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A fishmonger in Pike Place Market on the waterfront of Seattle

A fishmonger (fishwife for women practitioners - "wife" in this case used in its archaic meaning of "woman") is someone who sells raw fish and seafood. Fishmongers can be wholesalers or retailers, and are trained at selecting and purchasing, handling, gutting, boning, filleting, displaying, merchandising and selling their product. In some countries modern supermarkets are replacing fishmongers who operate in shops or fish markets.

Worshipful Company of Fishmongers[edit]

A 16th-century fishmongers stall. Bartolomeo Passarotti

The fishmongers guild, one of the earliest guilds, was established in the City of London by a Royal Charter granted by Edward I shortly after he became king in 1272. Partnership with foreigners was forbidden and the sale of fish was tightly controlled to ensure freshness and restrain profit, which was limited to one penny in the shilling. Nevertheless, the guild grew rich and, after Edward's victory over the Scots, was able to make a great show, including one thousand mounted knights.[1]

During the reign of Edward II, the political power of the fishmongers waned and Parliament decreed that no fishmonger could become mayor of the city. This was soon rescinded though and their wealth increased further so that, during the reign of Edward III, the guild could provide £40 to the war against the French, this being a great sum at that time.[1]

The guild was then reformed by Great Charter as the Mystery of the Fishmongers of London. They were given a monopoly over the crying and selling of fish and they regulated the catching of fish in the Thames which teemed with fish such as salmon at that time.[1] The guild still continues today as one of the Great Twelve City Livery Companies.

Tools[edit]

The tools used by fishmongers include:[2]

  • pliers to pull out pinbones
  • a fish scaler to remove scales
  • a filleting knife to cut away the flesh from the bones
  • short strong knives for opening oysters and other shellfish
  • protective gloves
  • a curved knife for gutting and removing roe

Fishmongers in culture[edit]

In many countries, the fishwife was proverbial for her sharp tongue and outspoken speech. In Medieval France, the ones in Paris were known for their special privilege of being able to speak frankly to the King himself, when he ventured into the marketplace, and voice criticism without fear of punishment.

Molly Malone is a character from a popular Irish song about a young fishwife who tragically dies at a young age.

Charles Fort in his book Lo! compiles the story of the Mad Fishmonger or "St. Fishmonger", which later may or may not appear in the Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson. St. Fishmonger allegedly caused crabs and periwinkles to fall from the sky.

In the English translation of the Asterix series, the village fishmonger is called Unhygienix. In the film The Beach, the Island's chef has only fish as a source of meat, and is named Unhygienix in reference to the Asterix character.

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, some contend that the word fishmonger was a euphemism for a "fleshmonger," or pimp.[3][4][5]

Historic fishmongers[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c John Timbs (1865), "Curiosities of the Fishmongers' Hall", Walks and talks about London, Lockwood 
  2. ^ "A few good tools", The Fishmonger's Apprentice, p. 19 
  3. ^ Steve Roth, Hamlet: The Undiscovered Country, 2009
  4. ^ Hamlet's Puns and Paradoxes, Click Notes
  5. ^ Shaaber MA (1971) "Polonius as Fishmonger" Shakespeare Quarterly, 22 (2).

References[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishmonger — Please support Wikipedia.
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1190 news items

WalesOnline

WalesOnline
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 07:01:41 -0700

For John Adams, chairman of Ashton's Fishmongers, this week's Nato Summit in Newport is an event of biblical proportions. His company, which has been in Cardiff since 1800, will be one of the retailers supplying the 5,000 strong security force drafted ...
 
Huffington Post
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:15:00 -0700

Andrew McCarthy travels around Seattle, and gets to know a fishmonger at Pike Place Fish Market. Aol's BeOn group creates custom editorial content that is sponsored by marketing partners. The sponsoring partners do not exert editorial influence over ...

The Straits Times

The Straits Times
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:02:06 -0700

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A Malaysian fishmonger on Tuesday was charged with murder over the fatal stabbing of two British medical students, a crime that carries the death penalty, local media and police said. The bodies of Newcastle University students ...

Kent Online

The Times (subscription)
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:15:07 -0700

A Malaysian fishmonger has been charged with the murder of two British medical students in Borneo. Zulkipli Abdullah, 23, appeared in court today in connection with the fatal stabbing of Neil Dalton, 22, from Derbyshire, and Aidan Brunger, also 22 ...

Sunderland Echo

Sunderland Echo
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 04:25:36 -0700

Given URL is not allowed by the Application configuration.: One or more of the given URLs is not allowed by the App's settings. It must match the Website URL or Canvas URL, or the domain must be a subdomain of one of the App's domains.
 
MSN Malaysia News
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:56:15 -0700

A 23-year-old fishmonger was charged in the Kuching magistrate's court today with the murder of two British medical students earlier this month. However, no plea was taken from Zulkipli Abdullah, who faced two charges. Magistrate Portia Tham ordered ...

Irish Independent

ITV News
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:07:11 -0700

A local fishmonger is considered the main suspect by police after the fatal stabbing of two British students in a reported bar row in Borneo, a local reporter has told ITV News. Sharon Ling from Malaysian newspaper The Star said the 23-year-old man was ...

Derby Telegraph

Derby Telegraph
Sun, 24 Aug 2014 01:47:45 -0700

For more than 50 years Stewart Bailey has worked as a fishmonger in Derby. But how great is the appetite for fish in one of the most landlocked counties in the country? SCALES from a yellowtail snapper are flying through the air as Stewart Bailey ...
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