Dorchester & Fordington Glossary

Index of Terms used in 17th & 18th Century Wills, Inventories and other Documents
With links to pictures for some items

©Michael Russell OPC for Fordington Jan 2009 - Last updated December 2017

(537 terms)

Spelling: Until the mid eighteenth century, spelling was not considered a matter of great importance. In manuscripts, words are often spelt in various ways, even in the same document. It was not until the appearance of the dictionary by Nathan Bailey in 1730 and Samuel Johnson in 1755 that there was any attempt at standardisation. There was also some regular conventions in use such as:-

♦“y” is often used instead of “i” as in Wynsor/Winsor - Bryne/Brine - Collyns/Collins - yssue/issue - dyed/died

♦“z” is often used instead of “s” as in Cozens/Cosens - Zeager/Seager - Tomazine/Tomasine

♦“e” is often added to the end of names and some letters repeated as in Bisshoppe for Bishop or Bartlette for Bartlet or Ffordington for Fordington

♦“h” may have been omitted as in Tomas/Thomas or cristened/christened and particularly “is” for “his” in later years ·

With such wide variation in spelling the context in which the word is used is always important in carrying out transcription.

Phonetic dialect: Many words were written as they sounded and were therefore heavily influenced by local dialect and the individuals level of education and therefore varied widely. It needs to be remembered that most people could not read and many of these documents were in any case completed by clergy who moved regularly around the country and may not be familiar with the dialect. A sudden change in spelling of a family name for example is often associated with a change in Rector or churchwarden. The list below is exclusively compiled from Dorchester & Fordington Wills, Inventories and other documents associated with the Parish and were therefore in common use at the time.

Transcription : is very difficult as you are often dealing with faded, out of focus or damaged documents written in Court or Secretary hand where the formation of letters was significantly different from that used today. Examples of Secretary hand - but there are probably many others available on the web. An added complication is that probate is usually written in Latin. If you get through all that you often end up with a word that you have never heard of which then takes research. In the course of doing many old documents from Dorchester I have built up a glossary which I have placed on line mainly for my own benefit but I hope that it may also help those trying to decipher old documents originating in Dorset. Some words have also been added to the glossary because they simply did not mean the same thing in 17th century.

Abbreviation: Was used extensively in Wills and Inventories often indicated by a line above the omitted letters which I can't reproduce for the web. So in text you will see pfect for 'perfect' or pformed for 'performed'. 'pish' was another well used abbreviation for 'parish'. Supertext is also used as in wth for 'with' but it can also mean 'which' depending on context. Some scibes also abbreviated Christian names extensively; Wm is still used today for 'William' and most are self explanitary like Eliz; Rich; Robt etc. Less common were 'Gorg' for George and 'Jams' for James. I have generally tried to spell them out in full in brackets not because I don't think the person will understand most abbreviations but to increase the hit rate when searching documents. There were many recognised abbreviations such as those given in these links:- Pages from an 18th century book showing commonly used Contractions of that period And an abbreviation listing for 17th century records available on the web.

Pictures: I have started adding links to pictures to better explain some items given in inventories on this site. Please bear in mind that most of these have survived because they came from the houses of landed gentry or well off merchants. Every day items in tenements and farm houses would be of a much more basic type, functional rather than elaborately carved. To have left a will with an inventory however meant some standing in the community. In Dorchester many of these were indeed wealthy merchants who ran businesses importing produce and furniture from Germany, Holland etc but mainly France where some Dorchester Merchants owned property in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Michael Russell OPC for Dorchester and Fordington

