Wages of Operative Masons
In all the Old Constitutions praise is given to Saint Alban because he raised the wages of the Freemasons. Thus the Edinburgh-Kilwinning Manuscript says: "Saint Albans loved Masons well and cherished them much, and made their pay right good, standing by as the realm, did, for he gave them iis. a week, and 3d. to their cheer; for before that time, through all the land, a Mason had but a penny a day and his meat, until Saint Alban amended it."
We may compare this rate of wages in the third century with that of the fifteenth, and we will be surprised at the little advance that was made.
In Grosse and Astle's Antiquarian Repertory (iii, page 58), will be found an extract from the Rolls of Parliament, which contains a Petition, in the year 1443, to Parliament to regulate the price of labor. In it are the following items:
And from the Fest of Mighelmasse unto Ester, a free Mason and a maister carpenter by the day iiiid. with mete and drynk, withoute mete and drink iiid., ob.
Tyler or Sclatter, rough mason and meen carpenter, and other artificers concernyng beldyng, by the day iiid., with mete and drynk, and withoute mete and drynke, iiid., ob. And from the Fest of Mighelmasse unto Sister, a free Mason and a maister carpenter by the day iiid with mete and drynk, without mete and drink, iiid., ob.
Tyler, meen carpenter, rough mason, and other artificers aforesaid, by the day iid., ob, with mete and drynk, withoute mete and drynk iiid.., and every other werkeman and laborer by the day id., ob, with mete and drynk and withoute mete and drink iiid., and who that lasse deserveth, to take lasse.
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