Cloth Worker Surnames: The transformation of the textile industry in the 13th century has been described by historian E. M. Carus-Wilson as an industrial revolution. For centuries fulling of cloth had been a "handicraft" process whereby the creation of cloth was was accomplished manually by peasants "walking" on cloth in vessels to produce broadcloth. The “revolution” would substitute the power of the water mill for fulling under foot. The change would also be accompanied by a dramatic geographic redistribution in the production of cloth. The large scale manufacture of cloth had been an “urban” activity principally under the auspicious of monastic or ecclesiastical institutions. Guilds were central to the organization of the process and vigorously guarded their privileged position. The earliest fulling mills were likely introduced in England in the late 12th century and soon began to challenge the privileged position of the established order. Water power was essential to the success of the mill. This advantage was to be found in the upper reaches of streams and rivers, far from the urban centres in the eastern and southern regions of England. Based on this locational advantage would experience a dramatic expansion in the cloth industry. Around these mills, groups of workers, weavers, fullers, and dyers, would provide the needed workforce for the mills. Coincidently this was precisely the period of time in history when surnames were being adopted. As a consequence we find textile related surnames disproportionately represented in regions where the textile fulling mills were being built. The most common surname reflecting textile origins is the surname Walker. Widespread throughout England, it is most prevalent in the North and the Midlands. Striking is the uniformity of the surname when expressed per 100,000 population. R. A. McKinley observes with respect to the surnames Walker, Fuller and Tucker:    Walker                                 Tucker                          Fuller                     The process of cloth manufacture involved a complex set of relationships between primary producers, and processors. Beginning  in the late fourteenth century, in the wake of the Black Death, England underwent the process of enclosure. Labour shortages forced manors and their owners to convert tilled land to the raising to livestock, principally sheep. In the west and north of England the production of wool met the need of the expanding textile industry.
“In some instances several different surnames were in use to describe a single occupation, with each term being current within one geographic area and not found elsewhere…. in fulling cloth for example a person engaged in the trade was usually known in the south and West of England as a Tucker, in the West Midlands, the north of England and in Scotland as a Walker, and in the south and east of England as a Fuller.”
© J.H.Mathieson
Dyer                               Draper                            Clothier                         Weaver
Taylor                              Webb                              Webber                        Webster