7ber, 7bris, VIIber September [i.e. abbreviation for the 7th month because the year started in March): Latin=Septembris [Note:- An example of this can be found in the parish registers of Symondsbury - the marriage of Walter Newburgh to Mrs Katherine Strode when the date is given as 'the eight and twentieth of 7tember -- meaning 28th September 1624]
8ber, 8bris, VIIIber October [i.e. abbreviation for the 8th month because the year started in March) [An example is the marriage of John GAWLER of Dorchester All Saints & Marie BARNS of Fordington ye banns being duly published were married 8br 6th 1707]
9ber, 9bris, IXber November [i.e. abbreviation for the 9th month because the year started in March)
10ber, 10bris, VIXber December [i.e. abbreviation for the 10th month because the year started in March)
Abbey Milton Now known as Milton Abbas
accompt account (used a lot in Letters of Administration)
Adtrix or (Admintrix) (abbreviation for latin Administratrix) female administrator of an estate
advowson In ecclesiastical law the right to recommend a member of the Anglican clergy for a vacant benefice, or to make such an appointment. The 'advowson' was often purchased from the church by wealthy landowners to ensure that they had control over the appointment of clergy to the church in their Manor
aet. or aetas aet. is an abbreviation for the latin word aetas - aetis meaning age or life time. 'aet. 13' for example when used in Visitation records indicates that the person was still living at the date of the visitation aged 13 years. This enables you to roughly calculate year of birth.
Aff. or (Affid. Affidavit) A written statement made on oath or by affirmation. On burial registers it confirmed that the individual had been buried in a woollen shroud in accordance with the law. Acts in 1666 and 1678 encouraged the wool trade by laying down that bodies were not to be buried wrapped in anything but wool, and a relative had to make an affidavit before a justice, or failing him, a clergyman, within eight days of the funeral stating that the law had been complied with. In some parishes at the conclusion of the burial service the clergyman asked 'Who makes the affidavit?. The making of a satisfactory reply was indicated in the register by the word Affidavit, or an abbreviation such as Affid..
akers acres of land. Old Land Apportionment and Tithe maps often refer to measures of land simply by the letters 'a' (meaning acre) 'r' (rood) and 'p' (square perch). A square perch was equal to 160th of an acre
aletaster The person responsible for calling from time to time to ensure that ale and beer were being sold by the correct measures and at a price and quality laid down. This was extremely important as nobody drank water as this was generally unfit for consumption. Ale was made from a mash, which was used three times to give three different strengths. The first and strongest mash was for men, the second for women and the weakest for children.
alias (aleas)
or alias dictus
alias is latin for: 'otherwise named or called'. When a person changed his/her surname, or was known by more than one name, he might sometimes be described as "Smith alias Jones". The term has no disreputable connotation. In a few cases both names joined by 'alias' were retained for several generations and so became the equivalent of our hyphen in a modern double barrelled name. Once hereditary surnames became established, a change of name might be caused by the inheritance of a property from a maternal relative, by a young person being adopted, by becoming known by a stepfather's surname, or by a number of other causes. In legal papers a married woman often had her maiden name added as an alias to show her connection with the matter in hand. It was much more common in Dorchester & Fordington in the 16th and 17th centuries than it is now.
'als' [or Ales and sometimes 'ats'] alias (See above) - Usually in parish registers e.g. '18 Aug 1678 - John the son of John MORY Ales [alias] WILES' as in St Peters register
Allhallows (or Alhalens or Allhallon or Allhallons) An older name for All Saints Church in High East Street Dorchester. In 'Speeds' map of Dorchester dated 1611 it is referred to as 'Alhalens'. Examples:- John Williams (1473-1549) of Herringston in his Will dated 29 May 1548 gives 6s 8d to the reparation of the parish church of Alhalones in Dorchester. Jasper COLSON in his will dated 5th June 1667 refers to his 'house and garden being in Allhallowes parish'. See also Corporate Development document on this site " Allhallon Church Lane. Although this lane, running from East Street, at the west end of All Saints' Church, to Durnelane, is frequently indicated in the documents enrolled in Domesday, it first occurs by this name in a grant made 15th May, 32 Henry VIII. [1540], by John Clerke to John Corbyn, baker, of Belamys bakehouse, situate on the east side of the venella ibidem communiter vocata Alhalon Churche lane, having the King's burgage (late the Abbot of Byndon's) on the north, and the burgage of John Pynge, formerly Margaret Boith's, on the south (600)"
amry or (amery, ambry, ambree, ambary, ambreye, aumbrey) early type of large cupboard with doors originally for food but in 17th century Fordington seems to be used for books, linen, clothes etc Picture Link
Anabaptist Member of a Protestant movement characterized by adult baptism. Anabaptists held that infants were not punishable for sin because they had no awareness of good and evil and thus could not yet exercise free will, repent, and accept baptism. Denying the validity of infant baptism, they accepted adult baptism, which was regarded as a second baptism by those outside the group who identified them as Anabaptists . This is a particular problem in trying to trace ancestors in Dorchester as there is no infant baptism and records of adult baptisms often do not survive. The most famous family of anabaptits in Dorchester is the BROOKS family whose daughter Mrs Mary CHANNING(1687-1705/6) was executed for the murder of her husband in 1704
Andirons or (Andjorns, Andier, Andire, Andjorns; And Eyrons; Andeyorns) 'Andier' is old French - an earlier form of 'Andiron' - a utensil placed one at each side of the hearth and therefore usually found in pairs; for supporting wood when burning in a fireplace, an ornamental form of fire dog Picture Link
Anno Domini Latin - In the year of Our lord. Often abbreviated in parish records (A.D.) or (An.Dm.) or (Ano Dom).
Annution Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary or 25th March
aparitor; apparitor A messenger who serves the process of a spiritual court
appurtenances The rights and duties attached to the holding of manorial land. The most important were submission to the manor court, grazing rights and the payment of various fines to the lord of the manor. A pew, or part of a pew, in church was often an 'appurtenance' of a specific house in the parish.
apron (aperne) The apron hung down the front of the dress, Made of Linen it would be hand made and hand sown. Where worn by ladies of fashion it would could have an edging of needle or bobbin lace, and even be embroidered in coloured silks. White was common for respectable ladies of the town, but around the house or for working women, coloured cloth was more usual. An apron (or a Napron as it should be more correctly called) was used for all sorts of work; drying hands and dishes, carrying hot or dirty pans, wiping surfaces and utensils etc. For the less well off it might be unbleached and made of wool. Picture Link
apud Latin word used in probate statements meaning 'at, by, near; to; towards'
a pynt or appoynt appoint
armiger An esquire, one entitled to bear heraldic arms
Armitage in Dorset

