Lystyne Lordys Verament (with suggested Translations)
Compiled and translated by I. Marc Carlson

Lystyne Lordys Verament (also called "A Shoemaker's Verse Testament" (c.1475-1500))
Manuscript Oxford, Lincoln College, MS Lat 141 f.5-6

    Original text?   Edward Wilson's corrections   A Suggested Translation
f.5.v   Pyrdow, pyrdow, pydowy, wows se bone
Trenket sowterly
  Pyrdow, pyrdow, pydowy, wows se bone
Trenket sowterly
  By God, By God, By God; You are good
gather like shoemakers
  Lystyne lordys veramente
How the sowt hath mad hys testament
e,
     Wt py.
  Lystyne lordys verament
How the sowter hath mad hys testament,
     With py.
  Listen Lords truly
How the shoemaker made his will.
With (By God)

5
He bequethyd to Mabb hys wyffe
Hys paring bord, hys carwyng knyfe
     Wt pyrd.
  He bequeythed to Mabb hys wyffe
Hys paring bord, hys carwyng knyfe
     With pyrd.
  He bequeathed to Mabb his wife
His paring board, his carving knife
With (By God)
  He bequethyd to his sone Ihon
Hys lastys, his lygellys euyrylkon
     Wt pyrdo.
  He bequeythed to his sone Ihon
Hys lastys, his lygellys ewyrylkon
     With pyrdo.
  He bequeathed to his son John
His lasts, his threads [Every thing]
With (By God)
10 He bequethyd to his sone Tome
Hys chaspy and his schoyng horne
     Wt pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his sone Tome
Hys chaspy and his schoyng horne
     With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his son Tom
His chaspy and his shoeing  horn
With (By God)
f.6.r  

15

He bequethyd to his sone Hyk [Dicke]
Hys tranket hys turning styk
e
    Wt pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his sone Hyk
Hys tranket and hys turning styk
    With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his son Hyk
His trenket and his turning stick
With (By God)
  He bequeythyd to his sone Coke
Hys sterop and hys fotyng-blok
e
    Wt pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his sone Cok
Hys sterop and hys footyng-blok
    With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his son Cok
His stirrup and his footing block.
With (By God)

20
He bequethyd to his sone How
All že brystyllys of a sowe
    Wt  pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his sone How
All že brystyllys of a sowe
    With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his son How,
all the bristles of a sow.
With (By God)
  He bequethyd to his dowtyr Belle
Hys talow, his gres, now euedell
e
    Wt  pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his dowtyr Bell
Hys talow, his gres, now euerydell
    With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his daughter Bell,
his tallow, his grease, now a bit of sheep
With (By God)
25 He bequethyd to his dowtyr Anne
Hys blackyng pot. his blackyng pan
    Wt  pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his dowtyr Anne
Hys blackyng pot, his blacking pan
    With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his daughter Anne,
his blacking pot and blacking pan
With (By Godl)
 

30

He bequethyd to his dowtyr Kat
Hys nallys hys thombys blake
    Wt  pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his dowtyr Kat
Hys nallys and hys thombys blak
    With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his daughter Kat,
his nails and his black thumbs
With (By God)
  He bequethyd to his dowtyr Ione
Kyng Coltyng spone hys orgone
    Wt  pyrdowy.
  He bequeythed to his dowtyr Ione
Kyng Coltyng spone and hys orgone
    With pyrdowy.
  He bequeathed to his daughter Joan,
King Colting's spoon, and his organ
With (By God)

35
Thus že sowter mad hys ende
He lygge in graff by Kyng Coltyng
    Wt  pyrdowy.
  Thus že sowter mad hys end
He lygge in graff by Kyng Coltyng
    With pyrdowy.
  Thus the shoemaker made his end,
He lies in the grave by King Colting
With (By God)

Notes:

