Glossary of old words for Yorkshire, Contents page and Letters A-C


Glossary of old words for Yorkshire, Contents page and Letters A-C

This Glossary is now divided into four parts: A -C (this one), D-H, 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.

The chancel arch is very Early Norman, quite plain, with a square abaci
abacus, (pl. abaci),The upper member of the capital of a column, supporting the architrave.

accidence (yd)
accidence, a book containing the fundamental grammar

accomplished (yd)
accomplished,Achieved, finished or completed. Term sometimes used for a talented person.

accompt (yd)
accompt, archaic form of account

acquittance, discharge from an obligation or debt; a receipt in evidence of such discharge.

advowson, in English church law, the right of presentation to a vacant benefice.
(the right of nominating a person as rector or vicar of a vacant parish)

affrighted (yd)
affrighted suddenly alarmed with fear.

afore, before or in front (afore is archaic)

aforehand (yd)
aforehand, (1)Prior to, before, or beforehand. (2) Amply provided.

agger, A mound; especially in Roman Antiquity the rampart of a camp.

At the same time he granted them also a meadow called Utengs (out-ings), with the arable land therein, lying between "Nendike" and the pasture called "Fefang;" also exemption henceforth from the payment of pannage for such of their swine as they agisted in the 'wood called "Hagge," (Hagg, a hedge, the hawthorn) afterwards known as Beverley Parks.
agist, v. To take in cattle, etc. to remain and feed, for a fee; originally to admit for a stated time into a forest

ailes (modern = ails) (yd)
ailes, Is sick, suffers from illness, a term sometimes used when a business or
instution has difficulties, or is poorly managed or organised.

alb, n. A tunic of white cloth, reaching to the feet, and enveloping the person; worn by priests in religious ceremonies and occasionally by consecrated kings.

Alienate (yd)
Alienate, (in Law) to transfer the ownership (of property etc.) to another person.
Also means to withdraw friendship, respect, or previous privilege.

Alms-House (yd)
Alms-House, A charitable house run for the benefit of the poor (usually widows) in the community.

al(l)odium, n. An estate not subject to a feudal superior. Also al(l)od. - adj. Al(l)odial opp. to feudal.

amercement, 1. The infliction of a penalty or fine at the mercy, of the inflictor (originally one lighter than the fixed fine). 2. The fine itself.

anathema (yd) against him
anathema, A curse, or denunciation, or a formal ecclesiastical excommunication.

annat, annates
annat, n. annates, n.pl One years income of a benefice, paid to the Pope (in England from 1535 to the crown, from 1703 to Queen Anne's bounty; extinguished or made redeemable 1926):
annat or ann (Scots law) the half year's stipend after a Parish minister's death, payable to his next of kin from 1672 to 1925.

The church was extensively restored and entirely re-seated in 1848, and recently the chancel stalls have been improved; a new altar, with suitable antependium and hangings, has been introduced, and the choir vestry altered and adapted to the requirements of a large surpliced choir.
antependium, A covering for the front of the altar used in Roman Catholic, and some Anglican, churches.

antiquary (yd)
antiquary, person who studies ancient evidence.

anti-space (yd)
anti-space Context: (under Hovingham) The entrance is directly out of the street for coaches, through a narrow passage into a large riding-house, then through the anti-space of two stables, and so up to the house door. In the hall is an antique basso relievo of a Bacchanalian group:
anti-space, a room before or in front of another.

antitype, n. That which corresponds to the type; that which is prefigured by the type.

appendant (yd)
appendant, Attached, annexed, linked to.

archbishoprick (yd)
archbishopric, The juristriction, office or see of an archbishop.

archiepiscopal (yd)
of, denoting, governed by, or relating to an archbishop or archbishops.

artificers (yd)
Skilled or artistic workers such as goldsmiths; inventors; contrivers.

assart, v. To reclaim for agriculture by grubbing. n. a forest clearing, assarted land; grubbing up of trees and bushes.

attainder, n. The action or process of attaining. The legal consequences of judgement of death or outlawry, in respect of treason or felony, viz. forfeiture of real and personal estate, corruption of blood, so that the condemned could neither inherit nor transmit by descent, and generally, extinction of all civil rights and capacities.

attainted (yd)
attainted, stained, corrupted; rendered infamous; rendered incapable of inheriting.

ambry, aumbry, n. A locker or recess in the wall of a church for sacramental vessels, etc. A locker, a cupboard, a pantry, a dresser, a safe.

azotic (yd)
azotic, of azote (azote=nitrogen gas)

bailiff (yd)
of the manor provides furmety
bailiff, A civil officer or functionary; an overseer on an estate who protected same from poachers; or a court (law) official.

