produced in December (when more than 3,^00 gallons were brewed) and quite restricted production in February (only 8 i o gallons). The members of the Clare household drank strong ale throughout the year, imbibing with particular gusto during the celebrations of Christmas and the New Year.
In Oxford, only one early fourteenth-century bailiff was associated with the trade. In London, one late thirteenth-century ordinance suggests that brewers—particularly in fact, brewsters—were regarded as troublesome riffraff. Perhaps the more competitive economies of Oxford and London placed brewers at a disadvantage. In early fourteenth-century Oxford, for example, clothiers and merchants so dominated economic and political life that victualers, including brewers, could not compete with them. In towns where the victualing trades were more important, such as St.
And they also had to pay for practicing their trade, either in amercements levied under the assize or in customary tolls on brewing or both. Yet brewers had many ways to stretch their trade to make a profit. They could mix barley with other, cheaper grains, especially oats. They could draw as many gallons of ale from the malt as possible, taking 10 or even more gallons from a bushel. They could cheat their customers by selling weak ale in short measures. They could charge prices higher than those set by aletasters or jurors.