Doesn't sound the end of the world - but a complete medieval market is an awful lot of heavy wood and canvas.
I helped set up on Sunday morning and then debated what I was going to do for the day...Mr and Mrs A had lots of helpers with Mistress Vic and the three children so I was free to learn a new trade.
I watched Jonno hammer out a coin and thought 'I could do that!'. Boy, could I ever! That was a real money maker (we don't usually sell things at these events) literally (I know, cool pun!). I had a stream of children and adults at my mint wanting my 'pretty silver pennies'. The secret to hammering coins is firstly to make it look good, and secondly to make the coin with a single hit. It was a double edged die - which meant you put the blank between two moulds and hit it firmly once with a heavy hammer, impressing the mould on both sides of the coin at once. More than one hit runs the risk of double imprinting, which explains the faulty coins sometimes dug up by archeologists. The children loved the silver pennies and the theatrics, the adults were intrigued by the process and the poverty-stricken individual desperately trying to earn enough to pay for some shoes.
I could even flash my black toenail (got elsewhere!) and say sorrowfully 'I dropped the die on my foot yesterday'....they lapped it up.......several came back for more talk and more silver pennies.
The sergeant at arms made a point of spending time looking over my shoulder to ensure I wasn't forging or diddling our Lordship out of money.....that added to the appeal for the public.
The money flowed in. One child would inch shyly over and offer his money saying 'can I have a silver penny please?', so I would beckon them over and begin showing them the die and the blank coins - by then Mum and Dad would be listening attentively. One strike of my mallet and the parents would be asking for coins for the whole family!
I got used to hearing (in a strong Liverpudlian accent) 'Mum! Mum! This lady's making MONEY!'
(example of a period coin from the Web)
Sunday was hot and sunny and I made £91 - so at 50p a coin I hammered 182 coins....Monday was rainy and cold but I was still hammering coins all day, I think I pulled in another £40 or so - I left Vintner to count the money as I was cold and poorly by 3.30.....
The company are taking the coin die to Caerphilly next month, so I'm off to research Edward III silver pennies so I can sound more knowledgeable.