A Glossary of  Some Terms

 found in

Genealogical and Historical Documents

The following terms I have found in a variety of books and documents including dictionaries; there are a great many "Olde Terms" that have fallen from everyday use and many are contained in very good published works but I am not really able to show them here due to copyright so I have referenced the book instead. Where there seems to be no copyright the source is indicated by an alphabetical letter which if clicked will reveal the details of that source.

[Some are more common than others; some are still in use today; some have been included for interest]

[Some descriptions have been truncated due to space restrictions]



AbbotThe head of a monasteryB
ADAnno Domini [In the year of our Lord - Equivalent to A.Ch. (After Christ) - easier to write!]OED
AfferA work-horse for which the term 'Stott' was used at times [QV]OEL
Affeered (Upon Mercy)The assessment of a fine or penalty at the 'mercy' of the inflictor. (This has no relationship to the word "Affer")BS
Ames-Eames-HamesThe two crooked pieces of wood which encompass a horse collarDB
Aram-ArumA plant also know as Cuckoo Pint or Wake Robin. Grows in bushy places, the juice is very acrid, the root affords a nutritious bread-making flourDW
Arengo-EryngoA plant that grows in sand on the sea shoreDW
ArmigersSquires, strictly those entitled to coats-of-armsA
AttainderThis was an act of Parliament, registering somebody's conviction for treason and declaring all his property forfeit to the King and his Blood 'corrupted' only in 1539 did they come to be used in lieu of trials.EUT
AM1. Ante Meridian [Before Midday] 2. Anno Mundi [In the year of the World]OED
AugustinianThese monasteries appeared in England c.1100, following the Rule of St Augustine of Hippo (Not to be confused with the monk who landed in Kent in 597)B
BadgerBesides being the name for an animal, it also meant in the 17th century from "The Book of Orders" -  One who bought victuals in one place and transported them to another for sale.PRO
BadgeryThe Somerset pronunciation or BadgworthA
BaileyAn open space surrounding the motte of a Norman CastleB
BalksBanks of rough grass that separated the selionsB
Bare-serksFighting Norsemen who fought without the warshirt in blazing-eyed fury. Hence "Going Berserk"B
BartonThe domain of a manor; the manor itself and sometimes the outhousesDN
BastardProperly the base child of a father of gentle or noble birth, but more generally, any illegitimate childS
BaxtonA Back or Bake Stone used in cooking over a fire that acts as an oven. Originally a Stone on which the pots were placed, which became replaced with an iron plate hinged to a post, so that it could be swung out over the heat, also the Best Corner Cubart , one pot, one clothes maiden, one Baxton Round,<table> and the Large table in the Chamber - commonly in dialect form, a flat stone or slate on which cakes are baked in the oven, a plate of iron used for the same purpose. OEL OED
BCEBefore the Common Era - Equivalent to BCOED
BeastgateA right of pasturage in a fieldOED
BenedictineThe oldest Order in England of the Black MonksB
BennettAn African fish about 2ft long also a woodland plant which roots are used in ale for flavour.DN DW
Bent of it, TheExperiment with a stick and note the "Bent of it, at the tickle of air and water"A
BermaniiWine porters who carried the wine from ship to shore and vice versaB
Black FriarsAnother name for DominicansB
BoclandBigger grants of land to the church or powerful thegns, known as such because the details were written down in a "boc" or bookB
Boat of either footSnow ShoesA
BordarA cottagerB
Box the CompassBlow from every point or take a heading and replace the protective coverA
BoonworkWork on the lord's landB
BoorsProbably the highest class of farm labourers employed on the estate. [Eyton, "Domesday Studies"] MEN
BowerSleeping room or separate hutB
