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Baby farmers
Groups of women who provided fostering and adoption services for orphaned or illegitimate children in the late 19th century.

The unmarried mothers would pay a sum of money – £10 has been recorded – and hand over their baby. The child would then be sold to childless couples.

In many cases – especially where the child was difficult to sell – the children were murdered.

See Sun Longley, Norland

Back
The underside of the cloth as woven on the loom

Back-berand
Carrying on the back or wearing.

See Gibbet Law

Back-to-back houses
18th/19th century terraced housing with houses in two rows sharing a common back wall and the side walls, and both rows under a common roof. In some cases, these evolved from blind back houses.

They were built in terraces each house with a small yard and with an alley between the terraces. The occupants of a block frequently shared an earth closet or a water closet. The houses made best of the available land. The first terraces were built to fill the narrow spaces between the existing streets. In 1886, 71% of all housing in Leeds was back-to-back.

These were often built by building clubs formed by groups of workers.

The early houses had no private water supply or drainage, and waste was emptied into the streets. A single toilet might serve an entire courtyard. Some such houses had a cellar. Some were just one-up-one-down houses, others had a living room opening directly off the street and a scullery on the ground floor, two bedrooms on the first floor and a single attic room. A third type had a small yard between the street and the house, and its own toilet in the cellar which was reached via steps in the front yard.

Those at Copley were considered to be good examples, but, because of the absence of through-ventilation, such houses were criticised by reformers and by the Public Health Act [1848]. Legislation in 1866 controlled the quality of new dwellings and the construction of back-to-back houses was prohibited for a time in the 19th century. The Housing & Town Planning Act [1909] declared such housing unfit for human habitation and outlawed all back-to-backs. But many permits were given before the laws were passed and back-to-back houses continued to be built until the 1920s.

Many were demolished in the 1960s, in favour of tower blocks, and others were modernised by adding a bathroom and converting the attic into an extra bedroom.

The word was often used in street names – such as Back Raglan Street and Back Rhodes Street – to indicate a separate street of back-to-back housing where the houses back on to Raglan Street and Rhodes Street, respectively

See Galleried houses

Back-to-earth
An underdwelling in which the rear wall was against the ground and there was consequently no back door to the house

Bad blood
Another name for syphilis

Badgers' Recognisances
A document recording licensed Badgers

Bailiff
A steward to the lord of the manor, or the lord's estate manager or representative.

See Hallmoot and Seneschal

Baiting
The element is used in contexts which mean a resting place or halting place for travellers, and offered food and refreshment.

Baitings Farm, Ripponden was a resting place for stage coach and packhorse travellers over Blackstone Edge between Lancashire & Yorkshire

Baize
See Bay

Balance beam
A beam projecting from a lock gate to balance its weight. The beam is used as a lever to open and close the gate

Baldachin
Aka baudkin and bawdkyne.

A rich embroidered silk and gold fabric. The name is a variant of Baghdad where the fabric was made

Bale
A bundle of compressed raw cotton. Typically, for American cotton a bale weighs about 500 lbs, for Egyptian about 700 lbs, Brasilian about 250 lbs, and Indian about 400 lbs

Balk
An unploughed strip of land between the selions in the open field system

Ballot Act [1872]
In 1872, Gladstone introduced this Act which required elections to use a secret ballot.

Previously, landlords and employers were able to check the votes placed.

Poll Books were published which showed the candidate for whom each named elector voted, the names of those electors who did not vote, the names of those electors who voted more than once, the names of those electors whose votes were not taken or were rejected

Banalities
Fees paid to the lord of the manor by a serf for the use of the lord's mill, oven, wine-press, and similar facilities. It may be payment in kind, such as part of a fish catch or the proceeds from a rabbit warren

See Corvee

Band of Hope Movement
Temperance organisations usually associated with nonconformist churches and chapels.

Formed in 1847, by the Rev Jabez Tunnicliffe of Leeds and Mrs Carlile, an Irish lady.

By 1905 the movement had over 3 million members in 22,576 Bands of Hope. These held regular meetings and encouraged children and others to sign the pledge to be temperate.

A popular song sung at meetings was

I drink water when I'm thirsty, Milk and cocoa when I'm tired. Tea and coffee, very seldom, Alcohol is best when fired

The movement faded between the 2 World Wars.

See Bolton Brow Band of Hope, Brighouse & Rastrick Band of Hope Union, Calderdale Wesley Band of Hope, Cornholme & Shore United Band of Hope, Halifax & District Band of Hope Union, Hebden Bridge & District Band of Hope Union, Smith Knowles, John J. Lane, Mount Zion Primitive Methodist Band of Hope, Norland, Band of Hope Society New Road Sunday School, Rastrick, Northgate End Band of Hope, Band of Hope Society Park Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Brighouse, Providence Primitive Methodist Chapel, Sowerby and Todmorden Band of Hope Union

Band Walk
See Rope walk

Bands
Brass bands & silver bands were popular from the late 19th century

Bank
Used in place names – such as New Bank and Old Bank – the word means a lane climbing a steep hill and the steep hill itself

Banknotes
Paper credit was circulating in England in the 17th century.

In July 1811, Prime Minister Spencer Perceval made banknotes legal tender, on the grounds that the value of gold had appreciated owing to the drain on it for military payments.

The scarcity of small coins led to an increase in the use of banknotes, promissory notes and foreign coins.

There were few bankers outside London, and the bigger merchants, tradesmen and business-men acted as bankers. They issued their own banknotes and tokens, and these were acceptable by local tradesmen. Some examples were those of Gamaliel Sutcliffe, Sutcliffe's John, Thomas & James Sutcliffe, Rawdon family and Turner, Bent & Company

In turn, this avoided many of the problems created by the coiners of the 18th century.

On 26th January 1808, a meeting of the tradesmen and others at the Talbot Inn expressed concern about the increasing circulation of country notes in the town and neighbourhood.

See Foreign coins

Banns of marriage
A public announcement – or notice – of an intended marriage in a parish church. Typically, 3 banns were read out in church on 3 successive Sundays.

