Waltzing into employment

A TRADITION that dates back to mediaeval times has arrived in Huntingdonshire in the form of three unusually-dressed figures looking for work. The men were seen wandering the streets of Huntingdon on Monday afternoon, causing a stir with their distinctive

A TRADITION that dates back to mediaeval times has arrived in Huntingdonshire in the form of three unusually-dressed figures looking for work.

The men were seen wandering the streets of Huntingdon on Monday afternoon, causing a stir with their distinctive uniforms, including black hats, tunics and canes.

The trio, who are from Germany, are newly qualified carpenters taking part in an ancient tradition known as Auf der Walz, or travelling on the job.

The men have arrived in the UK on a journey that has seen them travel across Europe hunting for work and looking to broaden their horizons.


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Christian Aust, 26, from Düsseldorf, said: "We have been to Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway so far.

"Each one of these countries is familiar with the 'Walz' tradition, but here in the UK no one seems to know what we are doing.

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"Some people think we are dancers or musicians, others think we are from the Amish community."

The three, from different cities in Germany, did not set out together but met each other on their travels.

The rules of Auf der Walz state that the men must not return to within 50km of their home towns for three years and a day after setting out.

The custom, for stonemasons, carpenters, roofers and furniture-makers, is believed to have been started by the Craftsmen Guilds of Europe in the Middle Ages.

The trio arrived in Huntingdon on Saturday evening and are looking for carpentry work in the area.

INFORMATION: Anyone who might be able to offer carpentry work to the trio can contact The Hunts Post news desk on 01480 411481.

Journeymen

The tradition of craftsmen travelling from one workshop to another was popular in Europe during the Middle Ages and there are still groups that carry on the traditions in Germany and France.

The journeyman did also exist in England. However, most craftsmen lacked the finances to set up their own workshop and remained as employees.

The terms jack and knave were sometimes used as informal words for journeyman, leading to the saying 'jack of all trades, master of none' - referring to someone not yet skilled enough to set up their own workshop as a master.

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