Jobs & Occupations



This Foldout collects the entries for some of the Jobs and Occupations which have been recorded in the district


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Abraham man
Aka Abram. A mediæval term for an itinerant beggar who obtained money by pretending to be insane. Their numbers increased after the Dissolution of the Monasteries

Acater
Someone who supplied food and provisions. A chandler

Accomptant
An old name for an accountant

Accoucheur
Someone who assisted women in childbirth. A midwife

Acre-man
Aka Ackerman. A ploughman or herdsman

aegyptianus

Affeerer
An officer who assessed the penalties which offenders paid at a manorial court

Ag.Lab
Agricultural labour.

The term is widely used in censuses and other records.

Many of these were recorded prior to the Industrial Revolution

Ale-conner
Aka Ale-founder, Ale-taster. An officer of the Assize of Ale who checked the quantity, taste and quality of ales and beers sold.

In the 12th century, the Warren family were appointed to oversee ale houses.

In 1393, Richard II decreed that ale houses should have a pictorial sign so that the ale-conner could recognise the establishment

Ale-draper
An innkeeper or someone who sold ale

Almoner
Aka Elemosinarius.

Anyone who is responsible for distributing charity to the needy, or someone in charge of petty cash

Alnager
Alternative form of ullnager

Amen man
A parish clerk

Anilepman
A tenant of the manor, a smallholder

Annatto-maker
Someone who made dyes for paint or printing trades.

See Annatto

Apparitor
The official who summoned people to appear at an ecclesiastical court

Appraiser
From the early 16th century, a court required to prove a will might require the executor to appoint a small group of local men – the appraisers – to make a true and perfect inventory of the deceased's estate

Archiator
A doctor or physician

Archil-maker
Someone who made archil, a purple dye produced from lichen

Armiger
Anyone who was entitled to a coat of arms.

The adjective is armigerous

Artificer
A skilled worker or craftsman. In a naval context, the term refers to engineer officers on board ships

Aulnager
Alternative form of ullnager

B

Back-tenter
Someone – often a child – who worked behind the loom clearing away waste and rubbish.

See Tenter

Back-washer
Someone who cleaned wool in the manufacture of worsted

Badger
In the 16th century, paupers were encouraged to supplement their weekly pensions with casual and regular begging to supplement Parish pay.

An Act of 1697 required anyone who received parish relief to wear a badge with the letter P – for pauper – sewn to their clothes. These people were known as badgers, and were licensed by the Quarter Sessions and recorded in Badgers' Recognisances. The badge was a distinguishing mark, and designed to discourage fraudulent beggars as people began to move from the countryside into the towns. Any pauper who refused to wear the badge was liable to be committed to prison for 3 weeks' hard labour. Any parish officer who gave relief to a poor person who was not wearing a badge could be fined 20/-. Badge wearing was compulsory until the law was repealed in 1810.

See Cadger

Badger
Aka Higgler, Peddar, Swaler. A local or itinerant dealer in dairy produce, eggs, corn, meal and malt, and later in general produce.

The name was often qualified by adding the name of the product sold: egg badger, potato badger, and so on.

The word is also used as a surname and in place names – often spelled as Bagger – and is recorded around 1300.

See Badger Lane, Brighouse and Cadger

Bagniokeeper
Someone who was in charge of baths or a bath house.

The name was also used for someone who was in charge of a brothel

Bairman
See Pauper

Bandmaster
The resident conductor of a brass band

Bang-beggar
An officer who determined how long strangers could stay in the parish

Banksman
The man responsible for the winding mechanism at a coal mine.

The word is now used for the person who oversees the reversing of vehicles out of building sites

Banksman
Also Bank Man.

Someone who was in charge of the lift cage in a mine

Barber
In addition to cutting hair and beards, barbers also performed surgery, until 1745 when surgeons were separately recognised.

The striped red and white barber's pole reminds us of the blood and bandages of the surgical practices.

See Powler

Bareman
See Pauper

Basil-worker
Someone who worked with the skins of sheep and goats

Baumer
A caddy for a player in the game of knur & spell

Beamer
A textile worker who handles the materials before the weaving stage in cloth production.

See Warper

Blacksmith
Aka Smith.

Someone who makes and repairs iron objects

Bluffer
An inn-keeper or landlord of a pub

Body-snatcher
Someone who illegally exhumed newly-buried corpses and sold them for dissection and medical research.

See Grave

Boiler-tapper
Someone who took part in the Plug riots

Bondman
In mediæval time, this was a man who had little personal freedom and who was tied to the lord of the manor.

Bondmen were not allowed to live outside the manor without licence from the lord. Where permission was given an annual chevage was payable to the lord by the bondman.

A bondman could not take legal action concerning rents or tenure against the lord.

When a bondman died, his property passed to the lord of the manor; the relatives could buy the property on payment of an entry fee to the lord.

The word is also used to mean an apprentice who was bonded to a master for the purpose of learning a skill or trade.

See Slave

Bondsman
Someone who stood bond – or surety – for another in situations where a bond was required by law.

See Bondman

Boothman
A corn-merchant or corn chandler

Borough Treasurer
The head of finance for the local council.

See Borough Treasurer of Brighouse, Borough Treasurer of Halifax, Borough Treasurer of Rastrick, Borough Treasurer of Todmorden and Town Clerk

Brasiater
Someone who brewed ale

Brasiler
A dyer

Brazier
Someone who works in brass

Brewster
In mediæval times, brewing was often carried out by women, the brewsters.

Brewster sessions were a special Quarter Sessions meeting which licensed inn-keepers and keepers of alehouses

Brogger
A wool trader, middle man.

See Halifax Act [1555]

Brother
The word was often used to mean brother-in-law.

See Good brother

Brownsmith
Someone who worked with copper or brass.

See Brogger and Smith

Burler

C

Cadger
An itinerant dealer in small wares, or a beggar.

See Badger, Cadge and Cadger Lane, Brighouse

Cafender
A carpenter

Canvasser
A person who worked with canvas (cloth).

Later, the term was used for anyone who carried out research, particularly for use in elections or sales

Catagman
Aka Cottar

Chandler
Originally, a maker or seller of candles. The term was used for a grocer, and for a man who sold ship's supplies.

Corn chandlers and tallow chandlers are encountered

Chapman
A general middleman or merchant, involved in buying and/or selling goods.

See Copeman

Cheese winder
Someone did the work of winding the cotton/woollen yarn onto a cheese

Clogger

Clothier
Another term for a yeoman clothier

Cobbler
Someone who makes and/or repairs shoes

Collier
A coal miner, although the word had a wider meaning and included wood-colliers

Cone Winder
Someone did the work of winding the cotton/woollen yarn onto a metal or paper/cardboard cone-shaped core

Confectioner
Someone who produced medicines sweetened with honey or sugar.

Later, someone who made cakes and sweets.

See Confectionery

Conveyancer
A member of the legal profession who handled documents relating to the transfer of property

Cooper
Someone who makes barrels.

See Tranqueter

Coparcener
Co-heir who jointly inherits an estate

Copeman
A general dealer. In the 18th century, the word was used for a receiver of stolen goods.

See Chapman

Cordwainer
Pronounced cord'ner. A shoemaker, or leather-worker.

The word comes from Córdoban, after the leather products of the Spanish city of Córdoba

Corn chandler
A retail dealer in grain.

See Boothman and Chandler

Coroner
Originally, the guardian of the pleas of the crown. Now, an officer responsible for enquiries – a Coroner's Inquest – into the cause of accidental or suspicious deaths, or deaths believed to have been caused by violence.

Under an Act of 1752, coroners returned abstracts of inquests to the Quarter Sessions in order to claim their expenses. These returns are preserved in the sessions files and include the date of the inquest, the name of the deceased and the verdict of the jury. These are public records and there is a 75 years' closure period on them.

See William Barstow, John Brigg, John Brigg, Coroner's Court, Halifax, J. F. Dearden, Thomas F. Dearden, George Dyson, George, Brighouse, Halifax Town Hall, John Hargreaves, Ernest Hatton Hill, John Richard Ingram, Bernard Williamson Little, Edward Wallace Norris, William Stansfeld, Joseph Wood and Robert Wood

Costermonger
A dealer in fruit and vegetables. The name comes from costard, a kind of large apple.