Breast PloughA turf cutting spade having a cross-piece against which the breast is pressed.A
BurghsDanish forts around which settlements grew; strongpoint or fortified townB
BurgheristhInterpreted by some as equivalent to Burghbeech or Burglary in the Borough - Variant of Burgright?DUM
BurnettA hard somewhat woody plant about two feet highDW
ByllA bill which is a kind of spear on a wooden shaftBB
Caddis-WormMay-fly larva; lives in brooks and forms a sheath, open at both ends of bits of wood & stone etc,.A
Capias [1]A recipe for herbs for force-meat. (This maybe a misspelling?)A
Capias [2]A writ directed to the sheriff to arrest a person.BS
CarthisianAn Order of Monks following the Benedictine Order but lived quite different livesB
CantleA piece of anything, such as a "cantle of bread, cheese Etc;"DB
CantorA monk responsible for the singing and the choir, and with the Librarian, looked after the books and gospelsB
CardsSham fronts of white cardboard, once common.A
CarolusCoin of Charles IA
CarmelitesAn order emanating from Our Lady of Mount CarmelB
Celery HaulmCelery Stick or pick haulm, a pick shaft - (A.-S. Healm)A
CellarerAnother term for KitchenerB
Certain DiamondsThere are black diamonds. [Black Diamonds also refer to coal]A
Chimney PlaceA great open fire place where a tree trunk could be placed so as to allow its butt end to smoulder if kept fuelled with turf.A
ChantryA chapel usually added to a church by some rich person  who paid for its construction and the priests to pray daily for his soul and those of his family. The building may or may not have been attached to the body of the churchB
ChattelPossession, a thing belonging to a house or farm. (A plough was such as was a serf) 
ChineCrest, Ridge or BackboneA
ChivalerGentleman, Horseman, KnightOEL
CistercianAn Order of monks founded by Stephen Harding of Dorset and St Bernard at Citeaux in FranceB
ClackAn instrument in a corn mill that strikes the hopper to promote the running of the corn [Clacker]DN Z
Claus RollsA variant of 'Close Rolls' of 1310 - documents that record land transferOEL
Clinker BuiltA method of ship building with probable Norwegian originsB
CloughA cleft in a hill, a cliff. Also used as a surnameDN Z
CottagerHe who held less land than a villein and also gave service instead of paying rentB
CloveHandful; to set up circulation against frostbite.A
CluniacA stricter order than the Benedictine founded at Cluny, France in AD 910B
Cob-WallBuilt of a mixture of clay & strawA
CocketA tax receipt from the payment of tonnageB
ColterThe cutting iron of a ploughDN
CombedTurned into foam as on the crest of a waveA
Common ChestIn which the town documents, the official weights & measures, the horn and Mayoral Rod were keptB
Common WeigherThe Mayor who kept the measures at his homeB
CommonerA servant of the Dean and Chapter of a see or dioceseSN
CopyholdersFull-villeins who held land which rights and duties were copied down on the Court Roll of the Manor HouseB
CorrodyAn early form of "State Pension" where a person paid a sum of money (usually about ten marks) to the monastery so that the person could be looked after when they became a "Decayed Person"B
CostardA sort of apple hence the term "Costard Monger or Costermonger" seller of apples & other fruitDB DN
CoteA small animal or bird shelterC
Cottars/CottersThose who merely had a garden round their cottage and perhaps a few acres in the field also, but inferior to VilleinsB
Coulthard-CoulterA plough shareDB-MEN
CoveSlope GentlyA
CrickSharp pain caused by movement [What I get!!]A
CrimpingSlashing the flesh of the shoulders supposed to make it tender; often done to cod.A
CrockardsThin coins used to pay the CocketsB
CubartThis definition relates to furniture 
Day-Math/MatheA Cheshire term for approximately twice a statute acre, or a day's mowing for one man.LHE

In some areas in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Lincolnshire, 3 roods of land.

