Bizzare Jobs From History

*Happy Belated Easter to you all!* 

Everybody has to work to make a living one way or the other but just as the world is full of different people, it’s also filled with different jobs. Today, there are jobs that are cool but at the same time there are jobs that are just too bizarre for many of us to be involved in.

But its not the first time we’re having some really strange occupations one can call jobs. Way back in the past bizarre jobs had always existed.

Here are a list of such jobs as I gathered online.



A Knocker-up was a profession in England and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time. The knocker-up often used a long and light stick (often bamboo) to reach windows on higher floors. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week for this job. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were assured the client had been awoken. This all leads to the obvious question: who knocks up the knocker-up?
Gosh! If this kind of job still existed, I would do it on the side with my actual full time job. That’s because I’m an early riser freak.


Imagine being paid to make fun of Royalty for a living. The Jester is the fool who was permitted to insult the king without losing his head – as long as it made the king laugh. It was a job that came with accolades and with fear. It is also a job unlike any existent today. How many families do you know that employ a private “comedian” so to speak?
But, while the job did vanish from history for hundreds of years, as recently as 1999 one Kingdom (Tonga) has appointed an official jester. In a bizarre (and very amusing) twist, the man appointed happened to also be the government’s financial advisor. He was later embroiled in a financial scandal. The American jester to the Tongan court was Jesse Bogdonoff and he is pictured above.

Toshers and Mudlarks


A tosher was someone who scavenges in the sewers, especially in London during the Victorian period. The toshers decided to cut out the middle man and it was a common sight in 19th Century Wapping for whole families to whip off a manhole cover and go down into the sewers, where they would find rich pickings. As most toshers would reek of the sewers, they were not popular with the neighbors. Similarly, the mudlarks were people who would dredge the banks of the Thames in the early morning when the tide was out. They would have to wade through unprocessed sewerage and even sometimes dead bodies in order to find little treasures to sell.
This job just rang a bell in my head – the fact that they still exist today in Nigeria. Ever seen to a Lagos refuse dump lately? You’ll see them there, so many of them, scavenging the heaps. They used to have a knickname amongst some Lagosians– ‘Alumi’. But the western world today would rather refer to them as ‘Recyclers’ or ‘Scavengers’.

Stercorarius and Gong Farmer

Ancient Rome was famous for its extensive sewer system. But despite having such an advanced method of dealing with poop, there was the problem of the smells that would leak into people’s homes and the rats and other vermin that lived in the sewers. This meant that most houses needed to deal with their poop in some other way. This is where the Stercorarius comes in. He would travel door to door collecting all the human waste and cart it off to the edge of town where farmers would buy the dung for their crops.


A gong farmer or gongfermor was the term used in Tudor England for a person who removed human excrement from privies and cesspits, gong being another word for dung. Gong farmers were only allowed to work at night and the waste they collected, known as night soil, had to be taken outside the city or town boundaries. As flushing water closets became more widely used, the profession of gong farming disappeared. A latrine or privy was the toilet of the Middle Ages. A gong farmer dug out the cesspits and emptied the excrement. Gong farmers were only allowed to work between 9 pm and 5 am, and were permitted to live only in certain areas, for reasons that should not be too elusive.
Due to the noxious fumes produced by human excrement, coroners’ reports exist of gong farmers dying of asphyxiation. This was obviously a shit job to have. Imagine what the gravestone would read, ‘Here lies our dear Mr. packer who died from the smell of shit’

Crap…another bell goes off in my head. Is this not the same thing we used to have in Nigeria way back in the early 1980s called Night Soil men? People who pack and dispose your shit for a living?
Oh…and I googled that name ‘Stercorarius’ and found that it was the biological name of a dung beetle that feeds on the shit of herbivores.

Dog Whipper

Sometimes I wonder the kind of people that lived in these ages. There are some careers that can make yell WTH?? - like the Dog Whipper.
A Dog Whipper was a church official charged with removing unruly dogs from a church or church grounds during services. In some areas of Europe during the 16th to 19th centuries it was not uncommon for household dogs to accompany – or at least follow – their owners to church services. If these animals became disruptive it was the job of the dog whipper to remove them from the church, allowing the service to continue in peace. Dog whippers were usually provided with a whip (hence the title) or a pair of large wooden tongs with which to remove the animals. They were generally paid for their services, and records of payments to the local dog whipper exist in old parish account books in many English churches.

