A glossary of words used in the neighbourhood of Sheffield/Local Names

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I have thought it desirable to introduce into the glossary a selection of place-names or field-names found within the defined district. These have been obtained from ordnance and other maps, from manuscript surveys and printed books, and from information communicated to me orally. A few of the place-names may be found to be just outside the district.[1] It was not in all cases evident from the map or book whether a particular field or place was within or without the boundary of a particular township. It will, however, be found that the prescribed limits have been rarely or slightly overpassed.

The place-names being a part of the language, in however changed or corrupted a form, once spoken in this district, it seemed desirable to include a selection of them, more especially as, in not a few cases, the spoken dialect and the place-names help to explain each other. I have in every instance endeavoured to obtain the oldest spellings of the words, but there are in existence court rolls, deeds, and other ancient and unpublished documents in the muniment rooms of noblemen and gentlemen possessing property in the neighbourhood, which, from the limited time at my disposal, I have not been able to peruse. Some day further research may add considerably to the knowledge obtainable on this subject, and older spellings or better information may refute some of the etymologies which have been attempted in this work. There is, however one valuable manuscript which I have read for the glossary, and from which I have extracted every place-name the meaning of which was not sufficiently obvious[2] or which possessed neither linguistic nor historical interest. There are, I am told, in existence several copies of a survey dated 1637, made by one John Harrison, surveyor, of the estates in and near Sheffield belonging to the Earl of Arundel. One of these belongs to the Duke of Norfolk, but I do not know in whose custody the other copies are. Another of these MSS. belongs to Mr. J. D. Leader, F.S.A., who kindly lent it to me in order that I might extract therefrom the numerous field-names and quotations which will be found in the glossary. Mr. Leader's MS. is a well-preserved document. It is written in several contemporary hand-writings; indeed, several copies would appear to have been written at one time and probably from dictation. As I have only seen Mr. Leader's copy I have not been able to compare the spellings which, it is probable, may differ somewhat in the various MSS. It is evident that there are a few clerical errors in Mr. Leader's copy. The MS. which I have perused is a folio measuring 8 inches by 12, bound in the original vellum or parchment wrapper. It contains 157 leaves of paper, and is fully written on with the exception of an occasional blank leaf to mark the territorial divisions. The title of the MS. is as follows:—

An Exact & perfect Survey & view of the Mannor of Sheffield, with the Mannrs of Cowley & Ecclesfield, scituated in the County of Yorke, late parcell of the possessions of the Right Honourable Gilbert Earle of Shrewsbury, & now parcell of the possessions of the Right Honourable Thomas Howard Earle of Arundell & Surrey, prime Earle & Earle Marshall of England, Lord Howard, Lord Mowbray, Lord Seymour, Lord Brusse, Lord Fitzalan, Lord Clune, Lord Oswaldestre, Lord Maltravrs & Graystocke, Knight of the most noble order of the Garter, & one of his Majesties most Honourable Privy Councell, and of the Right Honourable Countisse the Lady Alatheia his wife, one of the daughters and coheires of the said Right Honourable Gilbert Earle of Shrewsbury, had, made, and taken there by the view and particular mensuration of all & every the messuages, lands, & tenements of, within, and belonging to the same. Dated the 29th of September Annoque Domini 1637 Annoque Regni Regis Caroli secundi Anglie &c thirteenth

Per me John Harrison, Supervisorem.

Although Hunter and Eastwood in their respective histories of Sheffield and Ecclesfield have often referred to this survey, they have not made any large use of it. As I am not here dealing with genealogy or with social or economic history, I do not pretend to have exhausted its stores. The survey yields a valuable picture of the condition of the town and neighbourhood of Sheffield in the year 1637. Although a few of the field-names which it contains may have lost their ancient shape, I believe that no such complete record of them has been preserved elsewhere.[3] It will be found in the course of the following pages that not a few of these names have been made to give up their secrets, and that light has consequently been shed on the early condition of this most southern corner of Yorkshire, and the various settlers who, in the morning of our history, inhabited it. I may, for example, draw attention to the uniform way in which Harrison describes the river now called the Sheaf as the Sheath. He calls it by no other name, and it had been so called long before his day. As reference has been previously made to this subject,[4] and as it is also, under the word Sheath, referred to in the glossary, I need not do more than mention it here, only observing that, notwithstanding the perverse way in which careless scribes and copyists have altered the name both of the town and river, its true form, and therefore its true meaning, has been well and faithfully preserved in the Survey.

A rental of 1624 is sometimes referred to in the glossary. By this is meant a document in the Sheffield Free Library (Reference Department) the title of which is: 'Sheffeld Towne. A Rentall of all the Renttes belonging to the Right Honble Thomas Earle of Arundell & Surrey & William Earle of Pembroche, in the collection of Stephen Bright & Peter Perins hoc' (?) Anno—1624.'

Field-names in Ecclesall are mentioned with the date of 1807. These have been taken from the index of a survey made in that year by Mr. Fairbank.

After the glossary had been printed to the letter R, Mr. Thomas Hurst, Chief Librarian of the Sheffield Public Libraries, purchased for the central library a thick folio volume containing the records of the Great Court Baron of the manor of Holmesfield, in the parish of Dronfield, from the year 1588 to 1799. I at once read this manuscript, and extracts will be found from it from the letter S to the end of the alphabet and also in the Addenda. The volume is, upon the whole, well preserved, but it has been rebound, apparently about the end of the last century, and there seem to be a few missing leaves not bound up.

These records present a faithful and deeply interesting picture of old English life. We may see in them the institutions and customs of a village community as they then existed, and as they must have existed at a period far anterior to the year 1588. The community was divided into quarters, and not, as in Bradfield and Ecclesfield, into four birelaws.[5] Each of these quarters had its own duties and obligations to perform. It is amusing to read of the four sides of the village pinfold being repaired by the four quarters of the community. Fanshawgate quarter had to repair one side, Horsleygate quarter another side, and so on. The greatest care is taken of the roads, commons, watercourses, and fences. Scabbed sheep or horses are not allowed to stray upon the common pastures 'until they be fully cleansed of that disease.' Swine have to be ringed or yoked from the 2nd day of November to the 1st of May in the following year, that being the time when the 'ring hedges' were not made, and when, by being allowed to stray, they would injure the newly-sown or growing crops.[6] The 'out hedges' or 'ring hedges,' that is the hedges adjoining the commons or lanes, are to be duly repaired before the 1st day of May and kept repaired until Michaelmas. The number of cattle or sheep which each copyholder, or tenant of the manor, is allowed to take to the commons depends on the size of his holding. He must not turn out more cattle then he can keep on his holding in he severalty in winter time. Strong restrictions are laid upon the tenants not to cut wood in the lord's demesnes. The tenants are bound, by the ancient custom, to make fences round a part of the demesne land. Each tenant has a prescribed amount of fencing to do, and for this he is duly rewarded by the lord with so much bread and ale. The old 'bole works,' or places on the common lands, where, in ancient time, lead was smelted, and not to be dug up or removed. If peat pits are dug upon the moors, the copyholder who digs must 'slit' them to allow the water to escape. The brushwood and trees which overhang the lanes, and which tend to impede traffic, are to be sneatherd (cut) and lopped as every year comes round. No houses are allowed to go out of repair. The duties of the miller are rigidly defined; his toll dishes are to be examined in open court, and the amount of his toll is duly fixed.[7] The copyholders must grind their corn at the manorial mill. The custom respecting dower is curious and interesting. It appears that widows did not take a third of the rents during life, but had specific possession during life of a third part of their late husbands' lands and houses. Such and such rooms in this or that house were allotted to her. She had the right to walk in the orchard as far as a certain plum tree or apple tree. She had the right of using the kitchen so many days a week, or of threshing in the heir's barn when she had occasion. She held a part of the cowhouses, stables, and outbuildings. When she married again, as sometimes happened, this division of house property, or house room, must have been inconvenient both for the heir and the new husband. It is upon these re-marriages that the homagers of the manor are called upon to declare the ancient custom.[8] As the years go on the rolls of the manor are less carefully kept. The old order is dying out. No longer does the steward's clerk copy out the minutes in a beautiful handwriting. There is no steward at all towards the last, but the villagers—or villeins—themselves keep the record, and strive to maintain the customs of their fathers.

