1) In theory this word might refer to any hawker or tradesman who carried his wares in panniers, but in Yorkshire it was used principally of fishmongers who operated from the eastern half of the county.
Panniers were said in c.1300 to be made ‘to beren fish inne’ and the early link between fishermen and panniermen is clear-cut: in 1467, traders in Beverley were referred to as piscarii viz. panzaremen
that is fishermen or panniermen: in 1468 Ricardus Pannyerman, fisher was granted the right to trade in York. The link with east-coast fishing towns was often specific: 1476 de Thoma Webster de Sywardby [Sewerby], Fisher alias panyerman, York
1553 William Storie, Skardburghe, panyerman
1558 John Storrie, Bridlington, panyer man. In fact, ‘pannierman’ as a by-name survived over several centuries: 1301 de Thoma le Paynerman, Skelton
1486-7 Elizabeth Ricardby, wife of Thomas Panyerman of Filey. In 1522, the will of a prosperous merchant called Robert Skyrley cancelled the debts of Robert Panyerman, and this is almost certainly a reference to the man's occupation and not his surname. Throughout much of that period the men who were selling the fish had probably caught them also. The emergence of the pannierman as a middleman may be implicit in that relationship between Robert Skyrley and Robert Panyerman, and it is explicit in 1583 when reference was made to licences granted to panniermen to buy and Carye fish from the sea syde contrary to the Custome. These panniermen may not have been fishermen but the two occupations had strong family links. The saying ‘Mock no panyer-men your father was a fisher’ dates to before 1678, and a study of family names along the coast points to such connections much earlier. John Skirlay of Hornsea Beck fyscherman died in 1512 and William Skyrlay of Hornsea Beck, fyschmonger in 1503: these two men seem certain to have belonged to the same family as the merchant Robert Skyrley, mentioned above, who left lands at Hornsebeke to his son in his will. There are similar links in the Storry family. From that time therefore, the panniermen were small merchants who met incoming fishermen at the coast and purchased their catch. They loaded the fish into panniers on the backs of horses and then made their way inland, to major markets across the region. In a Starchamber case in 1534 the plaintiff Robert Goldsborough stated ‘that he was a fishmonger as well for the … town of Pontefract’ as for other market towns and ‘Commonly every market day he conveyed fresh fish from the sea to Pontefract and brought it into the market place to sell’. The Panniermens Causeway in North Yorkshire serves to remind us of the routes used by these men.