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In the North a marriage was already real when woman and man consented to it […]. [This] may well help explain what happened to the whole economic machine around the North Sea over centuries […].
Women and men needed the time to get together the resources needed to start an independent life […]. So there were years in their lives when young people could go into service […] or work as journeymen hiring on by the day. Most of all, they could move.
By the late thirteenth century, there are references to […] young and unmarried workers on short contracts who had special skills and travelled to find the demand for them. They had their own networks […] in building and shipping […]. Much later, some of these serious tramps would write down their own stories.
These men were knowledge marching. They didn’t like the idea of being used by officials […], so they shifted about in small groups […] and […] kept crossing the boundaries between the various princedoms to stop any authority coming down hard on them.
A man whose life was tied to land and early marriage […] could never have […] stayed away so long; but these men were free to travel to make a living.
Michael Pye, The Edge Of The World—How The North Sea Made Us Who We Are