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185 Langton, W. H. P. G., M.P. Hatch Fark, Taunton
(deceased)

Langworthy, V. Upton, Ilminsier

Leigh, Henr}^, 3, Ploicden Buildings, Temple, London

Leth bridge, A. G. .Eastbrook, Taunton

Llddon, H. Tauntun
190 Liddon, Wm. „

Long, W. West Hay, Wrington, Bristol

Long, W., jun. Congresbury, Bristol

Lovelace, the Earl of, Ashley Combe, Porlock

Luttrell, G. F. Dunster Castle
195 Lyte, H. Maxwell, 18, Albemarle-street, London

Macleay, J. R. Tetion, Taunton

Malet, Arthur, Pyrland Hall, Taunton

JNIalet, Octavius \V. Haygrass House, Taunton

Mapleton, Rev. II. M. Badgworth, Weston-super-Mare
200 Marriott-Dodington, T. Combe House, Dulverton

Marshall, G. W., LL.D. Hanley Court, Tenbury,
Worcestershire

Marshall, J. Belmont, Taunton

Marshall, Wilfrid Geo. Belmont, Taunton

Marwood, J. B. Montacute House, Weston-super-Mare
205 Master, Rev. G. S. West Deane, Wilts

Matthew, Rev. M. A. Bishops Lydeard

May, Frederick, Taunton

Mayhew, T. Glastonbury

Meade, Rev. De Courcy, North Barrow, Castle Cary
210 Meade, Rev. R. J. Castle Cary

Medlycott, Sir W. C., Bart. Venn House, Milborne Port

Meyler, T. Piercejield, Taunton

Michell, Rev. R., B.D. Magdalene Hall, Oxford

Miles, Sir W., Bart. Leigh Court, Bristol
215 Mitchell, \V. S., LL.B., F.G.S.

Moor, Rev. J. F. Sion-place, Sion-hill, Bath

Moore, C. Cambridge-place, Bath

Moss, Rev. J. J. East Lydford

Moysey, H. G. Bathealton Court



198 LIST OF MEMBERS.

220 Munbee, General, Weston-super-Mare
Munckton, W. W. Curry Rivel
Murch, Jerom, Cranwells, Bath

Naisli, W. B. Stan Easton
Neville, W. F. Butleigh
225 Newton, F. W. Barton Grange, Taunton
Norman, J. F. IStaplegrove, „

Norris, Hugh, South Petherton

Ommanney, Rev. G, D. W. BrisUngton, near Bristol

Paget, R.H., M.P. Cranmore Hall, Shepton Mallet
230 Paine, Jas. Springfield, West Monkton

