Life in Scotland during Middle Ages 'not as bad as popularly portrayed'

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London, Dec 28 (ANI): Historians have said that life in Scotland during the Middle Ages was not quite as bad as people might believe and was no worse than life in any other European country.

The popular belief is that life in Scotland during the Middle Ages was nasty, brutish and short. But historians have now challenged that thinking.

Between 1093 AD to 1286 AD, nine out of ten Scots would have worked on the land or in selling farm produce, reports the Scotsman.

At the bottom of the social ladder, with the exception of beggars, were those who laboured on tenant farms while at the top was the king and the landed gentry.

Within 50 years of the end of the period of study, serfdom was abolished in Scotland, far earlier than in many European nations.

One of the best jobs for the working class was in the kitchen of a baronial home, while the most respected were masons and craftsmen who passed their skills on to apprentices.

Families lived cheek by jowl in timber homes and grew vegetables such as onions, cabbages and kale in their gardens to supplement their diet which also included meat, fish and lots of a tough bread baked from a variety of oats and wheat.

Coins were in popular use and extras purchased in village shops and stalls. The surnames in use today give an insight into the careers of the middle-ages with names such as Draper and Taylor emerging from those who worked with cloth, Brewer those who made ale and Smith those who worked with gold, silver and iron.

During this period Scotland lacked a university with the sons of noblemen sent to Oxford and Cambridge for their education. Others were sent to France, while the Church also offered an education for those who wanted to be priests and monks.

Death, however, was always unpleasant and exceptionally painful, as there were few effective medicinal skills at the time and no form of pain relief. (ANI)

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