Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Medieval Word Wednesday - Cobbler versus Shoemaker

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMendel_I_035a_v.jpg

Contrary to my previous understanding, a cobbler in medieval times did not make shoes. According to The Scriptorium (http://thescriptorium.co.uk/glossary.php), a cobbler was "a repairer of footwear as opposed to a maker of footwear."

I suppose shoemakers made shoes. Unless you wanted really fine shoes.

Then you would seek out a cordwainer. They were makers "of fine shoes using soft Cordovan leather." I was surprised to discover that Cordovan leather is made from horses. Not the horses' hides, but a specific muscle in their hindquarters.

I always thought that leather came from animal hides, not their muscles.

Knowing where they came from, 
would you seek out a cordwainer to purchase his wares?

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