During mediaeval times, surviving records tend to be those of the landed classes and as such the Foskett ancestors include such people as Sir Richard de Foxcot who was the Sheriff of Gloucestershire in the 14th Century. However, evidence had been found that the early Foxcote’s in Buckinghamshire were butchers by trade. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a small number of Fosketts were educated at Winchester College and Oxford University, however they were the exception rather than the rule;the majority were unable to read and write. A William Foskett of North Crawley was a Justice of the Peace under Oliver Cromwell and a descendant of his founded the Baptist College in Bristol. In Buckinghamshire, the Foskett’s were Lords of the Manor of Singleborough, Bucks in the 17th century.
In the period up to the industrial revolution, the majority of the family were in occupations relating to the agricultural nature of the English culture. There are therefore not only numerous agricultural labourers but also yeomen, husbandmen and farmers. Weavers and shoemakers are also a predominant occupation and dozens of Fosketts appear to have enjoyed the licensed trade as victuallers, inn-keepers and publicans. In Stepney, London, a number of the same family have occupations related to the meat trade, ranging from bone-boilers to leatherdressers.
The women in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire were predominantly employed at home as lace-makers, those regions being famous for their lace, whilst in Hertfordshire the women undertook straw-plaiting for the hat-making and chairmaking industries.
It is generally not until the 19th century that Fosketts are seen to be entering the professional classes and there are instances of solicitors and clergy from that time. Except in the two world wars, the armed forces were not normally an occupation sought by the Fosketts, although occasional service records have been found at other periods, particularly in the late 19th century. Many American Foskett’s served in the Civil war of that country in the 1860’s.
The advent of the railways in the 19th century saw many Foskett’s finding employment there as engine firemen, clerks. A number of families also moved north during this period, some due to industrialisation and others probably due to the famine years in the 1840’s when failed harvests for nearly ten years meant many leaving the land and their agrarian occupations.