Stones: South Leith churchyard, part two
Maltmen, and lots of them: that’s what you’re getting in this post. I didn’t seek them out, but most of the interestingly carved stones I saw on the day I took these photos happened to belong to maltmen.
The website of the Trades House of Glasgow suggests that, historically, there may have been some women working as maltsters in Scotland:
Unlike most other crafts, some members were probably women, as there were many female tavern-keepers or publicans.
Not, in itself, a completely convincing bit of reasoning, but it got me interested enough to look for more information. However, everything I found tended to downplay the involvement of women in the malting trade. Christine Peters says in Women in Early Modern Britain, 1450–1640:
Although malting was generally a male occupation, due to the drying kilns and the amount of space needed, the rest of the brewing process was largely the preserve of women.
and Elizabeth Ewan in her paper ‘For Whatever Ales Ye’: Women as Consumers and Producers in Late Medieval Scottish Towns says:
Maltmaking fit the patterns of women’s work less well than brewing, and it appears that, although there were women maltsters, the industry was dominated by men.
Oh, well. As to the symbols on the stones, Betty Willsher describes them in Stones as ‘the barley, the long-handled maltmen’s shovel, the brush, the shovel with the wooden slats, and a tool with a hook on the end of a pole, termed a “weedock”.’ Elsewhere, I’ve seen the term ‘fire-hook’ given (I think that must be an alternative to ‘weedock’), and the slatted shovel called a ‘mash oar’. Not all of these implements appear on every stone. The ones I found tended not to have the full set; typically they showed a pair of shovels crossed, and a brush.