Pyrowy Likely from Par dieu.  I am reasonably certain that the gradual spelling change in the following stanzas is paralleled, by the spelling change in the first stanza.  However, the meaning really doesn't change.  Wilson suggests below that the following repetitions might be an ironic response by the recipient, but I'm not sure the evidence supports these.
Wows se bone Likely "vous etes bon."  It has been suggested that this is meant ironically, because the term in Modern French is used so, however, I don't believe that the evidence is sufficient to support the speculation.
Trenket While it is true that normally I would gloss this as "The Shoemaker's Knife", "a Trenket of Sutors"  is also a term for a gathering of shoemakers, therefore "trenket sowterly" is to "gather like shoemakers"
Paring Bord This is either a cutting board, or may be a small board used for trimming welts without damaging the uppers.
Carwyng Knyfe Carving knife.  It is likely that this is the knife used to trim the inner seam while the shoe is still on the last, but has not been turned, and to trim the welt after it's been turned.  See pictures from the Das Hausbuch der Mendelschen for use, specifically Blatts 1v, 44r, 48v, 93v.  I should note that Swann suggests that this instead could refer to the clicking knife, for cutting out the pieces, which would balance the paring board as a cutting board.
Lasts Lasts
Lygellys Lingles or threads, generally used as a waxed thread.
Euyrylkon Ever-ilk-on", Everilk referring to every thing of a class of items. I think the suffix -on should be glossed --en and indicate an emphasis of the plural of the items in the class.
Chaspy Chaspy/Chaspey/Chaucepe is a "shoe horn", and may be a bit of hair-on leather to slip on shoes with.
Schoyng horne Shoe horn.  If chaspy refers to a shoe horn, this is redundant, unless one or the other refers to a different in type of item.
Hyk Hikke is a nickname for an hostler (ostler, a stableman or groom).  It is also apparently a diminutive for Richard, according to the MED.  This is supported by the fact that at a later date, the name in this manuscript was crossed out and replaced by "Dicke", probably to give a less obscure name.  Swann suggests that this might be a nickname.
Tranket Trenket/Tranchet - This is ubiquitous stereotypical  "Shoemaker's Knife" as described in numerous dictionaries (See Glossary).  It is my opinion that this then refers to the spiked round knife that the iconographical attribute in pictures of shoemakers from this period.  I should note that today the meaning of "tranchet" is completely different.
Turning styke Turning stick.  This is a stick used in turning the shoe, after it's been removed from the last.
Coke "Cook", or "Cock"..  Swann suggests that this might be a nickname, however, Kok/Cok/Cock/etc was used as a given or forename in English during the Middle Ages, according to several Onomasticians, citing Reaney and Wilson.
Sterop Stirrup
Fotyng-bloke Footing Block, probably the heel block used with the stirrup.
How Swann suggests that this might be "Hugh"
Bristles Bristles for sewing
Tallow Rendered fat
Gres Grease
Euedelle Ewe-del, Del in this case referring to a fraction or portion of something.  (MED)
Blackyng pot Blacking pot.  The meaning is not really clear, but this probably refers to some form of container for blacking for shoes.  Wilson suggests that this might be an ink horn, Swann suggests that it might be some sort of blacking paste.  My suspicion is that it could contain coperas water or iron black (made much in the fashion of medieval ink).  At this point these all are speculative.
Blackyng pan Blacking pot.  Again the meaning is not clear, but Swann suggests that this may be the pan used for preparing the blacking in the pot.
Nallys Nails.  Could refer to lasting tacks, or the blacking under finger nails.
Thombys blake Thumbs black, or black thumbs (the word order is to allow the rhyme to flow), possibly from the coode or shoemaker's wax, or possibly from blacking the shoes.
Kyng Coltyng King Colting.  Wilson and Swann suggest that "colt" in this context refers to an apprentice, and from this Swann has suggested that this be a wish for the shoemaker's youngest daughter to be an apprentice.  While this is entirely possible, the use in the next stanza makes no sense.  On the other hand, the use of King Colting in the next stanza doesn't make much sense anyway, since we have no real idea of who King Colting is supposed to be referring to.
Spone Spoon.  Swann suggests that, in context of "Colting" as an apprentice, this should refer to an apprentice's wooden spoon.
Orgone Organ.  Musical Instrument, specifically a wind instrument, which Wilson suggests falls in with a reference in Deloney to shoemakers sounding trumpets and playing pipes.

Wilson refers to Thomas Deloney's The Gentle Craft, and notes that one of the requirements for being a shoemaker is to be able to list his tools in rhyme.

Swann also points out that if the carving knife is, in fact, the clicking knife, and the black thumbs are from blacking the shoes, then the widow receives the Master's tools, since cutting the leather is traditionally the master's work, the sons receive the tools for assembling the shoes, and the daughters receive the waxing and finishing materials.

 


Some Sources:

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Footwear of the Middle Ages - Lystyne Lordys Verament, by I. Marc Carlson. Copyright 2001. This page is given for the free exchange of information, provided the author's name is included in all future revisions, and no money change hands, other than as expressed in the Copyright Page.