Palairet, Rev. R. Norton St. Philip

Palmer, Robert, Frieshill, Taunton

Parfitt, The Very Rev. C. C. Cottles, Melksham, Wilts

Parsons, James, Dragton, near Taunton
235 Paul, W. Bond, Langport

Patton, Capt. T., R.N. Bishops Hull

Penny, Rev. C. West Coker, Yeovil

Perceval, Capt. Severn House, Henbury, Bristol

Perrin, Rev. George, Nailsea
240 Philpott, Rev. R. S. Chewton Mendip

Pigot, Rev. John C. Weston-super-Mare

Pigot, Mrs. M. J. „

Pinchard, W. P. Taunton

Pinchard, J, H. B, ,,
245 Pinney, W. Somerton Erleigh

Plowman, T. North Curry

Poole, G. S. Manor House, Brent Knoll, Highbridge

Poole, J. R. Cannington

Pooley, C. Weston-super-Mare
250 Pope, Dr. Glastonbury

Porch, T. P. Edgarley
*Portman, Viscount, Bryanstone House, Dorset

Portman, Rev. F. B. Staple Fitzpaine

Prankerd, John, Langport
255 Pring, J. H., M.D. Taunton

Prior, R. C. A., M.D. Halse

Pulman, G. P. R. Crewkerne

Pyne, Rev. W. Charlton, Somerton



LIST OF MKMBEKS. 199

Quekett, E. Langport
260 Quicke, Major

Raban, R. B. Shirehampton
*Ramsden, Sir John, Bart, Byam, Yorkshire

Randall, Rev. H. G. St. Maru Reddiffe, Bristol

Redfern, Rev. W. T. Taunton
265 Reed, Rev. W. FuUands, „

Reynolds, Vincent J. Canons Grove, Taunton

Robbins, G. 9, Royal Cresent, Bath

Robinson, Walter, 7, FurnivaTs Inn, Hoiborn, London

Rogers, T. E. Yarlington House, Wincanton
270 RovvclifFe, Charles, Milverton

Rowe, J. Taunton

Ruegg, Lewis H. Sherborne, Dorset

Ruel, Capt. Herbert, Pai'k Villa, Taunton

Rutter, John, Ilminster

275 Salmon, Rev. E. A. Martock

Sampson, Thomas, Houndstone House, Yeovil

San ford, W. A. Nynehead Court

Scarth, Rev. H. M. Wrington, Bristol

Scott, Rev. J. P. Staplegrove
280 Scratchley, Rev. C. J. Lydeard St. Lawrence

Sears, R. H. Priory House, Taunton

Serel, Thomas, Wells

Sewers, Robert, Curry Rivel (deceased)

Seymour, Alfred, ICjioyle, Wilts
285*Seymour, H. D. „ „

Shepherd, J. \V. Ilminster

Sheppard, A. B. Torquay

Shore, J. Whatley, near Frome

Shout, R. H. 35, Cohnan-street, London, B.C.
290 Simmons, C. J. Lower Langford, Bristol

Slade, Wyndham, Montys Court, Taunton

Sloper, E. Taunton

Smirke, Sir Edward, 18, Thurloe-square, London, S.JV.

Smith, Rev. Gilbert E. Barton St. David
295 Smith, Cecil, Bishops Lydeard

Smith, Richard, Bridgwater

Smith, Lady, Somerton

Solly, Miss L. Bath

Somerville, J. C. Dinder^ Wells



•200 LIST OF MEMBERS.

300 Sotheby, Rev. T. H. Lang for d Budville

Sowdon, Rev. Frederick, Dunkerton

Sparks, William, Creivkerne

Sparks, W. B. „

Speke, W. Jordans, near Ilminster
305 Spencer, J. H. Galmington Lodge, Taunton

Spicer, R. W. Chard

Stanton, Rev. J. J. Tockenham Rectory, Wotton Basseft

St. Aubyn, Colonel, 7, Great Bedford-street, Bath

Stayner, James, Ilminster
310 Stephenson, Rev. J. 11. Lympsham

St. Paul, Sir Horace, Euiart Park, Wooller, Northum-
berland

Stock, B. S. Rhodyate Llouse, Congresbury, Bristol

Strachey, Sir E., Bart. Sutton Court, Pensford, Bristol

Stradling, W. J. L. CJiilton-super-Polden
315 Stuart, A. T. B. Mellifont Abbey, Woohey, Wells

Stuckey, V. Langport

Surrage, J. L. Wincanton

Surtees, W. Edward, Tainfield, Kingston^ Taunton

Swayne, W. T. Glastonbury
320 Symes, Rev. R. Cleeve, Bristol

Talbot de Malahide, Lord, Evercreech, Shepton Mallet

Taunton, Lady, Quantock Lodge, Bridgwater

Templeman, Rev. Alex. Puckington

Thomas, C. J. Drayton Lodge, Redland, Bristol
325 Thring, Rev. Godfrey, Alford, Castle Cary

Thring, Theodore, „ „

Todd, Lt.-Col. Keynston, Blandford

Tomkins, Rev. H. G.

Tomkins, Rev. W. S. Castle Cary
330 Trask, Charles, Norton, Ilminster

Trevelyan, Sir W. C, Bart. Nettlecombe Court, and
Wallington, Northumberland

Trevelyan, Sir C. E., Bart., K.C.B. 8, Grosvenor-
crescent, Belgrave-square, London, S. W.

Trevelyan, Arthur, Tyneholm, Tranent, N.B.

Trevelyan, Miss, Nettlecombe Court
335 Trew, Richard, Axbridge

Tuckwell, Rev. W. Taunton

Turner, C. J. Staplegrove



LIST OF MEMBERS. 201

Tylor, Edw. Burnett, LL.D., F.R. S. Linden, Wellington
Uttermare, T. B. Langport (deceased)
340 Vanderbyl, P., 51, Porchester-terrace, London, W.