Not to be confused with "Armitage in Staffordshire". This is an old spelling for the parish of 'Hermitage' in Dorset where there was a Priory with close associations with Dorchester. 'Hermitage' is approximately 15k (10miles) NNW of Dorchester where the Priory of Hermitage was situated in the heart of the forest of 'Blackmore'. In the 15th Century the house became the free chapel of St Mary simply refered to as 'The Hermitage'

See the History of the County of Dorset: Volume 2. It's association with Dorchester and Fordington appears to date from 1469 when Edward IV placed it in the custody of William BROWN Clerk who already held the Mastership of the Hospital of St John at Dorchester. The grant for life of the yearly annuity of 52s 2d with which the chapel was charged to the King of which 38s 10d was payable to the exchequer and 13s 4d to the Bailiff of the Manor of Fordington for the use of the Duke of Cornwall. Fordington has long been a Royal Manor within the estates of the Dutchy of Cornwall. Parish Registers are held at the DHC in Dorchester but only date from 1712. Some earlier records exist however dating from 1604 These are the Bishops Transcripts imagerd by CLDS

athwart across
axeltree an axle or the pivot on which a wheel revolved
backsyde, backside a phrase in common use meaning the back outside of buildings, usually including a partially or wholly enclosed yard.
bailiff A Manorial Lord's local manager, appointed from outside the tenantry. He looked after the Lords interests, superintended his demesne land, and liaised with tenants of the manor through their representatve the Reeve. He was responsible to the Lord of the Manor or his steward for the efficient carrying out of his duties. In Dorchester things were handled slightly differently as the King had granted them a Charter empowering the Corporation to administer various forms of local Government. Two Bailiffs were appointed by the Corporation and they together with the Capital Burgesses were given power to make Bye-laws for the due government of the inhabitants. Link to a list of Bailiffs for Dorchester (1394-1834)
ballastman A person who loads ballast into the empty hold of ships
bands or bandes (1) a loose, turnover collar which succeeded the ruff. (2) pair of strips of thin white material, worn by men round the neck, the ends hanging down in front. Still worn by the legal profession. (3) hinges with long flat bands of iron fixed across the door [Source A Glossary of Household farming and Trade Terms from Probate Inventories by Rosmary Milward Derbyshire Record Society Occasional Paper published 1977]
baptizatus(-a) erat latin for: was baptised
baraels or barrells barrels
baretry The practice of exciting or encouraging disputes or law-suits
bargaine 'a contract' often referring to a lease of property. In Dorchester/Fordington Wills it is often used less formerly as a condition of inheritance, such as 'I give you these goods/land etc on condition that you do something else such as look after your mother or allow a sister or son to reside in the house until they die or marry or receive the interest from an investment etc.
basing basin - often listed in Dorchester inventories as a 'basing and yewr' ie a 'basin and ewer' usually owned by better off traders etc
Bathsua [Bathsuha] 'Bathsuha' is a biblical name meaning the same as 'Bathsheba' example Bashsua was the first wife of William Allen who was the 2nd husband of Elizabeth White the sister of the Rev John White (1575-1648).
Bathsheba 'Bathsheba' is a biblical name meaning the seventh daughter; the daughter of satiety
batrye a quarrel or dispute
Batt: a recognised abbreviation in Dorchester & Fordington for the Christian name of 'Bartholomew'
bayley or ballivus bailiff - A manorial lord's local manager appointed from outside the tenantry. He watched his lord's interests, superintended his demesne land and conducted relations with the tenants of the manor through their representative the reeve.
bays baize cloth
beadstead a frame with slats or boards or rope laid across under the mattress Picture Link
bearing sheet More correcty referred to as a 'bearing cloth': Bearing cloths were used for ceremonial occasions, particularly baptisms, up to the end of the 17th century. The bearing cloth would have been wrapped round the swaddled child during the procession to church but removed for the immersion of the child in the font as part of the ceremony. The cloths were generally very ornate, and therefore expensive to produce. Such a cloth would traditionally be passed down through the family, being used for sons, daughters and cousins alike, and many remained treasured family possessions. The bearing cloth was effectively replaced by the christening robe when total immersion ceased to be used, therefore allowing the child's clothing to be more decorative in itself. Source V & A follow link for image. Example: Dorchester Will of Richard Barker (1542-1621)
bely a spelling said to be nearly obsolete in 1775 - To belie to falsify - represent in an unjust light
behoofe behoof - benefit or advantage
besom or besome a broom
bethlam or bethlem Bethlem Royal Hospital or the treatment of mental illness, See Holy Trinity Vestry Minutes for examples of parishioners being referred to the Hospital : e.g. 19th March 1780 James GRIFFIN appears to have been sent and died there as the Overseers had to pay for his funeral expenses. also June 9th 1788 Elizabeth the wife of Jacob BANKES was taken there by the Overseer Thomas SHEPPARD and the Overseers paid for her husband to attend her as well. She returned to Dorchester to be placed in the workhouse on 14th June 1789
bibell or (byble) Bible: The bible played an important part in the lives of most families in Dorchester in the 17th century. For them to be itemised in an Inventory would have meant they were of both sybolic in as much as it was a demonstration of the Lords word being studied in the home, and also a valuable item in its own right. Some were highly decorated and generally secured in a bible box. Picture Link
billows (or bellowes, billowes) bellows: mechanical contrivance for creating a jet of air, consisting usually of a hinged box with flexible sides, which expands to draw in air through an inward opening valve and contracts to expel the air through a nozzle. When included in a household inventory would have been used to speed combustion when cooking. Picture Link