de Banco RegaleKing's Bench Court - One of the major royal courts of justiceOEL
de malo lectiA legal term used in conjunction with 'essoin' means 'of illness in bed' OEL
de malo veniendiA legal term used in conjunction with 'essoin' means 'due to illness' OEL
de malo villaeA legal term used in conjunction with 'essoin' means 'of illness in the town where the court sat'OEL
de RestitutioneWrit restoring anything unjustly taken from anotherBS
Decayed PersonOne who was elderly and no longer worked [Pensioner]B
DeforciantsDefendants, persons accused or responding to a civil caseOEL
DanegeldA heavy tax exacted by Ethelred the Redless (979) on his subjects.B
DemesneThe lord's farm - land devoted to the lord's profit worked by peasants as part of their obligations. Added to at the time of the Enclosures from stripsB
DerrickA crane, but also in use as a contraction for the name of TheodoricDB DN
Dessert of DinnerFond of dining - (Fr. Desservir - to clear the table)A
Di'S. off arrTwo sheaves of arrowsBB
DibbleA pointed gardening tool for making holes for plantingDN
DibblerOne who uses a DibbleZ
DillA plant resembling fennel but smallerDN
Dock LeafA good remedy and very cooling. Used to combat nettle stingsA-Z
DogsHorizontal iron bars to support burning woodA
DominicansAn order founded by St Dominic, a Spaniard also called Black Friars or Preaching FriarsB
DoomJudgement given by the elders at a Moot (Meeting Place)B
Dry Stone WallA wall built of stone without mortarA
EaldormanAn Earl who ruled large districts - Saxon NobleB
EllsA unit of measurement used in the cloth trade, the English Ell is 1 1/4 YardsA
EnclosureStrips of land fenced off by some lords and tenants, to make one "Enclosure" - started just after the Peasant's Revolt so as keep sheep or farm as they liked.B
EnfeeofPut in possession of a (major) propertyOEL
EssoinsExcuse for non-attendance at courtOEL
EvilSaid to mean a Halter?MEN
Exigent (Upon)A writ to summon the (absent) defendant to appear on pain of outlawry. 
FarundelleA farundell was a quarter acre, i.e. a rood (the first part is a corruption of 'farthing', ie a fourth-ing, the second part is 'deal', i.e. a share).  The following is from the OED entry for 'farthingdeal': <http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-r.html#recorde> OEL
FarrowA cow that ceased being able to calve (Southern Variant "Verrigge")OED
FealtyAn oath sworn by less important tenants and Villeins who promised to be faithful and true and to perform all the proper customs and duties.B
FeoffmentA document transferring the ownership of land held in fee simple. (Probably freehold land or a manor?)OEL
FluxMatter overflowing. A substance used in metal working to clean it ready for weldingA-Z
Flicks-FluxAny substance or mixture used to promote the fusion of metals or mineralsDN
Fodder-FudderCattle Feed. (Also known as a cartload of cattle feed)OED
Fogge or FoggerAn agricultural labourer employed in the feeding and tending of cattleOED
Folk-landPlough shared more or less between freemen or villagers where the English had rights of pasture and the taking of a fat hare or a deer from time to timeB
FondFoolish, softA
Foreskin of the seaThe shore iceA
Forss-ForceAn old Norwegian road signifying rush of water or cascade. Used in Westmoreland & YorkshireD
FreemanA man owning or holding land for rent. He served in the fyrd and was free to go where he wished, though his rights became fewer. 
Freeth-Frith-VreathA West Somerset word and Welsh term for a hedge, especially a wattled hedge. Could also mean a gap in hedge filled with wattle.OEL