For the genealogist these rolls are, it need hardly be said, most useful. They have supplied this glossary with a considerable number of words, sentences illustrating words, and local names, and I have extracted in that way some notices of ancient and very curious customs.

Upon the death of a farmer or yeoman it was, until recent years, the custom in this district for the widow to occupy a distinctly separated portion of her late husband's house. In one case in Norton the widow, an old woman, spent her time in spinning. The room which she occupied, and in which was her bed, hung with homespun linen in blue and white 'checks' or squares. When she was tired of spinning she sat near the fire and smoked her pipe. The spun thread was woven in the adjacent village of Dronfield. In old Derbyshire wills I have several times noticed directions as to the room or rooms in the testator's house which the widow was to occupy. Thus in the will, dated 8th June, 1719, of William Greaves of Rowlee, near Ashopton, yeoman, the testator desires his wife to have the use of all rooms 'below the neither flore of the north side of the house' during her life. It may be mentioned that this will is sealed with a fine impression of the arms of Greaves of Beeley surmounted by a helmet. Probably the testator was the descendant of the William Greaves mentioned under the word Dayne in the glossary.

The late Mr. Hunter lamented that he was able to thrown so little light upon the early history of this district. Much remains to be done. Heaps of documents remain to be perused, and manuscripts are waiting for editors. There are barrows to be explored and other monuments of the ancient dead. To these matters it is plain that I cannot, in this place, do more than briefly refer. But are regards the evidence which language has left to us, it may not be amiss to inquire who and what were the peoples or tribes who once inhabited this border-land of Northumbria and Mercia. On this question the field-names of the district have given testimony, and the evidence which they afford will assist the inquirer in determining the factors that have entered into the composition of the dialect, to say nothing of the larger question of the racial composition of the old inhabitants themselves.

The recent discovery of an urn-burial in the parish of Sheffield has thrown an accidental light upon the early condition of this district, and I here introduce, with some modification, and with some further remarks, an article which I have elsewhere published concerning this discovery.[9]

High up on the hills at Crookes, and near to the place where Mr. Ruskin has established his small museum, the remains of a burial belonging to a period anterior to the Roman invasion have just been found. The discovery was announced in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, the account there given being as follows:—

On Easter Sunday [1887] Mr. Herbert T. Watkinson, of Summer Street, was walking in Cocked Hat Lane, near the Bole Hills, at Crookes, when he noticed in the side of an excavation that had been made for the foundations of some new houses what looked like a drain pipe. Closer examination revealed two rude earthenware urns, one inverted within the other, and the two containing a quantity of calcined bones, some broken fragments of a bronze spear-head or dagger, and a smaller urn pierced on one side with two round holes. The outer urn fell to pieces, but the one inverted within it was recovered whole. It is of a type very common in British burial mounds, and stands 9½ inches high, and measures across the mouth 7¼ inches, while the largest circumference is 26 inches. It is ornamented with the familiar straight and diagonal lines, and rows of dots. The urns lay six or eight inches below the surface, and were surrounded with charcoal. We are glad to hear that this curious relic of our ancient British ancestors will be exhibited in the Weston Park Museum.

The form of the larger urn resembles in general appearance the cinerary urns engraved between pp. 67 and 74 of Canon Greenwell's British Barrows. It is most like the engravings on pp. 70 and 74, though it differs considerably from both of them. The 'smaller urn' above referred to is one of those vessels which, for want of a better name, have been called 'incense cups.' It is of a flattened globular form, and resembles fig. 62 on p. 75 of Canon Greenwell's work. It is, however, quite devoid of any ornamentation. Just above the middle line, where the circumference is greatest, two small holes have been pierced. These holes are close to the base of the interior of the 'incense cup',' like the aperture which opens into the bowl of a tobacco pipe. The outer urn is unfortunately broken into many pieces, but the fragments show that it was ornamented in the same manner as the inner one. Both the urns are of a reddish or salmon colour, and the fragments of the outer urn show that the interior was lined with a darker clay than that of which the exterior is formed. I cannot determine whether two kinds of clay were used, for the difference may have been caused by the application of a greater heat to the interior of the urn or by kindling a fire within it. The 'incense cup' is of a lighter colour and is made of much finer clay. It is quite plain, but neatly and regularly formed. Various opinions have been expressed concerning the use of these so-called incense cups, but only two of these seem worthy of serious mention. One of these two opinions is that they were incense or perfume burners. This, however, as Canon Greenwell says, 'appears to imply a state of refinement to which we can hardly consider the people who used them to have attained.' The better, and probably correct, opinion is that of the Hon. W. Owen Stanley and Mr. Albert Way, who, as Canon Greenwell tells us, seem to lean to the belief that they may have been chafers 'for conveying fire, whether a small quantity of glowing embers or some inflammable substance in which the latent spark might for awhile be retained, such, for instance, as touchwood, fungus, or the like, with which to kindle the funeral fire.'

When I read these lines it occurred to me in a moment that of such a kind were the chafers which we used to make when we were boys. I had forgotten all about it, but I have seen other boys make, and I, following their example, have made chafers of common clay. We used to call them 'touch burners,' for the material burnt in them was touchwood, or, as it is sometimes called, wasp-wood, because wasps use it to make their nests. The manner of making these 'touch-burners' was on this wise. A lump of clay was taken and laid on a flat stone. It was beaten into a round or square block—mostly square—and then hollowed out by means of a knife.[10] Its height was about three inches. A small hole was made near the bottom of the chafer, to blow through, and the fire was generally kept up by taking it in one's hand and running with it against the wind. As soon as the chafer was moulded it used to be baked dry and then filled with touchwood. When we consider the great antiquity of words, and the unchanged forms in which so many of them survive in the folk-speech, there is no difficulty in supposing that the 'touch-burners' were, or are—for they are still made by children in this district—a survival of an ancient mode of carrying or kindling fire. They may have carried the need-fire, or will-fire mentioned on a previous page.[11] There seems to be no doubt that the smaller vessels found inside cinerary urns served some religious purpose. We may be sure that they played an essential part in the last vain tribute paid to the dead. There is an evolution of religion, as of other things. Is not the lamp which burns day and night before the altars of the Roman church a survival or a custom borrowed from a more ancient religion; from a church, so to speak, upon whose altars a sacred fire was burnt unquenchably? If it were so, we can understand why a few small embers or ashes borrowed from that sacred fire were carried in chafers to burial places at some distance from the altar.