birth date estimation - 27 years old for a man and 25 years old for a woman. Estimated year of birth:- Where year of birth is unknown it has been estimated (identified by use of the letter 'c' for circa before the year) as being 27 years old for a man and 25 years old for a woman. These are averages applying to the Tudor period (1485-1603) for England. See the 'History Today' website under 'Courtship in Tudor England' and many others. It continued however during the House of Stuart (1603-1714). the ' Oxford Illustrated History of Britain' states regarding the Stuart Period" In all social groups, marriage was usually deferred until both partners were in their mid twenties and the wife only had twelve to fifteen childbearing years before her. The reason for this pattern of late marriage seems to be the firm convention that the couple save up enough money to launch themselves as an independent household before they wed. For the better off, this frequently meant university, legal training, an apprenticeship of seven years or more; for the less well off a long term of domestic service, living in with all found but little in the way of cash wages". I have tested this against known birth and marriage dates when writing other biographies and this held up really well for Anthony EAMES (1595 – 1686) of Fordington who emigrated to New England and its true of the Labouring classes as well
blackmoor (or blackmoore) a negro [Source The new and complete dictionary of the English language by John Ash published 1775] Also see comments under Slave Trade
B.M.V B.V.M. Is usually used in the context of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary also known as Ladys day or 25th March:
B.M.V. refers to Blessed Mary the Virgin [Note:- There was a Fraternity of the Blesseds Mary the Virgin in Dorchester described under the History of All Saints, Holy Trinity and St Peters. Also in Charters 431; 508; 524; 526.557, etc as "on the south side of High West Street, Dorchester in St. Peter's church on the west" Charter 560 states Robert Moreye, was chaplain, and John Pasco, Steward of the Blessed Mary in church of St. Peter of Dorchester,]
board (tableboard) Table top supported on trestles but not fixed to them, they were joined by a central stretcher near the ground, which was secured by removeable pegs. After use the table would be taken to pieces and stored against the wall. Picture Link
board cloth (bord cloth) a tablecloth
bole bowl
bolster bolster - a cylinder of stuffed fabric, filled with feathers or flock or wool. Stretched the whole width of the bed and was covered by the lower sheet.
bond points laces for tying garments or footwear
bolster a cylinder of stuffed fabric, filled with feathers or flock or wool. Stretched the whole width of the bed and was covered by the lower sheet
boot catcher a person employed at an Inn or Tavern to remove and clean a persons boots. e.g. William BULLEN is described as a 'boot catcher' at the Antelope Inn in South street Dorchester on 18th Dec 1842 on the baptism of his son William at HT church - and Richard DYKE is described as a 'boots' at the Kings Arms in Dorchester on 23rd March 1853 on the baptism of his son Richard at All Saints.
bord (or bord cloth) board - a term used to describe a table as it was a loose board which was supported by trestles. a board cloth was a tablecloth
borler person who made cheap coarse clothing
box 16th Century Box Picture Link
boucher butcher
bra (or braas or brase or brasse) brass
brightsmith metal worker - seems to have been used for polished metalwork on ships or other vehicles rather than blacksmith which was more concerned with wrought iron or basic blacksmith skills such as horse shoes etc
bristle grazier The only place that I have come across this phrase is as an occupation given on a baptism record for All Saints on 22nd July 1832 for a Mr Elias COLE who was described as a 'bristle grazier'. The 1775 dictionary defines 'bristle' as one of the stiff hairs that stand up on the back of swine and a research document that I came across suggests that a bristle grazier was a person who cut and sorted hair into different grades and colours for manufacture presumable for things like shaving brushes. Whether this was Mr Coles occupation remains to be seen as I could not locate him elsewhere apart from his marriage at Radipole where no occupation is given.
brother brother - commonly used in Dorchester Wills to mean a 'brother-in-law' Some wills try to make it clearer by referring to a real brother as 'my own brother'
bruing brewing
bruing leade leaden cooling vessel used in brewing
buh abbreviation for bushel; measure of capacity 8 gallons for corn fruit malt etc
Bull Stake The 'Bull Stake' is another name for 'North Square' in the Parish of St Peters in Dorchester. It is mentioned in various wills for example that of Andrew Lake who was buried at Dorchester St Peters 9th Aug 1745 but not proved by his widow Ann until 8th June 1767. It is shown on RL Kingstons Map of Dorchester dated 1771 see Street 'F'. Also the will of William Foot 1831. There is also a reference to it in John Hutchins "The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset" page 399 under Charitable gifts to the hospital.
burgage A house or other property in a town, rented by a free burgess under burgess tenure
Burgess originates from Anglo Norman French 'burgeis' :- an inhabitant of a town or borough with full rights of citizenship. In Dorchester 6 Aldermen & 6 other Burgesses were appointed under the charter published by Charles I on 6 Oct 1629 who with the Mayor and two Bailiffs were to be termed 'Capital Burgesses'.
buryell burial
bushell bushel - a vessel used as a measure, containing 4 pecks or 8 gallons. often used to measure wheat, etc
butterchurn butter making vat in which milk or cream is agitated Link to background to butter making. In Dorchester they seem to refer to the barrel type as a butterchurn and the plunger type as a butterpump.
butterpump another word for butterchurn
buttery storeroom for liquor and food and also for relevant equipment
B.V.M. B.V.M. Is usually used in the context of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary also known as Lady's day or 25th March: B.M.V. refers to Blessed Mary the Virgin [Note:- There was a Fraternity of the Blessed Mary the Virgin in Dorchester described under the History of All Saints, Holy Trinity and St Peters. Also in Charters 431; 508; 524; 526.557, etc as "on the south side of High West Street, Dorchester in St. Peter's church on the west" Charter 560 states Robert Moreye, was chaplain, and John Pasco, Steward of the Blessed Mary in church of St. Peter of Dorchester,]
Calendar (start of the New Year)