The reading of the banns enabled any objections or impediments to the proposed marriage – such as one, or both of the parties, being already married, one, or both of the parties, being under-age, the couple being related, or absence of consent - to be raised.

A couple who wished to be married had to perform one of two procedures: either banns were published, or a marriage licence was obtained.

The Lateran Council of 1215 required that an intended marriage was to be read 3 times at weekly intervals in the parish church of the man and woman – the bann. The church authorities issued marriage licences for those who did not wish to have the banns read out publicly, or who wished to marry quickly. It had been legally possible to be married without calling the banns until 1754 when the Marriage Act [1753] came into force. After that date, a banns book was maintained in many parishes. Banns-only registers were introduced in 1823.

See Spurrins

Baptism
The Christian religious ceremony by which a person, often a child, is admitted to the Christian community. The ritual involves sprinkling water of the person's forehead or, in some cases – such as the Baptist Church – total immersion in water. The ceremony symbolises purification and regeneration.

Since the Church of England considered Nonconformists to be heretical, many ceremonies conducted by the Nonconformist churches were not recognised beyond those churches. Thus, many children who were baptised by a Nonconformist church, had the ceremony repeated in the local Parish Church.

See Baptists, Miscellaneous Baptisms and Marriage

Baptist
A member of any of several Protestant and evangelical Christian sects which seek their authority in the Bible and practise baptism by immersion only upon profession of faith – that is, adult members, rather than infants.

See Johnsonians, Nonconformists, Rev Adam Taylor, Rev Dan Taylor, General Baptist Church, Haley Hill, Bethel Baptist Chapel, Norland, Bethel Baptist Church, Lineholme, Birchcliffe Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, Blackley Particular Baptist Church, Blake Dean Baptist Church, Branch General Baptist Church, Ovenden, Brearley Particular Baptist Church, Broadstone Baptist Church, Colden, Butts Green Baptist Chapel, Warley, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, Elland Particular Baptist Church, General Baptist Chapel, Queensbury, Grace Baptist Church, Pellon, Grace Hill Baptist Church, Mount Tabor, Haley Hill Particular Baptists, Hebden Bridge Baptist Church, Heptonstall Slack Baptist Cemetery, Hepzibah Baptist Church, Sowerby, Holywell Green Baptist Church, Hope Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, Hurstwood Baptist Church, Todmorden, Jagger Green Baptist Church, Holywell Green, Lee Mount Baptist Church, Ovenden, Lineholme Baptist Church, Stansfield, Lydgate Baptist Church, Todmorden, Millwood Particular Baptist Church, Stansfield, Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Todmorden, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Heptonstall Slack, Naze Bottom Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, North Parade Baptist Church, Halifax, Pellon Baptist Church, Pellon Lane Particular Baptist Church, Pudsey Baptist Chapel, Todmorden, Queenshead Baptist Church, Rehoboth Baptist Church, Stansfield, Rishworth Particular Baptist Chapel, Roadside Baptist Church, Rishworth, Roomfield Baptist Church, Todmorden, Salendine Nook Baptist Church, Shore General Baptist Church, Todmorden, Siddal Strict Baptist Church, Sowerby Bridge Baptist Church, Steep Lane Baptist Church, Sowerby, Stone Slack Particular Baptist Church, Heptonstall, Trinity Road Baptist Church, Halifax, Upper Edge Baptist Church, Elland, Vale Baptist Church, Todmorden, Wainsgate Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, Wellington Road Baptist Church, Todmorden, West Vale Baptist Chapel, Zion Particular Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge and Zion Strict Baptist Church, Siddal

Bar
When the element bar is used in place names, this may indicate that a toll-gate was nearby.

Some local examples include: Birk's Lane End Bar, Clifton Common Bar, Derby Bar, Ganny Bar, Brighouse, Machpelah Bar, Hebden Bridge, Mayroyd Bar, Hebden Bridge, Old Lane Chain Bar toll-gate and Pecket Bar, Pecket Well

Barbe
A tall, pleated collar worn by nuns and widows

Barge
Any of a number of vessels used for canal or river traffic, whose beam is approximately twice that of a narrow boat

See Mersey flat and Tom Pudding barge

Baring
An operation in stone quarrying in which a bed of stone is exposed by removing the overlying soil or strata

Barleycorn
A unit of length equal to the length of a grain of barley. Approximately one-third of an inch.

See Inch

Baron & feme
A legal term referring to the idea that a man and wife were considered to be one person, and a woman's property became her husband's upon marriage.

See Feme

Barony
Land granted directly from the king

Barrel
A wooden cask, and a unit of 36 gallons.

Barrels and casks are made by a cooper

Barton
A farm, especially one attached to a monastery or religious house.

A bartoner was a farmer.

See Burton

Base-born
Aka Base. A word used to denote an illegitimate child

Basket arch
Aka basket-handled arch. A flattened arch

Basket-making industry
Baskets were widely used for furniture, storage and transport. In the 18th/19th century, basket-making was carried out on the Calder at Elland where the willow used in the work grew.

See The Basket-Maker's Shop Shibden Hall

Basset
The edge of an outcrop or a coal seam when it appears at the surface

Bastard
A word used to denote an illegitimate child.

The term bastardy was used from the 16th century onwards in England

Bastardy bond
Aka Filiation order.

When the Overseer of the Poor identified the father of an illegitimate child, he would issue an agreement between the father and the parish to pay costs relating to the child – the money was called a bond of indemnification.

A maintenance order made on the birth of the child required the father to pay a named sum – typically around £40, or a smaller amount to cover the costs of the birth and a weekly amount for the child's maintenance until the child was 14 years old.

A labourer would have a smaller sum fixed say 2/- a week, and a master or farmer up to 3/6d.

If the father absconded, a bastardy warrant was issued to track him down and force him to pay towards the support of the child

Baths

Battering
The process of raising the pile of woven pile fabrics.