At Horsehouse, so called from being the customary baiting place in the days of packhorses
bait, v. To give food and drink to a horse, etc., especially on a journey. Of travellers, to stop at an inn for rest and refreshment, hence to make a short stay.

barnekyn (yd) barnekyn inclosure
barnekyn ?

Baron of the Exchequer
He became recorder of Hull and a Baron of the Exchequer, and, in 1648, Judge of Assize for the Northern Circuit. In the Long Parliament he had been member for Richmond (1645), but in 1654, he became member for Beverley, and seems to have been popular both there and in Hull.
Baron of the Exchequer Title of the judges of the Court of the Exchequer, the president being Chief Baron. Barons of the Exchequer were so called because Barons of the Realm used to be employed in that office.
Exchequer Office or department of state managed by the Treasurer, the Justiciary and other judges of the King's Court and certain Barons apppointed by the King. Collection and administration of royal revenues with judicial determination of all causes relating to revenue. Later split into 2 branches, judicial and administrative.
Court of the Exchequer, A court of law, historically representing the Anglo-Norman Exchequer in its judicial capacity. Today merged into Queen's Bench division.

barrow (yd)
barrow of stones and gravel
barrow, A burial mound or hill; a prehistoric or ancient mound of earth and stones, often containing the remains of the dead; or a container, usually with one wheel used on building sites, or in the garden, to move materials.

basso relievo (yd)
basso relievo, A sculpture in low relief; a method of sculpturing figures on a flat surface, the figures being slightly raised above the surface.

Bart. Baronet (a commoner who holds the lowest hereditary title of honour, ranking below a baron.)

Bathing-machines. (yd)
Bathing-machines. A wheeled dressing-box (cubicle), which was provided at the beach for bathers to change in.

battallia (yd)
Context: (under Myton) The Scotch finding themselves pursued, drew up on the other side of the river in battallia. A battle ensued, the Yorkists were defeated, and above 2,000 of the English, with Nicholas Heming, the lord mayor, were slain and drowned.
battallia, (1) The order of battle; troops arrayed in their proper brigades, regiments battalions, &c. as for action (2) The main body of an army in array, as opposed to the wings.

In that year James I. granted Hemingbrough to Arthur Ingram, Esq. (afterward Sir Arthur), a wealthy London merchant; the pecuniary consideration is not stated, but the king knew the value of a bawbee too well to give without receiving an equivalent in return
bawbee, n. (Scot.) A halfpenny; originally a silver coin worth three Scots pennies.

beck (yd)
beck, North of England term for a (usually mountain) stream

beneth (yd)
beneth, Under. Old spelling of beneath.

benefice, donative benefice (yd)
benefice, A church parish
donative benefice, A church parish (benefice) which in earlier times would be given and collated to a person, by the founder or patron, without either presentation, institution, or induction by the ordinary.

Fenwick, Miss Christiana, haberdasher, Berlin and general fancy repository, Market place
Berlin wool, n. A fine dyed wool for worsted-work, knitting, etc.

Bishopric (yd)
Bishopric, The see, diocese or office (position) of bishop.

besom, 1. A bundle of rods or twigs used for birching. 2. An implement for sweeping, usually a bunch of broom, tied round a handle; a broom. [Also (Scottish), a low woman!!]

black letter
bearing an antique merchant's mark, with the initials, J. W. in the old black letter
black letter, Old English (also called Gothic) lettering.

Beneath the windows of the refectory, towards the west, is a large heap of iron slag and cinders, showing that iron had been smelted here, and that the bloomery had been in operation a long time.
bloom, A mass or bar of iron or steel in an intermediate stage of manufacture.
bloomery, A furnace for making iron ore or iron into blooms.