See Monger

Cottager
Aka Cottar

Cottar
Aka Customary Tenant, Catagman, Cottager. A tenant of a cottage with 4 acres of land, or less. This was the lowest level of peasant farmers. He lived in a tied cottage and was obliged to work on the farm of the lord of the manor

Couper
A dealer in horses and cattle

Couple beggar
An itinerant priest who performed marriages prior to the Marriage Act [1753]

Cropper

Culler
Someone who selected and graded animals for killing

Cunning man
Aka Wizard. A name given to mediæval law-enforcers. He might also dispense medicines, cure ailments, find lost object, and tell fortunes. There were also cunning women

Cursitor
A clerk who draws up wills

D

Devil minder

Devil worker

Dexter
An occupational surname meaning a dyer.

Compare Textor.

There are currently no entries on the Calderdale Companion for people with the surname Dexter.

Dispensatore
Aka Dispensator.

A steward or treasurer

Dissenter
Anyone who disagrees with the orthodox view of religious belief, a Nonconformist

To some extent, Dissenters were tradesmen and workers of the lower class.

In the 18th century, Dissenters were excluded from membership of certain bodies, for example, they could not be a student at Oxford & Cambridge, a Magistrate, or a Member of Parliament.

See Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists and Unitarians

Dog whipper
Aka Knocknobbler. A man who chased dogs out of the church. He used whips or a pair of tongs to seize and eject the animal.

The dogs might be attracted by the tails of foxes, and other animals – which were killed in order to collect a bounty – and nailed to the church door.

See Lightcliffe Old Church

Drover
A man who drives cattle or a packhorse team

Drysalter
Aka Salter.

Someone who makes or deals in dry chemicals, such as dyes and colours for the textile industry

Dryster


Question: Is this the same as a drysalter?

 

Duler

Dummerer
A mediæval term for a beggar who obtains money by pretending to be deaf and dumb

Dyer
Someone who works in the dyeing industry

E

Ealdorman
The chief officer in an Anglo-Saxon district, shire or kingdom. The name means an elder man.

The name continued to be used as alderman

Engine Tenter
An engineer in charge of the steam engine which drives factory machinery.

See Tenter

Executor
A person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in his/her will, and to dispose of the property according to his/her provisions after his/her death.

An executrix is a female executor.

See Letters Testamentary

F

Facer

See Flag Facer

Father
The word was often used to mean father-in-law. The term father-in-law was often used to mean stepfather

Fellmonger
Or Felmonger.

Someone who deals in hides and skins – particularly sheepskins – and other animal products which were used for making glue, and a tradesman who prepares skins for the tanner.

See Monger

Feoffee
See Feoffment

Feoffor
See Feoffment

Feroner
Someone who produced or sold goods made of iron. It was also used for anyone who sold hardware

Fettler
A worker who carded wool

Finisher
Someone who performs the final stages in the production of a piece of cloth.

See Cropper

Fixer
Aka Setter. Someone who puts the finished block of stone into position, as distinct from a mason who cuts and carves the stone, and a hewer who dresses the blocks of stone

Flag Facer
A mason who cleans up and finishes off the individual flagstone

See Stone dresser

Freedman
A man or woman who has been freed from bondage or slavery. A lower class of peasant above slaves.

Compare this with freeman

Freeholder
A wealthy farmer who owned freehold land by fee simple.

See Copyholder, Inholder and Smallholder

Frith man
Someone who has claimed the right of sanctuary

G

Garnet
To reduce waste material to its basic fibrous state for reuse.

The work is carried out by a garnetter.

See Shoddy

Garthman
A herdsman, yardman, or a man who caught fish

Gasser

Gaux collector

Gentleman
Abbr: Gent. This usually indicated someone who was of independent means and who did not need to work for a living.

The sons of a men titled esquire are titled gentlemen.

See Franklin and Gent

Good brother
The word good was used in relationships such as

Goodman
The form of address for a husbandman in the 16th/17th centuries.

See Goodwife

Goodwife
The form of address for the wife of a husbandman in the 16th/17th century.

See Goodman

Goux collector

Gracer
A stone-mason who carried out fine, decorative work on stone

Gunsmith
Someone who makes guns

Gypsy
A member of a group of travellers.

Aka Aegyptianus, Zingarius, and Zingari.

True gypsies speak the Romany language and are believed to originate in South Asia.

See Rev George Bramwell Evens

H

Haberdasher
Anyone selling small personal items

Hair merchant
Someone who bought / sold hair – of animals or humans – for the manufacture of brushes and/or wigs.

See Brush Makers and Horn merchant

Half-timer
A child – usually under 13 – who worked half a day in the factory or mill, and half a day at school.

It is recorded that there were 1057 half-timers working in Halifax in 1917.

The practice became illegal in 1922.

See Child Labour and Factory Acts

Hawker
Aka Huckster. A traveller who offered goods for sale. This term was used for someone who used a horse, donkey or cart to carry his goods, as distinct from a pedlar

Hellier
Aka helier, hilier, hillier. A slater or tiler.

This is also a surname in some parts of the country

Henter
A thief

Hewer
Someone who dresses blocks of stone, as distinct from a mason who cuts and carves the stone, and a fixer or setter who puts the finished stone into position

Higgler
Also Higler. An itinerant dealer who haggles.

See Badger

Highwayman
A robber who attacks people on the public way – usually on horseback, as distinct from a footpad

Hooker
A mediæval term for a thief who steals with the aid of a hook on a pole.

Later, it was a mill worker who operated a machine which laid out a length of cloth into uniform folds of the required length

Horn merchant
Someone who bought / sold animal horn or hooves for the manufacture of domestic articles, brushes and/or jewellery

See Hair Merchant

Hosier
Someone who makes or sells hosiery, that is socks and stockings and gloves

Hostler
Aka Ostler. Someone who tends horses at an inn

Huckster
A woman who sold ale in the street.

It was also a general term for anyone who sold goods from a small shop or a booth

Hugger
A worker in a quarry who carried blocks of stone to the surface.

Huggers wore a leather saddle to protect themselves.

They used a hugging ladder – a ladder with broad rungs set close together – which made the ascent easier for the worker who could not use his hands to steady himself as he climbed. The task was mechanised during the 1800s, although hugging continued until about 1870.

There were numerous accidents involving huggers and stone workers

See Hurrier and Thruster

Hurrier
Someone – often a young child – who hauled the wagons or baskets of stone / coal in the mines.

See Mines Act [1842] and Thruster

Husbandman
A tenant farmer, or any man who worked in cultivating his own land – husbandry – but it also referred to a small-holder who supported himself by working the land of others.

They came below yeomen on the social scale.

See Bordar

Hush-seller
Aka Husht seller. Someone who sold and/or brewed illegal beer

Husht Seller
A Hush-seller.

See Husht

I

Impropriator
A layman who is in possession of a benefice or its revenues

Ingomon
Someone who works on the land and rears cattle &c

Inholder
A freeholder who lived in the property held

Interfactor
A murderer

Ironmaster
The proprietor of an iron-works

J

Jacksmith
Someone who makes jacks or other lifting machinery

Jagger
An itinerant pedlar, carrier, or the drover of a packhorse team.

It is also an occupational surname mentioned around 1368, and was common in Stainland

The name may be derived from the German Jæger, a type of pony which was used as a packhorse.

See Ailsa O'Fusses

Journeyman
A worker who was hired for the day – from the French journée.

Typically, he travelled widely and worked away from home, and would have completed his apprenticeship but was not yet a master of his trade.

Journeymen were members of a guild

See Yearman

Jouster
An itinerant saleswoman who sold fish

K

King's archer
A King's Archer had to be able to hit – 7 times out of 10 – a shield which was laid on the ground at a distance of 1 furlong. About 25% of the archers at Agincourt were King's Archers.