CALENDAR - (Including the START OF THE NEW YEAR) The system fixing the civil years beginning, length and sub divisions. In the middle ages dates were usually indicated (for years) by the REGAL YEAR of the reigning monarch, and (for days) by the number of days before or after the nearest CHURCH FESTIVAL or fast. When 'Anno Domini' years are shown, there was no regularity as to the day on which the year was considered to have begun. To the writer of any document New Years day might have been 1st January, 25th March or 25th December. At the reformation it was laid down in the Book of Common Prayer that 'the Supputation [reckoning] of the year of our Lord in the Church of England beginneth the Five and twentieth day of March, the same day supposed to be the first day upon which the world was created and the day when Christ was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary'.

In Fordington for example the vicar John JACOB usually started the year on 25th March in accordance with common convention but for the period 1722/4 he started the year on 1st March before reverting to the 25th in 1725.

In Dorchester when the existing Rector Edward Doughtie left in 1584 the curate gave a nil return for burials for the year, meaning to the end of December, and started 1585 in January.

In 1752 two changes were made in the English calendar. The first was from the Julian to the more accurate Gregorian system that had been introduced in Catholic countries by Pope Gregory XIII in March 1582. A difference of eleven days had accumulated between the systems, so the change necessitated England's losing that number of days. To bring that about the day following 2nd September 1752 was renumbered the 14th.

The second change which was of far greater importance to genealogists, was that the commencement of that year was brought forward from 25th March to the preceding 1st January. This changed January, February and most of March from being the last months of the Old year to the first of the New. As the new system had already been put into use by some people in advance of its official introduction, care has to be taken when transcribing documents of the pre 1752 period dated between 1st Jan and 24th March. The correct transcription procedure is to use both Old and new reckonings; for example, by copying '11th Jan 1645' as '11th Jan 1645/6'. When viewing the National Burial Index (which does not follow this procedure but relies upon a purely computer general sort by calendar month) it is necessary therefore when recording the burial to fully appreciate that burials with dates 1st Jan to 24th March actually post date those for March to December.

The months of September, October, November and December, which used to be the seventh to tenth months of the year, are sometimes found abbreviated to '7ber, 8ber, 9ber, 10ber' respectively and must not be mistaken for the present seventh to tenth months July to October.

See separate entry below for Christian Festivals

canvas A kind of unbleached cloth made of hemp or flax (Source 1775 Dictionary) Used for hard wearing items such as shirts and aprons, it was not like the modern cotton canvas of today but of a coarser woven natural coloured cloth which could be made in several different qualities and sometimes trimmed.
capite See 'title in capite'
car (or car II) 'car' was often used in documents to refer to the regnal years of the reign of Charles Ist whose reign started on 27th March 1625. Hence Car 3 refers to the 3rd year of his reign which ran for 12 months from 27th March 1827. Charles the II's reign was usually referred to as car II and commenced from 30th January 1648/9. After the first year his reign was interupted by Cromwell so his reign years are 1 followed by 15 up to 37. Hence 'Car.II 17' runs for 12 months from 30th Jan 1664.
chandler (chandlery) In most cases that I have seen concerning Dorchester and the surrounding district this does not generally refer to someone dealing in supplies for ships and boats but a dealer in household items such as oil, soap, and particularly candles and groceries
chapman Around Dorchester it was used to describe an itinerant trader or peddler
charger (chardger) large platter or dish     Picture Link to kitchen items     Picture Link
chatole chattels
chayre or (charres) chair(s) The inventory of Joseph Purchase of Dorchester in 1682 for example refers to tymber, lether and rush chayres. A Rush chair for example was one with a rush or canework seat.
cherchiefe (or kerchief) A kerchief was a large square of linen folded diagonally and pinned or tied about the neck. By covering the back and neck heat was kept in when cold and sunstroke avoided when hot.
chest Picture Link  :   Picture Link
chiluer or chilver (lamb) a chilver is a female lamb. They were often identified as such in the wills of yeomen and husbandsmen in Fordington who had little money but left bequests of female lambs to their children as they were worth a lot more and could be bred from and used to start their own flock
chirurgion, or chirugeon, chyrurgeon, or chursurgeon A surgeon [Examples Will of Thomas Herne, Chirurgeon of Dorchester Buried St Peters 31 Jan 1700; Will of Robert Wallis, Chirurgeon now belonging to His Majesty's Ship Defiance of Dorchester, Dorset; Will of Josiah BYLES barber and chirurgeon of Dorchester dated 20th Dec 1707 buried 20 Jan 1707/8;
Christian Names List of Religious Christian Names used in Dorchester & Fordington: Religion played an important part in the lives of Dorchester and Fordington inhabitants in years gone by. Stimulated by the preaching's of the Rev John White many named their children after qualities they strove to attain in their community and this practice extended right through the Victorian age. In many ways I suppose I regret the loss of such names in our society today and this nostalgia, for a reason I can't even properly explain to myself, made me list some examples of them as I faithfully transcribed over 50,000 records for this site. For those as sentimental as myself I have listed them in the attached document. Needless to say human frailty being what it is many did not live up to the names given to them.
C.L.D.S. Church of Latter day Saints. Link to their website. Based in Salt Lake City and responsible for the creation of a computer programme called the IGI (International Genealogical Index) to be used as an aid to church members who were asked to research their ancestry as a part of their belief. Their catalogue is especially useful as it is possible to enter a parish and get a listing of all the records that they have microfilmed. These can be viewed at a local CLDS History Center (there is usually a center within about 20 miles of where you live) where these films can be viewed. Here is a link to records they hold on Fordington as an example. In recent years they have started to image these records and make them available on line for which it is necessary to register. There are no charges involved in dealing with the CLDS nor do you have to be a member of the church to use their history centre. It was members of the church that were originally responsible for setting up
Church Festivals