See H. Lister

Batting
Cleaning raw cotton – removing the seeds, leaves, stalks and other impurities – and untangle the fibres by batting with hazel, holly and other wooden sticks. The cotton was laid on a mesh to allow the debris to fall through. The process was mechanised with the introduction of the cotton gin.

See Ginning and Scutching

Battle of Britain
World War II campaign by the German Luftwaffe against Britain in July-October 1940

Battle of Hill 60
During World War I, there were 2 battles with this name:

  1. The Western Front, south of Ypres: [17th April 1915-22nd April 1915]
  2. At the Battle of Gallipoli: [21st August 1915-29th August 1915]

Battle of the Somme
A major battle of World War I in July 1916.

See Thiepval Memorial Cemetery, Somme, France

Battles & Wars

Bauge
A coarse fabric used as a floor covering

Bawdy Court
See Ecclesiastical court

Bay
An external division of a house which lies beneath a gable. Thus, a 3-bay house has three projecting units joined to the main body, in an E-plan. A 2-bay house may be an in F-plan. One of the bays is often the porch.

A bay is typically 12 ft to 15 ft in length, but may be as little as 9 ft.

The word is also used for the internal parts of a timber-framed building

Bay
Aka Bays, Baize. A light, coarse, napped cotton or woollen cloth woven as a mixture of combed worsted warp and carded woollen weft was popular in Lancashire around 1600, and came to Yorkshire later.

Much of the cloth was produced in East Anglia, notably Sudbury and Colchester, Essex as a part of the New Draperies scheme, and was made using wool from Leicester.

A baymaker was someone who produced such cloth

Bays & says
A general term for bay and say

Beacon
Any one of a network of beacons which spread news and warnings across the country in the time of Elizabeth I. The chain of beacons is primarily associated with the anticipated arrival of the Spanish Armada.

The Halifax beacon stood on Beacon Hill. In 1872, the pan fell, but it was re-erected for the late Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The reconstruction is still used for special occasions

Beadle
A parish or ward officer with a range of duties: administering the poor law, summoning parishioners to vestry meetings, whipping vagrants, keeping children in order, and town crier.

The beadle may also be an assistant to the reeve. Some parishes also hired them to run the workhouse

Beam
A long wooden cylinder on which lengths of warp threads are wound in parallel rows before the process of sizing

Bear-baiting
Along with bull-baiting, cock-fighting, hare-coursing and rabbit-coursing, bear-baiting was popular at markets, fairs and feasts until the early 20th century.

The bear was tied to a post and attacked by bulldogs in order to judge which dog was the bravest. This was banned from the early 19th century. Bears were also trained to dance and perform to music

Beasts of the chase
Animals which were considered suitable for hunting, whether as a sport or for food. Deer were the most prestigious beasts of the chase. Other animals were considered Lesser beasts

The Beaver Club
A dining club founded in 1785 by the fur traders of Montréal, Canada.

Members included:

See North-West Company

Beck
Used in place names, the word means stream.

The element from the Old Norse bekkr

Bedehouse
Also Bede house, Beadhouse. Another name for an almshouse or a workhouse

Bederoll
Also bead roll. A list of people for whom prayers were to be said.

The list was read out in church on Sundays, Christmas and Michaelmas.

See Chantry

Bedford
A fustian cloth made of wool or worsted but worsted is more popular. Also made in cotton, silk and rayon. Both Bedford, England and New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA claim the name. The cloth is used for suitings, coatings, riding breeches, uniforms and upholstery

Bee-bole
A sheltered niche where a straw bee hive could be placed out of the rain. There are examples at

Bee's wine
A ginger-beer made from water, yeast, sugar and ginger

Beech trees
Beech was a favoured wood for the production of spindles and bobbins.

Many beech woods – such as those at Judy Woods – were planted to provide wood for this purpose

Beer
An alcoholic drink made from water and malt – that is, fermented barley or other grain.

In the mediæval period, beer was widely drunk by people of all ages and was safer than the water. It also provided many of the vitamins and carbohydrates in the diet – see Temperance.

Beer was usually made in large batches by the men of the household and by commercial brewers.

Geoffrey Siddall writes

The brewing of beer, has long been thought of as a commodity supplied by large concerns situated many miles away. It has been forgotten that it used to be a job for a normal busy housewife.

Water supply was so variable, and in any urban area, no-one knew where the source was, or where sewage – animal or human – might have been introduced. Consequently, the drinking of beer by all classes and ages became common, purely because the water had to be boiled during the process. The beer made was made in the traditional way, but without the use of hops. The alcohol produced in the fermentation process, gave the beer a rather sweeter taste, more to the palate of women and children. Especially as the small beer given to them was rather weaker. The use of hops, which have a slight disinfectant quality, helped to keep the beer longer, and helped to make it possible to buy commercially germ-free water. This is similar to the way we buy bottled water today, when the supply is suspect. With improved transport, this made possible the rapid growth of breweries.

The brewing of beer by the housewife, was largely discontinued during World War I, but still carried on at isolated farms, particularly where surface water was collected. How important this was, is illustrated by the life and death in Haworth, where the water flowed down through the graveyard before it was collected

See Brewing, Ale, Big beer, Grout, Small beer, Stingo, Stout, Tiplash and Zona beer

Beerhouse
Also beershop and alehouse. A public house which was only allowed to sell beer – but not wines or spirits. Licensing began in 1495, and the Alehouse Act [1552] required all victuallers and alehouse keepers to be licensed by the Justices.

In the 1830s, with the Beerhouses Act, they were promoted as a means of diverting the poor from gin. Some beerhouses had names, such as the Cloggers' Arms, Walsden, whilst others were known simply as the XXX Street beerhouse.

In 1872, there were 42,590 beerhouses in England and Wales, but none in Scotland or Ireland, and there were 3,162 licences to people who sell beer for consumption off the premises.

It was not uncommon for beerhouse-keepers to have another trade or business to supplement their income.

Beerhouses disappeared and were replaced by licensed victuallers.