See Archery and John King

Kneller
Aka Knuller. An itinerant chimney-sweep

Knocker-up
Someone who was paid to walk around the streets in the early morning, knocking on the bedroom windows of their customers – usually with a long rod or pole – to wake them for work

Knocknobbler
Aka Dog whipper

L

Laiker
A player in the game of knur & spell.

See Laik

Lamiger
A lame person

Lardner

Lavender
A washer-woman

Lecturer
Someone who reads the sermon in a nonconformist chapel. He may also perform other duties

Limiter
A mediæval friar who had a licence to beg within only a specified, limited district. One of Chaucer's Pilgrims was a limiter

Lister
A dyer.

See Lister

Little Maker
A term for a small-scale clothier. He wove his own pieces of cloth at home and sold it at market

Lorimer
Someone who makes metal bits, spurs, and fittings for harness straps

M

Machine-breaker
See Luddite

Mantua maker

Market gardener
Someone who grows fruit and vegetables for sale at market.

In the 1830s, representatives from Toronto came to England to recruit stone masons and market gardeners which were in great demand in Canada. Many local workers emigrated about this time.

There were many local people involved in gardening and market gardening – see Local Gardening & Horticulture

Master
A skilled craftsman or tradesmen. He and his apprentices were members of a Guild.

See Journeyman

Master-taker
A man who was paid to organise delvers to carry out the extraction of stone from land which was let to him by a land-owner. He was often regarded as unscrupulous by both the land-owner and the delvers.

In several cases, the master-taker was also the local innkeeper, and would pay the wages to his delvers in his own inn, ensuring that a proportion of their earnings was quickly returned to him!

Melder
A miller. Usually a corn miller

Mender
A worker who repairs faults, cuts and tears in a piece of cloth

Mercer

Mercury woman
An 18th century name for a woman who sold newspapers

Messor
An official who was responsible for supervising the fields of a manor and for managing the reapers and mowers of the fields

Middle man
Wool traders who sold wool to the Yeoman clothiers and other dealers.

See Chapman and Halifax Act [1555]

Middleman
Aka Chapman. Someone who carried manufactured woollen goods by packhorse from one manufacturer to another, or from the manufacturer to the individual who would finish the goods

Milliner
A maker of ladies' hats.

The word originally meant someone from Milan, and later it can to mean someone who sold fancy goods from Milan

Milner
A local form of miller

Misegatherer
A tax-collector

Monger
A general term for a trader or dealer, as in fishmonger, costermonger, and fellmonger

N

Navvy
Abbreviation for a navigator, a worker on the navigations, cuts, canals and – later – railways.

Many navvies were Irish migrants.

See Railway Genealogy

O

Ordinary keeper
An inn-keeper who sold food and drinks at fixed prices. An ordinary was a set priced meal

Ostler
See Hostler

Overlooker
A supervisor, foreman or manager of a group of workers in a textile mill.

The name was also used for someone who maintains and tunes the looms.

The name tackler is used in Lancashire.

See Halifax & District Power Loom Overlookers' Society and Powerloom Overlookers' Club, Todmorden

Overseer of the Poor

P

Palisser
Aka Palister. Someone who tended the fences of a Norman enclosure or park – such as that at Erringden Park.

The name comes from the French palisse meaning a pale or a fence.

This and associated words are often corrupted to palace

Palliard
A mediæval term for a beggar who obtains money by showing his sores and deformities

Palmer
When on a pilgrimage, to the Holy Land, the pilgrim was called a palmer because of the representation of a palm branch which he wore

Pardoner
A person who was licensed to sell papal indulgences. One of Chaucer's Pilgrims was a pardoner

Parker
The keeper of the king's park.

See Parker Surname

Passive Resister
After Balfour's Education Act of 1902, many local nonconformists refused to pay their contribution to the education part of the poor rate because they objected to supporting schools whose standards were inferior to their own.

The National Passive Resistance Movement was formed in 1902 by the Baptist Minister John Clifford.

There was considerable opposition in February 1904, when non-payment resulted in seizure of their goods and possesions to the value of the rate and the costs.

On 23rd June 1905, there was a Passive Resisters' Demonstration in Halifax with a speech by the Rev A. T. Guttery.

In 1906, over 170 passive resisters were imprisoned at Wakefield.

See Joseph Dobson, Rev Roger Briggs, Harold Chapman, Rev William Lawrence and Rev John Wilkinson

Pauper
Aka Bareman, Bairman. A person who needed regular Poor Law relief. These included old widows, young mothers without a man, orphans, those who were too old or too infirm to work. A pauper's goods and property belonged to the parish after their death.

See Overseer of the Poor and Roundsman

Pavior
A worker who was responsible for the repair of paving stones in a town/village

Paviour
Originally, an official with responsibility for the upkeep of footpaths.

Later, it was any workman involved in paving paths and roads

Pawnbroker
Someone who lends money against personal property such as jewellery, clothes. He/she gives money against goods, and then repays the money – less a percentage – when the goods are later redeemed. The symbol of the Italian Lombard merchants – 3 golden balls – was usually hung outside the shop. Popularly known as the pop-shop and uncle

Peeler
A 19th century name for a policeman. In 1812, Sir Robert Peel established the Irish Police, and in 1828, he reformed the police force in Britain.

See Police

percher

Pew-opener
Someone who opened the doors to box pews and was tipped for the service

Piecer
Aka Piecener.

A textile worker who joins any broken threads and feeds them into the machines during the processes of slubbing, scribbling, carding and spinning.

The intricate task was often performed by women or child workers

Pikeman
This has several meanings:

Pinder
Aka Pounder, Poundkeeper, Punder. An official who was responsible for rounding up and impounding stray and wandering animals and cattle. The animals were impounded in a pound or pinfold.

See Culler, Hayward, Neatherd and Pinder

Pistor
Anyone who worked with flour, usually a miller or a baker

Plug-drawer
Someone who took part in the Plug riots

Poulterer
Someone who deals in fowl, including ducks, goose, chicken or turkey

Powler
A barber

Preemer
A worker – usually a boy – who cleaned the tools used by the cloth dresser

Pretender
Someone who lays claim to the throne without a just title

Prigger
A mediæval term for a thief who steals horses

Proctor
An officer of the court who was paid to manage the affairs of others

Puddler
Someone who works with wrought iron.

See Puddle clay

R

Rag & bone man
A man who travelled around the district collecting rags, bones, and general scrap items. The rags would be made into paper, and the bones made into fertiliser. Traditionally, a balloon, a goldfish or a donkey stone might be given in return. There were also rag & bone shops

Reaver
Aka Riever. A thief, a robber. Specifically, along the Scottish borders in the mediæval period

Recorder
A barrister who presides over a court of Quarter Sessions, or who sits as a circuit judge, or as a part-time judge in the crown court. The first recorder of Halifax, Willoughby Jardine, was appointed in December 1923

Rector
The person in charge – the director – of the religious life of a community or a parish.

He was responsible for the maintenance of the chancel which was his private part of the church.

In his absence, the vicar deputised for the rector. There is now no difference between a vicar and a rector.

A curate is an assistant to the rector

See Rectors of Halifax

Reducer
In 1901, I have a record of someone who is
a reducer in a worsted factory


Question: Does anyone know what the job entailed?

 

Relieving Officer
After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 the post of Overseer of the Poor and the workhouse for each township were abolished and replaced by the Relieving Officer – who was appointed by the Board of Guardians – and the larger Union Workhouse with responsibility for a union (group)  of townships.

See Parish Relief

Remittance man
Someone whose family paid for him to emigrate to Australia or other British colony

Riddler
A woolstapler

Ruffler
A mediæval term for a beggar who obtains money by tales of heroism in the wars

S

Saltpetre man
In the 17th century, a man who collected urine which was left in buckets outside people's houses, and who dug around cess-pits and animal pounds to collect salts which were produced by the urine, for use in making saltpetre for gunpowder

Sawyer
Someone whose job involves sawing wood

Scavenger
A rubbish collector, street sweeper, night soil collector

Scrivener
A professional scribe or copyist

scutcher

Scutiger
An esquire who was responsible for handling the horses

Serjeant
A barrister

Shearman
Also Sherman. A cloth worker who crops the excess nap from cloth. The local term was usually cropper.