The CHURCH FESTIVALS and fasts often used to date events are too numerous to list but those that are fixed, or ones most often used, plus some of the dates observed as 'solemn days' are available via the link provided. In most parishes the day of the saint to whom the local church is dedicated may also be found used for dating purposes. For example St Georges day was the 23rd April although I have not found this being used to date documents at Fordington. A table for the moveable feast of Easter Day and other feasts linked to when Easter Day occurred can be accessed via this link.

CLDS Church of Latter Day Saints at Salt Lake City Utah. Search their catalog by entering the parish name to see a listing of records held for that parish. Click on the indexed category to see individual films for the period you want. These films can then be ordered and viewed at the nearest CLDS Church that has a family History section. I viewed films for more than a decade at my local church without once being asked to join.
close stool close stool - a commode Link to picture
cobord or (cobbord, cubbard, cuppboard) cupboard Picture Link to 17th century example, most would not be as grand as this
cockloft A small upper loft under the ridge of a roof
coelebs Latin for:- bachelor
coffer or coffre, cofer, copher Wooden box or chest with a rounded top, often a strong box for valuables. Picture Link  :   Picture Link   :   Picture Link  :   Picture Link
Cokers Froome a Hamlet in the parish of Holy Trinity Dorchester
comp or (comp et ex) A phrase used in Quarter Sessions order books. 'Comp' was variously used and may mean that he 'complied with' or is ordered to comply with, the court order'; or 'he appeared' (comparuit); or that two or more people have now settled their differences (compromissum). 'et ex' means and is discharged.
coney or coneyes rabbit or rabbits
constable Elected annually by the tenantry, he had to report, and take action on a great number of matters among them: felonies committed, escaped prisoners, riots, unlawful assemblies, non attendance at church, oppression by other officers, commercial irregularities, licensing of ale houses, compiling juror lists, drunkenness. He usually had assistants who dealt with things such as unauthorised building of additional cottages and dovecotes, vagabonds, intruders, militia muster rolls, taking of lewd women before justices of the peace and detaining refractory fathers of bastards
copulati sunt latin for:- were married
Copyhold Copyhold is a form of tenure for land held of a Lord of teh Manor in return, originally for agricultural services butsince Tudor times for money payments. On the admission of a new tenant a payment (fine) to the Lord was requiered, and on death of the Tenant a Heriot. Tenure of such land could be transferred only by its surrender to the Lord, and by admission by him of the new tenant, who was often the heir of the old one. Each admission was recorded in the Court Rolls and a copy of the entry given to the new tenant, for whom it fulfilled the functionof a title deed, hence the name Copyhold.

This form of tenure was made commutable to freeholdby an Act of 1841, but it was an Act of 1853/4 that brought about a general commutation, although copyhold tenure was not finally abolished until 1st January 1926. Copyhold is also known as customary tenure, since its conditions were governed by custom of the manor. An example of Copyhold tenure was the Will of Elias GALPIN (1756-1846) Maltster & Beer Retailer
coram Latin - before 'in ones presence; in person'
cordwainer A shoemaker. Cordwain was originally a kind of leather imported from Spain and used to make shoes
corn pike a pitchfork
cosen to cosen is to cheat or deceive
cosier a cobbler - The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language by John Nash published in 1795 states 'COSIER nearly obsolete, from the french couser to sew. a cobler, a botcher, a sowter'
cosin or (cozen)

Cousin: I have been asked about the definition of cousin in the 17th century a number of times so I think the best thing to do is quote verbatim the entry in "The Dictionary of Genealogy" my bible by Terrick VH Fitz Hugh (since deceased) who used to be a member of the West Surrey Family History Society to which I belonged for many years.

