Posted by: Jack Henry | December 27, 2013

Editor’s Corner: 11 Pipers Piping

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 11 pipers piping.

For some reason, this made me think of people whose last names originated from their professions. I found this list on a crazy site called Name Nerds. It’s long, but you may find it interesting. For a more detailed explanation and etymologies of many surnames, try The Internet Surname Database. (Their tag line is “Our database contains 49,352 last names from Smith to Smiley and Aaron to Zywicki.” My apologies if they don’t have yours yet.)

Name Job Description
Archer archer
Bacchus worked in a bake house
Bailey bailiff
Barber cut hair; surgeon
Barker worked with bark for the leather trade, shepherd
Baxter female baker
Bekker made wooden vessels
Bender made casks and barrels
Berger shepherd
Boatwright made boats
Bowman archer
Brewer brewed ale
Brewster female brewer
Butler wine steward
Campion pro fighter; champion
Cantrell singer in a chantry
Carpenter carpenter
Carrin made carts
Carter made or sold carts, transported goods
Cartwright made carts
Carver sculptor
Cater supplied goods to a large household
Century belt maker
Chafer lime kiln worker
Chaffer merchant
Chalker white washer
Challender sold blankets
Chamberlain in charge of private chambers
Chambers in charge of private chambers
Chandler candle maker
Chaplin chaplain
Chapman merchant/peddler
Cheeseman made and sold cheese
Cheesewright made and sold cheese
Cherrier worked in a cherry orchard
Chessman made and sold cheese
Clark clerk
Cleaver either worked in a butcher shop or split wood
Coldren made large cooking pots
Coleman gathered charcoal
Collier sold charcoal
Conner inspected for weights and measures
Cook cook
Cooper made barrels
Cotter tenant farmer
Crowther played the crwth, a medieval stringed instrument (Welsh)
Day worker in a dairy
Dexter female dyer
Drage confectioner
Draper maker/seller of woolen cloth
Dyer dyed cloth
Dyster female dyer
Falconer kept and trained falcons
Farrar smith
Faulkner kept and trained falcons
Fearson ironmonger/smith
Fisher fisherman
Fiske sold fish
Flax sold or grew flax
Fletcher made arrows
Foal fool; jester
Forester guardian of lord’s forest
Foster guardian of lord’s forest
Fowler keeper/catcher of birds
Frobisher polished swords and armor
Fuller thickened cloth by trampling
Gage inspected for weights and measures
Gardner, Gardiner tended gardens
Glover made gloves
Graves steward
Hammer made stone hammers
Harper played or made harps
Hayward guarded fences or enclosures
Heard shepherd or cow herd
Hinman keeper of deer on an estate
Hogg swine herd
Hooper fitted metal hoops to barrels and casks
Hunter hunter
Inman innkeeper
Kantor singer in a chantry (chapel)
Kellogg slaughterer [KC – specifically pig butcher]
Key made keys
Killer lime kiln worker
King servant to a king
Kisser armor maker
Knight knight; any military servant; young servant to a knight
Lander laundry worker
Leadbetter lead worker
Lister cloth dyer
Lorimer made spurs
Lush usher
Machin mason; stoneworker
Marshall in charge of horses
Mason mason; stoneworker
Mercer merchant, esp. of fine cloths (silk, velvet etc.)
Miller, Milner miller
Mulliner, Mills miller
Nader tailor
Naylor made and sold nails
Page, Paige, Paget young male servant
Palmer a pilgrim
Parker gamekeeper
Parson parson; rector
Piper played or made pipes
Plummer plumber; lead worker
Potter potter
Proctor tax collector; solicitor; steward
Provost supervisor on a lord’s manor
Purcell swine herd
Redman roof thatcher
Rock spun wool; made distaffs [KC – distaff: stick or staff onto which flax or wool is wound for spinning]
Rocker spun wool; made distaffs
Ryder delivered messages on horseback
Sadler made saddles
Salter salt worker or salt seller
Sargent military servant
Sawyer sawed wood
Schneider tailor
Schreiber clerk
Scully town crier
Seal/Seales maker of seals or saddles
Sexton maintained churches; dug graves
Shepherd shepherd
Shields armorer
Singer singer
Skinner tanned hides
Skipper ship master
Smith, Smythe smith
Smoker made smocks
Snyder tailor (Dutch)
Soppner roofing shingle maker
Spencer dispensed lord’s provisions
Spicer sold spices
Spittle hospital worker
Stanier, Stonier stone cutter
Steele steel worker
Stewart steward
Stringer made strings for bows
Tabor played the tabor (small drum)
Tanner tanned hides
Tasker did piece-work
Taverner tavern keeper
Taylor tailor
Thatcher thatched roofs
Tiller farmer
Tillman farmer or tile maker
Todd fox hunter
Toller toll collector
Trainer trapper
Tranter wagoner [KC – contracted for transporting goods; traveler]
Trapp trapper
Travers toll bridge keeper
Trinder wheel maker
Trotter messenger
Tucker cloth worker
Turner made small objects by turning them on a lathe
Tyler made tiles
Tyrer wardrobe master
Voss servant
Walker shrunk woolen cloth
Waller built walls
Ward watchman; guard
Warf dock worker
Warner, Warrer in charge of wildlife at a park
Wayne wheel maker
Webb weaver
Webster female weaver
Woodward forester
Wright [KC – maker of machinery and small objects; craftsman]

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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