Walker, W. C. Shepton Mallet

Walrond, Rev. ^V. H. Nynehead

Walters, R. Stoke-suh-Hamhdon

Walters, G. Frame
345 Ward, Rev. J. W. Ruishton

Warre, F. Bindon, Wellington

Warren, J. F. H. Langport

Warren, Rev. J. Bawdrip

Weatherley, Christopher, 39, High-street, Wapping,
London, E.
350 Welman, C. N. Norton Manor

Welch, C. Minehead

Welsh, W. I. Wells

Westbury, Lord, Hinton St. George (deceased)

White, C. F. 42, Windsoi'-road, Ealing, London, W.
355 White, F. Wellington

White, Rev. F. AV. Crowle, Doncaster

Whitfield, Rev. E. Llminster

Whitmash, E. Shepherds Bush, London

Wickham, Rev. II. D. Horsington Rectory, Wincanton
360 Wilks, Rev. Theodore C Nately Scures, Hants

Williams, Rev. Wadham Pigott, Bishops Hull

Winterbotham, W. L., M.B. Bridgioater

Winwood, Rev. H. H. 11, Cavendish-crescent, Bath

Wise, Rev. W. J. Shipham, Bristol
3G5 Wood, Alexander, — Gower-street, London

Woodforde, F.H., M.D. Amherd House, Taunton

Woodforde, G. A., Castle Gary

Wood house, Rev. F. T. Otterhampton, Bridgwater

Woodley, AV. A. Taunton

370 Yatman, Rev. J. A. Winscond)e, Weston-suiKr-Mare



202 LIST OF MEMBERS.

Barnicott, E.eo;inald, Taunton

Beddoe, J., M.D., F.R.S. Clifton

Bond, G. H. Wiveliscomhe

Busfeild, W. Northjield, Frome
375 Chapman, Arthur, Kilkenny, Taunton

Clark, W. T. Street,

Culverwell, J. Taunton

DouglaSj General Sir Percy, Henlade House, Taunton

Elworthy, F. T. Foxdown, Wellington
380 Fillieul, Rev. P. V. M. Biddisham Rectory, Axhridge

Grafton, Rev. A. W. Wells

Hippisley, John, jun. Ston Easton, Bath

Lewis, Wm. Bath

Maynard, Alfred, Taunton
385 Newnham, Capt. N. J. Blagdon Court, Bristol

Nutt, Rev. C. H. East Harptree

Prankerd, P. D. The Knoll, Sneyd Park, Bristol

Rowe, Rev. J. Long Load, Langport

Skrine, H. D. Warleigh Manor, Bath
390 Taplin, T. K. Westbury House, Wells

Turner, Henry G. Staplegrove

Tyack, S. Taunton

Tyndall, J. \\ . Warre, Perridge House, Shepton Mallet

Wade, C. Banicell
395 Wade, E. F. Axbridge

Winter, J. A. Taunton

Wotton, E, Taunton



Members are requested to inform either of tlie Secretaries of any errors
or omissions in the above list ; they are also requested to authorise
their Bankers to pay their subscriptions annually to Stuckey's
Banking Company, Taunton ; or to either of their branches ; or
their respective London Agents, on account of the Treasurer.



F. MAY, PEINTER, HIGH STREET, TAUNTON.



GLOSSARY

OF

PROYINOIAL WORDS & PHRASES



m USE IN



SOMERSETSHIRE.



WADHAM PIGOTT WILLIAMS, M.A.,

riCAU OF BISHOP'S HULL,
AND THE LATE

WILLIAM AETHUR JONES, M.A., F.G.S.



AN INTRODUCTION

By R. C. a. prior, M.D.




LONDON : LONGMANS, GREEN, READER, & DYER.

TAUNTON : F. MAY, HIGH STREET.

1873.