"Cousin: A term formerly loosely used, and often meaning a nephew or niece. A cousin German is a first cousin, i.e. the child of an uncle or aunt. A cousin-once removed expresses the relationship between a person and his cousin's child or parent, the 'once removed' referring to a difference of one generation. Hence 'twice removed' indicates a difference of two generations, and so on. People who are 'second cousins' to each other are the children of first cousins".

couch-bed a bed with no hangings
counterfeit pass false document alleged to be from a justice of the peace or other official authorising the bearer to travel
coverled or (covelled, coverlett, coverlid) A modern term for a coverled is a bed cover or bedspread See definition of 'Coverlet' in "Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820" at British History On Line
coverture  Coverture A phrase used in Wills meaning the legal status of a married woman, considered to be under her husbands protection and authority. Prior to 1882 a married woman could not normally make a will without her husbands consent, because her property was considered to be her husbands; but there were some exceptions for example when she held specifically devised property from a previous husband. She could also be left money or property for her own use if this was specifically written into a will when the phrase 'for her own and separate use and benefit notwithstanding coverture' was often used. Examples are:- (1) The Will of John Foot (1762-1831); (2) Will of Elias Galpin (1756-1846) and (3) Will of Rebecca Bridle dated 1794, widow of Dorchester
crocke or crock crocke or Crock commonly a small earthenware pan although in south-west England the word also applied to metal pots.
croft Land adjoining a house, often enclosed. as in 'croft of pasture' not to be confused with 'toft'
crok or (croke, crooke) crook. Usually seen as part of a kitchen or fireplace inventory. It later simply became 'hook'. It was used to suspend a cooking pot or kettle at the desired height above the fire.
Cuckold's Row Cuckold's Row : Located in East Fordington refer Entry 716 in the Parish Baptism Registers of St Georges Church Fordington made on 13th Nov 1881 (image available on states " Cukold's Row to be called in future 'School Street' or School Lane" Initialed by the Vicar
crowd-strings fiddle strings
curatrix a legal term like executrix but meaning a guardian appointed by the court to look after the interests of a minor named as a main beneficiary in a deceased persons will. Example:- When William PADDOCH died and was buried at Holy Trinity church in Dorchester on 9th July 1756 his will appointed his wife Elizabeth as executrix. His widow however failed to administer his estate and when she died Letters of Administration were granted on 27th Jan 1766 to Mary HAYDON (widow of Richard) as curatrix or guardian of his grandaughter Rachel PADDOCK in her minority. Note:- Rachel PADDOCK was baptised at Holy Trinity Church Dorchester on 7th Nov 1759 so she was still only 7 years old at the time.
curier a currier a person who curries leather. Currying was the name given to the process of stretching and finishing tanned leather, thus, rendering it supple and strong for the use of a saddler or cobbler.
curtlidge A plot of land near a house, usually a vegetable garden
dafer (or dafter, daffter) daughter
dairyman dairyman worker on, or owner of a dairy farm, or seller of dairy products such as butter and cheese
damask (or damaske) See 'diap/diaper' below
D.C.M. D.C.M. when used in Dorchester or Fordington Parish Registers usually refers to the 'Dorset County Militia' not the Distinguished Conduct Medal. An example of this is in the West Fordington marriage register for 22nd April 1872 when James Reuben Toogood a bandsman (a drummer) in the D.C.M married Charlotte Read. His father Absolum Toogood was also a Staff Serjeant in the Militia.
death head rings A 'death head ring' is a morning or posie ring Link to pictures of posie rings
de ead Latin - 'of the same' or 'from the same place' often encountered in Letters of Administration
deforcement; deforciant Deforcement: Legal term for the act of holding lands and tenements by force from the right owner. Deforciant is a person doing the same. Source: The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language published by john Ash in 1775
demesne or deamense or demeasne Those parts of the land and rights of a manor that the lord retained for himself, as distinct from those used by his tenants. What might now be called the 'home farm'. Ancient Demeasne was a Manor that had been in the king's hands at the death of Edward the Confessor.
demise Demise To convey by Will or lease an estate either in Fee Simple (see Fee) or Fee Tail (See entail) or for a term of life or years. When applied to the crown of England it signifiesits transmission to the enxt heir on the death of the soverign
derbys cloth
deses or deces deceased
deu due
diap , diaper 'Diap' is a common abbreviation used in wills for 'diaper'. Linen diaper and damask were a self patterened fine white linen that had been used in western Europe since the 15th century for tablecloths, napkins and handtowels. These linens were described in various ways but in England in the mid 16th century they were classed, notably in probate inventories, as either 'diaper' or 'damask'. This classification was descriptive rather than technical, 'diaper' and 'damask' being differentiated solely by the complexity of the pattern: small repeat patterns often of a geometrical form were described as 'diaper' and figurative patterns with longer repeats as 'damasks'. Source The Grove Encyclopedia of materials and techniques in Art
die Latin for: 'day' or 'day of ' -- often encountered as 'die solis' [meaning Sunday]
doe do
dowlis, dowlas Dowlis was a course linen cloth made at Doulas near Brest in France and imported in the 17th century through the port of Weymouth by Dorchester Merchants. Joan Christopher (1704-1780) my 6th great grandmother had clothing made for her from dowlis in Dec 1762 which was paid for by the Obverseers of the Poor at Cheselbourne.
Source: Page 38 Studies in Dorset History by Maureen Weinstock M.A.,F.R.Hist.S published by Longmans (Dorchester) 1953
drawer a tapster or waiter
dower The portion to which a widow was entitled of the estate of her late husband for her subsistence and the education of their children. By Common Law it was fixed at one-third, but this could be over-ruled by the customary law of the manor (or other area) to one-quarter or one half, or his whole estate. In connection with copyhold property, the last mentioned right was called 'Freebench'. Dower is also used of a daughter's portion of inheritance. Dower (Latin dotarium) is not to be confused with Dowry.
dowry was the property in land or money that a wife brought to her husband at their marriage. This may have been given her by her father, or it may have been property already in her possession by inheritance. Dowry (Latin maritagium) is not to be confused with Dower
dredge corn mixture of wheat and barley or another corn such as oats
drinking vessels 17th Century 17th Century Drinking Vessels. Water being generally undrinkable the stable 17th century drink for all classes was ale. Ale made from the 1st mash, which had a stronger alcoholic content, was generally reserved for men, woman drank from the 2nd mash which was slightly weaker and children from the third the weakest of all. This system was followed for many generations as the brewing process killed germs.

