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Yorkshire glossary of old words

This Glossary is now divided into four parts: A -C, D-H (this one), I-P and Q to Z.

The words in this glossary were extracted from Langdale's Topographical Yorkshire Dictionary by Ron Long (USA) and from the Bulmer's History and Gazetteers of the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire by Peter Nelson (USA) and consequently have a "slant" towards Yorkshire, however some of the words are universal throughout England. The meanings for the words from Langdales YD were produced by Beryl Thompson (Australia) and myself (England). The meanings for the words from Bulmer's were produced by Liz Agar (Australia) who adds: All definitions unless noted otherwise were obtained from Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary or the Oxford English Dictionary (the complete OED was used where the word was not in Chambers' or the Shorter OED).

Although the context, from which the current instances of these words were taken, may indicate a particular meaning, where a word has multiple meanings the others may be included. The word may appear in other text with one of the other meanings.

The two glossaries were combined by my wife Pauline, and those words with (yd) following them are taken from Langdale's Yorkshire Dictionary, the remainder from Bulmers.

Colin Hinson, 2nd August 1999.



dame
dame, n. The mistress of a house or school, a matron; a mother; a noble lady. A lady of the same rank as a knight; a baronet's or knight's wife (as a formal title prefixed to the lady's name).

Dean
Dean An official of the church, or resident fellow/ president, of a college or faculty. In the church, the Dean is the top man of a Chapter (see above)

deanry (modern = deanery) (yd)
deanry The office (position) of, or house in which the Dean lived. The group of parishes presided over by a rural dean.

a deanry and royal peculiar. (yd)
a deanry and royal peculiar. See above re deanry, and peculiar below, but in this case the crown would make the appointment rather than the church.

declivity (yd)
declivity a downward slope of the ground.

demesne (yd)
demesne The land, rights and part of a manor, which the Lord retains for the use of himself and his family, which was separate from that leased or rented to his tenants.

demesne (yd)
a charter of free warren for all his demesne lands
demesne See above, in this case the Lord granted a charter for the use of his demesne lands.

demised
The manor and its appurtenances have been demised on various occasions, for a term of years, to meet the pecuniary wants of several of the bishops who held it; it has also been the subject of forfeiture, of grant and regrant, but always reverted to its episcopal owners. Bishop Barnes demised to Queen Elizabeth, for a term of 90 years, the manor of Howden with its several rights and appendages, together with the park (les groves) and three water corn mills at 34s. 8d. yearly rent.
demise, vt. To send down to a successor: to bequeath by will.

denominate (yd)
denominate to give a specific name to.

depredators (yd)
depredators Spoilers; wasters, plunderers, robbers.

devisees
devise, n. The act of devising by will; a testamentary disposition of real property; the clause in a will conveying this.
devise, v. To give by will. Now only of realty, but formerly = bequeath.
devisee, n. The person to whom a devise is made. A beneficiary of a will.

devolve (yd)
devolve
to pass to a successor.

diocese (yd)
diocese A province, area of, circuit or extent of a bishop's juristriction.

disforrest (yd)
disforrest To reduce from the privileges of a forest to the state of common ground; to
strip of forest laws and their oppressive privileges. (see also forest).

disseised
They complained that the Archbishop, Geoffrey Plantagenet, had, among other wrongs, disseised them of their pastures and tolls, deprived them of gravel pits and turf beds, and had excommunicated them as well as the High Sheriff of the County, William de Stuteville, of Cottingham.
disseise, v. To put out of actual seisin, or possession; to dispossess (a person) of his estates, etc. usually wrongfully or by force; to oust.

dissolution (yd)
dissolution The period commencing in 1536, when monasteries were dissolved by Act of Parliament, the lands and estates of the smaller ones confiscated by the Crown (e.g. Henry VIII). Later the lands and estates of the larger monasteries were taken, and became private properties, some going to former lease holders and farmers, who were formerly tenants. (see English History)

distich
distich, n. A couple of lines of verse, usually making complete sense; a couplet.