The church is now a very handsome and well-appointed structure. The interior is faced with bosted limestone
bost, An alternate form of the word boast , to brag. In the above context, however, it seems likely that the form bost has been used for the following different meaning for boast.
From the French bosse. swelling, relief, as in ronde bosse, 'full relief'. 1. (Masonry): To pare stone irregularly with a broad chisel and mallet.

bordar, n. A villein of the lowest rank, who rendered menial service in exchange for a cottage, held at the will of his lord.

borough (yd) another political division ? parish and borough of...
borough, From the Saxon word "burg" meaning a city, town or fort, later used for the administrative sub-divisions within a county, with the responsibilities of government for the area. Providing law, courts, as well as general local services, footpaths, roads. Expanding in recent years to include schools, libraries, street cleaning, dust-bins (American=refuse bins).

under a bottery tree
bottery, Elderberry bush. (Arthur Kellett, The Yorkshire Dictionary)

bovate (yd) what measure of land ?
bovate, A bovate is one eighth of an oxgang (ploughland). An OXGANG is/was Ploughland. The area of land which could be cultivated in one year using a single ox (an ox is an adult castrated male of any domesticated species of cattle). See also Oxgang and Carucate.

brattice, 1. A temporary breastwork, parapet or gallery of wood, for use during a siege. 2. A partition, generally of deal.

The manufacture of tarpaulin and brattice cloth was commenced in 1876
brattice-cloth, (In the second sense of brattice) Strong tarred cloth used in mines instead of wooden bratticing.

The franchise was vested in the holders of 204 burgage houses
burgage, 1. A tenure whereby lands or tenements in cities and towns were held of the lord, for a certain yearly rent 1502. 2. A freehold property in a borough; also a house, etc., held by burgage tenure -1827.

burgage (yd)
burgage, Tenure (=possession or holding) of land or tenement in a town or city, which originally involved a fixed money rent.

Burgess (yd)
Burgess, An inhabitant of a borough or walled town; or one who possesses a tenement therein; a citizen or freeman of a borough.
Burgess, A representative of a borough in parliament.

burthen (yd)
burthen, archaic word for burden

cairns (yd)
cairns, Heaps of stones, tapering at the top to form a cone, usually a monument of some kind

camulodunum (yd)
camulodunum of Ptolemy
camulodunum, The place Ptolemy called camulodunum.

cantarists (yd)
cantarists, ? female proffesional singer?

capite (yd)
to be held of the King in capite.
capite, A tenant/person holding land granted direct from the king.

carucates (yd) six carucates of land
carucates, A carucate was an area of ploughland, it varied between 60 and 180 acres (depending on quality of land, e.g. soil), which could be ploughed by an eight oxen plough team in one year. -Also known as a Hide. The size was dependent on the quality of the land.

castellated (yd)
castellated, having turrets and battlements like a castle

cavaliers (yd)
cavaliers, supporters of King Charles I. during the English civil war. 

centre (yd)
centre, Correct English spelling, American = center.

cell (yd)
There had previously been a cell here,

cell, A religious house; a monastery or nunnery dependent on another; a hermit's one-room dwelling; various other modern meanings.

celts (519)
Traces of the early Britons have been met with. In 1719, a large number of celts was found, each one enclosed in a mould or case of metal.
celt, n. a prehistoric edged implement of bronze or stone (occasionally of iron).
celt, n. a person who speaks a Celtic language.
celt, n. a member of Indo-European people who in pre-Roman times inhabited Britain, Gaul, and Spain.

chancel (yd)
chancel, The part of the church between the altar and the balustrad (rail/ screen), usually containing the area where the choir sits, and separate from the nave.

Chapel of ease (yd)
Chapel of ease, A small chapel, positioned such that people could use it instead of the parish church when the parish church was difficult to get to (e.g. a long way away, or at the bottom of a valley with a village high up on the valley side). This term was also used for a small chapel, off the main body of a Cathedral or large church.

