It was the drapers, brewers and butchers in particular that had
the most numerous households and employees, followed by fullers
and dyers in the cloth-finishing trades, and cordwainers (leather
workers). While many of these businesses operated on an almost industrial
scale, crafts such as tailoring, shoe-making, weaving, and tanning
were carried out by households consisting of just a married couple.
The earliest records of occupations in Worcester list over forty
different crafts, but no single one dominated the city. The most
numerous individual crafts were the tailors, shoemakers, and brewers.
Taken as a group, the food-related occupations (butchers and brewers
particularly) employed the largest numbers, followed by the leatherworkers
From surviving lists made when taxes were collected,
it is possible to gain an impression of patterns of wealth and poverty
across the city, and to see which occupations predominated in particular
streets or parishes. Of the ten Worcester parishes, the wealthiest
was St Helenís, closely followed by St Swithinís; between them they
covered the High Street from the Cross to the cathedral. Almost
all the cityís mercers (textile merchants) and drapers lived in
St Helenís parish, and a high proportion of St Swithinís population
also worked in the cloth trade.