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Pedlars

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:33 pm
by Christabel
Hello - does anyone know how far a pedlar in the 16th century might travel? A couple of parishes? Or is this a how long is a piece of string question?

I've seen a German engraving of a pedlar with ribbons, a looking glass and beads amongst other trinkets, and have come across a reference to them selling pewterware. Where would they have bought their goods from in the first place, do you think? Ports, markets, producers?

Was it safe to be a female pedlar?

Thanks if you can help or recommend reading matter!

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:58 pm
by Merlon.
Get a copy of
The Great Reclothing of Rural England: Petty Chapmen and Their Wares in the Seventeenth Century
Margaret Spufford
ISBN-10: 0907628478
Will give a lot of background information.
Distances covered are a lot further than you think.

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:24 am
by Bevis Gittens
Christabel,

The most famous pedlar of the period is perhaps the fictional Autolycus from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in Act IV Scene IV he enters stage thus:

Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing

AUTOLYCUS

Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cyprus black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears:
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy lads, or else your lasses cry: Come buy

Books I have read with references to pedlars:

Masterless Men by AL Beier also has a bit about Pedlars and their inevitable brush with the vagrancy laws.

In relation the selling of chapbooks, try Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 1550-1640 by Tessa Watt has some good background info....

I can also recommend Unsettled: The culture of mobility and the working poor in Early modern England by Patricia Fumerton

Also the long out of print Vexed and Troubled Englishmen 1590-1642 by Carl Bridenbaugh. These all have good descriptions of Pedlars.

As already mentioned by Merlon The great reclothing... Spufford is the book and has some great inventories of pedlars wares...

And for good measure here this the German picture you refered to, as I happen to have it saved on my PC:

Image

jost amman, the peddler, from the book of trades, frankfurt 1568


Bevis

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:45 am
by Bittersweet
Looks better dressed than I expected, presumably quite successful at pedling

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:42 pm
by Christabel
Thanks, both - excellent references. Now for that book-buying overdraft...

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:42 pm
by Bevis Gittens
Inter library loan and a scanner - for strict personal research purposes only of course, a lot cheaper :wink:

Found a bit in the elizabethan underworld by gamini salgado after i had posted.

Glad to have been of help

B

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:33 pm
by Christabel
Now that is a book I have! Thanks for reminding me!

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:47 pm
by Paul D
Look more like a higgler to me.




Bevis Gittens wrote:Christabel,

The most famous pedlar of the period is perhaps the fictional Autolycus from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in Act IV Scene IV he enters stage thus:

Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing

AUTOLYCUS

Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cyprus black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears:
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy lads, or else your lasses cry: Come buy

Books I have read with references to pedlars:

Masterless Men by AL Beier also has a bit about Pedlars and their inevitable brush with the vagrancy laws.

In relation the selling of chapbooks, try Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 1550-1640 by Tessa Watt has some good background info....

I can also recommend Unsettled: The culture of mobility and the working poor in Early modern England by Patricia Fumerton

Also the long out of print Vexed and Troubled Englishmen 1590-1642 by Carl Bridenbaugh. These all have good descriptions of Pedlars.

As already mentioned by Merlon The great reclothing... Spufford is the book and has some great inventories of pedlars wares...

And for good measure here this the German picture you refered to, as I happen to have it saved on my PC:

Image

jost amman, the peddler, from the book of trades, frankfurt 1568


Bevis

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:45 am
by Lord High Everything Esle
No more like a chafferer

Re: Pedlars

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:21 am
by frances
Some pedlars had shops. When they were away the wife looked after the shop. Some had their goods sent from London or the nearest large town. Others were employed by shops to sell goods to outlying villages. Each pedlar had their own hinterland that they travelled, and each had their own range of stock. Some pedlars were newcomers to this country and were financed by a church until they had got on their own feet and could fend for themselves and pay the money back, and then finance the next incomer.

I have not seen any female pedlars on their own, but I daresay there were some, in the same way as women took over any man's business and apprentices when he died.

Stock was heavy and the roads were fraught with difficulties, which included sleeping under hedges, robberies and catching colds and so on.

On the other hand I do portray a travelling pedlar sometimes, mostly in light goods. BTW pedlars were also sometimes musicians with the music heralding their presence from afar and drawing up prospective purchasers.