NQ v5-1897 p.358

Full-villeinsThe holder of a yardland which was the total number of his strips in the fields, which might add up to anything from fifteen to thirty acres, according to local custom. Some were also freemen paying a rent in corn for their land whilst others were copy-holdersB
Furze HucksStems left of burnt furze clumps in the springA
FyrdAnglo Saxon militiaB
GeburRanking below a churl he was peasant who came to be called a villein usually held about 30 acres of land in return for 2 days work a week, various gifts and favoursB
GilbertinesAn Order founded by Gilbert a Lincolnshire priest for nuns and monks together, but with separate cloisters.B
GlattingA local "Sport" in the Watchet/Kilve area of Somerset when villagers armed with stakes and accompanied by dogs, hunted the huge conger eels that came to the sea shore each autumn.COS
Glazing of TwilightAs of a darkening windowA
Glebe LandStrips in the field belonging to the village priest and worked for him by the villagersB
Gleed-GledeA bird of the rapacious kind, the kite, or species of falcoDN
Good FolkSmugglersA
GoodyA term of civility formerly applied to a woman, usually a married woman, in humble life; often prefixed as title to surname.
Hence, a woman to whose station this title is appropriate.

(Goody; Madam) - a lady who has risen from a lower rank.

OED. B. Goody: Origins complex but are essentially nicknames firstly for a "good" person, someone who was pious and respected, although given the robust Chaucerian humour of the medieval period, possibly the reverse!

Derived from the ancient word "god" meaning good.  - http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Good