Less than a mile and a quarter from the place where the urns were found, and upon the same high ground, is a place called Bell Hagg, adjacent to which is Burnt Stones. In 1637 Bell Hagg was an open common, including Burntstones, and containing about eighty acres. It was one of the moors upon which the owners of toft-steads in the village of Crookes turned their cattle in summer. 'Burnt Stones' and 'Burnt Stanes' are marked on the ordnance survey map as two distinct places adjoining each other. It is strange that the two names should be found together, and the explanation may be that two large fires were kindled, the cattle being driven, according to the ancient rite, between them.

It is, in my opinion, certain that here was the place where bale-fires were formerly made. I do not in any way attempt, as some writers have done, to connect those fires with the worship of Baal, although 'undoubtedly,' says Jacob Grimm, 'Beal must be taken for a divine being, whose worship is likely to have extended beyond the Celtic nations.' (Teut. Myth., i. 614.)

There can be no doubt that the inhabitants of Hallam and Crookes were accustomed to make these mysterious bale-fires in this very place. One of the forms of bale, used in the year 1420, is belle.[12] Moreover, it is easy to understand how in a word of two syllables the old form bæl would be shortened into bell.

I have no doubt that hagg here represents the old Norse hagi, pasturage or common.[13] About a mile to the west is Fox hagg.[14] The village feast of Crookes is still held on the first of May—the day of the triumphal entry of the Summer, and the day on which the festival of Beltein was kept. Let us hear how the Scotch, a little more than a hundred years ago, observed this fest:—

On the first of May, the herdsmen of every village hold their Beltein, a rural sacrifice. They cut a square trench in the ground, leaving the turf in the middle; on that they make a fire of wood, on which they dress a large caudle of eggs, butter, oatmeal, and milk, and bring besides the ingredients of the caudle, plenty of beer and whiskey; for each of the company must contribute something. The rites begin with spilling some of the caudle on the ground, by way of libation: on that every one takes a cake of oatmeal, upon which are raised nine square knobs, each dedicated to some particular being, the supposed preserver of their flocks, or to some particular animal, the destroyer of them; each person then turns his face to the fire, breaks off a knob, and flinging it over his shoulder, says—'This I give to thee! preserve thou my horses! this to thee, preserve my sheep!' After that they use the same ceremony to the noxious animals: 'This I give to thee, O Fox, spare thou my lambs; this to thee O hooded Crow; this to thee O Eagle!' When the ceremony is over, they dine on the caudle, and after the feast is finished, what is left is hid by two persons deputed for that purpose; but on the next Sunday they re-assemble and finish the relies of the first entertainment[15]

A similar account of this ceremony is given by Armstrong. He says: 'In some parts of the Highlands the young folks of a hamlet meet in the moors on the first of May. They cut a table in the green sod, of a round figure, by cutting a trench in the ground of such circumference as to hold the whole company. They then kindle a fire and dress a repast of eggs and milk in the consistence of a custard, &c'.[16]

Other writers[17] have said that these fires were made on carns, or great heaps of stones, and if that is so further light is thrown upon the place-name Burnt Stones. We may see in the adjacent place-names St. Anthony's Hill, St. Anthony's Well, and Stephen Hill, Anthony and Stephen being the tutelary saints of swine and horses, evidence of the worship of the lesser gods who preceded, and under other names were received into, the Christian calendar, and who, in the popular belief, watched over the flocks and herds of men accustomed to invoke their protection.

It is easy to see why the ancient inhabitants of this country first settled in the tops of hills. 'The comparative absence of wood,' says Canon Greenwell, 'was a circumstance which must have materially influenced settlers such as we may consider the early wold-dwellers to have been in their choice of a place of abode. To men who were in possession of no cutting instruments better than axes made of stone, or at best of bronze, the clearing of land from forest trees, and even brushwood, must have presented almost insuperable obstacles. And as in the humblest stages of agricultural pastoral life a certain proportion of land must necessarily be free from wood, it may easily be understood that a tract of country which already fulfilled this requirement must have been a most desirable location for people in the earlier periods of civilization.'[18]

So far as the earliest history of Sheffield and the surrounding district is concerned, this statement holds good. All the old settlements are on the tops of hills, or in elevated placed where there was no timber to be felled. At Crookes there may still be seen the shell of a place which at a very early period was occupied by a villata or village community. The tofts and crofts are there, and other evidences of the mode of life once led by the inhabitants of this district. The village is built on the two sides of a straggling or—to borrow a word from the dialect—a wiming street. At the north end of this street, and bounded by 'Tinker Lane,' otherwise 'Cocked Hat Lane,' on the north, is a field called 'The Ale Croft'—the former scene of church ales, bride ales, or other village merrymakings.[19] A few yards from the west end of the Ale Croft, but on the other side of the lane, the urns previously mentioned were found. In the description previously given of the discovery of these urns it will be remembered that they were found 'near the Bole Hills.' On the very top of the hill at Whirlow[20] is a field called 'The Cocked Hat,' and upon an eminence about a quarter of a mile distant is a 'Bole Hill,' at which place slag and other remains of smelting have been found. In each place the 'Bole Hill' and the 'Cocked Hat' are nearly the same distance apart. There is nothing in the 'Cocked Hat' field at Whirlow to indicate the presence of a barrow,[21] but it is exactly the place where one would expect to find one; and I have not the least doubt theat in the case both of Whirlow and Crookes the words 'Cocked Hat' have reference to barrows which, at some former period have been removed by the landowner or the farmer. I doubt not that Whirlow, Castle Dyke, and the high ground thereabouts, were also the site of a very early settlement. No remains of a village are to be seen, but Whirlow is the ancient seat of the family of Bright—a name well known to all who are conversant with the early history of Sheffield. It is certain that few, if any, trees grew on this high ground. The gorse still blooms in the old lane, and there have probably been few shrubs of a higher growth.

It seems strange that lead should be taken to be smelted in such places, for not only is the distance from the lead-mining districts very considerable, but the difficulty of approach would not be slight. It has been observed that these 'Bole hills' were always on high ground, and exposed to westerly winds. We may call them wind furnaces.[22] It is not improbable that the art of fusing metals may have been first discovered in the bale-fire by accident. We know the service which alchemy rendered to chemistry, and we know how from the quackery and prodigious recipes of herbalists many valuable medicines have been discovered. The place of melting would, on the principle of survival, or distaste for change, if for no other reason, be likely to remain the same as the place of the bale-fire. We here seem to be brought near to the dawn of a discovery whose effects on the progress of material civilization have been greater, perhaps, than any other. For, when man possessed the use of iron instruments the forest could be cleared, and the land efficiently ploughed. Where was iron first fused or smelted? What places would be so likely as these great fires on the tops of hills exposed to westerly winds? It concerns us not to inquire whether the art of fusing metals was brought into Great Britain by early settlers, or whether the oldest inhabitants themselves discovered that art. Such an inquiry would probably be futile; but, inasmuch as the inhabitants of this district were famous for their cutlery at an early period, we may suppose that they early attended to the smelting of metals[23] and to the manufacture of weapons or knives. The knife-dagger found in the urn at Crookes, great as is its age, probably expresses the original form of the old thwitel, with its long tang, its handle of 'Yellow cow horn,' or of the mysterious murrus or murrum. It is interesting to compare the flint knives of the stone age with the finest specimens of the modern cutler's art. When the rain has fallen upon a newly-ploughed field a flint implement may now and then be picked up in this district. I have before me, as I write, a flint knife, with a sharp edge, just found on the high grounds above Ashover, and also a steel pocket-knife, kindly given to me by Mr. William Singleton, of Sheffield, and made by his workmen. As the two objects lie side by side, one sees vividly the enormous difference between them. The flint is rough, sheathless, and haftless. The keen blades of the steel knife are radiant as a mirror, the scales are of irridescent pearl, set with fine gold, the back is also of gold cunningly engraved with 'rosings'[24] and other devices.

