Olde Occupations

Most of this page is presented with the compliments of  Dan Burrows - dburrows1@juno.com who says the following: -

"I put these 130 items together from many sources and used it as a handout for our local Orange County (NY) Genealogical Society." 

"I was asked by many recipients if the CHART could be forwarded to other lists or used in local newsletters.  The answer is yes -- please share this information."

Some descriptions have been truncated in order not to take up too much space

Occupation

Description

A

 

Accomptant

Accountant

Ale-Conner

Taster of ale

Almoner

Giver of charity [alms or food] to the needy, usually by a monk

Amanuensis

Secretary or Stenographer

Artificer

A Soldier mechanic who does repairs

B

 

Bailie

Bailiff

Baxter

Baker

Bluestocking

Female Writer

Bonded men or women

Another name for Serfs

Boniface

Keeper of an Inn

Brazier

One who works with Brass

Brewster

Beer Manufacturer

Brightsmith

Metal Worker

Burgonmaster

Mayor

C

 

Catchpoll

A King's Bailiff sergeant

Caulker

One who filled up cracks in ships, windows or seams to make them watertight by using tar or oakum-hemp fibre produced by taking old ropes apart. 

Chaisemaker

Carriage Maker

Churl

Husbandmen or freeman usually as farmer but often a craftsman, huntsman, forester or merchant

Clark

Clerk

Clerk

Clergyman or Cleric

Clicker

The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers; one who received the matter in the galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form ready for printing;  one who makes eyelet holes in  boots  using a machine which clicked.

Cohen

Priest

Collier

Coal Miner

Colporteur

Peddler of Books

Cooper

One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves & hoops, such as casks, barrels & tubs

Cordwainer

Shoemaker, originally a goatskin leather worker from Cordova/Cordoba in Spain

Costermonger

Peddler of fruits and vegetables

Cottoner

A person employed at raising the nap of woollen cloth

Crocker

Potter

Crow-Boys

Boys employed to scare crows

Crowner

Coroner

Currier

One who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb;  one who tanned leather by  incorporating oil or grease

D

 

Docker

Stevedore/Docker Worker who loads and unloads ships cargos

Dowser

One who finds water using either one or two rods or a 'Y' shaped hazel stick sometimes known as a "Witching Stick"

Draper

Dealer in dry goods known more commonly today as selling clothes

Drayman

One who drives a long strong cart without fixed sides for carrying goods

Dresser

Hospital Surgeon's assistant

Drover

One who drives farm animals to market, more usually cattle or sheep; Cattle Dealer

Duffer

Peddler

E

 

None at Present 

F

 

Factor

Agent, Commission Merchant; One who acts or transacts business for another; Scottish Steward or Bailiff of an estate

Farrier

Blacksmith, one who shoes horses

Faulkner/Falconer

One who looks after and trains Falcons

Fell Monger

One who removes the hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making

Fletcher

Maker of Bows and Arrows

Flycoachman

Driver of a one-horse carriage hired by the day

Flying Stationer

Street broadsheet seller [Paper Boy!]

Flyman

1. Driver of light vehicle hired out for carriage of passenger; 2. Could mean a the proprietor who owned the vehicle as well as hiring it out. 3. Theatre stage hand;

Fly Proprietor

Usually describes the owner of what we know today as a Taxi

Free Labourer

He who had no land but worked for pay.

Fuller

One who fulls cloth; one who shrinks and thickens woollen cloth by  moistening,  heating, and pressing; one who cleans  and finishes cloth.

G

 

Gaoler/Jailer

Keeper of the Gaol

Glazier

Window Glassman

Granger

A barn keeper or the foreman of a farm

Grovier

A person who mined lead, found mostly in England in the Mendip Hills

Guest-Master

A monk who saw to the comfort of visitors, also known as Hospitaller, whilst the Abbot probably received noble guests at his own house

H

 

Hacker

Maker of Hoes

Hatcheler

One who combs out or cards flax

Haymonger

Dealer in Hay

Hayward

Keeper of Fences or keeper of the common herd of cattle of a town

Higgler

Itinerant Peddler

Hillier

Roof Tiler

Hind

Labourer - farm or otherwise

Hogler

Stevedore or Dock Worker, known more in Somerset at Highbridge Wharf

Holster

A Groom who took care of horses, often at an Inn

Hooker

Reaper

Hooper

Another name for a Cooper

Huckster

Seller of small wares

Husbandman

A Farmer who cultivated the land

I

 

Infirmarian

The monk who looked after sick monks in hospital and elderly persons living in the monastery

J

 

Jagger

Fish Peddler

Journeyman

One who had served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft, not bound to serve a master but hired by the day.

