Late-Medieval English Prices
Prices are expressed in English pounds (L), shillings (s), and pence (d). There are twelve pence in a shilling, and twenty shillings in a pound. As in the modern era, monetary values underwent inflation and deflation over time, and commodities often commanded differing prices depending on location (e.g., see "Pig in Somerset" vs. "Pig in London"). Nevertheless, rough comparisons can be made which can help one estimate relative cost. [Note: this price list was adapted freely from the wonderfully useful web page written by Kenneth Hodges (formerly http://sky.fit.qut.edu.au/~mcarthur/medieval.html but currently returning a "404" file not found code as of 9/9/99).]
Item Price Date Source Page
2 yokes (for oxen) 4s c1350 Dyer 170
Coulter or foot iron of plough 5d " " "
3 masons tools 9d " " "
Knights 2 horses L10 1374 Dyer 76
(Horse prices are notorious for being dependent on local market conditions and the bargaining skill of buyer and seller. Prices for draft animals also rise and fall as harvests succeed or fail, and prices for war horses rise in time of war and fall somewhat in peace.)
Food and Livestock
Best Gascon in London 4d/gallon 1331 Myers 194
Best Rhenish in London 8d/gallon 1331 " "
Good 1.5d/gallon 14thC Myers 201
Medium 1d/gallon " " "
Poor .75d/gallon " " "
First-rate 1.5d/gallon 1320-1420 Dyer 58
Second-rate .75-1d/gallon " " "
Best in Somerset .75d/gallon 1338 Dyer 210
Best in London 1d/gallon " " "
Dried fruit and nuts: raisins,
dates, figs, prunes, almonds, 1-4d/lb to 6d . 14thC? Dyer 62-3
Spices: cinnamon, cloves,
mace, pepper, sugar, etc. 1-3s/lb 14thC? " "
Saffron 12-15s/lb 14thC? Dyer "
Cow 9s 5d mid-14thC Jusserand 99
Ox 13s 1.25d " " "
Sheep 1s 5d " " "
Pig in Somerset 2s 1338 Dyer 210
Pig in London 3s " " "
Fowl 1d " " "
2 chickens 1d 14thC Norman 78
2 dozen eggs 1d " " "
Goose in London 6d (legal price) 1375 Myers 198
7d-8d (asked) " " "
80 lb cheese 3s 4d 1382 Myers 198
Board 104s/yr. 1394 Myers 186
Clothing 40s/yr. " " "
Instruction 26s 8d/yr. " " "
Rent for cottage 5s/yr. 14th C Dyer 208
Rent craftsmans house 20s/yr. " " "
Rent merchants house L2-3/yr. " " "
Cost to build a goldsmiths hall, London, with hall, kitchen, buttery, and two chambers
L136 1365 Myers 114
Cost to build a tower in castles curtain wall
L333-L395 late 14th C Dyer 79-80
Fashionable gown L10 to L50 late 14th C Myers 53
Reeves robe 6s 4d 1349-1352 Dyer 176
Wealthy peasants clothes:
Linen chemise 8d 1313 Dyer 175
shoes 6d " " "
Woolen garment 3s " " "
fur-lined garments 6s8d early 14th C " 176
Landless serfs tunics 1d-6d mid 14th C Dyer 176
Best Wool 5s/yard 1380 Dyer 78
Silk 10s-12s/yd. 15th C " "
Furs added to garment +L2-L3/gar. 15th C " 79
2 gold rings with diamonds L15 1382 Myers 24
Gold ring with ruby 26s 8d " " "
3 strings of pearls 70s " " "
6 gold necklaces 100s " " "
Total armor owned by knight L16 6s 8d 1374 Dyer 76
Armor in house of Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester
L103 1397 Dyer 77
Fee for cleaning rust from corselets
5d each ` 1567 ffoulkes 80
Cheap peasants sword 6d 1340s Dyer 174
Sample peasant doweries 13s 4d, 35s 4d, 57s, 63s 4d 14th C Dyer 179
Esquires daughters dowery to L66 13s 4d 15th C Dyer 84
Bride and Grooms parents wedding gift, London
L100 each 1385 Myers 154
Jusserand (126-9) found that travelers at an inn in 1331spent the following amounts: in one day, 3 men with 4 servants spent: bread, 4d; beer, 2d; wine, 1.25d; meat, 5.5d; potage, .25d; candles, .25d; fuel, 2d; beds, 2d; fodder for horses, 10d. Their four servants stayed in other quarters for 2 nights for 1d. In London, the fee for a bed is 1d per night per head, since more than one person might share a bed when traveling.
N.B., labor for money is more rare in C14 than it is in modern capitalist economies. Many members of the court were sustained more substantially by gifts, including clothing, room and board at a noble's table, though guildsmen, millers, and professionals like the doctor and man of law routinely received money payments in addition to the occasional fee (gift) from a noble or barter payment from farmers. There was some stigma attached to accepting money for doing things, sometimes associated with the 30 pieces of silver used to bribe Judas Iscariot.
Profession Wage Date Source Page
Knight banneret 4s/day 1316 Norman 78
Knight 2s/day " " "
Man-at-arms or esquire 1s/day " " "
Archers 3d/day 1346 " 79
Crowns Income L30,000 c.1300 Dyer 29
Barons avg. revenue L200-500/yr. " " "
Earls avg. revenue L400-L11,000 " " "
Sergeant at Law (highest) L300/year 1455 Dyer 47
Master mason 4d/day 1351 Myers 24
Master carpenter 3d/day " " "
Chantry priest L4 13s 4d 1379 Myers 24
(prays for the dead)
Squire 13s 4d to L1/yr 14th C Jusserand 116-7
Kitchen servant 2s-4s/year 14th C " "
Boys and Pages 1s-6s/year " " "
Dyer, Christopher. Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989.
ffoulkes, Charles. The Armourer and His Craft from the XIth to the XVIth Century. 1912.Rpt. N.Y.: Dover, 1988.
Jusserand, J.J. English Wafaring Life in the XIVth Century. Trans. Lucy Smith. 1889. Rpt. N.Y.: Putnams, 1931.
Myers, A.R. London in the Age of Chaucer. Norman, OK: U Oklahoma P, 1972.
Norman, A.V.B. and Don Pottinger. English Weapons and Warfare, 449-1660. 1966. Rpt. N.Y.: Barnes & Noble, 1992