Chapter (yd)
Chapter, The governing body of a cathedral or collegiate church, usually a dean, archdeacon, precentor, chancellor, treasurer and canons (all church officials). The chapter looks after the "Fabric" of the church/cathedral and day to day running and finances.

chartulary, n. A collection or set of charters. A keeper of the archives.

chaumbre (yd)
chaumbre, room, chamber

chevalier (yd)
to found a chantry of 6 chaplains chevalier
A knight, a gallant young man.

chine (yd)
chine, Backbone of an animal with the adjoining meat.

chronicler (yd)
chronicler, A recorder, keeper of records,historian.

church (yd)
church, A building for public worship; the whole body of Christians; the clergy; a particular sect or denomination; a parish

circumjacent (yd)
circumjacent, bordering on every side

close (yd)
close, any place surrounded by a fence or wall

coals (yd)
coals, pieces of coal.

co-extensive (yd)
The wapentake and liberty are co-extensive
co-extensive, Equally extensive; having equal scope or extent.

cohort (yd)
The first cohort of the Thracians...........
cohort, A division of the Roman army, a tenth of a Legion, between 500 and 600 men.
cohort, a band of warriors.

collated (yd)
to which see he was collated in 1551
collated, to appoint (an incumbent) to a benefice (usually by a bishop)

colporteur, A peddler or hawker of books, newspapers, etc., (in English use) especially one employed by a religious society, selling religious tracts and books.

complin, compline, n. The last service of the day, completing the services of the canonical hours; also the hour of that service.

Common. (yd)
Common. The land on which householders living within a manorial system could graze cattle and sheep, and from which a common crop could be reaped. Later the common was a piece of land for the common use of all, e.g. the village green. However, contrary to popular belief, most common land today is only "common" to those living in that parish, and not to outsiders.

"This cell," says Dr. Young, "where twelve or more monks probably resided, had its own prior, who is named both in the register and in the rolls; and it had also its own compotus, distinct from that of the abbey."
computus, also compotus, (From the Latin word, compotus, an alternate form of computus, meaning calculating). 1. A reckoning, an account. 2. A set of mediaeval tables for astronomical and calendarial calculations. In the context given above, computus is used in the first sense, for accounts kept separately from those of the abbey.

compounds (yd)
who compounds by paying sixteen Pence for ale
compounds, Assume it means to pay a levy or tax on ale.

coney-warren (yd)
tenant of the coney-warren
coney-warren, A rabbit warren, the tenant would hold the rights to.

conjointly (yd)
conjointly, In a conjoint manner; jointly; united; as one; together.

conquest (yd)
since the conquest
conquest, 1066, William and all that. William the Conqueror was the only person ever to successfully invade the whole of mainland Britain. (The Romans gave up when they got to Scotland and built a wall from coast to coast to keep the Scots out of England).

 consistory (yd)
consistory, Court of a diocese administering ecclesiastical laws.

constablery (yd)
constablery, The body, or jurisdiction of constables.

constableship (yd)
constableship, The office of constable.

He is dressed in a richly ornamented cope, and supports in his hands a large book.
The rector is represented in his cope, under a richly crocketed canopy, surmounted by a flat super-canopy
cope, n. A long cloak or cape. A vestment resembling a long cloak made of a semi-circular piece of cloth, worn by ecclesiastics in processions, at Vespers, etc.

copyhold (yd)
copyhold, a tenure less than freehold of land in England evidenced by a copy of the Court roll. Freehold property means that the property (and/or land) is not leased.

cormorant (yd)
cormorant, an aquatic bird having a dark plumage, along neck and body and a slender hooked beak.

corridy, corody, corrody n. An allowance, a pension.

cot, A small house, a hut; a mean habitation; also a shed or inclosure for beasts.

court leet
court-leet, n. A court of record held in a hundred, lordship, or manor before the lord or his steward and attended by the residents of the district.

court of record, n. A court where the acts and judicial proceedings are enrolled in parchment for perpetual memorial and testimony.

cousin-german, n. A first cousin: something closely related.
**see also german

curacy, perpetual curacy (yd)
curacy, Office, employment or benefice of a curate.
perpetual curacy, In the Church of England, the office of a curate who was the incumbent of an ecclesiastical district forming part of an ancient parish, appointed by the patron and licensed by the bishop; he now ranks as vicar. The perpetual curacy had no endowment of tythes.All Perpetual curacies were abolished in the 1960s.They became vicarages.

curate, An inferior clergyman in the Church or England, assisting a rector or vicar

in 1662 he disposed of [the castle], and five acres of curtilage, to Edward Wood
curtilage, A small court, yard, or piece of ground attached to a dwelling-house, and forming one enclosure with it.

cushat, The ring dove, or wood pigeon

Compiled by Colin Hinson, the late Elizabeth Agar,
and the late Beryl Thompson © 1999