By 1817, 1,170 croppers were out of work in Yorkshire; 1,445 were employed part-time; 763 were employed full-time.

See Shearmen's Company

Sherman
Aka Shearman, Cropper.

Also a man who sheared sheep

Singer
Someone who carried out the process of singeing, that is, someone who singes and not someone who sings


Pronunciation: Singer rhymes with ginger
 

Sister
The word was often used to mean sister-in-law

Skiver
Someone who split sheep skins to produce a thin, soft leather for use in bookbinding

Slop tailor
Someone who makes new clothes from old clothes

Slopseller
Someone who deals in cheap or second-hand clothing

Smallholder
A small farmer who rented land of 10-20 acres from the squire or freeholders

See Copyholder

Smith
Someone who works in metal.

See Blacksmith, Brownsmith, Gunsmith, Jacksmith, Smithy, Sucksmith and Whitesmith

Socman
A tenant by socage

Sojourner
Someone who spends or has spent only a short time in a certain place. He/she is distinguished from a permanent resident and a fleeting traveller

Spencer
Someone who is in charge of a spence, or larder

Spinner

Squatter
A poor farmer who farmed and lived on common land. They had no legal rights to the land

Stone Dresser
A mason, or someone who cleans/tidies-up the outer face(s) of a stone block or flagstone

See Flag Facer

Stravaiger
A vagrant

Strawman
Someone who was paid to give false evidence in a legal court

Stuff Merchant

Sucksmith
Someone who makes blades for plough shares.

See Smith and Sucksmith surname

Summoner
The man who called people to appear before an ecclesiastical court. One of Chaucer's Pilgrims was a summoner

Surgeon
Up to the end of the 19th century, the term surgeon referred to a general medical practitioner, rather than someone who performed surgical operations

Sutler
A trader who follows an army to sell goods to the soldiers

Swaler
See Badger

T

Tallow chandler
A maker or seller of candles. Candles were often made of tallow

See Chandler

Tallyman
Someone who sold goods and collected payment in installments

Teamer
Aka Teamster. Someone who drove a team of horses or cattle. They often worked with the horses of a brewery, or with a horse-driven cab

Tenter
Someone who looks after a piece of machinery or other equipment.

See Back-tenter, Engine tenter and Tenter frame

Territorial

Testator
A man who writes a will.

A testatrix is a woman who writes a will

Textor
Another name for a weaver or a webster.

See Webb and Webster

Thief-taker
Someone who profited from arresting thieves. He might also arrange the return of stolen goods

Thrower

Thruster
Someone – often a young child – who pushed the wagons or baskets of coal in the mines, or a worker in a quarry who pushed stones to the surface.

See Hugger and Hurrier

Thumper
An extravagant preacher. They often bumped their head against the headboard of the pulpit as they jumped up and down in their enthusiasm

Tickneyman
An itinerant pedlar selling earthenware

Tilloter

Tinker
An itinerant who mends pots, pans and other household utensils

Tippler
An inn-keeper

Tithingman
An old term for a constable

Todhunter
Someone who was employed by the parish to hunt foxes

Town husband
Someone who collected the dues from fathers of illegitimate children of the parish for their upkeep

Trammer
A person who looked after the wagons which ran on rails, transporting the stone / coal in a mine

Trampler
A lawyer

Tranqueter
Someone who makes hoops for use in constructing barrels.

See Cooper

Translator
An early term for anyone who repaired and recycled goods such as clothes and shoes

Tranter
An itinerant pedlar

Trencherman

Troacher
An itinerant pedlar

Tueler

Tuler

Tutor
See Governess

Tyler
An officer in the Freemasons.

A Tyler is a Doorkeeper or Guard at the Lodge

U

Ullnager
Aka Alnager. An inspector who – from about 1350 – measured the length of a piece of cloth, and affixed a copper seal to guarantee that it was of the standard width and weight and quality, for which he collected the ullnage.

At one point, the ullnagers increased the tax, and a number of Halifax clothiers – refusing to pay – sold their cloth unsealed; the ullnager attempted to seize the goods, but the clothiers won the subsequent court case.

The records are held as Ullnagers' Accounts or Ullnagers' Rolls.

See Narrow cloth

Usher
An Assistant Master or Second Master at a school.

At Heath Grammar School, the Usher had similar duties to the Headmaster, but received only half the salary.

Thomas Preston was Usher – or Ludimagister – at Heath Grammar School [1671]

V

Vagrant

Vat man
Someone who looks after the vats in a brewery, dye works or paper-making factory

Venetor
Aka Venur. A huntsman

Verderer
An official who was in charge of the Royal forests and imposed Forest law

Verger
Someone responsible for taking care of the interior of a church, an attendant, an assistant to the priest or rector

Viewer
An overseer in a coal mine

Vintner
A wine merchant

W

Waller
A wall-builder. These were often recruited from specialist gangs of itinerant workers as wall-building increased during the 16th and 17th centuries.

See Enclosures

Warper
A textile worker who places the warp upon the beams

Warrener
Someone who looks after the lord's warren

See Warner

Webster
A weaver, usually female.

The male form is Webb.

See Textor and Webster

Wharfinger
Someone who owns or manages a wharf. He took custody of, and was responsible for, goods delivered to the wharf. Typically, he had an office on the wharf or dock, and was responsible for day-to-day activities including slipways, keeping tide tables and resolving disputes.

The etymology is probably Elizabethan-era English.

The final 2 syllables are pronounced as in ginger not as in singer.

See Calder House, Sowerby Bridge and Wharf House, Sowerby Bridge

Whitesmith
A tinsmith, or a worker or dealer in tinned or white iron.

See Brownsmith

Whitster
Someone who works in the bleaching of cloth

Winder
Someone who did the work of winding, in which yarn is transferred from one spool – a bobbin, cone or cheese – to another.

See Cheese winder and Cone winder

Woolchapman
A wool trader, middle man.

See Halifax Act [1555]

Woolcomber
Anyone who combs the raw wool during the making of cloth.

St Blaise is the patron St of woolcombers.

In 1853, a letter to the Reynold's Newspaper reported that

the woolcombers of Halifax and its district number about 10,000, with their wives and children, making a population of nearly 30,000 dependent in that particular branch of labour. They are in great distress, but the mill owners are making colossal fortunes

See Bishop Blaise

Wooldriver
Aka Woolstapler. A wool trader, middle man, who bought wool from the farmer and stored it. They were accused of profiteering – by holding stocks of wool until the price rose – thereby raising the price of wool.

Henry VIII abolished the practice.

See Halifax Act [1555] and Woolshops

Woolsorter
Another name for a woolstapler

Woolstapler
Aka Woolsorter, Riddler, and Wool-driver. Someone who sorts wool, or who deals in wool.

A single fleece comprised many different staples and grades of wool. The staples of wool were sorted according to quality, colour, length and fineness.

See Huntriss family of Halifax, Wooldriving and Woolshops

Workhouse Master
The person responsible for running the workhouse. He was assisted by the Workhouse Matron, who was usually his wife.

This was a lowly-paid position, but had considerable responsibility and prestige in the community

Y

Yagger
A pedlar

Yardman
A farm worker or someone who works in a railway yard

Yearman
A worker who was hired for a year.

See Journeyman

Yeoman clothier
Also Clothier. An 18th century middle-man – such as Joseph Anderton – who supplied raw wool to the individual handloom weavers within the domestic system, then collected their finished pieces for sale at the cloth hall.

Some clothiers were also weavers and producers of cloth, and some were merchants.

John Royds was one of the wealthiest clothiers in the district.

Under the Weavers' Act [1555], clothiers in country districts were forbidden to keep more than one loom, and woollen weavers were forbidden to keep more than two looms.

Many clothiers became very prosperous, and many were Quakers. As the export trade increased through Hull, many local clothiers moved from Halifax to live at the port. In the 16th century, John Winchcombe – known as Jack of Newbury – was probably the most famous clothier in England.

More recently, the term clothier has been used to refer to a tailor, or a retailer of mechanically produced cloth.