Goose GreaseFat retained from roasted geese and used as an ointment medicinally, usually on the chest and covered with brown paperA-Z
GoresOne of many, meaning a small field or enclosure. At the entrance to the Parret estuary of Bridgwater Bay, there is a long stretch of shifting sand and silt named "The Gore".OEL
GossipsA long obsolete word derived from 'god -sibs' or god relations meaning godparents. Last seen in use c.1790.E
Grey FriarsBarefoot followers of St Francis of Assisi who in 1224 landed in EnglandB
GroatA coin equal in value to 4d.B
Half-villeinsHolders of half a yardlandB
Hansel MondayThis is the 1st Monday of each New Year, when it was considered when it was considered lucky to take money as early as possible in the morning or on the other hand, very unlucky to spend anything before breakfast. One definition is "Success in a new undertaking or with a new implement" CAL
HerPronounced 'er or 'ur - Somerset dialect referring to something or someoneA-Z
HeriotA fee due from a villein's widow on his death to the lord.B
HideAn amount of land measuring about 120 acresB
Her Stook TheeHe or her struck/strike youA
HolmA sort of oak tree. The evergreen oak, the ilex [Other definitions exist but are more common]DB DN
Hollyoake HollyockA kind of garden mallowsDN
HomageThis was paid by powerful tenants to their overlord by kneeling down with both hands between those of the lord saying "I become your man from this day forward, for life and limb and earthly worship, and unto you shall be true and faithful for the tenements [lands] that I hold of you - saving the faith that I hold to the King"B
HornblowThree blasts blown by the Town Sergeant on an ancient brazen horn to summon the freemen of the town to a meetingB
HorsegateA right of pasturage in a fieldOED
HospitallerAnother term for Guest-MasterB
Hue and CryThe chase after a thief in which every honest man must joinB
HurstA little wood or thicket of treesDB
HyrstAnglo Saxon for woodDLBA
Hyur a bee ees faiHere he is, indeedA
ImpleadTo raise an action against the person(s) charged; probably active not passive.BS
JacobusCoin of James IA
JuratsThe Mayor and Councillors of the townB
KeepA stark tower built on the top of the motte of a Norman CastleB
KiverA slope sided wooden oblong container used for raising dough or sometimes storing milk ready for cheese makingE
LandyardA Rod, Pole or Perch measuring 5 1/2 yardsA
LawdaysAny days of open courtDB
LawedA dog belonging to a man whose home was within the boundaries of a Royal Forest, had to have his dog "Lawed" by having three talons from one front paw removed so that he was not able to take part in a hunt chaseB
LayfeeBelonging to - in relationship to the church stipendSN
LeaFallow ground that lies untilledDN
LeatTrench or ditchF C
Linhay (Linney)A cattle shed where cows are generally brought to for milkingA
LouverA hole in the roof of a house with a raised cover from where the smoke of the central fire could escapeB
MaletoteA Bad TaxB
Malt[e] HutchA storage box with a 'V' shaped lid used to store malt.OEL
Man WhopAnother term for a sidesman in larger churchesE
ManumissionA document which granted freedom to a serfB
MarkA coin equal in value to 13s. 4d.B
Master of NovicesThe monk who was in charge of the teaching and behaviour of boys studying to become brothersB
Mathe or MathA term found used mainly in Herefordshire as a land measure of about 1 acre or the amount of land that one man could mow in one day.LHE
MattockA tool used for grubbing out roots of trees and weedingDB
MaunA basket or hamper; 40 lbsA
Maundrell-MandrilA fierce and powerful African baboonDB
MeadA country drink fermented from honey and waterB Z
MerchetA fee due to the lord from a villein's widow when their daughter grew up and wished to marryB
Mesne TenantA direct tenant of the lord of a manorOEL
MicklegardA name given by Swedish warriors on their early travels for Constantinople, because it was so big or "Mickle"B
Mickleton JuryA corruption of Mickle-tourn (Magnus turnus), the jury of court leets. These leets were visited Easter and Michaelmas by the county sheriffs in their tourns. {Sheriff's Circuit)DPF
Missel ThrushStorm CockA
MixinFarmyard Midden [Probably the mix of cow dung and straw?] although in some cases refers to "Middle"A-Z
MoietyA rather ambiguous and misunderstood description meaning in earlier years half of something, which has since become indicative of part of something, both values were indeterminable unless accompanied by a document that defined the moiety although this event was not too often used. [From the OFrench - moité & the Latin medius for Middle]DICT OEL
MootAn outdoor meeting place, under a great tree or at an ancient holy stone (Hundred Moot-Shire Moot and Witan Moot the most important of all presided over by the Wise Men or Ealdormen) The Witan elected the King.B
MortuaryIn earlier times was the fee paid to an officiating vicar for burying a person who died within the parish and who had more than £40.OEL
Most PvidMust ProvideBB
MotteA mound of earth raised by forced labour as the central part of a Norman CastleB
Mother MeldrumA famous WitchA
Mux MeA form of omen casting; Bad luck to it; may originally be "Mucks Me"A
NobleA coin equal in value to half a mark which is 6s. 8d.B
NothusAnother name for bastard, but understood by usage to be "of a known man" meaning Dad was a gent or rich and could apply pressure not to have his name recorded as the father.E
NoviceAn apprentice monk who in early times were the sons of wealthy fathersB
Of the House & ChambersBoarders; Between whom and the town boys there was very often jealousy and open strifeA
Only a WomanFormerly courtesy titles had only a limited use, a yeoman and his wife were, strictly speaking, of rank and the next below that of the gentry.A
Ooze-WeedA slimy greenish weed found on the rocky beds of swift running streamsA
OuzelThe Water Ouzel or Dipper; sometimes the Blackbird is called thisA
OutlawedPut out of the law for contempt in wilfully avoiding the execution of the process of the court, issued by the sheriff over five successive court sessions.BS
OvensHollows under bushes often made by rabbitsA
OxgangAs much land as one Ox can plough in one year (App. 10 to 18 Acres)OED
PalmerA pilgrim or crusaderDN
PollardsClipped coins used to pay the cocketsB
Patin/PatinaA Plate [Latin]A
Paynter-PainterA rope at the end of a boatDN
Peculier'Peculiars' were those places in the diocese which for historical reasons were exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction. Records of the various peculiars date only from 1662.SRO
PeydellsOne version of many meaning a small field or enclosure, mainly in Berkshire. OEL
PightleOne version of many, meaning a small field or enclosure, mainly in Berkshire.OEL
PinfoldA place to pen up cattleDB
Plough TeamCorresponded to about 120 acres.MEN
Pixie RingDarker patches of grass rings often seen in pasture land, caused by fungus growths; Fairy RingsA
PlōgPronounced 'plōh' - What a yoke of oxen could plough in a day; a ploughland.  
PollDescribes a tax levied during the reign of Richard II on every "Head or Poll" which sparked a revolt led by John Ball a poor priest.B
Poor-PriestA priest appointed to the local monastery at a lower salary than that of the village priestB
Pop-WeedBladderwort, a plant bearing tiny floating bladdersA
PortreeveAppointed by the Prior to look after the monks' interests and property at a portB
Pot Walloners

