You’re probably already well aware — from movies and costume dramas, if nothing else — of the role that footmen played in the lives of great houses. They typically stood at the back of coaches, always at the ready to open the doors and lower the steps for the vehicle’s occupants. And, among other tasks, they helped serve dinner in these house’s very elegant dining rooms. They were usually attractive young men in fancy livery, who acted as a sort of status symbol for the family.

But did you know (I certainly didn’t) that there were men who served as “running footmen” in the days before roads were improved enough to allow for faster, more reliable carriage traffic?

You can read more about these athletic men in a recent blog post at Two Nerdy History Girls.