dizen
The trappings which dizen the proud
dizen, to dress or charge with flux; to dress up, dress gaudily.

donative (yd)
donative A gift, present, gratuity given by a patron or founder.

dorter
dorter, n. A dormitory.

dossal
The east wall, above the altar, is covered with a lofty dossal, of woven material
dossal, dossel, a. An ornamental cloth forming a cover for the back of a seat. b. Ecclesiastical. An ornamental cloth hung at the back of the altar or at the sides of the chancel

duchy (yd)
duchy the territory of a duke

ecclesiastic (yd)
ecclesiastic A church offical, can be applied to any member of the clergy who has been had been conscecrated to perform the church ceremonies.

eleemosynary
On the opposite side is a small building with a window of three lights on one side, and a lancet in the other, which is supposed to have been the eleemosynary.
eleemosynary, 1. Of or pertaining to alms or alms giving; charitable 1630. 2. Supported by alms 1620. 3. Of the nature of alms; gratuitous 1620

embrasure
embrasure, embrazure, 1. A bevelling inwards (or internally splayed recess) of an aperture for a door or window; the slant of such a recess. 2. An opening widening from within made in a wall or parapet so that a gun or canon can be

eminence (yd)
stands upon an eminence
eminence A term often used in relation to a high church official, or can mean distinction. In this case a piece of high ground (in the village).

enclosure; enclosures. (yd)
enclosure; enclosures. Common unfenced land previously used by all householders for grazing, crops, haymaking, pasture and meadows, which became inclosed or enclosed (fenced), between the the 17th and 19th Century

entablature
entablature, n. 1. In classic architecture, that part which surmounts the columns and rests upon the capitals. 2. An engine framework upon columns.

escheator
escheat, n. A property that falls to the feudal lord or to the state for want of an heir, or by forfeiture
escheator, an officer who watched over escheats.

escutcheon
escutcheon, a shield on which a coat of arms is represented: a family shield: the part of a vessel's stern bearing her name: a shield-shaped object or ornament, etc., as a shield over a keyhole.

estray (yd)
estray A stray, an animal which has strayed from it's keeper.

expence (yd) (modern= expense)
expence Costs.

extraparochial (yd)
extraparochial Land uninhabited in the Anglo-Saxon period, and outside the bounds of parish, civil or church control. It was exempt from church and poor rates, and in some cases tithes (one tenth of profit), normally paid to the Church.

fabric (yd)
fabric The term used for the structure, edifice, or building e.g. an abbey, cathedral, monastary, church etc, including all that goes to make up any of these.

falchion
presentation of a falchion to the Bishop of Durham
falchion, A short broad sword, bent somewhat like a sickle, with the edge on the convex side.

fealty (yd)
fealty A Knight's service, or faithfulness to a master.

fee, n. An estate in land (in England always heritable) held on condition of homage and service to a superior lord.

fee-farm
fee-farm, n. Tenure by fee-simple ar a fixed rent without services.

fee-simple,
n. Unconditional inheritance.

fellmonger
fellmonger, n. A dealer in skins and hides, particularly sheep skins, or someone who prepares skins and hides for the tanner by removing the hair and wool.

fent
fent, n. A slit, crack: (N.Eng.) A remnant or odd, short, or damaged piece of cloth. -n. fentmerchant.

feofment
feoffment, n. The act of investing with a feoff or fee.

fibula
fibula, n. A clasp, buckle or brooch.

first fruits
King James sold the rectorial property and advowson to Francis Phillips and Richard Moore, citizens of London, subject to an annual payment of £20 11s. 8d. to the Crown for ever, the living to be exempt from first fruits and all other payments except the above.
first fruits, n. The first profits or effects of anything, bishopric, benefice, etc.; annat (see separate entry).

