Thursday, June 12, 2014

Things Worth Knowing ~ Occupations - Part 2

B List of Occupations

This is a list of some occupations of which many are archaic although surnames usually originated from someone's occupation.

◦BACKMAKER - made "backs", vats, tubs, a Cooper


◦BACK'US BOY - kitchen servant (from "back of the house")

◦BACK WASHER - employed to clean the wool in the worsted manufacturing industry

◦BADGER - licensed pauper who wore a badge with the letter P on it and could only work in a defined area (the term "Badgering comes from this"). A corn miller or dealer or an itinerant food trader

◦BADGY FIDDLER - boy trumpeter in the military

◦BAGMAN - travelling salesman

◦BAGNIOKEEPER - n charge of a bath house or brothel

◦BAILIFF / BAILIE / BAILLIE / BAILLEE - officer of the sheriff, a land steward acting on behalf of the Landowner or Landlord and in Scotland a magistrate of the burgh, also looked after the fishing rights on certain rivers

◦BAIRMAN / BAREMAN - pauper or beggar

◦BALER - bales hay and in the mills one who bailed wool or cotton goods

◦BALISTER - archer most commonly a crossbowman

◦BALLAST HEAVER - loaded ballast into the hold of empty ships

◦BALLARD MASTER - in charge of loading the ballast into the hold of empty ships

◦BALLER / BALLER UP - assisted the potter by measuring out the balls of clay

◦BAL MAIDEN - female mine worker who worked on the surface (also a Pit Brow Lass)

◦BAND FILER - metal worker in the gun making industry

◦BANDSTER - bound the wheat sheaves after harvest

◦BANG BEGGAR - officer of the parish who controlled the length of stay of any stranger to the parish

◦BANKER - dug trenches and ditches to allow drainage of the land, placing the surplus earth in banks around the edge

◦BANKSMAN - employed in the mining industry being in charge of the cages at the pit head (sometimes known as a bank manager)

◦BARBER / BARBER SURGEON - a barber also also a surgeon (an Act was passed that limited Barbers to hair-cutting, shaving, dentistry and blood letting in the 18th century)

◦BARD - poet or minstral

◦BAREMAN - beggar or pauper

◦BARGEE / BARGEMAN - worked on or owned and operated a barge

◦BARGE MATE - Naval officer

◦BARILLA MANUFACTURER - made barilla, a substance obtained from burning saltworts, the resulting mixture of sodium salts being used in the glass and ceramics industry

◦BARKEEPER - another name for a tollkeeper

◦BARKER - tanner

◦BAUER - farmer

◦BAXTER - baker

◦BELHOSTE - tavern keeper.

◦BARTONER - in charge of the monastic farm, also known as a barton

◦BASIL WORKER - worked with sheep and goat skins

◦BASKETMAN - made baskets and furniture from wicker, and also employed to empty the basket of coal being offloaded from the colliers into the barges

◦BASS / BAST DRESSER - employed in dressing fibre or matting

◦BATHING MACHINE PROPRIETOR - owned and hired the changing huts used at the seaside in the by bathers

◦BATMAN - officers servant in the army

◦BATT MAKER - made the wadding used in quilt and mattress making

◦BATTLEDORE MAKER - made the beaters used on clothes carpets etc to remove the dust (later made the paddles used in washing machines)

◦BAYWEAVER - who wove bay (a fine woollen fabric also known as baize)

◦BEADLE / BEDEL / BEDELL - officer of the parish whose principle duty was to keep order, also was the town crier

◦BEADMAN / BEADSMAN / BEDESMAN - employed to pray for his employer, inhabitant of an almshouse / poorhouse / hospital or tenant employed by the manor for a specific service

◦BEAD PIERCER - employed to drill the holes in beads

◦BEAMER - winds the warp on the roller before putting it on the loom in the textile industry

◦BEARER - worked undergrpound carrying the coal to the bottom of the pit shaft and placed it in the containers for uplifting to the surface

◦BEATER - cleansed and thickened the cloth by treading it underwater with fullers earth (aka Fuller)