Groom of the Stool

The Groom of the Stool was a male servant in the household of an English monarch who, among other duties, “preside[d] over the office of royal excretion,” that is, he had the task of cleaning the monarch’s anus after defecation. In the early years of Henry VIII’s reign, the title was awarded to minions of the King, court companions who spent time with him in the Privy chamber. These were the sons of noblemen or important members of the gentry. In time they came to act as virtual personal secretaries to the King, carrying out a variety of administrative tasks within his private rooms. The position was an especially prized one, as it allowed one unobstructed access to the King’s attention. Despite being the official bum-wiper of the king, the Groom of the Stool had a very high social standing.
Uugh!! Thank God I was born in this century and not into a noble family! I just can’t fathom this – mopping an old geezer’s ass after taking a crap! But I know some people who wouldn’t mind if the pay was good (plus the connection to the king). But we have people with similar jobs today – those guys that attend to you after using the toilets. The only thing is, wiping your ass is not part of their job description.

Curse Tablet Maker

Curse tablets were thin sheets of soft lead which had curses written on them. The curses were then affixed by nails to the altars or walls of temples. The poor curse tablet writer had to sit day in and day out hearing the complaints and woes of his customers who needed curses written. Fortunately many of these curse tablets have survived to modern times so we can get a glimpse of life and the way thinking of the Romans. Here is one example: “bind every limb and sinew of Victorius, the charioteer for the Blue team.. the horses he is about to race… blind their eyes so they cannot see and twist their soul and heart so they cannot breathe.”

Ha! If this was still in existence as a profession, I might make a bit of fortune. All I have to do is just sit with my indigenous Yoruba folks, those people sabi curse! That is one tribe with a repertoire of curses that English language will never be able to translate.

There are more funny and odd professions but I'll stop here for the sake of this post becoming too long. Maybe I'll put more up in a second post...maybe!


9 Screamer(s):

Firrrsst! Happy Easter to you too dear!

oh my this post made me laugh.. Strange jobs oh.

I saw dog whipper and I taught - Animal rights people! lol.

Ah I would have love the Knocker-up job, I am usually awake by 4:00am...

Yes, yes, in naija they use to have soil men...

I think the 'Groom of the Stool' one is quite baffling.. wipe King's backside... I think not oh! lol

Have an awesome day and week.Much love x !

Jaycee said...

The Tosher, Gong-farmer, and Groom of the stool were nasty jobs. I cannot believe that the Groom of the stool was actually a top position (to get the attention of the king). Why would the king even allow people to wipe his own bum? Lol. Eeeuuwww.

This is intresting and very educating...thanks for sharing

2cute4u said...

I love the knocker up job cause I would totally do it with malicious glee. Nice post

Suru said...

This was really interesting and informative. I wouldn't want to be that Jester that sounds like a scary job.

sosexy said...

Definitely the kNocker up job.I like your post.

Myne Whitman said...

That was so funny especially the ass wiper, more like nowadays ass kisser if you ask me. Urghh!

Afronuts said...

@Remi UK…lol. I’m not surprised you like the Knocker-up job. U do sound like an early riser.

@Jaycee…dear, to understand that job u need to understand those times.

@Harry Raimi…U’re welcome. Glad to have been able to add to ur knowledge.

@2cute4u…Another Knocker-up job lover? Lol…what time do u normally sleep?

@Suru…Seriously? LOL…Jester job scary? But it seems we already had mordern day jesters today in form of stand-up comedians. Glad to have been informative though.

@Sosexy…Thanks. I see you’re another Knocker-up job lover. Drat! Who invented those alarm clocks? They’ve killed a good

@Myne…lol. Yeah…except the ass kisser doesn’t come in contact with shit!

Anonymous said...

lol....i had commented about soil-men in above post not knowing you had talked about it in the older wa for royalty o! ..a whipping boy! & a bum wiper! kai! NOTHING IS NEW UNDER THIS EARTH O! We just MODERNIZED it!