Okay, so I may still be obsessed with weaving – I know, you’re all very surprised to hear that – but it is kind of fascinating to look at the cultural baggage of all the older professions.
Weaving has given us so many related surnames, including weaver (obviously), webb & webster (both variations on weaver, with webster being a female weaver), walker and fuller (relating to the finishing of cloth), lister and dyer (both meaning the same thing), flexman/flaxman being a flax grower or weaver of linen and mercer being a seller of fine cloth. I’m sure there are others too!
What I got curious about was where were the spinners? It’s a pretty unusual surname compared to weaver etc and yet you have nothing to weave with if you don’t have it spun first! Can you guess why?
Because spinners were mostly female and surnames came from the men’s professions (largely). There were female brewers (that was actually pretty common) and bakers and websters, but as surnames came into being, so did the passing of a “family name” down the male line through marriage.