Translations of servant’s job descriptions and titles at Danish manors
By The Danish Research Centre for Manorial Studies
This page features a translation of servant’s titles and job descriptions at Danish manors as they are presented in national censuses in Denmark from the late 18th century until the beginning of the 20th century. Note that translations in some cases may be imprecise as some job functions have a specific meaning in a local Danish context.
Amme: Wet nurse
Arbejdskusk: Farm driver
Avlsforvalter: Person leading the work on a larger farm or at the estate farm. Related to the titles of the manager, steward, bailiff
Barnepige: Nurse, nanny
Baronessepige: Lady’s maid, in this case serving the baroness(es) in the household
Berider: Riding master
Blegmand: Man bleaching clothes
Boyer/Bojer: Possibly a messenger. Person who runs errands.
Bryggerpige: Scullery maid
Dansemester: Dancing master
Dreng: Boy, young male servant
Fasanmester: Pheasant master. Person who is responsible for pheasant rearing.
Fodermester: Cattleman, cowman, herdsman
Foged: Person supervising subordinates/servants on the estate farm. Related to the titles of the manager, steward, bailiff
Forpagter: Leaseholder of the estate
Forvalter: Person leading the work at the estate, particularly at the estate farm. In some cases also responsible for the administration of the estate as a whole. Related to the titles of the manager, steward, bailiff
Francoise: Francoise, governess
Fruerpige: Lady’s maid
Frøkenpige: Lady’s maid, in this case serving the unmarried and/or young women in the household
Fuldmægtig: Head clerk
Fyrbøder: Stoker, fireman
Gartnerdreng: Gardener boy. (Young) male servant who does gardening.
Godsforvalter: Person leading the work at the estate, particularly at the estate farm. In some cases also responsible for the administration of the estate as a whole. Related to the titles of the manager, steward, bailiff
Godsinspektør: Person leading the work at the estate, particularly at the estate farm. In some cases also responsible for the administration of the estate as a whole. Related to the titles of the manager, steward, bailiff
Havekarl: Male servant who does gardening. Serving under the gardener.
Hegnsmand: Forester/gatekeeper supervising part of the fence around the forest
Hollænder: Leaseholder of the dairy (originally of Dutch origin)
Hollænderipige: Dairy maid
Hovmester: Butler, (earlier) tutor for the estate owner’s children
Husjomfru: Female cook who is head of the kitchen.
Hyrde: Herder, shepherd
Hønsepige: Female servant responsible for the poultry. Often a young girl or an older woman.
Høstkarl: harvest worker, male
Høstpige: Harvest worker, female.
Informator: Private teacher, preceptor, tutor
Kalvekusk: Driver transporting meat or other food to and from the estate
Kammerjomfru: Lady’s maid
Kammerpige: Lady’s maid
Kok: Cook, often a male cook head of the kitchen.
Kokkepige: Kitchen maid
Komtessepige: Lady’s maid, particular serving the unmarried daughter(s) of a count
Køkkendreng: Kitchen boy, often a young boy
Køkkenkarl: Kitchen boy/man, often a young man/boy or old man. A man who works in the kitchen region doing the rough work. Not a cook.
Køkkenpige: Scullery or kitchen maid
Ladefoged: 1) Person supervising the estate farm and corvée, the unpaid work done by farmers 2) a trusted servant or “deputy manager” responsible for parts of the estate farms workforce or area of the farm. In some cases related to the titles of the manager, steward, bailiff
Ladekarl: Farmhand, possible, with a particular focus on work in the barn
Lakaj: Lackey, footman
Landvæsenselev: Apprentice undergoing training within agricultural studies
Linnedjomfru: Linen maid
Livjæger: Gamekeeper. In some cases also a valet.
Lugekone: Woman who weeds the garden
Lærerinde: Female private teacher, governess
Løber: Footman, lackey. Possibly a servant who in particular ran errands and delivered messages
Maler: House painter, decorator
Malkepige: Milkmaid, dairy maid
Materialforvalter: Person who administers and/or oversees the equipment on the estate farm.
Materialkusk: Farm driver, equipment driver.
Mejeriforpagter: Leaseholder of the dairy
Mejeripiger: Milkmaid, dairy maid
Mejerist: Dairyman overseeing and participating in the processing of the manor dairy products
Mejerske: 1) Dairy maid, 2) Female harvest worker who ties grain
Opdriver: Cattle herder
Overførster: Leading forester
Pige: Girl, female servant
Præceptor: Preceptor, private teacher, tutor
Ridefoged: Person leading the work at the estate, particularly at the estate farm. In some cases also responsible for the administration of the estate as a whole. Related to the titles of the manager, steward, bailiff
Rideknægt: Groom, stable hand
Roepige: Woman working in the beet field
Røgter: Cattleman, herdsman, cowman
Selskabsdame: Companion, women employed or supported by an estate owner family for the purpose of accompanying and keeping the family, especially its ladies, company
Skovkusk: Forester, forestry worker transporting wood/logs on a carriage
Skovrider: Forest manager
Skovfoged: Forest manager
Staldkarl: Groom, stable hand
Stuepige: House maid
Strygerske: Laundry maid, particularly doing the ironing
Syjomfru: Sewing maid
Taffeldækker: Male servant responsible for table arrangements
Tærsker: Harvest worker, person who threshes
Tjener: Footman, lackey. In some cases, synonymous with servant.
Tjenestefolk: Servants (plural)
Tjenestekarl: Male servant, often on the farm
Tjenestepige: Female servant
Udepige: Female servant working on the estate farm
Vaskepige: Laundry maid
Vogter: 1) Herder, shepherd, 2) gatekeeper, 3) watchman
Top image shows servants at Tjele in 1918. Photo: Ebeltoft Byhistoriske Arkiv.