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Mistress Dauntesey Finishes Her Shopping

Tudor market with butcher and fishmonger. Courtesy of wiki commons.

The next stop is the mercer’s shop. Several of the items on their list can be bought in this one place. The mercer can provide them with the pins they need every day for keeping their clothing, ruffs and cuffs in place. Mistress Dauntesey has her “pin money” in her bag for just such a purchase. She also needs some dry groceries (corn meal, cinnamon and sugar) as well as some writing paper and ink. This “one-stop-shopping” seems familiar to us living in the 21st century!

Now they will drop their baskets into the wagon and head out for their perishables. After they return from the inn yard, their first stop is the butcher. They pass a bakery and a fishmonger on their way, but none of that is needed today.

They reach the Shambles, or the street where the butcher shop resides. The street is named for the bench on which the butchers cut their meat. They spy the shop sign with the bull’s head painted on it. Since most people cannot read, signage is painted with images that tell shoppers what is sold inside.

Today Mistress Dauntesey chooses some fresh mutton and a fine piece of roasting beef. These are quickly butchered, packaged and paid for. She will need to return to market next week for more meat, as she can not keep large quantities fresh at home for long.

Finally, the women head to the covered market hall. This is a two-story building with a covered and arched arcade on the ground floor. It sits near the market cross and provides shelter for the sellers of items that can spoil in the sun, like butter and eggs. The space above the covered market-the council chambers- is used by the town’s civic leaders for their meetings.

It is getting close to dusk when the market closes and the streetlights are lit. Better to make the trip home now while it is still light and much safer for travel. Mistress Dauntesey remembers too late that she needs to hire a chimney sweep for her hearths. Next week she will find one at market and do her hiring then. The two women collect their cart and horse and head out of town content in their successful day of shopping.





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