1) Occupational term for the maker of sickles.

The making of sickles was a trade particularly associated with the Moss Valley in the north Derbyshire parish of Eckington, just beyond the Yorkshire border. It had been established there in the late Elizabethan period, apparently by a group of families which included the Staniforths, originally from Attercliffe. The mark assigned to John Stanyford at the Lord’s court in 1564-5 stood for falcir ferreis

that is iron sickles. When John Staniforth of Eckington died in 1597, his inventory recorded Syckles ready made xxix dozen. However, the term ‘sicklesmith’ is unrecorded there until 1690 when John Turner of Ford, sicklesmith made his will. Early Yorkshire references to the occupation are: 1699 Robertus fil’ Joh’is Taylor sickelsmith, Parke, Sheffield

1706 John Waller of Woodthorpe Moore Side in … Handsworth, sicklesmith. In 1729, Adam Waller, sicclesmith, laid down his fine for selling sickles without a mark but 5 shillings was returned to him since this breach of the ordinances was considered to have been done in ignorance, not maliciously. The OED has references to ‘sickle-maker’ in 1483 and 1619, but there is no entry for sicklesmith. The word was certainly in use, for Bardsley quoted ‘John Sykelsmith’ as an early undated surname, though he considered it to be the origin of Sixsmith, wrongly I suspect.

dates 1564-1565 1597 1699 1706 1729

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