Something has been said on the glossary on the words Ecclesall and Ecclesfield. It is possible that each of these words contains the personal name Eigil or Egil. Egil, the brother of Weland, the Vulcan of the North, was, according to Scandinavian mythology, the most famous of archers. Arrows were made in this district in early times. Arrowsmiths are mentioned in the Poll Tax Returns for Ecclesfield in 1379. 'Eigil' says Kemble, 'would among the Anglo-Saxons have borne the form of Ægel, and accordingly we find places compuonded with this name, thus: Æglesbyrig, now Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire,' &c.[25] It may be asked—Why has not the g in Ecclesfield (*Æglesfeld) been softened into y? This does not appear to have been an invariable rule. Thus the word meggons, noted in the glossary, has not been softened to mains, but has retained the hard g.[26]

The word 'low'—M.E. hlâwe—is a common component, or rather suffix, of place-names in this district. I believe that in all cases it denotes a barrow, or other burial-place of the dead. If more barrows have not been found or explored in this district, the reason is that nobody has the courage or the taste to take the thing in hand. The field-names are eloquent of the historic remains which lie hidden beneath their surface. Three of these may be mentioned here. The first is Dead Man's Half-acre, which occurs in 1637 as a field-name in Bradfield. The second is Dead Man's Lode, i.e. Dead Man's Lane, adjacent to the Roman camp at Templeborough. The third name which may be mentioned is Ringinglow, or the Ring Meadow Barrow. There must have been at this place a wold-barrow with a circle round its base. Again, What can be said of such a name as Stumperlow? What else can it mean but a monolith, copstone, or other erection upon or near a barrow, to mark the last resting-place of some hero or chief? It is true that our word stump is not found in the Anglo-Saxon records which have come down to us. Yet stumpr occurs in Old Icelandic, and Norse place-names are plentiful in this district. many words belonging to the language once spoken have obviously not been recorded. Amongst the Romans it is well known that the warrior's arms were laid on the pyre, thence to accompany him to the world of spirits. So the builders of the splendid pyre of Mesenus heaped up a pile of cloven oak and pine, interweaving its sides with dark leaves and cypress—

Decorantque super fulgentibus armis.

The word Stumperlow, and the ideas which it suggests, may remind the reader of the oar set up for a memorial on the burial ground of Elpenor[27] in the Odyssey. Odysseus, in describing the burial of Elpenor, relates how the dead man and his arms were burned, how he and his comrades heaped up a barrow, how they set thereon a pillar, and on the top of the mound set a well-shapen oar:— [N.B. The transcriber does not read Greek, so cannot vouch for the accuracy of the following transcription.]

Aύτὰρ ἐπεὶ νεκρός τ ἐκάη καὶ τεύχεα νεκρού,
Τύμβον χεύαντες καὶ ἐπὶ στήπην ἐρύσαντες,
Πήξαμεν ἀκοτάτψ εὐὴρες ἐρετμόν.
Odess., xxii. 13.

The glossary was printed to the end of the letter R before I began to peruse Dr. Sweet's Oldest English Texts. This work, despite its inconvenient arrangement, i found most useful and valuable, and I regret that it did not come earlier into my hands. By its help explanations of a few local names, otherwise impossible, have been attempted with greater or less degrees of certainty. I now see that a larger proportion of these obscure words is to be referred to personal names than I hitherto thought to be the case. I am, nevertheless, of opinion that it is better to derive, or to attempt to derive such words from natural features of the country, or from bygone systems of agriculture and ancient manners, manufactures, customs, and mythology, if one can do so consistently with the received axioms or rules of etymological science, than to attribute their origin to personal names; although it is manifest, and indeed can be shown on the clearest documentary evidence, that many local names are the names of former possessors of the land. These are often the names of persons, or of clans or septs, who cleared the forests from wood. Thus in the 'foundation charter,' as it is called, of Beauchief Abbey, the boundaries of the monastic estate are expressed to run 'A Grenhilheg par sartum Clebini usque ad sarta Gervasii et Gamelli et Gerardi per sepe, usque ad cilium montis qui dicitur Dorehegset; its descendendo per cilium ejusdem montis usque ad sartum Rogeri, et sic per sepem ejusdem Rogeri ultra aquam per semitam usque ad saetum Roberti forestarii, et sic per viam que ducit usque ad predictum Grenhilhef.'[28] In these few words we find mentioned the names of no less than seven forest clearings, each of which is called after the name of the occupant, or perhaps the very person who 'ridded' the land. I am not, however, aware that any one of these seven personal names has survived in field-names.

When Mr. Walter De Gray Birch has finished and fully indexed the Cartularium Saxonicum better materials than any now existing will be provided for the student to enable him to form judgments upon the meaning and derivation of obscure local names. Nevertheless, without that help, much can be done by making collections of these words, and especially by comparing field-names found in different townships and various parts of England. I have been struck with the resemblance which, in many respects, exists between the field-names of villages in this district and those of remote parishes. It is true that there are striking differences. But yet if we find a name, commonly supposed to be a word which has become so corrupt as to defy every reasonable attempt at explanation, existing in several places widely removed from each other, a strong presumption is raised that the word may not be, after all, a corrupted one, but a veritable survival from the wreck of time which has been left to tell the story of bygone life and manners.[29] It would exceed the limits of this Introduction to enter, even briefly, into an examination of this subject, but if one could get an old map, or with such oral or other assistance as can be procured, make out a map of such a village of Crookes or Holmesfield, and write in the local names, the outline of an ancient village history would be very nearly made. And this would especially be the case if the further assistance of court rolls or ancient muniments of title could be procured. Moreover, the testimony of old people who remember local names unknown to a younger generation, or wilfully altered or corrupted in recent times, is always useful.[30] It need hardly be said that these words are often of high philological value, to say nothing of their importance in determining some of the deepest and most interesting problems affecting the earliest history of these islands.

When I began this inquiry I had no belief in the existence in this part of England of any local names—excepting the names of mountains or rivers—derived from the 'Celtic,' and only in a few rare instances in this glossary have I attempted to refer these words to the language spoken in these islands before the comming of the Teuton or the Norsemen. I have, however, elsewhere[31] expressed the opinion that the early settlers or invaders of this country did not freely and at once intermix with the conquered or ancient people, but lived separate and apart from them. I have seen no reason to alter that opinion. On the contrary, further research has only tended to strengthen it. Not only is there the strongest a priori presumption in favour of such a state of things, but the same thing is happening now in newly-settled countries, such as the United States of America. We may see it in Yorkshire at the present day. There is a German quarter in Bradford. There is an Irish quarter, which is much the same thing as a 'Celtic' quarter, in every large town. There has been an Irish quarter in Sheffield since the year 1499,[32] and there can be no doubt at all that the old inhabitants lived apart from their invaders, or from the colonists, many centuries before then. It may seem strange that the Anglo-Saxons should call the old inhabitants of England foreigners (wealas) in their own country. They did so, nevertheless, just as the Germans call Italy Wälschland at the present day. This accounts for the existence of such local names as Wales, Waleswood, Wolsh Stubbing, &c., which will be found in this glossary. It may also account for Brytland, which may be 'Celtic' land, or British land, and possibly for Brittains Piece, near the old earthworks in Bradfield.