See Little maker and Ullnager


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Abraham man
Aka Abram. A mediæval term for an itinerant beggar who obtained money by pretending to be insane. Their numbers increased after the Dissolution of the Monasteries

Acater
Someone who supplied food and provisions. A chandler

Accomptant
An old name for an accountant

Accoucheur
Someone who assisted women in childbirth. A midwife

Acre-man
Aka Ackerman. A ploughman or herdsman

aegyptianus

Affeerer
An officer who assessed the penalties which offenders paid at a manorial court

Ag.Lab
Agricultural labour.

The term is widely used in censuses and other records.

Many of these were recorded prior to the Industrial Revolution

Ale-conner
Aka Ale-founder, Ale-taster. An officer of the Assize of Ale who checked the quantity, taste and quality of ales and beers sold.

In the 12th century, the Warren family were appointed to oversee ale houses.

In 1393, Richard II decreed that ale houses should have a pictorial sign so that the ale-conner could recognise the establishment

Ale-draper
An innkeeper or someone who sold ale

Almoner
Aka Elemosinarius.

Anyone who is responsible for distributing charity to the needy, or someone in charge of petty cash

Alnager
Alternative form of ullnager

Amen man
A parish clerk

Anilepman
A tenant of the manor, a smallholder

Annatto-maker
Someone who made dyes for paint or printing trades.

See Annatto

Apparitor
The official who summoned people to appear at an ecclesiastical court

Appraiser
From the early 16th century, a court required to prove a will might require the executor to appoint a small group of local men – the appraisers – to make a true and perfect inventory of the deceased's estate

Archiator
A doctor or physician

Archil-maker
Someone who made archil, a purple dye produced from lichen

Armiger
Anyone who was entitled to a coat of arms.

The adjective is armigerous

Artificer
A skilled worker or craftsman. In a naval context, the term refers to engineer officers on board ships

Aulnager
Alternative form of ullnager

B

Back-tenter
Someone – often a child – who worked behind the loom clearing away waste and rubbish.

See Tenter

Back-washer
Someone who cleaned wool in the manufacture of worsted

Badger
In the 16th century, paupers were encouraged to supplement their weekly pensions with casual and regular begging to supplement Parish pay.

An Act of 1697 required anyone who received parish relief to wear a badge with the letter P – for pauper – sewn to their clothes. These people were known as badgers, and were licensed by the Quarter Sessions and recorded in Badgers' Recognisances. The badge was a distinguishing mark, and designed to discourage fraudulent beggars as people began to move from the countryside into the towns. Any pauper who refused to wear the badge was liable to be committed to prison for 3 weeks' hard labour. Any parish officer who gave relief to a poor person who was not wearing a badge could be fined 20/-. Badge wearing was compulsory until the law was repealed in 1810.

See Cadger

Badger
Aka Higgler, Peddar, Swaler. A local or itinerant dealer in dairy produce, eggs, corn, meal and malt, and later in general produce.

The name was often qualified by adding the name of the product sold: egg badger, potato badger, and so on.

The word is also used as a surname and in place names – often spelled as Bagger – and is recorded around 1300.

See Badger Lane, Brighouse and Cadger

Bagniokeeper
Someone who was in charge of baths or a bath house.

The name was also used for someone who was in charge of a brothel

Bairman
See Pauper

Bandmaster
The resident conductor of a brass band

Bang-beggar
An officer who determined how long strangers could stay in the parish

Banksman
The man responsible for the winding mechanism at a coal mine.

The word is now used for the person who oversees the reversing of vehicles out of building sites

Banksman
Also Bank Man.

Someone who was in charge of the lift cage in a mine

Barber
In addition to cutting hair and beards, barbers also performed surgery, until 1745 when surgeons were separately recognised.

The striped red and white barber's pole reminds us of the blood and bandages of the surgical practices.

See Powler

Bareman
See Pauper

Basil-worker
Someone who worked with the skins of sheep and goats

Baumer
A caddy for a player in the game of knur & spell

Beamer
A textile worker who handles the materials before the weaving stage in cloth production.

See Warper

Blacksmith
Aka Smith.

Someone who makes and repairs iron objects

Bluffer
An inn-keeper or landlord of a pub

Body-snatcher
Someone who illegally exhumed newly-buried corpses and sold them for dissection and medical research.

See Grave

Boiler-tapper
Someone who took part in the Plug riots

Bondman
In mediæval time, this was a man who had little personal freedom and who was tied to the lord of the manor.

Bondmen were not allowed to live outside the manor without licence from the lord. Where permission was given an annual chevage was payable to the lord by the bondman.

A bondman could not take legal action concerning rents or tenure against the lord.

When a bondman died, his property passed to the lord of the manor; the relatives could buy the property on payment of an entry fee to the lord.

The word is also used to mean an apprentice who was bonded to a master for the purpose of learning a skill or trade.

See Slave

Bondsman
Someone who stood bond – or surety – for another in situations where a bond was required by law.

See Bondman

Boothman
A corn-merchant or corn chandler

Borough Treasurer
The head of finance for the local council.

See Borough Treasurer of Brighouse, Borough Treasurer of Halifax, Borough Treasurer of Rastrick, Borough Treasurer of Todmorden and Town Clerk

Brasiater
Someone who brewed ale

Brasiler
A dyer

Brazier
Someone who works in brass

Brewster
In mediæval times, brewing was often carried out by women, the brewsters.

Brewster sessions were a special Quarter Sessions meeting which licensed inn-keepers and keepers of alehouses

Brogger
A wool trader, middle man.

See Halifax Act [1555]

Brother
The word was often used to mean brother-in-law.

See Good brother

Brownsmith
Someone who worked with copper or brass.

See Brogger and Smith

Burler

C

Cadger
An itinerant dealer in small wares, or a beggar.

See Badger, Cadge and Cadger Lane, Brighouse

Cafender
A carpenter

Canvasser
A person who worked with canvas (cloth).

Later, the term was used for anyone who carried out research, particularly for use in elections or sales

Catagman
Aka Cottar

Chandler
Originally, a maker or seller of candles. The term was used for a grocer, and for a man who sold ship's supplies.

Corn chandlers and tallow chandlers are encountered

Chapman
A general middleman or merchant, involved in buying and/or selling goods.

See Copeman

Cheese winder
Someone did the work of winding the cotton/woollen yarn onto a cheese

Clogger

Clothier
Another term for a yeoman clothier

Cobbler
Someone who makes and/or repairs shoes

Collier
A coal miner, although the word had a wider meaning and included wood-colliers

Cone Winder
Someone did the work of winding the cotton/woollen yarn onto a metal or paper/cardboard cone-shaped core

Confectioner
Someone who produced medicines sweetened with honey or sugar.

Later, someone who made cakes and sweets.

See Confectionery

Conveyancer
A member of the legal profession who handled documents relating to the transfer of property

Cooper
Someone who makes barrels.

See Tranqueter

Coparcener
Co-heir who jointly inherits an estate

Copeman
A general dealer. In the 18th century, the word was used for a receiver of stolen goods.

See Chapman

Cordwainer
Pronounced cord'ner. A shoemaker, or leather-worker.

The word comes from Córdoban, after the leather products of the Spanish city of Córdoba

Corn chandler
A retail dealer in grain.

See Boothman and Chandler

Coroner
Originally, the guardian of the pleas of the crown. Now, an officer responsible for enquiries – a Coroner's Inquest – into the cause of accidental or suspicious deaths, or deaths believed to have been caused by violence.

Under an Act of 1752, coroners returned abstracts of inquests to the Quarter Sessions in order to claim their expenses. These returns are preserved in the sessions files and include the date of the inquest, the name of the deceased and the verdict of the jury. These are public records and there is a 75 years' closure period on them.

See William Barstow, John Brigg, John Brigg, Coroner's Court, Halifax, J. F. Dearden, Thomas F. Dearden, George Dyson, George, Brighouse, Halifax Town Hall, John Hargreaves, Ernest Hatton Hill, John Richard Ingram, Bernard Williamson Little, Edward Wallace Norris, William Stansfeld, Joseph Wood and Robert Wood

Costermonger
A dealer in fruit and vegetables. The name comes from costard, a kind of large apple.