foder
" Pleasythe your good Lordshipp to be advertysed. I have taken downe all the lead of Jervayse, and made itt in pecys of half-foders, which lead amounteth to the numbre of eighteen score and five foders, and thirty and foure foders, and a half, that were there before. And the said lead cannot be conveit, nor caryed unto the next sombre, for the ways in that contre are so foule, and deep, that no carrage, can passe in wyntre.
fodder. foder, fother, fothur: "1. A weight by which lead and other articles were formerly weighed; it varied from 19 1/2 to 24 cwts [hundredweights]. It is now applied to a weight for lead, equal to 21 cwt.
[one cwt = 112 lbs avoirdupois]. 2. A heavy blow."
[From the Universal Dictionary of the English Language, edited by Robert Hunter and Charles Morris, vol 2, 1897]

folcright
they deliberated upon the making of new laws which were to be added to the existing foleright, and which were then promulgated by their own and the king's authority;
folk-right, n. (folcright) The common law or right of the people.

forest (yd)
forest An extensive wood, or large tract of land covered with trees.
In law, in Great Britain, a certain territory of woody grounds and pastures, privileged for wild beasts and fowls of forest, chase and warren, to rest and abide in, under the protection of the king, for his pleasure.

frankpledge
frankpledge, n. A mutual suretyship by which the members of a tithing were made responsible for one another.

freare (yd)
freare sister

Freres (yd)
Freres friars (lit. brothers)

fretty
bordered and fretty sable
fretty, (heraldic) ornamented with frets, or interlaced work.

frowning (yd)
stands frowning the remains of a Castle
frowning Looming, oppressive, threatening.

fulminated (yd)
fulminated Thundered, exploded, noise, threatened, denounced etc.

furmety (yd)
furmety A dish made of hulled wheat boiled in milk and seasoned.

gablets
gablet, n. (dim.) A small gable over a niche, buttress, tabernacle, etc.

gait
with a cattle gait on Middleham Moor
gait, usually gate A street or way; a common pasture [as in the above case], aisle between looms in a mill, gallery in a coalmine, also used in compound words e.g. Kirkgate, 'the way to the church'. [Arthur Kellett, The Yorkshire Dictionary]
A gate could also be a passage into a city, enclosure, or any large building; a narrow opening or defile; a frame for closing an entrance; an entrance, passage, or channel; and several other things!

gamewatcher
gamewatcher, Another word for gamekeeper,

gaol (yd)
gaol jail (prison, clink, etc.)

gavelkind
or was subsequently given to Trinity College, Cambridge, under whom it is held by copyhold, under the custom of gavelkind, and subject to arbitrary fines.
gavelkind, n. 1. The name of a land-tenure existing chiefly in Kent originally indentiical with socage. After the Conquest, the Kentish form of socage was distinguished by certain customs, the most conspicuous being the custom by which a tenant's land at his death was divided equally among his sons; hence, even in early times, `gavelkind' and `partible land' are used as equivalent terms.

2. From the 16th c., often used to denote the custom of dividing a deceased man's property equally among his sons, whether as an incident of the Kentish tenure or otherwise.

3. a. A Welsh custom of dividing property, similar to the Kentish practice. b. Irish gavelkind: a system of tribal succession, by which land, on the decease of its occupant, was thrown into the common stock, and the whole area redivided among the members of the sept.

gelt
It included within its soke, Skutterskelfe, Ingleby, Broughton, Kirkby, Dromonby, Tanton, and Busby, containing 34 carucates rateable to the gelt
geld, The tax paid to the Crown by English landholders before the Conquest and continued under the Norman Kings,
gelt, An obsolete form of geld; money; pay; profit.

gemote
in Saxon times, the people assembled in gemote for the transaction of all business relating to the district
gemote, (English History). A meeting; an assembly (in England before the Norman Conquest) for judicial or legislative purposes.

german, adj. Of the first degree: full (see cousin-german).

gigant (yd)
gigant Large, enormous, excessive growth.

gibbetted (yd)
gibbetted The term used when a criminal was hung from a post (gibbet, gallows), or the post on which the body placed on public exhibition after execution.