Not the least interesting of the local names found in this neighbourhood is the word Barber. Barber Fields and Ringinglow, Barber Stones on the moors between Ringinglow and Fox House, Barber Nook in Crookes, and Barber Balk in Kimberworth, are not derived from the personal name Barber, the beard-shaver, but from the Old English barbar, a heathen, or foreigner.[33] The word is used nearly in the same sense as Welsh. It is remarkable that these words occur on cold and cheerless moorlands, or in places where other adjacent local names make it clear that barbar is not a personal name, but a designation of a whole people—a people who were neither Anglo-Saxons nor Danes, but who were called 'foreigners,' 'heathens,' and 'slaves' in their own country by their proud conquerors. The whole district between Ringinglow and Fox House contains proofs of early British settlements, and the mythology and religion of the oldest inhabitants of Great Britain. Nor can we fail to see in such local names as Castle Dyke on the road to Ringinglow, Barber Balk and Scotland Balk—the two last being the names of earthworks or ridges, sometimes called the Roman Rig—evidences of tribal or national hostilities. There are fields near Ringinglow called Annis Fields, annesse being Old English for a 'wilderness.' We may ask why did this ancient people live in the wilderness, on bleak and barren moorlands so far removed from the rich pastures of the valleys? This question is answered, in part at least, on a previous page,[34] but it should in addition be said that the tendency of conquest is to drive people into the 'wilderness,' or to leave the wilderness in the occupation of the aboriginal settlers, or conquered inhabitants.

In this district it is clear that the few local names which probably belong to the 'Celtic' languages are to be found on moorlands, in the names of streams, or in places where the land has not been cultivated. Such names as Lenny Hill and some others on the moorlands west of Dore and Totley seem to relate to a period anterior to the coming of Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen. The cultivation of land, it need hardly be said, would remove most of the old local names, which would naturally, in a few cases, remain unchanged on the hills and heaths.

It is pleasing to see that the subject of local names—which I would prefer to call field-names—is receiving the attention of the learned and the curious. With the exception, however, of Dr. Taylor's Words and Places the literature of this subject is scattered about in the publications of various archælogical societies and in magazines.[35] The idea seems to have struck the Hon. and Rev. Sydenham H.A. Hervey, Vicar of Wedmore, in Somersetshire, that it would be a good plan to treat the subject, from a popular point of view, in a publication which professes to be a parish magazine, or rather a parish history and parish magazine combined.[36] Mr. Hervey is doing this in the Wedmore Chronicle, which is entirely written by him. This work, among other things, contains the field-names, or a selection of them, of Mr. Hervey's parish, and the comments made upon them show how extremely interesting an inquiry of this kind, when treated by a competent hand, may become.

In introducing local names into the text of the glossary I have followed the example of German lexicographers who usually adopt this plan, which is very convenient for reference. Moreover, there are so many cases in which the local name explains the ancient word, or in which the ancient word explains the local name,[37] that it seemed to me desirable to include them in this way, although an obvious temptation was thereby offered to become discursive, and to make notes of a more or less speculative kind. I think, however, that my notes will in most cases be found useful, even if, as must of necessity be the case, some of my opinions should hereafter upon better evidence be shown to be erroneous.

Owing to what Dr. Isaac Taylor calls the 'instinctive causativeness of the human mind' stories are constantly being invented by the people to explain the meaning of local names which they do not understand.

Many of these stories are as amusing as the are obviously false, but others may become a source of error to the inquirer, and may, unless he is cautious, mislead him. Between Beauchief and Bradway is a place now called 'Twentywell Sick,' which I have mentioned on p. xxxii. It is popularly said that the name arose from the fact that a man once lived there who employed forty workmen, and that when a 'flying sickness' was prevalent twenty of the men were well and twenty sick, &c.! Although the word was written 'Quintine-well' seven hundred years ago, somebody who did not understand it thought that it must be wrong, and changed it to Twenty Well. In this way one blunder may lead to another. Another amusing example of 'popular etymology' may be seen in a well-known and rather fashionable road in the suburbs of Sheffield now called Psalter Lane. Whatever the word means it was formerly written Salter, Psalter having first been used about forty years ago. Now such a local name as Psalter could not exist long before it excited curiosity. Naturally the first thing to be thought of was a psalm-book, and hence the Psalms of David began unconsciously to be associated with the misspelt word. But when a stranger inquired how, or in what way, the Psalm-book was connected with the lane, property-owners began to be puzzled, and the question was not an easy one to answer. However, as it was useless to stick at trifles, something had to be made of it. Someone must have sung psalms in that lane someday. Now who so likely to have done this as the monks of an abbey a few miles off in another county? This happy thought, having struck somebody, was soon received as an article of faith, and now every person with whom I have conversed believes that the monks of this abbey did sing psalms on that very lane. People really do believe it, and it is useless to laugh at them. If one ventures to express a doubt the answer is: 'I have always been told that it is so,' or, 'Nobody ever doubted it,' or, 'My grandmother told me so many a time.' I could mention many other instances, equally amusing, of the tendency to invent such explanatory stories.[38]

Of course such tales as these deceive nobody. There are, however, others which are really misleading. Barber Stones, on the moors between Ringinglow and Fox House, is said to have been so called because a man called Barber was lost in the snow there; Silver Hill in Ecclesall is said to have derived its name from a discovery of silver coins. Now neither of these accounts is absolutely improbable, for people have perished on the moors, and silver coins have been found on the tops of hills. But no living person can remember the unfortunate Mr. Barber, and nobody can produce one of the aforesaid silver coins, or any contemporary account either of the accident in the snow or of the coins. When I hear that treasures of gold have been discovered at Gold Hill in Fulwood, and have seen those treasures with the eyes that now guide my pen, then, and not till then, shall I believe these stories about Silver Hill and the unhappy Mr. Barber.

The etymology of local names is a subject full of pitfalls and difficulties, but the fact that it is so should not be a hindrance to inquiry. So long as a guess is offered as such, or so long as the weight which the opinion ought to have, or the degree of probability is indicated by the etymologist, the cause of exact science will not suffer. Unless advances of this kind are made we shall never be any nearer to the truth. Many of the derivations of the local names given in the glossary are unquestionably right, whilst others are necessarily matters of greater or less degrees of doubt. It is hoped that the evidence offered, and the opinions or comments given, in this volume have done something to advance the little knowledge that we possess on this obscure and interesting subject.

It will be noticed that I have treated many of the oldest local names as the names of barrows, circles, and memorials of the dead. Thus words composed of low, how, ring, carter, hope (hoop), and even tom (toom), have been explained on this basis.[39] Such a hilly district as Hallamshire would be sure to contain, on high and prominent positions, many such memorials. They would strike the early settler as conspicuous and useful landmarks, and, owing to their religious or sacrosanct origin, would probably be regarded with veneration. It is certain that they often marked the boundaries of estates, and hence they would be likely to endure, whilst other names were changed or forgotten.

