Women in Medieval and Renaissance History

Women have played a large role in history, but their history is often not told. Many re-enactments centre around battles and manly pursuits. Many re-enactment groups are focused around men, the women being ‘added accessories’ to help the men do the important (ie fighting) shows and might be known better as ‘so-an-so’s wife’ than by their actual name.

Fortunately I am not in one of those groups.  But I came across a blog post where the blogger mentioned one of the downsides of re-enactment was being a female, and how limited she was in the things she was able to do around camp, an how bored she got.

So I thought I’d compile a list of tasks, crafts, roles, and anything else we can think of historically accurate things woman can do around their re-enactment camps and personas they can portray.

The list is only just started, but please feel free to comment and I’ll add your ideas to the list! I’ll be limiting it to the middle ages and Renaissance for now.

Crafts and Tasks

Archery

Baking

baker

Blacksmithing

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Butchering

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Butter Churning

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Candle making

Cooking

Coopering

coopering

Dancing

Dancing

Embroidery

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Fingerloop brading

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Games

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Gardening

Hairdressing

Haymaking

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Herbal medicines

Knitting

Laundry

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Making Music

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Painting

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Pottery

potter

Sewing

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Soap making

Spinning

Writing

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Personas and Roles

While many trades were not open to women, it is documented in may professions for a woman to assist her husband on his trade or take on his business in the event of his absence or death.

Blacksmith

Brewer

Longbow String Maker

Midwife

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Rosalie’s Medieval Women page has a section on employment

In 1405 in Christine de Pisan’s “Treasure of the City of Ladies,” she advised: the craftswomen…”should learn all the shop details so that she can properly supervise the workers when her husband is away or not paying attention.”

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