◦BEAVER - made felt used in hat making

◦BEDMAN - sexton

◦BEDRAL - in Scotland a minor church official

◦BEDWEVERE - made the webbing for bed frames and also a one who wove quilts

◦BEESKEPMAKER - made beehives

◦BEETLER - operated a beetling machine, used in the textile trade for embossing fabric

◦BELLEYETERE - bellfounder


◦BELL HANGER - installed bells in churches

◦BELLMAN - employed as a watchman or town crier or who worked for the post office and collected letters for the mail coach by walking the streets and ringing a bell

◦BELLOWFARMER - responsible for the care and maintenance of the church organ

◦BELLOWS MAKER - made bellows used for organs or blacksmiths fires

◦BELLY BUILDER - built and fitted the interiors of pianos

◦BENDER - cut leather

◦BESSWARDEN - appointed by the parish to look after its animals

◦BESOM MAKER - made brooms

◦BIDDY - female servant usually of Irish stock

◦BILLIER / BILLYMAN - operated a Billy Roller, a machine used in the cotton industry to prepare the cotton for spinning

◦BILL POSTER - put up notices, signs and advertisements

◦BINDER - bound items, e.g., books, hats etc .

◦BIRD BOY - employed to scare away birds from crops

◦BIRD CATCHER - caught birds for selling

◦BIRDS NEST SELLER - sold bird nests collected from the wild complete with eggs which were then hatched by domestic birds and sold as pets

◦BIRLYMAN - in Scotland a ground officer or parish arbiter

◦BLACK TRAY MAKER - made Japanned trays

◦BLACKING MAKER - made polish for shoes

◦BLACK BORDERER - made black edged stationery for funerals

◦BLADESMITH - swordmaker or knife maker

◦BLAXTER / BLEACHER - bleached cloth or paper pulp

◦BLEMMERE - plumber

◦BLENTONIST - water diviner

◦BLINDSMAN - employed by the Post Office to deal with incorrectly addressed letters and parcels

◦BLOCKCUTTER / BLOCKER - made wooden blocks used in the hat trade or laid down the blocks on which a ships keel was laid

◦BLOCK MAKER - engraved the blocks used in the printin

◦BLOCK PRINTER - printer who used wooden blocks for printing

◦BLOODMAN / BLOODLETTER - used leeches for letting blood, this was thought to be a cure for many ailments

◦BLOOMER - produced iron from ore, a bloom smithy

◦BLOWER - glass blower, one who operated a "blowing machine" used to clean and separate fibres in the textile trade, one who operated the bellows at a blacksmiths

◦BLOWFEEDER - fed the fibres into a "blowing machine"

◦BLUESTOCKING - female writer

◦BLUFFER - innkeeper or landlord of a pub

◦BOARDING OFFICER - inspected ships before entering port

◦BOARDMAN - truant officer who checked school attendance. a tenant of manorial land who paid rent by maintaining the manor's table

◦BOARDWRIGHT - made tables and chairs aka carpenter

◦BOATMAN - worked on a boat, predominately on rivers and canals also the name given to a boat repairer

◦BOATSWAIN - ship's officer in charge of riggings & sails

◦BOBBER - who polished metals one who helped to unload fishing boats

◦BOBBIN CARRIER - worked in spinning and weaving sections of the mills

◦BOBBIN TURNER - made the bobbins used in the spinning and weaving industry

◦BOBBY - policeman usually of constable rank

◦BODEYS / BODY MAKER - made bodices for womens garments

◦BODGER - craftsman who made wooden chair legs and the spars and usually worked in the actual woodland that they cut the timber in

◦BOILERMAKER - worked with metal in any industrial setting

◦BOILER PLATER - made rolled iron plate used to make boilers for steam engines etc