Many local names admit of more than one reasonable derivation. Thus one might explain Baslow, in Domesday Basslau, as A.-S. basu-hlâw, the purple hill or mound, alluding to the purple bloom of the heather by which the high moorlands of this place are bedecked in summer. Now this is a very pretty and reasonable derivation, but not the most probable derivation. In the first place our oldest English ancestors had not enough sentiment in them to think about that wine-dark beauty of the heather which delights holiday-makers and painters. They might, or did, talk of a black hill, a bleak hill, a white hill, a red hill, a green hill, or even a purple hill. There is a 'white low' on Dore, but I have not heard of a 'red low,' or a 'green low.' The old Englishmen saw not these things with the eyes of poets or painters; they would use these colour-names in very prosy fashion, merely to distinguish one hillside from another. A hlâw or low is generally, if not always, a burial mound, and, as the personal name Bassa is found in Anglo-Saxon, the word most probably means the burial-mound of some chief who was so called. Indeed Bateman opened a fine tumulus on Balsow Moor.[40] It may be interesting to observe that Grimm connects the A.-S. basu, purple with Goth. basi, a berry.

As, in our time, new streets, and even new houses, are called after the names of distinguished statesmen, soldiers, or popular men, so the early settlers of this country bestowed the names of their great warriors, their gods, and demigods, on the places which they colonized. Both the ancient and modern practice of this kind of name-giving spring from hero-worship, and from the difficulty which sometimes arises of finding natural objects suitable for name-giving. Thus the oak might be found in sufficient abundance in one place to justify the giving of such a name as Ockley or Akley, oak meadow, oak pasture, but where trees of many kinds grew together the name of a chieftain or demigod might be given instead. Our 'Gladstone Road' and 'Palmerston Villa; are the natural sprouts of the 'Egils field' or 'Osgot-porp' (Osgarthorphe) of a former age.

The most interesting local names are those which have preserved and handed down fragments of old religious beliefs. The place called The Apronfull of Stones in Bradfield preserves the memory of the Teutonic legends in which the Blessed Virgin 'carries stone and earth in her apron like Athena or the fay,'[41] and in which giantesses carry warth and rocks in their aprons, and, the strings of the aprons breaking, drop them on the ground. Giants and giantesses, in the popular belief, brought the hills and the rocks to the places where they stand. Who can doubt that the stone or rock called Giant's Chair, near An Kirk or Han Kirk Hill, and near the Meggon-gin Hollow in Dore, was the chair in which, according to the ancient belief, a giant sat enthroned?[42] We may be quite sure that, as An Kirk is a heap of rocks 'confusedly hurled' lying on the summit of a hill within half a mile of the Giant's Chair, An is the Anglo-Saxon ent, a giant, or its genetive plural enta. An Kirk, Han Kirk, or Hound Kirk, then, may represent an Anglo-Saxon enta kirke or circe, a church reared by giants.[43] History has left no record of the existence of a 'church' at Han Kirk, nor can we conceive it possible that a Christian temple ever stood upon these rocks on this high moorland waste. The kirk, if that word has come down to us in an uncorrupted shape, is a Titanic temple—a temple built by the giants. Further to the south-west on these moorland heights, between Baslow and Curbar, is a road, partly paved, which is called the Giant's Causeway. Here, then, we have the clearest evidence the ancient belief in giants. The evidence of belief in dwarfs is not less distinct. In Bradfield—that home of legend and poetry which two hundred and fifty years ago was believed to be the birth-place of 'Robin Hood'—we have Dwariden, the vale of the dwarfs. Their voices, in the ears of men of old, echoed amongst the rocks and hills. These dwarfs were 'cunning smiths,' bordering upon the smith-heroes and the smith-gods.


The meaning of the curious local names which surround Han Kirk Hill will be more clearly seen after a visit to the place itself, and after perusal of the map on the opposite page. Ascending the hill from Banner Cross, and passing Castle Dyke on the left, we reach the inn at Ringinglowe. At this point, if we take the road which turns to the left, we shall see on our left-hand side a rugged and uncultivated valley, through which flows a stream called, on the ordnance survey map, Fenny Brook. Near to the brook are Barber Fields. The country side is rough moorland, growing little else but heather, with here and there a stunted shrub. On the right-hand side of the road may be seen a small dwelling, or rather stone hut—a thatched squatter's cot without upper rooms. On old road called Jumble Road, which leads to Dore, is visible on the left, but Sparkinson's Spring, marked on the map, is out of our view. A gamekeeper's house called Oxdale Lodge is next approached on the right-hand side of the road. The house fronts the south-east, and looks straight down a clough or deep valley, watered by a runlet, by whose banks grows here and there a mountain ash. Adjacent to the spot where Oxdale Lodge stands, Fairbank's map records a stone called Harrys Stone. I asked the gamekeeper of Oxdale Lodge whether he knew of such a stone. He replied that he did not, and had never heard of it. I have, nevertheless, no doubt of the accuracy of Fairbank's survey, and can only suppose that the name has been lost and the stone removed. Harry is the Anglo-Saxon hearh or hearg (pronounced harry), meaning a temple or idol, as may be seen in Adamfield Harrie, Holmesfield.[44] If we cast our eyes to the right of Oxdale Lodge, we shall see on the crest of the moors and standing against the sky two large stones called the Ox Stones. In shape they roughly resemble oxen, and they are not inaptly so called. Whence, then, the name Oxdale? This place appears to have been named after the Ox Stones rather than after living oxen, which , it is possible, never grazed upon these rugged and heath-covered moors. Öxnadalr, dale of oxen, is found in Icelandic local names. If we turn our eyes to the left we shall see Han Kirk Hill (Giants' Church Hill), with its summit and its sides strown with great stones, which look as if they had been cast down or scattered here and there by some Titanic power. One can understand the childlike awe with which these natural wonders would be regarded by ancient peoples, and how the fables of giants and giantesses scattering stones from their aprons would arise. The form which the old Norse and German legends generally take is that a giant or giantess was going to build a church or a bridge, and that as, with this object in view, huge stones were being carried through the air, the apron-strings of the giant or giantess broke, and the stones came tumbling down.

As we stand upon these wild moors, with fair landscapes extending on every side beneath our feet, we seem to be held in equipoise between an old and a new world. In the distant valleys to the north-east lies the big town where steel is made, with its Vesuvian chimneys and its squalid streets. On these moerland heights we stand in a peaceful solitude whose stillness is unbroken sace by the peck, peck, peck of the grouse, or the barking of the gamekeeper's dog. No plough has ever broken the heath, though perhaps, in a few rare spots, the Wealh, Barbar, or 'Celt' may have built his little hut and earned a scanty livelihood. No signs of cultivation are apparent now, and if ever the hand of man tried to make this wilderness grow corn the heather and rush have long since resumed their ancient domination. The only tree which grows upon these moors is the wiggin or mountain ash—the tree which was sacred to Thor, and which is still regarded by the people of Bradfield as a protection against sorcery.[45] A few of these trees are found by the sides of the moorland rills, which flow down through deep rugged channels to the Sheath. On the hillside to the south-east of Harrys Stone is a spring or well which bubbles from the rock all through the driest summers. On the ordnance map it is called God's Spring, but the name was unknown to the gamekeeper who conducted me to the spot.