See Bank Bottom Beerhouses, Halifax, Noah's Ark, Ovenden, Temperance and Wine & Beerhouse Act [1869]

Beerhouse Act [1830]
Aka the Duke of Wellington Act because it was passed when the Duke of Wellington was Prime Minister.

It allowed anyone – on payment of a fee of two guineas to the local excise authorities – to sell beer without a licence, in contrast to a licensed victualler who could sell all types of drink and required a licence from local magistrates.

Beerhouses were promoted as a means of diverting the poor from drinking gin.

This led to a marked increase in the number of public houses – and there were about 30,000 establishments throughout Britain. Some local pubs which opened at this time include Malt Shovel, Brighouse, New Inn, Brighouse and Round House, Brighouse.

The Wine & Beerhouse Act [1869] required beerhouses to apply for a licence from the magistrates.

See Licensing Act [1904], Licensing Hours and Temperance

Beetle
A machine which is used for heightening the lustre of cloth by applying pressure from rollers.

The process is known as beetling

Beggar
In the 16th century, beggars operated widely, and the Poor Laws of 1597-1601 required that they be punished by whipping. About the same time, anyone who was found giving to a beggar at his door, was fined 4 pence.

See Abraham man, Badger, Bang-beggar, Cadger, Couple beggar, Dummerer, Palliard, Ruffler, Soul cakes, Vagrant Acts and Whipping

Behoof
Use, benefit, advantage, profit.

See Behove

Behove
To be incumbent upon, advantageous, necessary, proper.

See Behoof

Belisha beacon
An illuminated orange globe which marked a pedestrian crossing on a road. These were introduced by the Road Traffic Act [1934] by Leslie Hore-Belisha, Minister of Transport. 106 such crossings appeared in Halifax from 1935.

See Zebra crossing

Bell man

Bell Pit
A simple and early method of mining coal or iron ore.

A small mine had a narrow vertical shaft sunk down into the seam. This opened out into a small chamber where the mining activity took place, gradually extending outwards and increasing the size of the chamber.

The coal/iron ore and the workers were carried to the surface by means of a basket, or a ladder. Candles or lamps were used for illumination.

The pits often flooded because there was no drainage system.

When the mine was exhausted, or the roof had become unsafe, the pit was abandoned. The mines were then filled in. As the back-fill compacted, this often resulted in a small shallow basin many of which are still visible at the surface. Some examples can be seen in the photographs here.

A common way of filling in the shafts was to put a tree trunk down the shaft. As the wood decays, this may make the surface pit unsafe.

The disused pits were then used for tanning. There are many oak trees in the vicinity at Clifton.

There are many examples in the Clifton area, including those in Whitaker Pit Woods, and in Judy Woods.

Belt race
Aka belt alley, rope race. A shaft or area housing the belts which transferred the power from the main engine house to drive the machines on the individual floors of a mill

Bench-Ends
The end of a pew or choir stalls. These are often elaborately carved

Benchmark
A mark chiselled into a stone structure for use by surveyors in assessing the elevation / altitude of a feature for the purpose of surveying

Beneficiary
A person who inherits from a will or under intestacy laws

Benefit of clergy
In mediæval times, a member of the clergy could not be condemned to death for his first capital offence – this was the benefit of clergy. Instead, he was branded on the hand or thumb – M for murder, T for theft. He could, however, be executed if convicted of a second offence.

Later, the benefit was extended to anyone who could read. The test passage was frequently the 1st verse of Psalm 51 (psalm 50 in the Vulgate version):

Have mercy upon me, oh God, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions
and this was known as the neck verse. Many criminals learned the passage by heart whilst in jail and were able to read the passage when tried. The test was abolished in 1705, and the benefit in 1827.

See Thomas Pilkington and Robert Pilkington

Benevolent society
These were set up for mutual support. They were regarded as secret societies by some religious groups, and members of some churches were forbidden to join such societies.

See Friendly Society

Bent
Used in place names – such as Bentley and Bentley Royd – the element may mean a high pasture or shelved land, or it may come from the Old English word beonet for bent-grass meaning where bent grass grows

Bequeath
To leave or give money or property – to another person or organisation – in a will. The money or property is the bequest or legacy

Bequest
Aka Legacy. Money or property which is bequeathed in a will – such as Frances Grantham's Bequest

Bercary
A mediæval sheep farm.

Compare with Vaccary

Berewick
An outlying hamlet, settlement, area or division of a mediæval manor. The berewick was taxed as a part of the manor.

The name originally meant a barley farm or corn farm.

See Domesday Book

Bible Christians
A Methodist group formed in Cornwall by William O'Bryan in 1815.

In 1907, the the Methodist New Connexion, the Methodist Free Church, and the Bible Christians amalgamated to form the United Methodist Church

Biblia pauperum
The Poor man's bible was a term for church wall-paintings which were an aid to worship at a time when the mediæval congregations were largely illiterate

Biblical names

Bicycles

Big beer
Aka Ale. Stronger beer which was brewed after hops were introduced.

See Small beer

Big cats
There have been several reports of black cats and puma-like animals in the district. Some of these are recorded in the Calendar of Local Events

Bigamy
Until 1937, divorce was expensive. This resulted in many cases of bigamy. Bigamy was – and still is – illegal

Bilberry
The plant – vaccinum myrtillus – grows on most moors, woods and hills in the district, where it thrives in the damp acid soil. It is a small shrub, about 12 inches tall with bright green leaves which resemble the myrtle, hence the Latin name. Gathering the sweet, blue-black bilberries – aka blueberries – in late summer is a popular pastime, and these were used for making jams, tarts and pies

Bill
A proposal for a law which is to be considered by Parliament.

See Reform Bill

Bill of mortality
A report of the statistics of incidence of the plague.