When Taunton Somerset, chose two Members of Parliament in the 18th century, their way of choosing was by those who they call "pot-walloners," that is to say, every inhabitant, whether house-keeper or lodger, that dressed their own victuals; to make out which, several inmates, or lodgers, will, sometime before the election, bring out their pots, and make fires in the street, and boil their victuals in the sight of their neighbours, that their votes may not be called in question.

Powdering TubA container used for powdering meat joints to be turned into Bacon for salting for example. 
Preaching FriarsAnother name for DominicansB
PresentationA presentation is a written request from the patron of a living to the bishop to institute a priest to a vacant benefice, prebend, or other preferment. SRO
PriorThe Abbott's assistantB
PunnettA small shallow basket for holding fruit or flowersDN
PyerPronounced "Puyer" is a hand rail across a wooden bridgeSA1
QuarringtonA very fine early sort of appleDB
Rabbit CleveA steep bank honeycombed by rabbit holesA
RangerAn officer who walked daily through the forest or park and present trespasses done in his Bailiwick at the Forest Court.DB
Ray BallingA Somersetshire expression when catching eels from small ponds, with worms stringed to form a ball and the string attached to a withy pole.PW
Red CrossA boundary or property markerA
RefectorianThe monk who was in charge of the dining roomB
Rhine or RhyneA name peculiar to Somerset for the drainage ditches dug in early times to drain the Somerset Levels analogous to its German equivalent The Rhine, now a Somerset and West Country term for a dividing stream (rhin; rine)JSH
Right of CommonThe right to pasturage on the common land for one's animalsA
RoarUn-controlled weepingA
RoaredUn-controlled laughterA
Roo-RueCommon meadow rue; grows in wet meadows and near rivers and ditchesDW
SacristanThe monk who looked after the church building, its holy vessels and ornamentsB
Saw PitsHoles dug so that a man can stand upright to work one end of the saw with another at the other end standing above him to saw the tree lengthways.A
Scammell-ScamilliBlocks which serve to raise the rest of the members of any pillar of stoneDB
ScutageA payment exacted by a feudal lord from his vassal in place of military service 
SelionsNarrow divisions of a field separated by balksB
Seized of his own rightA Property FreeholderA
SerfsMere slaves, the property of the landlord, but not belonging to the manor.MEN
Shackell-ShackleManacles for malefactors in prisonDB
ShawA tuft of trees which encompasses a close shadeDB
SheppySheep CoteA
ShielingA area of rough pasture or a temporary hut erected in such a pasture for the summerOEL
SiesinFormal PossessionOEL
SidebalkBalks running parallel to selions. 
Single-StickFencing with stick or cudgel held in one hand. Contrast with the quarter-staffA
SkeelingFarm description for an outhouse or maybe part of a barn, used in Sussex - also the top room of a house such as a garret.OEL
SladeA long flat piece or slip of ground or a little dell or valley. One at Burnham Somerset is named "Maddox Slade" [Old Saxon]DB DN
SledderRunners on which to mount Carts from dragging when wheels were likely to be bogged downA-Z
SmeechA stench - a Somerset dialect word for "A Stench or Strong Smell" usually from manure heaps AS
Soft CordialGin!A
SpanA rope made of horse hair used to tie a cows legs just above the hoof when being milkedOWN
Spiets/SplentsSmall pieces of armour that protect the armsBB
SpurgeA plant that grows in shady places near Bath, SomersetDW
StallageRent paid by a market stall-holderB
Stert-SturkA young ox or heifer. Also the name of places, one in particular is Stert in Somerset another in WiltshireDB Z
StookA shock of corn of 12 sheaves. [Placed so to dry out the corn before threshing]DB Z
StotVarious spellings exist -Stott-Stotte-Stoote-Stote means: 1. A young castrated Ox. or a Steer or Heifer; 2. A Bullock in Yorkshire and at one time was a plough-horse, mostly male. [See also Affer]OEL
