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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington


Barber: someone who shaved mens' beards and cut their hair.

Baster: brush for basting.

Breeches: shorts worn by men, reaching to the knees and often stuffed with horsehair to give them shape.

Bumroll: a roll worn by women under their skirts for added shape.

Buttery: a room for making and storing wine and ale.

Catholic: a branch of Christianity. Catholics believe that the Pope should be the head of the Church and that the bible should be in Latin. Catholic worship involved colourful festivals and worship of holy relics.

Chemise: a long sleeved top worn under the kirtle and/or gown.

Cordwainer: someone who made shoes.

Corset: a tight garment worn by women to make themselves thinner around the waist.

Farthingale: a circular frame made of wood, worn by women to hold their skirts up.

Hose: leg coverings worn by men. Similar to leggings or tights worn by women today.

Impotent poor: poor people who could not work or look after themselves.

Kirtle: a dress with lacings on the front of the bodice.

Mason: someone who made things out of stone.

Merchant: someone who made money by buying things from one person to sell to someone else for more money.

Millen pottes: small pots.

Mortar and Pestell: a bowl and grinder for grinding herbs and spices

Parish: the area around a church. Each Church was responsible for what happened in that area.

Posnet: metal pot for boiling, with a handle and three feet.

Protestant: a branch of Christianity. Protestants believe that the Queen should be the head of the Church and that the bible should be in English. Protestant worship was plain and without undue ceremony.

Smith: someone who made things out of metal.

Sumptuary Laws: laws that restricted what people of each rank could wear.

Tailor: someone who made clothes.