As we continue our journey towards Fox House we come to a place which, on Fairbank's map, is called Fingerem Stone. No such word is now known to the people of the district whom I have questioned. The position of Fingerem Stone is nevertheless made clear by the map. It is on the left-hand side of the road as one travels from Ringinglow to Fox House and near to the last-named place. I was not permitted to approach the spot for fear of disturbing the young grouse, but as far as one could judge from the road it is a heap of stones scattered here and there. I cannot say more without a nearer examination. As Fingerem Stone is about three hundred yards from an old earth-circle to be presently mentioned, one may be pretty sure that Fingerem stands for Thingeram, the th having been changed to f, just as swarth has become swarf (wheel-swarf). Indeed the change from th to f is common. What, then, is Thingeram? Thingar may possibly be A.S. pingere, an advocate, or priest. The final syllable may be hám, home, house. It will be noticed that a place called Parson's House, on the other side of the road, is adjacent. Parson's House, however, is not connected with Thingeram, for it was built, I am told, or owned by the Rev. Thomas Bingham early in the present century, after the enclosure of the commoms.

Quite near Fingerem Stone upon the moor and to the north of Stone House is a circle which will be found marked on larger ordnance maps. Mr. Jackson and I examined it with some care, but we made no excavations. Although it is, for the most part, overgrown by the heather, it is veyy distinctly marked. The diameter, measured by the inner edge of the circle, we made out to be 83 feet, the extreme diameter being 95 feet. The average height of the circle is rather more than two feet, and there are traces both of an inner and an outer fossa or ditch. The circle appears to be composed of a mixture of earth and stones, some of the stones having been lately removed for the building of walls. The circle is, as usual, incomplete, the opening pointing towards Fingerem Stone It seems clear that the word Fingeram=Thingeram is in some way connected with or descriptive of this earth-circle, and it may represent an Anglo-Saxon pinga-hám, the house or place of meetings; parliaments and courts having ben formerly held in the open air on a plain.

Continuing our journey down to Dore we pass Piper Hosue on the left. This, I am told, was called after the Rev. H. H. Piper, of Norton, its former owner. Before we reach the Han Kirk Hill the road makes a sharp bend, and we cross a deep and weird valley, which lies at the foot of this hill, and is called Meggon-gin Hollow. Below, and on the other side of the road is the Giant's Chair. The oath 'by the Meggons,' which is well known to the old inhabitants of Sheffield, appears to explain this word, for I take it to mean ' By the Powers,' the Anglo-Saxon megyn meaning 'power.' Meggon, then mat refer to the same Titanic power which, according to the old fables, scattered the great stones on Han Kirk Hill, gin being an opening or narrow valley.[46] The Giant's Chair is not marked on the maps, but it is remembered by the old inhabitants, several of whom have mentioned it to me. The proximity of Giant's Chair to Han Kirk Hill (Giant's Church Hill) is not without significance.

Continuing our journey we come to Jumble Road, already mentioned, and we have thus gone round Han Kirk Hill. The fact that such a cluster of strange local names should be found within so small a circle is remarkable. Each tends to explain or throw light upon the other, and the result is that we have within a narrow compass a congeries of local names pointing to one distinct conclusion—the early settlement of these wilds by a people who believed in mythology identical with that of the old Germans and Norsemen, and resembling that of the Greeks and Romans. There are other names in this glossary which , with certainty or with varying degrees of probability, tell of the old religious faith, with its great army of lesser gods and heroes—beings which survived in the numerous saints of the middle ages. I may refer, by way of example, to Anthony the patron saint and defender of swine and cattle, to Stephen the patron of horses, to Lawrence, to Ignace, to Martin, to Ganna the prophetess. The mythology of the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen cannot be separated from the legends which during the early and middle ages of the Christian church were adopted as integral parts of the faith of that great communion. A true historic continuity links them together, the one being the modified descendant of the other. The faith of the Greek or Roman peasant in the fabled stories of those sons of Earth and Tartarus who stormed the heavens was not deeper than the belief of the old Englishman in giants who hurled the rocks, and who scattered them, with mighty arms, over the Derbyshire moorlands.

As regards colour in local names, the New English Dict. has the following remarks about the word Black-acre: 'An arbitrary name for a particular parcel of ground, to distinguish it from another denominated "white acre" (=parcel a, parcel b, parcel c). The choice of the words "black," "white," and "green" was perhaps influenced by their use to indicate different kinds of crops.' Although the words 'black acre' and 'white acre' might be used in treatises on law to distinguish one estate or field from another, it seems clear that these names were not originally arbitrary. In this glossary, such words as Black Acre, Blacka Dyke, Black Car, Black Edge, Black Hill, Black Knowl, Black Piece Wood, 'Black Lands and Redd Hills,' Brown Storth Wood, Green Hill, Gold Green, Gold Hill, Red-ing (see Reading Lane), White Acre, Whitelow, White Lee, White Hill, White Yard, White Moss, are intended, however roughly, to describe the colour of the soil, or of the grass, moss, or trees or plants growing thereon. Black, of course may be the old English blake, blac, pale, implying the absence of the full green of vegetation, but more probably it expresses the dark colour of the burnt common or moor. Those who saw the miles of dreary and blackened moors about Hollow Meadows, after they were burnt in the hot summer of 1868—a blackened waste, which so remained for years—will understand what is meant by Black Hill, Black Lands, Black Edge, &c. To burn the heather or the gorse was the cheapest and readiest way of clearing land for cultivation. Again, the pale colours of some kinds of moss which grow on moors will explain White Low and White Moss. I cannot believe that the village of Green-Hill was so named arbitrarily, for the grassy slopes which lead up to the village from the north are sufficient explanation. There must have been, at this place, an expanse of bright green turf, free from gorse or underwood, and probably the site of an old British settlement, which would strike the eye of the Anglo-Saxon settler, and hence give rise to the name. Black need not in every case refer to burnt underwood, heather, or gorse. It may, and often does, express the appearance of the dark and peaty soil found in many places, and especially on moorland heights.

Many fine yew trees grew in the environs of Sheffield and in the adjacent villages. This tree, however, is intolerant of the smoke from coal fires. I remember ancient yews in Cold-Aston dying under the influence of an amount of smoke which was quite harmless to other trees. There was a long avenue of them at the Hallows; their withered forms seemed, like the Scotch minstrel, 'to have known a better day.' Ewe Field in Ecclesall, Ewe Forth, Ewe Flatts, and Ewe Wood in Holmesfield, Uden (yew valley) and Ughill (yew hill) in Bradfield point to the abundant growth of this tree. Gerard says that taxus is called in English the 'ewe or yew tree.' It was anciently regarded as a deadly and poisonous plant. It was said 'that if any doe sleepe vnder the shadow thereof it causeth sickness and oftentimes death.' 'All which,' says Gerard, 'I dare boldly affirme is altogether vntrue; for when I was yong and went to schoole, diuers of my schoole-fellows and likewise myselfe did eat our fils of the berries of this tree, and haue not only slept vnder the shadow therof, but among the branches also, without any hurt at all, and that not one time, but many times.' (Herball, p. 1371.) William Harrison, writing in 1577 of the 'wooddes and marrises' in England, says we are 'not wythout the plane, the Ughe the sorfe, the chestnutte, the line, the black cheerie, and such like. And although that we enioye them not in so great plentie now in most places, as in times past or the other afore remembered, yet haue we sufficient of them all for our necassarie turnes and vses, especially of Ughe as may be seene betwixt Rotherham and Sheffilde, and some steeded of Kent also as I haue beene informed.' (Holinshed, 1577, i. 91, recto.) The yews between Sheffield and Rotherham have perished; only local names and the testimony of honest William Harrison remain to show how abundant the tree once was in this district.