gillots
eastern watch tower, with its impenetrable walls, its small iron-barred windows, its narrow merlons, with chinks and gillots, where the keen bowmen peered on the advancing foe
gillot, Although no appropriate definition was found in several dictionaries and architectural reference books, this is believed to be probably of French origin and to refer to another small opening in the walls. A chink was long and narrow; perhaps a gillot was one of those openings that resembled a stylised cross.
The only definition of gillot in the Complete OED is: - 1. A loose or wanton woman. 2. A mare. [This may put a new slant on the activities of bowmen, but it goes nowhere towards a serious explanation of the above usage!..Liz]

glebe
glebe,
n. 1. archaic The soil of the earth as the source of vegetable products; land. 2. archaic A piece of cultivated land, a field. Obs. b. specific A portion of land assigned to a clergyman as part of his benefice, the land attached to a parish church. 3. a. A clod or piece of earth, ore, etc. b. A small grain or speck. 4. An earth, earthy mineral.

Grange (yd)
Grange farm house and associated buildings

graver (yd)
graver engraver

guerdon
he was rewarded by his royal master with the dignity of an Earl, and the more substantial guerdon of the whole possessions of Edwin, the Saxon Earl of Mercia
guerdon, a reward or recompense; to reward
 

guillimotes (yd)
guillimotes guillemot - a northern oceanic diving bird having a black and white plumage and a long narrow bill.

guinea (yd) English currency. See Preface
guineas See preface

gulph (yd)
gulph gulf

halbert (yd)
halbert an axe with which to split a helmet


halmot
A court halmot is held four times a year, viz. Saturday next after the Epiphany, Monday next after Easter Monday, Monday following Midsummer day, and the first Monday after Michaelmas; and a court leet on the first Tuesday after Easter and after Michaelmas.
court halmot, n. Halmote. A court of Saxon origin with civil and criminal jurisdiction. (from Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition.)

hamlet (yd)
hamlet A small village, usually only two or three cottages.

hath (yd)
hath Has.

Hawke (yd)
Hawke Hawk - a bird of prey.

heriot
heriot, n. A fine due to the lord of the manor on the death of a tenant originally his best beast or chattel. adj, heriotable

hernsews
hernsews, heronshaw, hernshaw,
A little or young heron; a heron.

heptarchy (yd)
heptarchy
a government by seven people

hind
hind, 1. A farm servant, especially one having charge of a pair of horses, with a cottage on the farm, formerly bound to supply a female field-worker. 2. The female of the red-deer.

High Sheriff
High Sheriff The Chief Officer of the County, originally responsible all matters relating to law. Many duties later passed to courts, coroners, tax collecters etc.

hobeless
A further demand was made in 1335 for 20 horse-soldiers, and yet another order for 10. But the 70 already sent had exhausted the available resources of the town, and it was arranged that, in lieu of the 10 hobelers, 20 archers should be sent, and 40 marks paid for the concession.
hobbler, hobeler n. One bound to keep a hobby (horse) for military service: A horseman employed for light work, as reconnoitring, etc.

horehound
Marine Store Dealers.
Conmy Arthur, Northgate
Swales John (and horehound beer manufr.), Southgate
horehound, n. The herb, Marrubium vulgare. An extract of the plant used as a remedy for coughs.

Hospital (yd)
Hospital Hospitals in this period were usually charitable institutions, run locally by religious orders (churches, or in the early days monks & nuns), and funded by local donations. This would include the ruling families e.g. Knights, Lord of the Manor, in some cases the Crown (monarch), as well as merchants, farmers and citizens in the large cities, and villages.
hospital (yd) for four poor women ... why 'four poor women' ? common exp.?

hospital for four poor women (yd)
hospital for four poor women Assume accommodation for 4 poor women in the parish. Not the term "hospital" as accepted today, but a home for them.

huckster
miscellaneous trade
huckster n. A retailer of small goods, in a petty shop, or booth, or at a stall; a pedlar, a hawker.

[© 1999, Elizabeth Agar, Beryl Thompson and Colin Hinson]
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