During the plague, old women – known as Seekers of the Dead were employed to diagnose cases of the plague by inspecting the victims, and to count the dead in order to compile the bills of mortality. They were paid – typically 3d to 4d – for each corpse

Bill of Rights [1689]
Asserts that the sovereign could not suspend Parliament, raise taxes without the approval of Parliament, or maintain a standing army in peace-time, and that no Catholic may become sovereign. The sovereign was able to appoint peers to the House of Lords, and to dissolve the House of Commons. In return, Parliament granted the royal family an annual payment known as the civil list

Billeting
A local name for knur & spell

Billets
A local name for knur & spell

Billiards
Popular in the 19th/20th century, the game originated in France. By the 1840s, a version known as English Billiards appeared. In 1885, the Billiards Association was formed and the game became popular. By 1900, Snooker's Pool – later snooker – had evolved.

The Arcade Royale was a popular place for playing billiards.

See T. Barnes, Billiard Rooms, Halifax, Black Cat Billiard Hall, Todmorden, Ceylon Billiard Hall, Haley Hill Billiard Club, Halifax, Fred Heys & Son Limited, James Richardson and Todmorden Orme Billiard League Shield

Billion Graves
A website with photographs of graves in graveyards & cemeteries in all parts of the world

Billy
A machine which remove slub from the slivers produced by carding.

The name was also used for a form of spinning jenny

Bing
A unit of volume which is used for measuring crushed ore

Biographies
The links here give details of some historical figures, Kings and Queens, Prime Ministers and Politicians, who – although not directly connected with the Calderdale district – are mentioned in some of the entries here

Birch
A punishment in which the offender was beating with a bunch of birch twigs.

This was also used in schools.

This was made illegal in 1948

Birdcage
Used in place names – such as Birdcage Walk, Todmorden, Birdcage, Godley, and Birdcage, Skircoat - the element may suggest a link with falconry

Birds-eye
A type of worsted, cotton or linen cloth, often with a design featuring a small lozenge. It has small lozenge-shaped figures with a dot in the centre of each, suggesting the eye of a bird. The cloth is used for fine quality suiting

These were first produced of the witch loom and dobbie loom

Birth control
Herbal mixtures and other potions have long been used to reduce sex drive and induce abortion. Male contraceptives, made of animal gut, were used from the 16th century, primarily to avoid contraction of syphilis and other venereal diseases. Birth control techniques were introduced in the early 19th century.

For childless couples, the Edinburgh physician, Dr James Graham, offered a night on his Celestial Bed for £500 in 1781. In 1921, Marie Stopes opened her first clinic in Holloway, London

Births & Deaths Registration Act [1836]
This and the Marriage Act [1836] established the system of civil registration

Bishop's transcript
Abbr bs. Aka Parish Register Transcripts.

From 1598 until around 1850 – except for the Commonwealth period – an annual copy of the parish register which was sent by the incumbent to the diocesan Bishop. They were usually submitted at Easter.

In many cases, the actual register is lost, but the transcript has survived.

Marriage returns ceased after the introduction of civil registration in 1837.

Many of these are held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives

Black
Or Blake.

Ogden suggests that this element, used in place names, comes from the Celtic bealach meaning a pass or an entrance from one district to another – or, more obviously, the colour black

Black Bane
In the 17th century, some 60,000 cattle died in a European pandemic known as the Black Bane, thought to have been a strain of anthrax.

The fifth plague of Egypt – the murrain of beasts – may also have been a strain of anthrax

Black Death
A virulent outbreak of what was probably bubonic plague spread from central Asia, to the Far East, across India, Asia Minor, Europe and reached England in 1348

Black lead
In the days when fires, kitchen ranges, grates and other household objects were made of cast-iron, it was customary to polish these with a graphite compound – known as black lead. The task of black-leading was a familiar house-keeping task.

Zebo was one of the products used for black-leading.

See Blacking

Black lung
A disease caused by the inhalation of coal dust

Blacking
A liquid for polishing boots and shoes, and cast-iron

See Black lead

Bladder in the throat
See Diphtheria

Blake
Like the element black, this may mean a pass or an entrance or the colour black

Blason populaire
A chant between rivals

Blasted
An illness believed to be caused by a witch's curse

Bleaching
Cotton was bleached by fixing the cloth to a tenter and wetting it with buttermilk or other mild acid. The cloth was often treated in this way for up to six months.

In 1727, a method of bleaching linen with kelp was introduced in Scotland.

In 1746, John Roebuck invented a process for manufacturing sulphuric acid which was used to bleach textiles. As cloth production increased, there was more demand for bleaching. Bleaching works needed water for the process and were built near streams and rivers.

In the 1790s, a Glasgow chemist – Charles Tennant – produced bleaching powder by mixing salt and sulphuric acid, to produce chlorine, and then mixing this with burned limestone, to produce bleaching powder – Calcium Hypochlorite.

The process was also known as souring.

See Washing and Whitster

Bleak House
When a new railway line was built close to an existing house, the house was often renamed Bleak House to reflect the austere outlook

See Bleak House, Lightcliffe

Bleeding
Bleeding or bloodletting was achieved by applying leeches to the body – typically the foot or the heel – and was believed to be a remedy for symptoms of tuberculosis, fever, drowsiness, and fits

Blending
A stage in cloth-making when the raw wools – of various qualities and colours – are mixed together

Blind back house
A house with windows and doors on one side only, the other three sides were blind. Some houses were built on a slope, with no doors or windows on the side facing uphill, others were built around the edges of a yard or a garden, their fronts facing each other. In time, these evolved into back-to-back housing

Blind back terrace
Housing comprising a terrace of houses with windows and doors on one side only.

These were often built on a slope, with no doors or windows on the side facing uphill

Blind house
A lockup with no windows

Blodwite
See Angwite

Bloom
Slag deposit consisting of a spongy form of the metal which is produced as iron is smelted in a simple bloomery furnace.

See Iron-working

Bloomery
A simple furnace in which a stream of air – produced by hand-operated bellows – was blown through a heated mass of crushed ore and charcoal, and then – after several hours – the whole was left to cool and broken open to retrieve the solid lump of iron or bloom

Boar's head
A spectacular dish eaten from the Middle Ages until the early 17th century. The animal's head was decorated and garlanded and had an orange in its mouth, and was brought into the dining hall with great ceremony

Board of Guardians
Abbr: PLG.