PEEFACE



It is now nearly six years ago that the Committee of the
Somersetshire Archfeological Society asked me to compile a
Glossary of the Dialect or archaic language of the County,
and put into my hands a valuable collection of words by the
late Mr. Edward Norris, surgeon, of South Petherton. I
have completed this task to the best of my abilitj', with the
kind co-operation of our late excellent Secretary, Wm. Arthur
Jones ; and the result is before the public. We freely made
use of Norris, Jennings, Halliwell, or any other collector
of words that we could find, omitting mere pecuharities of
pronunciation, and I venture to hope it will prove that we
have not overlooked much that is left of that interesting old
language, which those great innovators, the Printing Press,
the Railroad, and the Schoolmaster, are fast driving out of
the country.

WADHAM PIGOTT WILLIAMS.

Bishop's Hull, Taunton,

7th September, 1873.



INTRODUCTION.



THE following paper from the pen of Dr. Prior was read
at a Conversazione of the Society at Taunton, in the
winter of 1871, and as it treats the subject from a more
general point of view than is usually taken of it, we print it
with his permission as an introduction to our vocabulary : —

The two gentlemen who have undertaken to compile a
glossary of the Somerset dialect, the Eev. W. P. Williams and
Mr. W. A. Jones, have done me the honour to lend me the
manuscript of their work ; and the following remarks which
have occurred to me upon the perusal of it I venture to lay
before the Society, with the hope that they may be suggestive
of further enquiry.

Some years ago, while on a visit at Mr. Capel's, at BuUand
Lodge, near Wiveliscombe, I was struck with the noble coun-
tenance of an old man who was working upon the road. Mr.
Capel told me that it was not unusual to find among the people
of those hills a very refined cast of features and extremely
beautiful children, and expressed a belief that they were the
descendants of the ancient inhabitants of the country, who
had been dispossessed of their land in more fertile districts by
conquerors of coarser breed. A study of the two dialects
spoken in the county (for two there certainly are) tend, I
think, to corroborate the truth of this opinion.

It will be urged that during the many centuries that have
elapsed since the West Saxons took possession of this part of
England the inhabitants must have been so mixed up together
that all distinctive marks of race must long since have been



VI. SOMERSETSHIRE GLOSSARY.

obliterated. But that best of teachers, experience, shows that
where a conquered nation remains in greatly superior numbers
to its conqueror, and there is no artificial bar to intermarriages,
the latter, the conqueror, will surely be absorbed into the
conquered. This has been seen in our own day in Mexico,
where the Spaniards, who have occupied and ruled the country
nearly four hundred years, are rapidly approaching extinction.
Nay, we find that even in a country like Italy, where the
religion, language, and manners are the same, the original dif-
ference of races is observable in different parts of the peninsula
after many centuries that they have been living side by side.

It seems to be a law of population that nations composed
of different stocks or types can only be fused into a homo-
geneous whole by the absorption of one into the other — of the
smaller into the greater, or of the town-dwellers into the
country stock. The result of this law is, that mixed nations
will tend with the progress of time to revert to their original
types, and either fall apart into petty groups and provincial
distinctions, as in Spain, or will eliminate the weaker or less
numerous race, the old or the new, as the one or the other
predominates. The political character of our English nation
has changed from that which it was in the time of the Plan-
tagenets by discharging from it the Norman blood ; and our
unceasing trouble with the Irish is a proof that we have not
yet made Englishmen of them, as perhaps we never shall. A
very keen observer, M. Erckman, in conversation with the
Times correspondent, of the 21st December, 1870, made a
remark upon the state of France which is so illustrative of this
position, as regards that country, that I cannot forbear to give
it in his own words. The correspondent had expressed his
fear that, if the war were prolonged, France would lapse into
anarchy. " It is not that," said M. Erckman, " which fills me
with apprehension. It is rather the gulf which I begin to
fear is widening between the two great races of France. The
world is not cognisant of this ; but I have watched it with



IXTRODUCTIOX. Vll.

foreboding." "Define me the two types." "They shade
into each other ; but I will take, as perhaps extremes, the
Gascon, and the Breton." " He proceeded," says the corres-
pondent, "to sketch the characteristics of the people of Pro-
vence, Languedoc, and Gascony, and to contrast them with
those of Brittany, middle, and north France, their idiosyncrasies
of race, feeling, religion, manners — their diverse aspirations,
their antagonisms. For sufficient reasons I pass over his re-
marks." A still more striking case of the kind is that of
Egypt, a country that for more than 2,000 years has been
subject to foreign conquerors, Persians, Greeks, Romans,
Arabs, Turks, and Mamelukes, and the annual influx of many
thousand negro slaves, and where, notwithstanding all this,
the peasantry, as far as can be judged by a careful examina-
tion of the skull, is identical with the population of the
Pharaonic period.

