Money, Income, and Expenses

There were dozens of currencies in circulation, at any one time, during the Medieval period. Anyone who felt like it could, and often did, mint their own silver and gold coins. To make money values a little more comprehensible, everything has been translated into "ducats," which are worth about $1.00 in money of 1994.

Below is a a table describing what the major Medieval currencies (in the early 14th century) were worth in ducats.

Value Of 1337 Moneys in Ducats

English pound 600

English Mark 125

English Shilling 50

English Pence 2.5

English Groat 10

French livre tournois 133

French livre parisi 75

French livre bordelaise

French Crown 50


Venetian lira 100

Florentine florin 300

Castillian real 5.7

All pounds (livres, lire and English pound) were divided into 240 pence. Note that there were a lot of odd coins in circulation with interesting names (Ecu, noble, cavalier, and so forth), which realy only denoted their value in pence (a "rose noble," for example, was an English coin issued from 1464, valued at ten shillings, or 200 pence). The livre parisi and the livre bordelaise gradually passed out of circulation during the 14th century, leaving the livre tournais as the standard currency.

Early in the Medieval period (800-1000) there was not a lot of money in circulation. Economic activity usually consisted of payment in goods and barter. After AD 1000, however, economic activity picked up steadily and cash became a more common. The lists below show typical incomes in the early 14th century, and typical items that could be bought. Keep in mind that about 80 percent of the population was working the land and was thus virtually self-sufficient. The farmers generated surpluses which they sold to the urban population, and each other.

All monetary values are in ducats, a notional money invented for the purpose of converting the various Medieval moneys into one standard currency in order to make comparisons easier. The Farmer Price is what the farmer would get selling the item.



Minimum annual income to sustain life for an individual: 500-600

Annual income of building trades (masons and carpenters): 2,000-3,000

Annual "benifice" paid to support a parish priests: 3,000-4,000

Annual cash income of yeoman farmer: 1,000-3,000

Weekly carpenter's wage: 100-150

Annual Incomes of the Aristocracy

Soldiers Income

Pay for Royal Officials



Annual rent to fedual lord for an acre of land (varied considerably) 20-40

Farmer Price, 36 liters (1 bushel) of wheat grain (varied): 25-30

Farmer Price, one pound of wool: 40-50

Two pound loaf of bread: 1

Three room peasant's house (600-900 square feet): 1,200-2,000

Two storey row house in a town: 3,000-4,000

Two storey shop and living apartments in a town: 6,000-10,000

Luxury townhose with courtyard: 20,000-60,000

Farmer's cart (iron fittings): 200-300

Mould board plow: 30-40

Yoke for oxen (hire) 5-10

Shovel: 10

Axe: 12-20

Candles (per pound): 4-7

Hundred Gallons of ale : 75-125

Adult pig: 150-200

Spinning wheel: 30-40

Brass pot: 50-100

Table cloth: 50-100

Bed covering (heavy blanket): 10-20

Sheet for bed: 10-20

Silk quilt: 500-600

Milk cow: 300-400

Chest, with lock: 200-300

Emptying a cess-pit in a town (1,000 gallons): 250-400

Mattress cover (to be stuffed with hay): 5-10

Pillow (to be stuffed with hay) 4-8

Chair: 20-25

Stool: 10-15

Loom and treadle (for making cloth at home): 100-200

Cheap sword: 15-20

Expensive sword (no jewels or precious metals): 100-200

Knife: 5-10

Woman's chemise (linen undergarmet): 20-25

Pair of leather shoes: 15-40

Wool tunic (2-2.5 yards of cloth): 150-200

Fur lined wool tunic: 300-400

Cheap cloth for peasant clothing (per yard): 20-60

Better quality wool tunic, dyed various colors: 250-350

Peasant savings (coins buried, for emergencies): 500-2,000

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