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1576 - London is already home to many Irish workers
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The Earl of Ormonde, an Irish nobleman, states in evidence in a law suit that in London there is a large community of poor Irish people who live and work there permanently. He describes them as 'free men of divers mean crafts'. By this he means that they are self-employed and that they work in the humbler and less well-paid trades.

What sort of work did these people do? We don't know for sure. But we do know that in a few years time, there will be so many Irish chimney-sweepers and costermongers in London that there will be jokes about them. Both chimney-sweeps and street-traders would certainly have been called 'men of mean crafts'.



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