The Poor Law Guardians controlled the Poor Law Unions implemented after the Poor Law Amendment Act [1834].

See Overseer of the Poor

Board of Health

Bob
Popular name for the shilling before decimalisation

Bobbin
Aka Cheese. A large, cylindrical, wooden spool – with a central hole for mounting on the spindle – which holds the warp during mechanical spinning and weaving. There were various sizes and capacities of bobbin. They were often made of beech wood.

A bobbin-boy collected and cleaned the empty bobbins from the spinning and weaving machines, and delivered the full bobbins.

There were many local bobbin-manufacturers, notably at the western end of the district, including James Boothroyd, Butterworth's Bobbin Works, Todmorden, Cote Hill Bobbin Mill, John Eastwood, Joseph Gartside, Jonas Hardy, Helliwell & Sons, Holme End Bobbin Mill, Cragg Vale, Joseph Pickard & Company, Vale Bobbin Mill, Cornholme, Cornholme Bobbin Mill, Wilson's Bobbin Mill, Todmorden, Wilson Brothers Bobbin Company Limited and Wilson's

See Pirn, Sutcliffe & Baines, Turner and Joshua Henry Wilson

Bodle
A small Scottish coin of the 17th century. It was equivalent to one sixth of an English penny. It was named after Bothwell, a master of the mint. The form bodwell is also encountered

Bodyguard
The mediæval obligation to provide a guard for the king as he passed through a district

Boer Wars
[1880-1902] A number of conflicts between Britain and the English and Dutch settlers in South Africa.

Significant were

  • The First Boer War / First South African War / Transvaal War [1880-1881]
  • The Second Boer War / Second South African War [1899-1902]

Men who are recorded as having fought in the Wars included:

See Sir George Herbert Farrar, Jameson Raid, King's South Africa Medal, John Lister, People who died in War, QSA, Queen's South Africa Medal, South African Wars, Spion Cop, Sowerby Bridge and West View Park War Memorial

Boggart
Used in place names this usually means an imp, a spirit, the Devil.

It was said to have various manifestations, such as a headless man or a fearsome dog.

See Cat stone, Dobby and Hob

Bolt
A unit of length used for cloth. It was equivalent to 32 ells, 40 yards

Bolting-house
A place where bran is bolted = sifted from flour

Bombazett
Aka Plain backs.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1813

Bombazine
A type of twilled cloth of silk, later of worsted, silk and cotton. Often made in black, it was frequently worn for mourning. The name comes from the Latin bombycinum which means silk.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1819

Bond of indemnification
See Bastardy bond

Bondage
The tenure or service of a serf, serfdom.

See Bondman

Bondhold land
Land held by bondmen or freemen, and controlled by the lord of the manor and subject to rents, tenure and obligations laid down by the lord

Boned
A 19th century slang term for stolen

Boniface
An inn-keeper

Bookland
An Old English name for land granted by a written title deed

Books & Sources
The Foldout lists some of the books, films and other resources which will be of interest to anyone studying local history and family history in Calderdale

Boonwork
Voluntary work – later compulsory – performed for a fixed number of days per week by dependent peasants as a favour or boon to the lord of the manor. Typically, this included ploughing, reaping, harvesting and haymaking. Paid workers were called famuli

Booth
Used in names – such as Surname Boothroyd, Boothtown and Booth – the word is from the Norse and means a hut, and may be specifically used for a temporary shelter to tend summer pastures.

See also Scholes

Boots
Someone who cleans shoes in a large house or a hotel

Bordar
A small-holder, usually one who worked on assarted land on the outskirts of a village. They were different from the servi and villani, being of a less servile condition, having a bord or cottage with a small parcel of land allowed them on condition that they supplied the Lord with poultry and eggs and other small provisions for his board or entertainment. (There is a record from one village in the south of England where they paid with a bear and six dogs with which to bait it).

They were later known as Husbandmen

Bordarius
Plural: Bordarii. Smallholders who had little personal freedom and who were servile tenants to the lord of the manor

Borough-English
Aka Ultimogeniture

Borthwick Institute for Archives
The Institute holds a large number of archives – including Parish Register Transcripts - on the Heslington Campus of the University of York

Bote
The right of the tenants of a manor to collect wood from common land for building, for making tools, and for fuel.

See Firebote, Haybote and Housebote

Bottling
A 19th century electoral practice in which, on the day of an election, voters
who liked to something to drink

were enticed into pubs and plied with drink until they were incapable. Those who wavered were sent away until the election was over

Bottom
This element is used in several local place names and surnames – such as Bottomley, Longbottom and Ramsbottom - and comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for an alluvial valley or low-lying land.

The spelling often becomes botham in surnames

Boult
To sift through a coarse cloth. A method which was used to separate flour and bran. Bread made from boulted flour was known as white bread

Boundary Markers

Bovate
A unit of arable land area equal to one eighth of a carucate. This was used within Danelaw. The land lay in open fields and included rights to common pasture and meadow.

Also called oxgang, oxgate, and oxland, it was originally as much land as an ox could plough in a year, and was equivalent to 10-18 acres.

The term was derived from the Latin word bo [an ox].

See Domesday Book

Bowling alley
See Halifax Bowl

Box boat
A narrow boat used on the Bridgewater Canal in the 1760s

See Narrow boat

Box Pews
An enclosed pew, usually for a single family.

High enclosed pews – often with doors to keep out the draughts and a small fireplace to warm the worshippers – were introduced in the 18th century and often filled the nave.

A pew-opener opened the doors to the pews

Boys' Brigade
There were several local Boys' Brigade, including

See Boy Scout

Bracken
Burnt bracken produced potash which was used as a detergent by the fuller to clean the material during cloth-making.

Used in place names, the word may imply that wool was processed nearby

Bracket Clock
A 17th century clock driven by weights. It had to be set high up on a bracket because of the length of the cords holding the weights

The Bradford Observer
Local newspaper. First published 1834.