  1. I have already said that a few place-names in the parishes of Norton and Dronfield have been introduced.
  2. One cannot always be sure that the meaning is obvious. Had I seen such a word as Barberfield when I read the MS. I should have passed it over in the belief that it implied a personal name, whereas it may have been used under the circumstances or with surroundings which would require barbar, a foreigner, as the etymology.
  3. I here enter a protest against the too commonly received opinion that a field-name is corrupt because we do not understand it.
  4. Ante, p. XXX, et seq.
  5. In Sheffield only the divisions known as Ecclesall and Brightside retain the word birelaw, but probably there were two others which lost the name.
  6. Except the 'ring hedges' and the hedges of the few tofts or closes which were held in severalty there were no other fences except the turf balks which divided the ploughed strips, acres, or sellions scattered about the common fields which were thrown open for the pasturage of swine and other cattle after the crops were gathered. The officer who had charge of the 'ring hedges' was the hayward; he is not, however, mentioned in the Holmesfield Rolls.
  7. See Toll Dish in the glossary.
  8. See the word Dower in the Addenda.
  9. Notes and Queries, 7th S. iii., p421.
  10. A friend tells me that he used to ornament his 'touch burners' when a boy
  11. Ante, p. xx.
  12. Anturs of Arth.. 'I brenne as a belle.' Cited in New Eng. Dict., s. v. bale, p. 635, col. i. At or near Bell hag is a field called Lilloe field, (q. v.) which may be compared wuth lilly-lo, a word used by nurses in speaking to children, and meaning 'fire.'
  13. 'This said he led me over holts and hags,
    Through thorns and bushes scant my legs I drew.'
    Fairf. Tasso, viii. 41. Nares.
  14. Fox grass is shear grass, cladium mariscus. See the word in the glossary. 'The people of the Fenne countreys use it for fother, and do heate ovens with it.'—Turner's Herbal, i. 112, cited by Britten and Holland. In the fens it was 'once largely used for lighting fires at Cambridge, and is now to some extent.'—The Fenland, Past and Present, p. 306, cited bu Britten and Holland in English Plant Names.
  15. Pennant's 'Tour in Scotland, in 1769.' p. 96 cited by Hampson in Medii Ævi Kal., i. 246.
  16. Cited in Grimm's Teut. Myth., i. p. 613.
  17. A considerable body of evidence on this subject is collected in Hampson's Medii Ævi Kal. 246 et seq.
  18. British Barrows, p. 135.
  19. The word may, however, refer to rent paid in ale.
  20. See this word in the glossary.
  21. There was no indication at Crookes where the urn was found.
  22. 'The lead-stones in the Peak lye but just within the ground nest to the upper crust of the earth. They melt the lead upon the tops of hills that lye open to the west wind; making their fires to melt it as soon as the west wind begins to blow—which wind, by long experience, they find holds longest of all others. But for what reason I know not, since I sould think that lead was the easiest of all metals to melt, they make their fires extraordinary great.'—Childrey's Britannica Baconica; or the Natural Rarities of England, Scotland, and Wales, 1661, p. 112. Bole Hills are numerous in the vicinity of Sheffield.
  23. Local names bear testimony on this head. Let the reader refer in the glossary to the words Charkin Hill, Cindercliffe, Cinderhill, Cold (coaled) Aston, Gleadless, Glodes, Grimsels, Orpyttes, Pitsmoor, &c. Other words, such as Brend Wood, Brend Cliffe (Brincliffe), Burnt Stones, &c., express the ancient rite of cremation, and also bale-fires, and the clearing of land by burning the wood.
  24. See this word in the glossary, p. 194.
  25. Saxons in England, ed. 1876, i. p. 422.
  26. See the words Archerfield, Ecclesfield, and Shotten Hill in the glossary. 'Robert Swyfte held one messuage with all lands, meadows, feedings, and pastures, lying in Archerfield and Whitefield beneath the lordship of Eccleshalle, by lease for 40 years, dated Candlemas day, 1532, rent 13s. 4d.'—Pegge's Beauchief Abbey, p. 194. I have little faith in the derivation through the 'Celtic' of Eccles from ὲκκλησία. In a list of the Vills and Freeholders of Derbyshire, published by me in Derb. Arch. J., vol. vi. p. 73. a place called Underecles in the High Peak is mentioned
  27. The oar with us would be a pole
  28. Pegge's Beauchief Abbey, p. 215.
  29. Take, for example, Revel Wood in this glossary and Revel Batch in Wedmore, Somersetshire. It would be wrong to say that these words are derived from the surname Revel, the fact being that the surname is derived from the local name. Compare the Swedish refva, a cleft, gap, and refvel, a sandbank.
  30. See, for example, King's Head, Giant's Chair, and Meggon-Gin in the glossary and addenda.
  31. Notes and Queries, 7th S. iv., 90 et seq.
  32. See Irish Cross in the glossary.
  33. See the word Barber in the Addenda. I shall be told, of course, that a family called Barber lived and owned land at Barber Nook; indeed I was personally acquainted with Mrs. Barbara Barber of that place. But the family did not give their name to the place. They may have taken it from the place. The surname Barber must in many instances mean 'foreigner.'
  34. Page liii.
  35. When this work was far advanced in the press Mr. Blackie's admirable little Dictionary of Place-Names came into my hands, and I have derived some useful hints from it.
  36. It need hardly be said that the magazine has nothing in common with the periodicals usually published under this name.
  37. Take, for example, Bage and Burbage, Bent Grass and Bents Green, Chark and Charkin Hill, Float and Floated Field, Fox Grass and Fox Hill, Lache and Leachfield, Meggoni and Meggon-Gin, Snape and Snape Hill Wime and Wyming Brook.
  38. I have just learnt that Stannington is Standingtown, having been so called because Oliver Cromwell, who made fearful havoc all about Sheffield, was good enough to leave this town standing! Another story described how a man was lost on the moors above Castle Dyke in the snow, and how he heard the church bells in Sheffield ringing low, and by that means found his way home and was saved! Thence we are told, arose the name Ringinglow. One is reminded of a story told by Prof. Skeat about a Cambridge undergraduate who, in examination, defined faith as 'the evidence by which we believe that which we know to be untrue.'
  39. The local names Whildon (pronounces Wheeldon) and Whirlow (formerly Whorlow) appear to be derived from the circles (wheels or whorls) surrounding barrows and hill forts. The word carter in 'Carter Stones Ridge' on the very top of Bradfield moors evidently means 'circle,' as will be seen under the word Quarter in the Addenda.
  40. See an engraving of it in Ten Years' Diggings, p. 87. A chieftain called Bassa is mentioned in Bede's History.
  41. Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, iii, p.xxxvii. See this local name more fully explained in the Addenda.
  42. According to Greek and Norse beliefs the gods have thrones or chairs. In the Odysset (x. 188), Odysseus and his comrades are attackes by the Laestrygons, who were 'not like men, but like the giants. They threw at us from the cliffs with great stones as big as a man could carry.'
  43. In the Hebrew Scriptures the church of Jehovah is described as built upon a hell. 'Her foundations are upon the holy hills' (Psalm lxxxvii. 1). 'Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord!' (Ps. xxiv. 3.)
  44. See Adamfield, p. 293.
  45. See p. xxii ante.
  46. It may possibly mean 'great opening,' as in main-land, main here being Icel. magin, strength, chief. But I think this is improbable.