See Monger

Cottager
Aka Cottar

Cottar
Aka Customary Tenant, Catagman, Cottager. A tenant of a cottage with 4 acres of land, or less. This was the lowest level of peasant farmers. He lived in a tied cottage and was obliged to work on the farm of the lord of the manor

Couper
A dealer in horses and cattle

Couple beggar
An itinerant priest who performed marriages prior to the Marriage Act [1753]

Cropper

Culler
Someone who selected and graded animals for killing

Cunning man
Aka Wizard. A name given to mediæval law-enforcers. He might also dispense medicines, cure ailments, find lost object, and tell fortunes. There were also cunning women

Cursitor
A clerk who draws up wills

D

Devil minder

Devil worker

Dexter
An occupational surname meaning a dyer.

Compare Textor.

There are currently no entries on the Calderdale Companion for people with the surname Dexter.

Dispensatore
Aka Dispensator.

A steward or treasurer

Dissenter
Anyone who disagrees with the orthodox view of religious belief, a Nonconformist

To some extent, Dissenters were tradesmen and workers of the lower class.

In the 18th century, Dissenters were excluded from membership of certain bodies, for example, they could not be a student at Oxford & Cambridge, a Magistrate, or a Member of Parliament.

See Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists and Unitarians

Dog whipper
Aka Knocknobbler. A man who chased dogs out of the church. He used whips or a pair of tongs to seize and eject the animal.

The dogs might be attracted by the tails of foxes, and other animals – which were killed in order to collect a bounty – and nailed to the church door.

See Lightcliffe Old Church

Drover
A man who drives cattle or a packhorse team

Drysalter
Aka Salter.

Someone who makes or deals in dry chemicals, such as dyes and colours for the textile industry

Dryster


Question: Is this the same as a drysalter?

 

Duler

Dummerer
A mediæval term for a beggar who obtains money by pretending to be deaf and dumb

Dyer
Someone who works in the dyeing industry

E

Ealdorman
The chief officer in an Anglo-Saxon district, shire or kingdom. The name means an elder man.

The name continued to be used as alderman

Engine Tenter
An engineer in charge of the steam engine which drives factory machinery.

See Tenter

Executor
A person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in his/her will, and to dispose of the property according to his/her provisions after his/her death.

An executrix is a female executor.

See Letters Testamentary

F

Facer

See Flag Facer

Father
The word was often used to mean father-in-law. The term father-in-law was often used to mean stepfather

Fellmonger
Or Felmonger.

Someone who deals in hides and skins – particularly sheepskins – and other animal products which were used for making glue, and a tradesman who prepares skins for the tanner.

See Monger

Feoffee
See Feoffment

Feoffor
See Feoffment

Feroner
Someone who produced or sold goods made of iron. It was also used for anyone who sold hardware

Fettler
A worker who carded wool

Finisher
Someone who performs the final stages in the production of a piece of cloth.

See Cropper

Fixer
Aka Setter. Someone who puts the finished block of stone into position, as distinct from a mason who cuts and carves the stone, and a hewer who dresses the blocks of stone

Flag Facer
A mason who cleans up and finishes off the individual flagstone

See Stone dresser

Freedman
A man or woman who has been freed from bondage or slavery. A lower class of peasant above slaves.

Compare this with freeman

Freeholder
A wealthy farmer who owned freehold land by fee simple.

See Copyholder, Inholder and Smallholder

Frith man
Someone who has claimed the right of sanctuary

G

Garnet
To reduce waste material to its basic fibrous state for reuse.

The work is carried out by a garnetter.

See Shoddy

Garthman
A herdsman, yardman, or a man who caught fish

Gasser

Gaux collector

Gentleman
Abbr: Gent. This usually indicated someone who was of independent means and who did not need to work for a living.

The sons of a men titled esquire are titled gentlemen.

See Franklin and Gent

Good brother
The word good was used in relationships such as

Goodman
The form of address for a husbandman in the 16th/17th centuries.

See Goodwife

Goodwife
The form of address for the wife of a husbandman in the 16th/17th century.

See Goodman

Goux collector

Gracer
A stone-mason who carried out fine, decorative work on stone

Gunsmith
Someone who makes guns

Gypsy
A member of a group of travellers.

Aka Aegyptianus, Zingarius, and Zingari.

True gypsies speak the Romany language and are believed to originate in South Asia.

See Rev George Bramwell Evens

H

Haberdasher
Anyone selling small personal items

Hair merchant
Someone who bought / sold hair – of animals or humans – for the manufacture of brushes and/or wigs.

See Brush Makers and Horn merchant

Half-timer
A child – usually under 13 – who worked half a day in the factory or mill, and half a day at school.

It is recorded that there were 1057 half-timers working in Halifax in 1917.

The practice became illegal in 1922.

See Child Labour and Factory Acts

Hawker
Aka Huckster. A traveller who offered goods for sale. This term was used for someone who used a horse, donkey or cart to carry his goods, as distinct from a pedlar

Hellier
Aka helier, hilier, hillier. A slater or tiler.

This is also a surname in some parts of the country

Henter
A thief

Hewer
Someone who dresses blocks of stone, as distinct from a mason who cuts and carves the stone, and a fixer or setter who puts the finished stone into position

Higgler
Also Higler. An itinerant dealer who haggles.

See Badger

Highwayman
A robber who attacks people on the public way – usually on horseback, as distinct from a footpad

Hooker
A mediæval term for a thief who steals with the aid of a hook on a pole.

Later, it was a mill worker who operated a machine which laid out a length of cloth into uniform folds of the required length

Horn merchant
Someone who bought / sold animal horn or hooves for the manufacture of domestic articles, brushes and/or jewellery

See Hair Merchant

Hosier
Someone who makes or sells hosiery, that is socks and stockings and gloves

Hostler
Aka Ostler. Someone who tends horses at an inn

Huckster
A woman who sold ale in the street.

It was also a general term for anyone who sold goods from a small shop or a booth

Hugger
A worker in a quarry who carried blocks of stone to the surface.

Huggers wore a leather saddle to protect themselves.

They used a hugging ladder – a ladder with broad rungs set close together – which made the ascent easier for the worker who could not use his hands to steady himself as he climbed. The task was mechanised during the 1800s, although hugging continued until about 1870.

There were numerous accidents involving huggers and stone workers

See Hurrier and Thruster

Hurrier
Someone – often a young child – who hauled the wagons or baskets of stone / coal in the mines.

See Mines Act [1842] and Thruster

Husbandman
A tenant farmer, or any man who worked in cultivating his own land – husbandry – but it also referred to a small-holder who supported himself by working the land of others.

They came below yeomen on the social scale.

See Bordar

Hush-seller
Aka Husht seller. Someone who sold and/or brewed illegal beer

Husht Seller
A Hush-seller.

See Husht

I

Impropriator
A layman who is in possession of a benefice or its revenues

Ingomon
Someone who works on the land and rears cattle &c

Inholder
A freeholder who lived in the property held

Interfactor
A murderer

Ironmaster
The proprietor of an iron-works

J

Jacksmith
Someone who makes jacks or other lifting machinery

Jagger
An itinerant pedlar, carrier, or the drover of a packhorse team.

It is also an occupational surname mentioned around 1368, and was common in Stainland

The name may be derived from the German Jæger, a type of pony which was used as a packhorse.

See Ailsa O'Fusses

Journeyman
A worker who was hired for the day – from the French journée.

Typically, he travelled widely and worked away from home, and would have completed his apprenticeship but was not yet a master of his trade.

Journeymen were members of a guild

See Yearman

Jouster
An itinerant saleswoman who sold fish

K

King's archer
A King's Archer had to be able to hit – 7 times out of 10 – a shield which was laid on the ground at a distance of 1 furlong. About 25% of the archers at Agincourt were King's Archers.

See Archery and John King

Kneller
Aka Knuller. An itinerant chimney-sweep

Knocker-up
Someone who was paid to walk around the streets in the early morning, knocking on the bedroom windows of their customers – usually with a long rod or pole – to wake them for work

Knocknobbler
Aka Dog whipper

L

Laiker
A player in the game of knur & spell.

