View Full Version : Occupation, Staymaker

Anne in Carlisle
26-08-15, 16:09
Anyone like to comment/help with the definition of a Staymaker, please?

My Staymaker was a young married man in Patrington, a village in rural East Yorks (he had migrated there from rural Lincolnshire). In the baptisms of many of his children (1790 to 1805) he is described as a staymaker. Later he becomes a baker and coal merchant, which is what he says he is in his will in 1841.

I can only find 'corset maker' as a definition. I am not really saying this is not possible but I have at the back of my mind some other meaning to do with hay ricks or some such??? It could be a more likely occupation?


26-08-15, 16:31
I'd have said the maker of stays for a corset as well. :confused:

26-08-15, 16:39
I would not completely rule out a male staymaker. Page 181 reminds us of the 'Dandies' and male fashion.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qL06CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA280&lpg=PA280&dq=male+staymakers&source=bl&ots=zHczA9cx3r&sig=aJmgvZ_K66GMMoAbKxIxD6wXrmc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAGoVChMIlsze2IjHxwIVD1nbCh3_6gn8#v=on epage&q=male%20staymakers&f=false

I recall a TV program related to self employed women and the cottage industry related to staymaking. I cannot recall if it was WDYTYA or Heir Hunters or maybe the One Show. I was somewhat confused when I came across a male staymaker in my own research. Again this was in the late 18th century early 19th century, like you I thought this wasn't likely in rural Suffolk, but in fact this person was involved in the actual manufacture of the bones of the corsets, which did actually fit in with many other factors of occupation and manufacturers within the wider family.

Anne in Carlisle
26-08-15, 17:23
Ah! Good point, maybe he was making the actual bone bits.

Janet in Yorkshire
26-08-15, 17:59
Agree with the others.
I don't think it would have been anything agricultural - at that time, apart from on the moorlands, farms were fairly small and mixed. Each season in turn brought its own specific jobs and farm labourers turned their hand to whatever needed doing. Later on, agricultural innovations brought about change in methods and the beginnings of specialisations and it wasn't until 1891/1901 census that agricultural workers began to be recorded with special job descriptions - beast man, wagoner, horseman, shepherd, yard man etc.


Olde Crone Holden
26-08-15, 20:06
Also, in my family at least, the occupation of the head of household is often actually what the WIFE is doing, not what he is doing, so him later being a baker might be what his wife was doing, along with being a coal mrchant.

My 2 x GGF was described as a Grocer in 1881. He was no such thing, he was a drunk who sat in the back yard drinking while his wife ran a tiny grocery from the front room.

I have another who was so many different things that I seriously doubted I had the same man. Paper maker, confectioner, coal merchant, stationer, insurance agent and finally gardener. His explained all - he married a confectioner and added various things to the shop, finally doing a bit of gardening in his retirement. It was his wife who ran the shop and all the add-ons.


Anne in Carlisle
26-08-15, 23:18
Thanks OC. I think in this case it was actually him who made stays. I've just realised he is described as such on his marriage as well.
I must have been imagining I thought I had heard of another meaning for staymaker.

Olde Crone Holden
27-08-15, 09:29
I meant for the later occupations of baker and coal merchant. I agree he was the staymaker!