• Big Book - W

    • Wailer Removed impurities from coal in the mines.
    • Wainwright Maker or repairer of wagons (Wains being wagons).
    • Waiter or Tide Waiter A Customs officer. Collected duty on imported goods, which were usually brought in at high tide.
    • Walker Employed to walk over cloth after weaving when it was wet, to clean and thicken it
    • Wapentake Collection of local parishes, mostly a northern counties word. Similar to a Hundred.
    • Wardrobe Dealer One who dealt in secondhand clothing.
    • Warper Set up the warp thread on looms, (the weft being what is then threaded thru the warp) / Moved boats by hauling on their ropes, which were called warps.
    • Wasteman Waste remover / Checked and maintained that mine workings were free of gas.
    • Watch finisher Assembled time pieces although he did not make the parts, just assembled them.
    • Watchman Town night watchman.
    • Waterman Boatman who is availible for hire usually on rivers.
    • Way Maker/Man Road builder/Surveyor
    • Weaver Operator of a loom, usually a female. (Male equiv. was a Webber or Webster)
    • Wellmaster Responsible for the village well and for clean drinking water from it.
    • Wet Glover Specifically a leather glove maker.
    • Wet Nurse Woman who breast-fed babies for others
    • Wetter Dampened paper for printing or a worker in part of Glass making.
    • Wharfinger A person who is the keeper or owner of a wharf. The wharfinger took custody of and was responsible for goods delivered to the wharf, typically had an office on the wharf or dock, and was responsible for day-to-day activities including slipways, keeping tide tables and resolving disputes.


    • Wheel Tapper A railway worker that tapped wheels to detect cracks from the resultant ring (had to have a keen ear)
    • Wheelwright Person who makes and repairs vehicle wheels, such as carts, wagons, etc.
    • Whitesmith Person who works with white or light coloured metals such as tin. Can also refer to a person who finishes other metal objects.
    • Widow A widow is a woman whose husband has died.
    • Widower Widower is a man whose wife has died.
    • Witness A witness is an individual present at an event such as a marriage or the signing of a document who can vouch that the event took place.
    • White rent Blackmail; rent to be paid in silver.
    • Will A document stating how a person wants real and personal property divided after death.
    • Writ of attachment Court order authorizing the seizure of property sufficient to cover debts and court costs for not appearing in court.
    • Writ of summons Document ordering a person to appear in court.