This, then, being assumed, that a turbid mixture of different
races has a tendency to separate after a time into its constituent
elements, and certain originally distinct types to re-appear
with their characteristic features, how does this law of popu-
lation apply to Somersetshire ?

It is clear from the repeated allusions to the Welsh in the
laws of Ina, King of the West Saxons, that in his kingdom
the ancient inhabitants of the country were not exterminated,
but reduced to the condition of serfs. Some appear to have
been landowners ; but in general they must have been the
servants of their Saxon lords, for we find the race, as in the
case of the negroes in the West Indies, to have been synony-
mous with the servile class, so that a groom was called a
hors-wealh, or horse Welshman, and a maid-servant a wylen, or
Welsh-woman. As long as slavery was allowed by the law of
the land— that is, during the Anglo-Saxon period, and for two
centuries at least after the Conquest— there was probably no
very intimate mixture of the two races. The Normans, as,
in comparison with the old inhabitants of the country, they



Viii. SOMERSETSHIRE GLOSSARY.

were few in number, cannot have very materially affected
them. We have, therefore, to consider what has become of
them since — the Saxon master and the Welsh slave. In the
Eastern Counties the invaders seem to have overwhelmed the
natives, and destroyed or driven them further inland. Here,
in Somerset, their language continued to be spoken in the
time of Asser, the latter part of the 9th century ; for he tells
his readers what Selwood and other places with Saxon names
were called by the Britons. We may infer from this mention
of them that they were still dispersed over these counties, and
undoubtedly they still live in our peasantry, and are traceable
in the dialect. Now, is there any peculiarity in this which we
may seize as diagnostic of British descent ? I submit that we
have in the West of Somerset and in Devonshire in the pro-
nunciation of the vowels ; a much more trustworthy criterion
than a mere vocabulary. The British natives learnt the lan-
guage that their masters spoke, and this is nearly the same
as in Wilts, Dorset, Grloucester, Berks, and Hampshire, and
eeems to have formerly extended into Kent. But they learnt
it as the Spaniards leaint Latin : they picked up the words,
but pronounced them as they did their own. The accent
differs so widely in the West of Somerset and in Devonshire
from that of the counties east of them that it is extremely
difficult for a native of these latter to understand what our
people are talking about, when they are conversing with one
another and unconscious of the presence of a stranger.

The river Parret is usually considered to be the boundary of
the two dialects, and history records the reason of it. We
learn from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 658, that " Cen-
wealh in this year fought against the Welsh at Pen, and put
them to flight as far as the Parret." " Her Kenwealh gefeaht
set Peonnum wi]? Wealas, and hie geflymde o]> Pedridan."
Upon this passage Lappenberg in his " England under the
Anglo-Saxon kings" remarks: "The reign of Cenwealh is
important on account of the aggrandisement of Wessex. He



INTRODUCTIOX. \x.

defeated in several battles the Britons of Dyvnaint and Cernau
[Devon and Cornwall] who had endeavoured to tlirow off the
Saxon yoke, first at Wirtgeornesburh, afterwards, with more
important results, at Bradenford [Bradford] on the Avon in
Wiltshire, and again at Peonna [the hill of Pen in Somerset-
shire], where the power of the Britons melted like snow
before the sun, and the race of Brut received an incurable
wound, when he drove them as far as the Pedrede [the
Parret] in A.D. 658."

The same author in another passage says (vol. i. p. 120) :
"In the south-west we meet with the powerful territory of
Damnonia, the kingdom of Arthur, which bore also the name
of * West-Wales.' Damnonia at a later period was limited to
Dyvnaint, or Devonshire, by the separation of Cernau or
Cornwall. The districts called- by the Saxons those of the
Sumorsaetas, of the Thornssetas [Dorset], and the Wiltstetas
were lost to the kings of Dyvnaint at an early period ; though
for centuries afterwards a large British population maintained
itself in those parts among the Saxon settlers, as wejl as among
the Defnssetas, long after the Saxon conquest of Dyvnaint, who
for a considerable time preserved to the natives of that shire
the appellation of the Welsh hind.''''