Joyner/Joiner

Skilled Carpenter

K

 

Keeler

Bargeman

Kempster

Wool Comber

King's Bailiff

The collector of all port dues from ships and cargoes

Kitchener

The monk who saw to the cooking and the stores of food, ale & wine. Also known as Cellarer

L

 

Lardner

Keeper of the cupboard

Lavender

Washer Woman

Lederer

Leather Maker

Leech

Physician

Longshoreman

Stevedore

Lormer

Maker of horse gear

M

 

Malender

Farmer

Maltster

Brewer

Manciple

A Steward

Mason

Bricklayer or Stone Worker

Mintmaster

One who issues local currency

Monger

Seller of goods (Ale, Fish)

Muleskinner

Teamster

N

 

Neatherder

Herds Cows

O

 

Ordinary Keeper

Innkeeper with fixed prices

Oil Cake Presser

One who presses linen flax seeds to extract the linseed oil. What is left is known as "The Cake" -

Compliments of john.yolland@clear.net.nz  via Bristol_and_Somerset-L@rootsweb.com

P

 

Pattern Maker

Maker of a clog shod with an iron ring. A clog was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end

Peregrinator

Itinerant Wanderer

Peruker

Wig Maker

Pettifogger

Shyster Lawyer

Pew Opener

A person, usually a woman, who opened the closed doors to pews for their owners when they attended church. Sometimes these doors were locked.

Pigman

Crockery Dealer

Pinder

The Pinder was an officer of a manor responsible for impounding stray animals. He carries a spade with an iron edge and blows a horn. 14th century - (Our Forgotten Past by Jerome Blum1982)

Plumber

One who applies sheet lead for roofing and sets lead frames for stained glass windows

Porter

Door Keeper

Puddler/Pudler

Wrought Iron Worker - one who "Puddles" the molten metal.

Q

 

Quarrier

Quarryman

Quid

An old 1 note

R

 

Reeve

The Bailiff of a Franchise or Manor. Also a man chosen to speak for the villagers to the lord

Rigger

Hoist Tackle Worker

Ripper

Seller of Fish

Roper

Maker of Ropes or Nets

Rough Rider

A person who breaks in horses

S

 

Saddler

One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses

Sawbones

Physician

Sawyer

One who saws timber, may also be a carpenter

Schumaker

Shoemaker

Scribler

A minor or worthless author

Scrivener

Professional or public copyist or writer; Public Notary

Scrutiner

Election Judge

Serf

A Slave

Sheriff

The shire-reeve or King's Officer

Shrieve

Sheriff

Sidesman

A church warden's assistant at collection time during services by passing the collections plates at the sides of pews in the side aisles

Slater

Roofer

Slopseller

Seller of ready-made clothes in a slop shop

Snobscat/Snob

One who repairs shoes

Socmen

Men who before the Conquest, were freemen or churls and managed to hold on to their rights of freedom whilst others became nothing more than serfs. See also Yeoman

Sorter

Tailor

Spencer

A Steward

Spinster

A woman who spins or has not married

Spurrer

Maker of Spurs

Squire

Country Gentleman; Farm Owner; Justice of the Peace

Stuff Gown

Junior Barrister

Steward

The chief servant to the lord

Stuff Gownsman

Junior Barrister

Supercargo

Officer on a merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the commercial concerns of the ship.

T

 

Tanner

One who tans (Cures) animal hides into leather; An old sixpenny piece

Tapley

One who puts the tap in an ale cask

Tasker

Reaper

Tawers Leatherworkers who create white leather by using mineral tanning with alum & salt

Teamster

One who drives a team for hauling

Thatcher

Roofer, usually using reed or straw

Tide Waiter

Customs Inspector

Tinker

An itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman.

Tipstaff

Policeman

Travers

Toll Bridge Collection

Tucker

Cleaner or Fuller of cloth goods; In Australia means food

Turner

A person who turns wood on a lathe into spindles. Nowadays is also applied to metal turning.

V

 

Victualler

Tavern Keeper; one who provides the armed forces with food.

Vulcan

Blacksmith

W

 

Wagoner

Teamster not for hire

Wainwright

Wagon Maker

Waiter

Customs Officer or Tide Waiter; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in.

Waterman

Boatman not for hire

Webster

Operator of looms

Wharfinger

Owner of a Wharf

Wheelwright

One who makes or repairs wheels for wagons and carriages.

Whitesmith

Tinsmith; Worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work.

Whitewing

Street Sweeper

Whitester

Bleacher of Cloth

Whittawer Maker of white leather (See also Tawer)

Wright

Workman, especially a construction worker.

Y

 

Yeoman

A Farmer who owns his land or those who were freemen or churls before the Conquest and managed to hold on to their rights of freedom afterwards, whilst others became nothing more than serfs. See also Socmen

 

         

Page Last Updated: 02/01/2013