StickleThe current below a waterfallA
Sub-PriorThe Prior's assistantB
Swaffiled-Swath FieldGrass or corn as it is laid in rows by the mower from the scytheDB
Syled BeddeBed with a canopy similar to a four-poster.OEL
TansyA plant that grows on the border of fields and by-roads. Yellow flowersDW
Tenant in CapiteOften used instead of Tenant in Chief, means one holding his [or her] land by feudal tenure directly from the King 
Thegns/ThaneA title given before the Norman Conquest to the "Upper Class"  landowners and local leaders in peace and war. Saxon Noble owning at least 4 hides of landB
TheowsAnother name for a SerfB
ThrallsAnother name for a SerfB
TitheOne-tenth of the corn, various gifts and Church dues for burials and marriages given to the village priestB
TithingA group of ten men over the age of twelve. This was mandatory, each group being responsible for the good behaviour of each of its member.B
TiltA ships tent-like awning, slung over a beam to make a crude temporary cabin, probably of Norwegian originB
ToftHomestead or homestead and its arable landF C
TranterA hawker of fishDN
TraversedA legal device by which pleading not guilty to an indictment has the effect of postponing the case to the next court.BS
Trenchard-TrencherA sort of wooden plate to eat victuals fromDB
TroneUsed for weighing wool as it came off a shipB
TroneageMeasurement of wool on the quaysideB
Turn of the DaysTwelve hours of daylightA
TwittA Somerset dialect expression which means "Tease" [an' twitt en] - and tease him or her. 
Tyburn TicketThis was an incentive in the form of a certificate of life exemption from any kind of parish office, given to those who gave evidence of a felony that secured a conviction of such felony.SN
UnkidWeird or GhostlyA
Up CountryReferring to London [From the West Country of course!]A
Upright MenFreemen born with the townB
Ut dixit mater ejusA phrase entered in early parish registers at baptisms of children born out of wedlock. "As his/her mother said"OEL
VassalsTenants-in-Chief such as Barons, Bishops & AbbotsB
VilleinsHighest of the classes with no sort of freedom; but they had land and chattels of their own.MEN
VirgateA land measurement of about 30 acresB
VisitationsVisitation was the process by which the bishop and his associates periodically sought to enforce ecclesiastical discipline in the diocese among both clergy and laity. Transcripts of the registers were also taken at these visitsSRO
WadA stopple of paper, straw, old clouts etc., which is forced down a gun barrel upon powder.DB
WaddAn earthy oxide of manganeseDN
WainscotThin wooden panels lining the walls of roomsB
WarrensMen who were allowed the privilege of killing hares, rabbits, foxes, badgers and wild cats because they could take food from the deer.B
Wash-UpThe SculleryA
WeltedRopy or StringyA
Wer-gildA fixed fine meaning "Life-Price" exacted for injury caused by one upon another, variable according to the type of injury. "If an ear be struck off - twelve shillings" or a fine to be paid for murder or injury according to the rank of the victim.B
White FriarsAnother name for The CarmelitesB
Wind FlowerThe Wood AnemoneA
WithyThe Osier or Willow treeA
WorthSaxon for "A Place Enclosed"MEN
Woods of WarrantLarge timber trees which could be felled by a tenant without a warrant from the Lord of The Manor - typically oak, ash and one or two other species. OEL
YeomanHas been thought of in a variety of contexts and in the Plantagenet period meant a Knight's servant or retainer. The more general definition in genealogical terms is a cultivator of the soil, either freeholders or tenants. Some considered as being farmers. Also applied to officials of the Royal Household and later came into military use.DG
ZimThink - but more often means 'seem'A


A    -    From the glossary of terms used by Richard Dodderidge Blackmore in his book "Lorna Doone" and displayed as part of the "The Doones" research by LB Thornycroft, D.Lit. published by the Cider Press South Moulton 1971.

