Home » What is a Footman and what were the duties of footmen?

What is a Footman and what were the duties of footmen?

Butler and Footmen

Status was not just important and recognized in aristocratic ranks. It equally had specific positions among servants and they were also divided into upper and under ranks. The upper class was authorized for respect and different from the under class. Upper rank servants even could sit with head places at dinner.


What Is a Footman?

Footman is a male servant usually employed by royal families and later by many household, palace or dignified people. He is typically beneath a butler and acts to the household along with assisting the butler. There was a time when appointing a footman was considered more as a luxury and extravagance than cooks, maids and other servants. In 17th, 18th and 19th centuries it was a trend among wealthy people to appoint a footman.

Recognized Duties of a Footman

The footman normally used to run alongside the carriages, perform livery duties like laying and waiting tables, opening and closing doors, running errands and many more.

First Footman

The first and foremost duty of the first footman is to lay the table for each meal, serve breakfast to each member of the family even if it means to take the breakfast on trey to each person’s room or laying it on the dinner table. He has to attend the door in the morning. However, in families where a butler and only one footman works, they take turn to tend the door.

It is the duty of the first footman to keep the everything clean and in perfect order before breakfast. The silver has to be clean and so, it has to be rubbed every day. It is his duty to check if the dining room is thoroughly swept and dust and everything is in perfect order before the family breakfast.

Livery suit


Morning dress of the first footman is double-breasted coat, waistcoat, trousers with a small black tie. At lunch, the footman wears his livery suit with a striped waistcoat. In mourning time, he wears studs and cuff-buttons with black tie. His livery should always be perfectly clean and tidy.

Second Footman

The duty of second footman has duties every second or third afternoon after the lunch is over to five O’ Clock. He also takes care of the breakfast room, assists the first footman and the butler, rubs the silver and also helps wipe dishes.

Third Footman

The third footman has to take care of the front hall and the library. If there is a coat room, he needs to take care of that also. He takes turns with the fellow footmen and serves breakfast and lunch to the family.

A Typical Footman

Footman remains under the control of the butler. In earlier centuries footmen were highly prized for good looks and good stature. It was very important for them to look good especially in front of the visitors.

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