◦BOLL - looked after power looms in the weaving industry

◦BOLTER - sifted meal

◦BONDAGER - female worker on a farm who was bonded

◦BONDMAN - bonded to a master for the purpose of learning a skill or trade

◦BONDSMAN - stood bond or surety for another where a bond was required by law

◦BONE BUTTON TURNER - made buttons using a lathe

◦BONE LACE MAKER - made pillow lace

◦BONE MOULD TURNER - made the moulds for button manufacturers

◦BONE PICKER - collected rags and bones aka Rag and Bone Man

◦BONESETTER - set broken bones

◦BONIFACE - keeper of an inn

◦BOOK GILDER - decorated books with gold leaf

◦BOOKHOLDER - prompter in the theater

◦BOOK KEEPER - looked after the accounts for businesses

◦BOOKMAN - student

◦BOONMASTER - surveyor of roads with the responsibilities of maintaining and repairing the road

◦BOOTBINDER - employed to operate the machines which bound footware

◦BOOT CATCHER - servant at inn who pulled off traveler's boots

◦BOOT CLOSER - worked in the shoe trade stitching together all the parts of a shoe upper

◦BOOTHMAN - corn merchant

◦BORLER - who made cheap coarse clothing

◦BORSHOLDER - regional name (Kent) for a constable

◦BOTCHER - tailor or cobbler

◦BOTTILER / BOTTLER - made leather containers for holding liquids eg wine flasks or water bottles

◦BOTTLE BOY - pharmacists assistant

◦BOTTOM MAKER - moulded the bottoms for saggers in the pottery industry

◦BOTTOM KNOCKER - sagger makers assistant in the pottery industry

◦BOTTOMER - worked down the pits moving the ore etc to the bottom of the shaft for removal

◦BOWDLER - worked with iron ore

◦BOWKER - bleached yarn. A local term in some parts of Lancashire for a butcher

◦BOWLER - made bowls and dishes and also a term used for those who made the rounded part of spoons before casting

◦BOWLMAN / BOWLWOMAN - dealer in crockery

◦BOWLMINDER - in charge of the vats used for washing raw wool before processing

◦BOWYER / BOWER - made bows used in archery

◦BOZZLER - parish constable

◦BRABENER - weaver

◦BRACHYGRAPHER - shorthand writer

◦BRAIDER - made cord by twisting threads or strips of leather

◦BRAILLER - made girdles

◦BRAKEMAN / BRAKESMAN - operated the winch at the pit head or operated the braking mechanism on trains and trams

◦BRASILER - dyer

◦BRAZIER - worker with brass

◦BREWSTER - female brewer or brewer

◦BRIGHTSMITH - metal worker

◦BROOM-DASHER - dealer in brooms

◦BROOM SQUIRE - broom maker


◦BROW GIRL - female employed at the pit head

◦BROWNSMITH - works with copper or brass

◦BUCKLER / BUCKLESMITH - made buckles

◦BUCKLE TONGUE MAKER - made the metal points that go in the holes of a belt

◦BUCKRAM MAKER - worked with buckram (used in stiffening materials) e.g. belts, lapels and collars

◦BUCK WASHER - laundress

◦BUDDLEBOY - employed to use and maintain the vats used in the lead and tin mines for washing the ore

◦BUDDLER - women and children who washed the ore at the copper mines in Allihies, Berehaven

◦BUFFALO SOLDIER - soldier serving in a black regiment in the US Army in the West

◦BULLWHACKER - oxen driver

◦BUMBOAT MAN - met ships at anchor with goods for passengers and crew to purchase

◦BUMMER - army deserter

◦BUMMAREE - middle man between the wholesaler and the retailer at the fish markets

◦BUNTER - female rag & bone collector

◦BURGESS - represented a borough at official levels  BURELER - made borel, a woollen cloth with a coarse feel


◦BURLER - quality inspector for clothing

◦BURMAIDEN - chambermaid or lady-in-waiting

◦BURNEMAN - carrier of barm or water for brewers

◦BURYE MAN - grave digger

◦BUSHEL MAKER - cooper

◦BUSHELER - tailor's helper

◦BUSS MAKER - maker of guns

◦BUSKER - hair dresser

◦BUTNER - button maker

◦BUTTER CARVER - made imprints in butter pats

◦BUTTON BURNISHER - button polisher

◦BUTTY - negotiated mining contracts and supplied the labor

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