Occupations in the 1600s and 1700s

Occupations in Ashburton PCC wills (extracted from fuller list in the People and Properties section)

I have included 'Yeoman' as an occupation, but not 'Gentleman'

John Dolbeare, tanner, February 1611

John Blundell, yeoman, October 1616

Alfred Denband, yeoman, November 1636

William Tolchard or Tolcheard, yeoman, June 1637

Thomas Harris, mercer, November 1648

William Fabian, clothier, May 1654

Henry Furse, yeoman, August 1654

Thomas Reeve, cordwainer, May 1655

Peter Elford, husbandman, July 1655

William Pinsent, baker, December 1655

John Ogier, yeoman, April 1658

Sampson Bound, yeoman, November 1689

Sampson Bound, gentleman now on board her Majesty's ship The Dunkirk, June 1707

Delann Pridham, chirurgeon, August 1723

John Stidston, mariner, June 1756

Thomas Foot, mariner, now belonging to his Majesty's ship Saint Albans, August 1762

John Parrott, mariner of his Majesty's ship Lowestoffe, January 1763

John Winsor, clothier, June 1772

Richard Emmett, belonging to his Majesty's ship Berwick, March 1782

Thomas Foot, now belonging to his Majesty's ship Berwick, March 1782

William Crossing, belonging to his Majesty's sloop Martin, June 1784

James Bonnamy, of his Majesty's ship Burford, July 1784

Reverend John Mogridge, clerk, October 1785

George Stone, cordwainer, September 1791

Doctor John Sibthorp, MD and Regius Professor of Botany in the University of Oxford, Doctor of Physic, February 1796

Richard Hill, captain in the Royal Navy and now commander of his Majesty's store ship Dromedary, August 1799

Thomas Madge Smerdon, Captain of a vessel in the African trade, September 1799




A transcript of trades and professions from the Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture, Vol 2, late 1700s:

William Abbott, carrier

Alice and Philippa Avery, hat-makers

George Bovnes, news distributor

George Bovnes, butcher

Thomas Baker, blacksmith

James Bidgood, stocking-maker

William Bickford, linen-draper

Thomas Brown, innkeeper

J Butchers, mason and haberdasher

Thomas Balling, carrier

John Bond, painter

William Briant, boot and shoe-maker

Edward Bovey, serge-maker

John Berry, serge-maker

Barthol. Carlile, tallow-chandler

B Carlile, tallow-chandler and haberdasher

Robert Croad, excise officer

Hannah Cook, maltster

Henry Callard, serge-maker

John Caunter, serge-maker

Mary Caunter, serge-maker

Elizabeth Conn, haberdasher

James Cure, stay-maker

Sam. Conibere, watch and clock-maker

Wm. Cosens, cooper and haberdasher

John Cockey, tallow-chandler

Samuel Chalk, blacksmith

William Cuming, brazier

James Chalker, millwright

Henry Emmett, woolcomber

Richard Eales, posimaster (?)

Thomas Eales, serge-maker

Winnifred Eales, milliner and linen-draper

Richard Eales, woolcomber

Ann Edmonds, linen-draper

Henry Eddy, glazier and painter

John Furneaux, maltster

Wm Fabyan, serge-maker (Portreeve)

Richard Ferris, taylor

James Forster, land-surveyor

James Forster jun., organist

Henry Field, fuller

Jacob Field, fuller

Margaret Fursman, grocer

Richard Glanvil, woolcomber

Elizabeth Glanvil, haberdasher

William Giles, baker

Peter Goud, mason

Sarah and Ann Goodhind, linen-drapers

Thomas Hamlyn, baker

Tho. Hamlyn jun., clock and watch-maker

Susanna Hamlyn, haberdasher

Joseph Hamlyn, taylor

Charles Harding, clock and watch-maker

Moses Hill, peruke-maker

John Higgins, boot and shoe-maker

John Higgins jun., carrier

William Hern and son, tanners

William Halfe (maybe Halse), blacksmith

John Hurst, woolcomber

John Hurst jun., serge-maker

William Hurst, woolcomber

John Hannaford, bookseller

Wm. Ireland, boot and shoe-maker

W. Ireland, jun., boot and shoe-maker

William Ireland, mason

John Ireland, butcher

Thomas Ireland, butcher

William Ireland, fuller

Thomas Jones, carrier and leather-cutter

William Jewell, taylor

Ann Knott, baker

William Luscombe, carpenter

John Luscombe, boot and shoe-maker

Benjamin Luscombe, carpenter


James Lloyde, innkeeper

John Langaman, cooper

Grace Leaman, linen-draper

Edward Laskey, serge-maker

George Lavis, carrier

Tho. Mugridge, boot and shoe-maker

Rachel Mugridge, haberdasher

Thomas Metherel, haberdasher

Joseph Mann, wheelwright

Thomas Mann, mason

William Mann, taylor

Wm Monday, cabinet-maker and upholsterer

Geo Monday, boot and shoe-maker

George Mudge, boot and shoe-maker

Joanna Mudge, taylor

Joseph Mudge, stay-maker

Richard Mudge, boot and shoe-maker

Priscilla Mudge, baker

John Mitchell, blacksmith

Jeffery Mitchelmore, butcher

James Macdowell, peruke-maker

Roger Maunder, boot and shoe-maker

Jane Neyle, mantua maker

Thomas Norrish, heel-maker

George Pethebridge, carpenter

George Pethebridge jun., carpenter

Joseph Pethebridge, carpenter

Thomas Pethebridge, wool-stapler

Christ. Preston, boot and shoe-maker

Thomas Palk, haberdasher

Robert Pitts, baker and confectioner

John Pierce, butcher

Wm Penny, brazier and plumber

William Pope, miller

John Pollard, carrier

James Powell, excise officer

W Quint, cabinet-maker and ironmonger

Tho. Rennell, grocer and druggist

Joseph Rennell, cooper

J Sunter, serge-maker (Portreeve)