AS  -   A Somerset Childhood by Phyllis Wyatt published by Pipers' Ash Ltd

B    -   Book 1 [England] "The Medieval Scene" by DJ Unstead - published by A & C Black Ltd 1963

BB  -  The Book of Bere Regis by FP Pitfield

BS  -   Bishop Still's Visitation of 1593 and The 'Smale Book' of the Clerk of the Peace 1593-5 (Somerset) [SRS]

 C   -   The New Collins Concise Dictionary - 1985

Cal -   A calendar of customs, superstitions, weather lore, popular sayings and important events connected with the County of Somerset edited by F.G. Willis Watson F.R. Hist S. from the Somerset County Herald 1920 

COS - Curiosities of Somerset by Lornie Leete-Hodge - 1985

D   -    Surnames of Bath Families or Curiosities of the Post Office Bath Directory 1890 by EC Davey

            DB - Bailey, Etymological Dictionary, 1726 - included in 'D' above

            DG - The Dictionary of Genealogy, 1985 by Terrick HV Fitzhugh

            DW- Withering's British Plants - included in 'D' above

            DN- Nutall - included in 'D' above but not further explained

            DLBA- Lower's Battle Abbey - included in 'D' above

De  -    Defoe's travels through the West Country

DICT- Dictionary of Medieval  Terms and Phrases by Christopher Corèdon with Ann Williams 3005

DPF -  Dictionary of Phrase & Fable by The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. Late 19th century - twentieth edition.

DUM -Dunmonia and the Valley of the River Parret by the Rev. William Henry Parr Greswell MA., FRGS

EUT - England under The Tudors by G.R. Elton Vol. IV 1965 & 1967 Page 21

E    -    Eve McLaughlin - Author of McLaughlin Guides for Family Historians - Secretary of Bucks Genealogical Society                                          

F    -    St Andrews Church Warden's accounts, Burnham-on-Sea Somerset.

G   -     

H   -   With thanks to Keith Griffiths griffiths370@btinternet.com

JSH - The Place Names of Somerset by The Rev. James S. Hill, B.D. 1914 of Stowey juxta Sutton, Somerset

LHE - The Local Historian's Encyclopaedia John Richardson, Historical Publications, 1974, 1977 reprint

MEN - The Sea-board of Mendip by Franics A. Knight 1902 London - Publishers J.M. Dent & Co.

NQ - Somerset and Dorset Notes & Queries - All Vols.

OED    Old English Dictionary - with thanks to Elizabeth Agar emagar@hotkey.net.au and rbrthillier@aol.com

OWN - My own experience of farming when growing up

OEL -  Old English Language rootsweb list, definitions provided by its various subscribers

PRO - P.C.2/40, pp. 25-26, PC to JPs, 13 June 1630; QS's orders, SRO, QSOB, 1627/8-1638, Eas. QS 1630, nos. 3-4.

PW-    A Somerset Childhood by Phyllis Wyatt published by Pipers' Ash Ltd Chippenham - www.supamasu.com

SANHS - 1. Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society - Axbridge Branch Vol. I (1898) pp. 33/4

SN -   The files and records of Mr Samuel G Nash stored at Burnham reference library Burnham-on-Sea Somerset

SROSomerset Record Office [Use the site search facility for the source required]

Z    -    From my own experience and family memory

Published Works

The Parish Chest by W Tate



Page Last Updated: - 06/04/2016