See Laik

Lamiger
A lame person

Lardner

Lavender
A washer-woman

Lecturer
Someone who reads the sermon in a nonconformist chapel. He may also perform other duties

Limiter
A mediæval friar who had a licence to beg within only a specified, limited district. One of Chaucer's Pilgrims was a limiter

Lister
A dyer.

See Lister

Little Maker
A term for a small-scale clothier. He wove his own pieces of cloth at home and sold it at market

Lorimer
Someone who makes metal bits, spurs, and fittings for harness straps

M

Machine-breaker
See Luddite

Mantua maker

Market gardener
Someone who grows fruit and vegetables for sale at market.

In the 1830s, representatives from Toronto came to England to recruit stone masons and market gardeners which were in great demand in Canada. Many local workers emigrated about this time.

There were many local people involved in gardening and market gardening – see Local Gardening & Horticulture

Master
A skilled craftsman or tradesmen. He and his apprentices were members of a Guild.

See Journeyman

Master-taker
A man who was paid to organise delvers to carry out the extraction of stone from land which was let to him by a land-owner. He was often regarded as unscrupulous by both the land-owner and the delvers.

In several cases, the master-taker was also the local innkeeper, and would pay the wages to his delvers in his own inn, ensuring that a proportion of their earnings was quickly returned to him!

Melder
A miller. Usually a corn miller

Mender
A worker who repairs faults, cuts and tears in a piece of cloth

Mercer

Mercury woman
An 18th century name for a woman who sold newspapers

Messor
An official who was responsible for supervising the fields of a manor and for managing the reapers and mowers of the fields

Middle man
Wool traders who sold wool to the Yeoman clothiers and other dealers.

See Chapman and Halifax Act [1555]

Middleman
Aka Chapman. Someone who carried manufactured woollen goods by packhorse from one manufacturer to another, or from the manufacturer to the individual who would finish the goods

Milliner
A maker of ladies' hats.

The word originally meant someone from Milan, and later it can to mean someone who sold fancy goods from Milan

Milner
A local form of miller

Misegatherer
A tax-collector

Monger
A general term for a trader or dealer, as in fishmonger, costermonger, and fellmonger

N

Navvy
Abbreviation for a navigator, a worker on the navigations, cuts, canals and – later – railways.

Many navvies were Irish migrants.

See Railway Genealogy

O

Ordinary keeper
An inn-keeper who sold food and drinks at fixed prices. An ordinary was a set priced meal

Ostler
See Hostler

Overlooker
A supervisor, foreman or manager of a group of workers in a textile mill.

The name was also used for someone who maintains and tunes the looms.

The name tackler is used in Lancashire.

See Halifax & District Power Loom Overlookers' Society and Powerloom Overlookers' Club, Todmorden

Overseer of the Poor

P

Palisser
Aka Palister. Someone who tended the fences of a Norman enclosure or park – such as that at Erringden Park.

The name comes from the French palisse meaning a pale or a fence.

This and associated words are often corrupted to palace

Palliard
A mediæval term for a beggar who obtains money by showing his sores and deformities

Palmer
When on a pilgrimage, to the Holy Land, the pilgrim was called a palmer because of the representation of a palm branch which he wore

Pardoner
A person who was licensed to sell papal indulgences. One of Chaucer's Pilgrims was a pardoner

Parker
The keeper of the king's park.

See Parker Surname

Passive Resister
After Balfour's Education Act of 1902, many local nonconformists refused to pay their contribution to the education part of the poor rate because they objected to supporting schools whose standards were inferior to their own.

The National Passive Resistance Movement was formed in 1902 by the Baptist Minister John Clifford.

There was considerable opposition in February 1904, when non-payment resulted in seizure of their goods and possesions to the value of the rate and the costs.

On 23rd June 1905, there was a Passive Resisters' Demonstration in Halifax with a speech by the Rev A. T. Guttery.

In 1906, over 170 passive resisters were imprisoned at Wakefield.

See Joseph Dobson, Rev Roger Briggs, Harold Chapman, Rev William Lawrence and Rev John Wilkinson

Pauper
Aka Bareman, Bairman. A person who needed regular Poor Law relief. These included old widows, young mothers without a man, orphans, those who were too old or too infirm to work. A pauper's goods and property belonged to the parish after their death.

See Overseer of the Poor and Roundsman

Pavior
A worker who was responsible for the repair of paving stones in a town/village

Paviour
Originally, an official with responsibility for the upkeep of footpaths.

Later, it was any workman involved in paving paths and roads

Pawnbroker
Someone who lends money against personal property such as jewellery, clothes. He/she gives money against goods, and then repays the money – less a percentage – when the goods are later redeemed. The symbol of the Italian Lombard merchants – 3 golden balls – was usually hung outside the shop. Popularly known as the pop-shop and uncle

Peeler
A 19th century name for a policeman. In 1812, Sir Robert Peel established the Irish Police, and in 1828, he reformed the police force in Britain.

See Police

percher

Pew-opener
Someone who opened the doors to box pews and was tipped for the service

Piecer
Aka Piecener.

A textile worker who joins any broken threads and feeds them into the machines during the processes of slubbing, scribbling, carding and spinning.

The intricate task was often performed by women or child workers

Pikeman
This has several meanings:

Pinder
Aka Pounder, Poundkeeper, Punder. An official who was responsible for rounding up and impounding stray and wandering animals and cattle. The animals were impounded in a pound or pinfold.

See Culler, Hayward, Neatherd and Pinder

Pistor
Anyone who worked with flour, usually a miller or a baker

Plug-drawer
Someone who took part in the Plug riots

Poulterer
Someone who deals in fowl, including ducks, goose, chicken or turkey

Powler
A barber

Preemer
A worker – usually a boy – who cleaned the tools used by the cloth dresser

Pretender
Someone who lays claim to the throne without a just title

Prigger
A mediæval term for a thief who steals horses

Proctor
An officer of the court who was paid to manage the affairs of others

Puddler
Someone who works with wrought iron.

See Puddle clay

R

Rag & bone man
A man who travelled around the district collecting rags, bones, and general scrap items. The rags would be made into paper, and the bones made into fertiliser. Traditionally, a balloon, a goldfish or a donkey stone might be given in return. There were also rag & bone shops

Reaver
Aka Riever. A thief, a robber. Specifically, along the Scottish borders in the mediæval period

Recorder
A barrister who presides over a court of Quarter Sessions, or who sits as a circuit judge, or as a part-time judge in the crown court. The first recorder of Halifax, Willoughby Jardine, was appointed in December 1923

Rector
The person in charge – the director – of the religious life of a community or a parish.

He was responsible for the maintenance of the chancel which was his private part of the church.

In his absence, the vicar deputised for the rector. There is now no difference between a vicar and a rector.

A curate is an assistant to the rector

See Rectors of Halifax

Reducer
In 1901, I have a record of someone who is
a reducer in a worsted factory


Question: Does anyone know what the job entailed?

 

Relieving Officer
After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 the post of Overseer of the Poor and the workhouse for each township were abolished and replaced by the Relieving Officer – who was appointed by the Board of Guardians – and the larger Union Workhouse with responsibility for a union (group)  of townships.

See Parish Relief

Remittance man
Someone whose family paid for him to emigrate to Australia or other British colony

Riddler
A woolstapler

Ruffler
A mediæval term for a beggar who obtains money by tales of heroism in the wars

S

Saltpetre man
In the 17th century, a man who collected urine which was left in buckets outside people's houses, and who dug around cess-pits and animal pounds to collect salts which were produced by the urine, for use in making saltpetre for gunpowder

Sawyer
Someone whose job involves sawing wood

Scavenger
A rubbish collector, street sweeper, night soil collector

Scrivener
A professional scribe or copyist

scutcher

Scutiger
An esquire who was responsible for handling the horses

Serjeant
A barrister

Shearman
Also Sherman. A cloth worker who crops the excess nap from cloth. The local term was usually cropper.

