Lost Words

Bub

An old Lincolnshire and East Anglian dialect word for an unfledged bird or an inexperienced person.

Daul

Dialect word meaning to weary, to wear out or to exhaust. ‘Dauled’ means worn out, tired and limp.

Drindle

East Anglian dialect word for a trickle of water or tiny stream.

Dung Drag

A three-pronged rake with the metal prongs or tines set at right angles to the long wooden handle. Compass, a mixture of animal dung and soiled straw, was taken out to fields in a cart. A man known as Sir Wag walked behind the cart using the dung drag to pull down the compass on to the field. The long handle ensured he did not get covered in the smelly manure as he raked it down.

Harrow

In some place-names, ‘harrow’ derives from Hearg which is Old English for a pagan site of worship.

Kittywitches

Local Norfolk name for the small crabs found on the mud flats of Breydon Water near Yarmouth. It was also the name given to the prostitutes that worked on the streets or Rows of Yarmouth.

Lant

A name for stale urine. Human urine was collected to use for bleaching wool and linen, the urine of a virgin woman being the most highly valued for this. Many convents earned a good income from selling the nuns’ urine as they were assumed to be virgins. Lant was also mixed with lime and used to coat seed before sowing to discourage birds from eating it.

Mould

When the high spring and autumn tides wash over a beach they leave behind salt water which is dried by sun and wind, forming a salty crust in the top layer of sand or silt. This layer is known as mould. In the Middle Ages the mould was scraped off by the salt-makers. It was then washed and filtered to extract the salt in the form of brine. This was the first step in the salt making process.

Steddle

Lincolnshire dialect word for the base or foundation of a stack of sacks of grain or other materials such as hay or logs. The steddle needed to be broad and sturdy in order to provide a stable base for the stack, otherwise it might topple over and crush someone. By extension, this word was also used to describe a man or woman with a pear-shaped figure. If someone had chunky legs and a broad bottom, they were said to have ‘a good steddle.’