Recorded in the 1850s and 1881

In 1842, the title was changed to The Bradford Observer and Halifax, Huddersfield and Keighley Reporter

Branwell had some of his poetry published here [1842]

Bradford, Siege of
The Royalists assaulted Bradford in December 1642, during the Civil War.

After his victory at the Battle of Adwalton Moor, the Earl of Newcastle laid siege to Bradford. On 3rd July 1643, Bradford fell to the Royalists Sir Francis Mackworth marched his forces towards Halifax.

See Isaac Baume

Brain fever
The name given to congestion and inflammation of the brain and its membranes, producing delirium tremens

Branding
A form of punishment in which the accused might have a letter or symbol burned on to his body.

See Benefit of Clergy, F, M, P, R, T and V

Brandy
In the 18th century, illegal brandy was produced locally – notably in the Greetland district.

See Parliamentary brandy and The Rat

Brass band
A group of musicians playing brass instruments. Drums and other percussion are often included.

See Grantham Park, Rastrick

Bread
From the mediæval period, people of all classes ate bread.

There were several different sorts: Carter's bread, Ravel, Yeoman's bread, Marchet, White bread.

See Bread Riots

Bread Riots
A series of corn riots in Halifax in 1782

Breadfleak
A wooden frame with cords or strings which was hung over the fireplace to dry havercake

Breastbeam
A part of a loom

Breck
A type of assart, a cleared and enclosed area of forest land. The name comes from the idea that the land is broken from the uncultivated land

Bred
The element bred or bride is used in local names – such Bride Stones – and may be derived from British breiad, Gaelic braidh / bearradh, Icelandic bryddr, and Danish bred all of which mean a strip of land at the top of a mountain.

Of course, the Celtic name Brigit is always a contender in such cases!

Bressumer
A lintel, beam, or summer, which spans an opening and supports all or part of the front of a building, a fireplace, a jetty or other part of a structure. The word is a corruption of breastsummer

Breweries & Brewers

Brick
Historically, most local buildings were built in stone, or in wood and later encased in stone.

Later, some notable buildings were constructed in brick, including

See Brickworks and Halifax is made of Wax

Brickworks
See Beacon Brick Works, Halifax, Brick, Brooks & Pickup Brickworks, Todmorden, Catholes Brick Works, Todmorden, Charlestown Road Brick & Tile Works, Halifax, Clay working, Dulesgate Brick Works, Todmorden, Grimscar Brickworks, Halifax Glazed Brick Works, Holmfield Brick Works, Howcans Brick Works, Holmfield, Mytholme Brick Works, Shibden, Sharneyford Brick Works, Todmorden, Shibden Hall Brickworks, Siddal Brickworks, Storr Hill Brickworks, Storth Fire Clay & Brick Works, Elland, Tong Royd Fire Brick & Clay Works, Elland and White Gate Brickworks, Siddal

Bridewell
A general name for the county jail, or any house of correction.

The name was derived from St Bridget's Well in London, the site of a prison until 1869.

A Bridewell-keeper was the jailer who was in charge of a lockup or jail

Bridge money
A fee which was paid for the maintenance of bridges in a township.

There were several inns in the district where this was collected

See Pontage

Bridges, Book of
A document describing all bridges in the County, published in 1752

Bridleway
A right of way for the public on foot, riding or leading a horse or on a bicycle.

See Pennine Bridleway

Bright's disease
A kidney disease

Brilliantine
A light lustrous cotton and worsted fabric.

See Mohair

Brimstone
Sulphur.

A mixture of brimstone and treacle was used to treat the constipated child

British Association of Local History

British Currency
The currency was the pound (£) which was divided into 20 shillings. The shilling was divided into 12 pence. The penny was divided into 4 farthings.

After decimalisation in 1971, the pound was divided into 100 pence.

The Foldout gives a conversion table for translating pre-decimalisation amounts into the equivalent modern form

British Expeditionary Force
BEF.

Kaiser Wilhelm II said he would

walk over [the] contemptible little army

and they were later known as the Old Contemptibles.

See Pals Battalion and World War I

British Prime Ministers

British Railways
Formed on 1st December 1948 when the smaller railway companies were nationalised. In 19??, it became British Rail. In 19??, the company was privatised and fragmented into smaller companies

British Restaurant
Originally called Community Feeding Centres. A public restaurant established by the Ministry of Food during World War II.

Heptonstall British Restaurant was one of the first local British restaurants to open. Some other examples were Brighouse British Restaurant, Hebden Bridge British Restaurant, Luddendenfoot British Restaurant, Mytholmroyd British Restaurant, Rastrick British Restaurant and Todmorden British Restaurant

See National Kitchen

British Victory Medal
A campaign medal awarded for service in World War I.

See Pip, Squeak & Wilfred

British War Medal
A campaign medal awarded for service in World War I.

See Pip, Squeak & Wilfred

Broad
Coin worth £1 introduced in 1656 during the Commonwealth

Broad cloth
Aka Whole Cloth. A piece of fine woollen cloth woven on a broad loom and measuring 24 yards by 1¾ yards. It is in the same group of fabrics as kersey, beaver cloth, melton.

The term is also used for a fine, smooth surfaced cloth of cotton or silk.

The introduction of the flying shuttle allowed a weaver to produce cloth which was wider than his own arm-span.

Compare this with narrow cloth

Broad loom
A wide loom for weaving broad cloth which required two men to throw the bobbin to and fro.

The introduction of the flying shuttle allowed a single weaver to produce cloth which was wider than his own arm-span

Broadside
A printed copy of a popular ballad. Published from the 16th century

Brock
The element – used in place names such as Brockholes and Brock Top Farm, Mount Tabor - is derived from the Celtic/Old English/Middle English name for a badger and has been used for places where the animals and/or their setts have been found

Brodery
An old form of the word embroidery

Bronze Age

Brown
Ogden suggests that this element, used in place names, comes from the Celtic bron, meaning a hill slope

Brownist
Protestant followers of Robert Browne who seceded from the Church of England and established a church on Independent Congregational principles [1580]

Brush Makers

Brussels carpet
A type of carpet with a level loop where the wool is not exposed as pile but is carried in a dense backing. The colours are drawn to the surface as needed for the pattern, and up to five colours can be used in a single row. Other colours can be added to the pattern by alternating – or planting – the colours in the rows. The carpets were first woven in Belgium in the early 18th century, and, by the late 18th century, Kidderminster was the main centre of production.