By 1817, 1,170 croppers were out of work in Yorkshire; 1,445 were employed part-time; 763 were employed full-time.

See Shearmen's Company

Sherman
Aka Shearman, Cropper.

Also a man who sheared sheep

Singer
Someone who carried out the process of singeing, that is, someone who singes and not someone who sings


Pronunciation: Singer rhymes with ginger
 

Sister
The word was often used to mean sister-in-law

Skiver
Someone who split sheep skins to produce a thin, soft leather for use in bookbinding

Slop tailor
Someone who makes new clothes from old clothes

Slopseller
Someone who deals in cheap or second-hand clothing

Smallholder
A small farmer who rented land of 10-20 acres from the squire or freeholders

See Copyholder

Smith
Someone who works in metal.

See Blacksmith, Brownsmith, Gunsmith, Jacksmith, Smithy, Sucksmith and Whitesmith

Socman
A tenant by socage

Sojourner
Someone who spends or has spent only a short time in a certain place. He/she is distinguished from a permanent resident and a fleeting traveller

Spencer
Someone who is in charge of a spence, or larder

Spinner

Squatter
A poor farmer who farmed and lived on common land. They had no legal rights to the land

Stone Dresser
A mason, or someone who cleans/tidies-up the outer face(s) of a stone block or flagstone

See Flag Facer

Stravaiger
A vagrant

Strawman
Someone who was paid to give false evidence in a legal court

Stuff Merchant

Sucksmith
Someone who makes blades for plough shares.

See Smith and Sucksmith surname

Summoner
The man who called people to appear before an ecclesiastical court. One of Chaucer's Pilgrims was a summoner

Surgeon
Up to the end of the 19th century, the term surgeon referred to a general medical practitioner, rather than someone who performed surgical operations

Sutler
A trader who follows an army to sell goods to the soldiers

Swaler
See Badger

T

Tallow chandler
A maker or seller of candles. Candles were often made of tallow

See Chandler

Tallyman
Someone who sold goods and collected payment in installments

Teamer
Aka Teamster. Someone who drove a team of horses or cattle. They often worked with the horses of a brewery, or with a horse-driven cab

Tenter
Someone who looks after a piece of machinery or other equipment.

See Back-tenter, Engine tenter and Tenter frame

Territorial

Testator
A man who writes a will.

A testatrix is a woman who writes a will

Textor
Another name for a weaver or a webster.

See Webb and Webster

Thief-taker
Someone who profited from arresting thieves. He might also arrange the return of stolen goods

Thrower

Thruster
Someone – often a young child – who pushed the wagons or baskets of coal in the mines, or a worker in a quarry who pushed stones to the surface.

See Hugger and Hurrier

Thumper
An extravagant preacher. They often bumped their head against the headboard of the pulpit as they jumped up and down in their enthusiasm

Tickneyman
An itinerant pedlar selling earthenware

Tilloter

Tinker
An itinerant who mends pots, pans and other household utensils

Tippler
An inn-keeper

Tithingman
An old term for a constable

Todhunter
Someone who was employed by the parish to hunt foxes

Town husband
Someone who collected the dues from fathers of illegitimate children of the parish for their upkeep

Trammer
A person who looked after the wagons which ran on rails, transporting the stone / coal in a mine

Trampler
A lawyer

Tranqueter
Someone who makes hoops for use in constructing barrels.

See Cooper

Translator
An early term for anyone who repaired and recycled goods such as clothes and shoes

Tranter
An itinerant pedlar

Trencherman

Troacher
An itinerant pedlar

Tueler

Tuler

Tutor
See Governess

Tyler
An officer in the Freemasons.

A Tyler is a Doorkeeper or Guard at the Lodge

U

Ullnager
Aka Alnager. An inspector who – from about 1350 – measured the length of a piece of cloth, and affixed a copper seal to guarantee that it was of the standard width and weight and quality, for which he collected the ullnage.

At one point, the ullnagers increased the tax, and a number of Halifax clothiers – refusing to pay – sold their cloth unsealed; the ullnager attempted to seize the goods, but the clothiers won the subsequent court case.

The records are held as Ullnagers' Accounts or Ullnagers' Rolls.

See Narrow cloth

Usher
An Assistant Master or Second Master at a school.

At Heath Grammar School, the Usher had similar duties to the Headmaster, but received only half the salary.

Thomas Preston was Usher – or Ludimagister – at Heath Grammar School [1671]

V

Vagrant

Vat man
Someone who looks after the vats in a brewery, dye works or paper-making factory

Venetor
Aka Venur. A huntsman

Verderer
An official who was in charge of the Royal forests and imposed Forest law

Verger
Someone responsible for taking care of the interior of a church, an attendant, an assistant to the priest or rector

Viewer
An overseer in a coal mine

Vintner
A wine merchant

W

Waller
A wall-builder. These were often recruited from specialist gangs of itinerant workers as wall-building increased during the 16th and 17th centuries.

See Enclosures

Warper
A textile worker who places the warp upon the beams

Warrener
Someone who looks after the lord's warren

See Warner

Webster
A weaver, usually female.

The male form is Webb.

See Textor and Webster

Wharfinger
Someone who owns or manages a wharf. He took custody of, and was responsible for, goods delivered to the wharf. Typically, he had an office on the wharf or dock, and was responsible for day-to-day activities including slipways, keeping tide tables and resolving disputes.

The etymology is probably Elizabethan-era English.

The final 2 syllables are pronounced as in ginger not as in singer.

See Calder House, Sowerby Bridge and Wharf House, Sowerby Bridge

Whitesmith
A tinsmith, or a worker or dealer in tinned or white iron.

See Brownsmith

Whitster
Someone who works in the bleaching of cloth

Winder
Someone who did the work of winding, in which yarn is transferred from one spool – a bobbin, cone or cheese – to another.

See Cheese winder and Cone winder

Woolchapman
A wool trader, middle man.

See Halifax Act [1555]

Woolcomber
Anyone who combs the raw wool during the making of cloth.

St Blaise is the patron St of woolcombers.

In 1853, a letter to the Reynold's Newspaper reported that

the woolcombers of Halifax and its district number about 10,000, with their wives and children, making a population of nearly 30,000 dependent in that particular branch of labour. They are in great distress, but the mill owners are making colossal fortunes

See Bishop Blaise

Wooldriver
Aka Woolstapler. A wool trader, middle man, who bought wool from the farmer and stored it. They were accused of profiteering – by holding stocks of wool until the price rose – thereby raising the price of wool.

Henry VIII abolished the practice.

See Halifax Act [1555] and Woolshops

Woolsorter
Another name for a woolstapler

Woolstapler
Aka Woolsorter, Riddler, and Wool-driver. Someone who sorts wool, or who deals in wool.

A single fleece comprised many different staples and grades of wool. The staples of wool were sorted according to quality, colour, length and fineness.

See Huntriss family of Halifax, Wooldriving and Woolshops

Workhouse Master
The person responsible for running the workhouse. He was assisted by the Workhouse Matron, who was usually his wife.

This was a lowly-paid position, but had considerable responsibility and prestige in the community

Y

Yagger
A pedlar

Yardman
A farm worker or someone who works in a railway yard

Yearman
A worker who was hired for a year.

See Journeyman

Yeoman clothier
Also Clothier. An 18th century middle-man – such as Joseph Anderton – who supplied raw wool to the individual handloom weavers within the domestic system, then collected their finished pieces for sale at the cloth hall.

Some clothiers were also weavers and producers of cloth, and some were merchants.

John Royds was one of the wealthiest clothiers in the district.

Under the Weavers' Act [1555], clothiers in country districts were forbidden to keep more than one loom, and woollen weavers were forbidden to keep more than two looms.

Many clothiers became very prosperous, and many were Quakers. As the export trade increased through Hull, many local clothiers moved from Halifax to live at the port. In the 16th century, John Winchcombe – known as Jack of Newbury – was probably the most famous clothier in England.

More recently, the term clothier has been used to refer to a tailor, or a retailer of mechanically produced cloth.

See Little maker and Ullnager



© Malcolm Bull 2018
Revised 12:26 /26th July 2018 / mmj84 / 165141

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