TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS.
In 1653 an Act, known as Barebone's Act, was passed which obliged the Clergy to deliver up their Church Registers to a lay official, appointed by the householders of the parish. During the Commonwealth, 1649-1660, the Revd. Thos. Ward was curate in charge and the householders at Feltwell St. Mary, in defiance of the Act, appointed him to take charge of the Church Registers; and from 1653 to the Restoration in 1660, when making entries, he gives the trade or occupation of the persons concerned. We now know that John Spencer of Cromwells time was a Husbandman; John Barker was a Linen-weaver; George Osbourne a Woolcomber; Osbert Rudland a Yeoman; Yeoman are described as "Freeholders who have land of their own and live on good husbandry." Thos. Taylor was a "Sheapeard"; Joseph Rolfe a Tailor; Thos. Ward is described as Clericus, i.e. Clerk or Clergyman; William Axey was a Miller; Robert Sewell a Mason; John Pearson a Weaver; Thomas Nurse a Servant.
The following are some of the trades and occupations which were carried on at Feltwell over 100 years ago, as shewn in the Church Registers. William Henry Roberts is described in 1817 as Apothecary, at other times as Surgeon; he practised for a number of years at Feltwell and was succeeded by Dr. Archer, senior. William Bemas was a Cordwainer, i.e. Shoemaker; James Cole was a Husbandman. James Lord was Schoolmaster in 1828 but five years later is shewn as Parish Clerk; his wife rejoiced in the Christian name of Mahala. One or two Publicans are given but others in the trade are described as Tapster, Beer-seller, Beershop-keeper, Inn-holder, Inn-keeper; there was also a Spirit Merchant at Feltwell named James Forster. William Holt's occupation in 1835 is given as Private Policeman - Robert Pain is described as Machiner in 1843 but afterwards as Machine-man. John Galley of about the same date was a Printer Samuel Shingles a Waterman. Betsey Dewey, who signed her name Belia when married in 1837, was a Dressmaker; John Stolworthy was a weaver; George Spencer a Thatcher; Joseph Forster is described as Harness-maker in 1814 and at other times either as Sadler, Collar-maker, or Cordwainer. Other trades and occupations are given such as Glazier, Clerk, Curate, Carter, Petty-carter, Miller, Millwright, Wheelwright, Groom, Turner, Chimney-sweeper, Carrier, Licensed Hawker, etc. One Gamekeeper only is given who had the appropriate name of William Partridge. At one time the description of Pauper was applied fairly frequently, sometimes to married men but more often to unmarried mothers; the word does not occur in the Church registers after the year 1825.
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