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Basic Information

A dairymaid is one who milks cows at a dairy, usually a woman, with the suffix maid, but it probably could be anyone. Other duties are likely to extend to related dairy work such as churning butter and making cheese, yoghurt, kumis and other culturally appropriate dairy products, together with caring for the cows and their calves and other ancillary duties required to support these functions (primarily a great deal of cleaning).

In most of pre-modern Europe this was a relatively common form of employment for young women (hence the name) who would generally be employed under the supervision of the farmwife - and might also pick up other household and barnyard management skills that would set them up well for marriage. By the early modern period - and certainly in Tudor England - a well functioning dairy could be a significant business in its own right and a major contributor to the farm's income and thus a position as dairymaid could be a (relatively) skilled and well paid job for a working class woman.


1. How to be a Tudor Goodman, Ruth

Game and Story Use

  • A useful skill-set to acquire if you are in the milk producing business, historically and into the modern day the ability to add value to product (and to increase its notoriously poor shelf life) can be a major asset.
  • To be honest, you could probably pick a worse person to act as a charge nurse for a medical facility as well prior to the development of modern nursing: keeping a dairy free of the sort of things that ruin butter and cheese requires the same skills that will help keep your theatre and recovery wards free of post operative pathogens.
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