The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Canterbury Tales - Medieval Job Descriptions Handout

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The Canterbury Tales Medieval Job Descriptions

  • Knight: (1): a mounted man-at-arms serving a feudal superior; especially: a man ceremonially inducted into special military rank usually after completing service as page and squire (2): a man honored by a sovereign for merit and in Great Britain ranking below a baronet (3): a person of antiquity equal to a knight in rank b: a man devoted to the service of a lady as her attendant or champion c: a member of an order or society
  • Squire: a shield bearer or armor bearer of a knight
  • Yeoman: (1) a: an attendant or officer in a royal or noble household b: a person attending or assisting another: retainer c: yeoman of the guard d: a naval petty officer who performs clerical duties (2) a: a person who owns and cultivates a small farm; specifically: one belonging to a class of English freeholders below the gentry b: a person of the social rank of yeoman
  • Prioress: a woman who is the second in command to the superior (abbess) of a convent of nuns
  • Nun: a woman belonging to a religious order; especially: one under solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
  • Priest: one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God; specifically: an Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic clergyman ranking below a bishop and above a deacon
  • Monk: a man who is a member of a religious order and lives in a monastery
  • Friar: a member of a religious order (as the Franciscans) combining monastic life and outside religious activity and originally owning neither personal nor community property
  • Merchant: a buyer and seller of commodities for profit
  • Oxford Cleric: a student
  • Sergeant-at-Law: a member of a former class of barristers of the highest rank (Barristers are lawyers admitted to plead at the bar and undertake the public trial of causes in an English superior court.)
  • Franklin: a medieval English landowner of free but not noble birth
  • Haberdasher: a dealer in men's clothing and accessories
  • Dyer: one who dyes materials
  • Carpenter: a worker who builds or repairs wooden structures or their structural parts
  • Weaver: one who weaves especially as an occupation
  • Carpet-maker: One who weaves carpets
  • Cook: a person who prepares food for eating
  • Skipper: the master of a ship; especially: the master of a fishing, small trading, or pleasure boat
  • Doctor: a person skilled or specializing in healing arts; especially: one (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice
  • Parson: a member of the clergy (as of the Protestant Episcopal Church) in charge of a parish
  • Plowman: a farm laborer
  • Miller: one that operates a mill ; specifically : one that grinds grain into flour
  • Manciple: a steward or purveyor especially for a college or monastery
  • Reeve: a medieval English manor officer responsible chiefly for overseeing the discharge of feudal obligations
  • Summoner: one who commands by service of a summons to appear in court
  • Pardoner: a medieval preacher delegated to raise money for religious works by soliciting offerings and granting indulgences
  • Host: a: one that receives or entertains guests socially, commercially, or officially b: one that provides facilities for an event or function

About this Document

This is a handout I made with the credit going largely to dictionary sites and such. I just made a list of all the pilgrims and put parameters on what it meant to be a reeve, miller, etc., so that my kids would know what was going on.