In corroboration of Lappenberg's oj)inion, one in which
every antiquary will concur, I may notice in passing that
many a farm in West Somerset retains to the jjresent day an
old name that can only be explained from the Cornish lan-
guage. Thus, *' Plud farm," near Stringston, is "Clay farm,"
or " Mud farm," from. plud, mire. In a word, the peasantry
of West Somerset are Saxonized Britons. Their ancestors
submitted to the conquering race, or left their country and
emigrated to Brittany, but were not destroyed ; and in them
and their kinsmen of Cornouailles in Prance we see the living
representatives of the ancient Britons as truly as in Devon-
shire and Cornwall, in Cumberland, or Wales.

The characteristic feature of their dialect, and the remark



X. SOMERSETSHIRE GLOSSAUY.

applies of course equally to the Devonian -wlucli is identical
with it, is the sound of the French u or the Grerman ii given
to the 00 and om, a sound that only after long practice can be
imitated by natives of the more eastern counties. Thus a
"roof" is a ruf. "through" is thrii, and "would" is wild.
The county might consequently be divided into a "Langue
d'oo " and a "Langue d'ii."

An initial w is pronounced oo. " Where is Locke ?'' " Gone
t' Ools, yer honour." " What is he gone there for ?" " Grone
zootniss, yer honour." The man was gone to Wells assizes as
a witness in some case. In a public-house row brought before
the magistrates they were told that ' ' Oolter he com in and
drug un out." ("Walter came in and dragged him out.")
Ooll for "will'' is simply oo«7Z. An owl doommun is an old
oooman. This usage seems to be in accordance with the
Welsh pronunciation of w in ewm.

There are other peculiarities that seem to be more or less
common to all the Western Counties, and to have descended
to them frpm that Wessex language that is commonly called
Anglo-Saxon — a language in which we have a more extensive
and varied literature than exists in any other Germanic idiom
of so early a date, itself the purest of all German idioms. It
is a mistake to suppose that it is the parent of modern English.
This has been formed upon the dialect of Mercia, that of the
Midland Counties ; and it cannot be too strongly impressed
upon strangers who may be inclined to scoff at West Country
expressions as inaccurate and vulgar, that before the Norman
Conquest our language was that of the Court, and but for the
seat of Government having been fixed in London might be so
still ; that it was highly cultivated, while the Midland Coun-
ties contributed nothing to literature, and the Northern were
devastated with war ; and that the dialect adopted, so far from
being a better, is a more corrupt one.

The peculiarities to which I allude as common to all the
Southern Counties are these : The transposition of the letter r



INTRODUCTION. XI.

with another consonant in the same syllable, so that Prin for
Prince becomes Pioii, fresh fursh, red rihhons urd tirhans —
a change that certainly is more general and more uniformly
carried out in the Langvie d'ii district than in the Langue d'oo,
but cannot be quite exclusively appropriated by the former.

Under the same category will fall the transposition of s with
p, as in ivaps for icasp, curps for crisp ; with k, as in ax for ask ;
with l, as in hahe for hazel.

A hard consonant at the beginning of a word is replaced
with a soft one, /for v, as in vire for fire ; s with z, as in zur
for sir; th with d, as in "What's dee doing here dis time
o'night?" k with g, as in gix, the hollow stalk of umbelliferous
plants, for keeks. To be " as dry as a gix " is to be as dry as
one of these stalks — a strong appeal for a cup of cider.

Of another peculiarity which our Western district has in
common with Norway, I am uncertain whether it extends
further eastward, or not ; I mean the replacing an initial h
with y, as in yeffer for heifer, Ye^ffeld for Heathfield. One it has
in common with Latin as compared with Greek — the replacing
an initial hard th with /, as in fatch for thatch, like L. fores
for Ovpa. A singularly capricious alteration of the vowels, so
as to make long ones short, and short ones long, is, as far as
I am aware, confined to our Langue d'ii district. For instance,
a ^oo/-reed is called a jD;


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