See George Collier, John Crossley Carpets Limited, Dean Clough D Mill and Wilton

Bryne
Used in place names – such as Brianscholes – the element is derived from the Norse and means an area cleared by burning

Bubonic plague
The plague is caused by bacteria transmitted by fleas which lived on black rats and other rodents.

See Pneumonic plague

Buckby can
A painted metal can used on the canal. So called because they were originally sold beside Buckby Lock.

See Roses & castles

Buildings at Risk
English Heritage maintains a Buildings At Risk Register which records those buildings which are in poor condition. Locally, these include

Bull-baiting
Along with bear-baiting, cock-fighting, hare-coursing and rabbit-coursing, bull-baiting was popular at markets, fairs and feasts until the early 20th century.

This was banned from the early 19th century.

See Blackshawhead Chapel

Bullace
Used in place names – such as Bullace Trees, Triangle - the element derives from bolace [a wild plum]

Bump
To carry pieces of cloth to market. A bump coach was a stage-coach used by domestic manufacturers to take their pieces to market

Bunch
A measure of yarn equivalent to a number of hanks.

The number varies for different materials:

  • A worsted bunch and a cotton bunch are each equivalent to 6 hanks
  • A wool bunch is equivalent to 4 hanks

Bunt
Aka Fadge. A bundle of cloth

Burgage
Holding land – typically a house with or without land – in a town in return for an annual rent to the landlord

Burgess
An inhabitant of a town or borough, usually with full rights. Also, a person who was elected to represent a borough in Parliament

Burh
Also Borough. An Old English defended farm or defended settlement. From the 9th century, it came to mean an urban – often fortified – settlement

Burial Act [1853]
Empowered local authorities to open their own public cemeteries. These gradually replaced many church graveyards, which had often become overcrowded and were, on occasion, a health hazard. Privately owned cemeteries were also opened during the 19th century

Burial Club
See Funeral club

Buried in Wool
Or Buried in Woollen.

In order to encourage and support the home woollen trade, Charles II passed a law in 1665 requiring that – after 25th March 1666 – the dead be buried in woollen shrouds:

[no corpse] shall be buried in any shirt, shift, sheet or shroud or anything whatever made or mingled with flax, hemp, silk, hair, gold or silver or in any stuff other than what is made of sheep's wool only
From 1679, an affidavit had to be made to confirm this; a penalty of £5 was liable if the law was ignored. The undertaker had to issue a certificate confirming the burial. The burials were recorded in woollen registers, possibly by the notation
buried affid

A Buried in Woollens register was kept in some parishes.

If anyone was reported to have been buried in linen, the £5 was shared equally between the informer and the poor of the community – see Jeremiah Rossendale.

Anyone who died of the plague was exempt from this.

A body could be buried naked if the family could not afford a woollen shroud.

The Act fell into disuse after 1695, and was repealed in 1814

Burl
A hair, knot or lump in wool or cloth.

The job of burling is to remove these imperfections, and burling and mending was a common job description.

See Slub

Burling
Aka Burling and mending. The task of removing knots, defects and minor imperfections from a piece of cloth.

The manual task was done by a burler.

See Perching and Slubbing

Burton
Aka Barton. Element used in place names and means a fortified Old English farmstead, or fortified manor

Buses & trams: Brighouse

Buses & Trams: Elland & West Vale

Buses & trams: Halifax

Buses & trams: Hebden Bridge

Buses & trams: Sowerby Bridge

Buses & trams: Todmorden

Bushel
A unit of capacity and volume equal to 8 gallons = 4 pecks = 36·3686 litres. This is used for measuring dry goods, such as hay and grain.

A ring is 4 bushels.

See Chaldron, Quarter and Strike

Butt
Aka Butts. A mound – typically of earth – which was used for archery practice.

The element in used in several local placenames, such as Butts Green, Luddendenfoot, Butts Green, Rishworth, Butts Lane, Todmorden, Butts, Mytholmroyd, Butts, Southowram, Kell Butts, Halifax and Stony Butts Lane, Barkisland

Butt
Also a piece of land which – because of the shape of the field – is of irregular shape or non-standard length. The element is used in place names, such as Lumbutts.

See Field-names

Butt
In the open-field system, a piece of land made up of two selions which met at a right-angle.

Also a piece of land which – because of the shape of the field – is of irregular shape or non-standard length. The element is used in place names, such as Lumbutts.

See Field-names

Butt
A unit of 110 gallons

Butty boat
A boat – often without a motor – which works with another boat

By
Used in place names – such as Fixby – the element is of Norse origin and means town or village.

Almost all British -by places lie in the Danelaw

Byblow
A word used to denote an Illegitimate child

Bylaw
Originally, a regulation made by open-field villagers to control cultivation and grazing.

Later, it was an enactment made by a local authority and having effect only within the area controlled by that authority.

The by part of the word is the Norse element by

Byre
A building to house animals, a shippon

Byrehmley
A meadow called Byrehmley Kerr is mentioned in 1301.

Ogden writes that the name is derived from Old English elements bur [a cottage], ham [an enclosure], and ley [meadow], the whole meaning cottage meadow.

The element is used in the place name Burlees.

See Carr

Byssinosis
An industrial disease of the lungs caused by the inhalation of cotton dust over a long period of time.

The word comes from the Latin byssus, cotton.

See Carder's cough

Byway Open to All Traffic
A public right of way for all users but one which is mostly used like a bridleway


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© Malcolm Bull 2017 / calderdale@aol.com
Revised 17:43 on 19th October 2017 / b113_b / 119