William Sunter, serge-maker

John Saunders, peruke-maker

Nichlas Saunders, peruke-maker

Thomas Soper, serge-maker

John Soper, serge-maker,

Richard Soper, serge-maker

Thomas Searle, tallow chandler

James Sparkes, butcher

John Sparkes, butcher

Thomas Smerdon, butcher

Thomas Smerdon, boot and shoe-maker

Richard Smerdon, butcher

John Symons, baker

William Symons, haberdasher

Solomon Tozer, maltster

Solomon Tozer jun.,serge-maker

John Tozer, serge-maker

John Tapper, mason

James Tapper, haberdasher

Barthol. Taylor, boot and shoe-maker

John Winsor, serge-maker

George Winsor, serge-maker

Philip Wootton, builder

John Wotton, glazier and painter

Peter Wotton, boot and shoe-maker

Thomas Wotton, fuller

Tho. Widdecombe, haberdasher

John White, boot and shoe-maker

Austin Widger, ironmonger and haberdasher

Richard Widger, sadler

William Widger, boot and shoe-maker

Joseph Widger, linen-draper

William Widger, boot and shoe-maker

John Weeks, wheelwright

William White, tanner

Abraham Yolland, haberdasher


Until 1858, wills were proved in various church courts - where exactly depended on both the location of the properties and goods, where the person died and the value of the estate.

The highest court for the south of England was the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury - hence PCC wills

Copies of PCC wills are kept at the National Archives -

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/. You can find full references on the website, and order copies online. Alternatively you can visit the archives and view the wills for free



 People claiming benefit under an Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors.

John St. Hill, Sleamaker ?

Gawen Johnson, Chapman

William Browne, Miller

London Gazette Issue 6379, 5 June 1725,  p4


Frances Risdon, Widow ( a prisoner in the Sheriff's Ward, St Thomas the Apostle)

London Gazette Issue 6878 28 April 1730, p3


By order of the High Court of Chancery, various estates of Giles Risden, deceased, being sold

London Gazette Issue 8384 27 November 1744,  p6


Commission of bankrupt awarded against Walter Jerman of Ashburton, Sergemaker and Chapman. He had to appear at three places to face his creditors - one of these places was the house of Widow Bale, The Exeter Inn.

London Gazette Issue 9304 18 September 1753, p4 


Prisoners for debt in the Sheriff's Ward or Prison, St Thomas the Apostle, claiming benefit under an Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors.

John Williams, formerly of Ashburton, late of Topsham, Hatmaker

London Gazette Issue 9474 6 May 1755,  p5


Prisoners in the gaol of Trematon, Cornwall

Thomas Adams, formerly of Stoke Damerell, late of Ashburton, Labourer

London Gazette Issue 11252 26 May 1772, p7  


Declared bankrupt:

Keneth R-ss, Dealer and Chapman

London Gazette Issue 12432 15 April 1783, p8  


Notice for the creditors and legatees of

William Ley, surgeon, deceased, to come forward

London Gazette Issue 12642 26 April 1785, p209 


William Carwardine, executor to Paul Hyde, late of Pridewood, Yarkhill, Hereford, Cyder merchant

London Gazette Issue 12896 19 June 1787,  p297

Edward Laskey, Sergemaker, Dealer and Chapman. Certificate of bankruptcy allowed 'unless cause be shown to the contrary'. 

London Gazette Issue 13276 22 January 1791, p53 


15 August 1774 Peter Ley, apothecary, buried
Parish records


Names and occupations from documents connected to the Palk family of Haldon, in the Devon Heritage Centre. Ref Z10:


John Bidlake, yeo., nephew and heir at law of Nicholas Luscombe, yeo., dec'd.

Mathew White, cordwainer


Mathew White, cordwainer
Richard Whiteway, yeo., a trustee for George Ninis, tinner

Roger Maunder  cordwainer

Margery, his wife, one of the daughters and heirs at law of Andrew Bennett, late of Ashburton, clothier, dec'd.
Nicholas Fabyan, fellmonger
William Fabyan, clothier


William Fabyan (of Plymouth, an officer in the Salt Office), heretofore of Ashburton, perukemaker, only son and heir of George Fabyan, woolcoomber, dec'd.


William Fabyan, serge maker.


Robert Abraham the younger of Ashburton, gent.
Elizabeth (wife of John Orchard of South tawton, butcher) one of the two only sisters and co-heiresses at law of John Ireland late of Ashburton, butcher, dec'd.

John Lemon of Ashburton, butcher
Susanna, his wife, one of the two only sisters and co-heiresses at law of John Ireland, late of Ashburton, butcher, dec'd.