Water particularly in towns carried infection as human waste was more often than not disposed of in cess pits under the houses and the sewage leaked into the water supply. This was still a problem in the mid 19th century - See the biography of Rev Henry Moule and page down to his invention of the dry earth closest for more background.

The better off would have wine or even spirits. Dorchester Inventories seldom refer to any kind of drinking vessel and I can only assume that this is because they were in common use and generally considered of little intrinsic value. As such they are probably included in the reference often made to "other lumber". In general use were Goblets, Mugs, Jugs or Tankards. Tankards, differ from mugs in being lidded, and were made in vast numbers from 1660 - 1780. As taste turned from ale to wine and spirits, tankards began to lose their popularity. Early tankards are straight-sided and late 17th-century examples are sometimes chased or decorated.
driping pan or drippynge pann dripping pan - pan placed below meat on a revolving spit to catch the drips
dust bed (or doust bed)

Evident in a number of Dorchester & Fordington Inventories (usually not the main bed) Dust beds are frequently shown in smaller rooms/ store rooms and mainly on farms:   I have used the definition given by Phillimore;  "bed-tick mattress filled with chaff". I have also seen 'dust pillow'. [Thanks to Peter Fullalove for this definition]

Easter Day The most important movable Feast is Easter Day and a separate listing can be accessed via the link provided which also lists the dates of other movable feasts which as determined from Easter Daye
eftsoons a second time
ejusdem (abbrev. eju) ejusdem is latin for - the same and is sometimes abbreviated to 'eju'
entail Entail was originated by the Statute De Denis Conditionalibus of Edward I. An owner of lands Fee Simple (Absolute: see Fee) could by a grant of land to a person 'and the heirs of his body' legally begotten' tie up land in one family. Such land was called Estate Tail, and the mode on tenure 'Fee Tail' Each successor would enjoy only a life interest in it, but it would pass to his heirs on the principle of progeniture. If ever the the direct issue of the original grantee died out, the landrevertedto the grantor or his heirs. Leases of entailed land became void on the death of the landlord who was a tenant in tail. Debts were not chargeable on such land. Heirs could not be disinherited. In cases of treason (until HenryVII) or other offences, such land could not be forfeited to the Crown for longer than the tenant's life, though it did escheat to the lord. In 1833 any tenant in tail was allowed to break the entail by deed enrolled in the Court of Chancery.>
eod ann abbreviated latin for eodem annus - in the same year
Eodem die (abbrev. Eod die) Latin for:- on the same day
et Latin = and
(a symbol meaning) etc Et Cetera - meaning 'and other things' or 'and so forth'. Added here as often included in Wills as a funny symbol which looks like a backward facing rounded 'E' or 'Ʒ' followed by a 't' e.g. 'Ʒt' both surrounded by a capital C .
extraparochial situate so as not to be included in any parish. (Source The new and complete dictionary of the English language: by John Ash published 1775) Example at Dorchester is the marriage of 'Matthew GARLAND of Watercomb an Extraparochial Place & Elizabeth PRESTLY of the parish of Holy Trinity in Dorchester 07-Jan 1759' [Note:-In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Watercombe as " an extra-parochial tract in Weymouth district, Dorset; 5½ miles SE of Dorchester. Pop., 37. Houses, 7"]
eyron or (eyern,) iron, as in andeyrons for andirons or eyron candlestickes
fagot (or ffaggott) A bundle of sticks bound together for the fire
fardle(s) old french for a bundle(s) As in fardles of derbys (bundles of cloth quoted in William Whiteways diary entry for 30 Dec 1633)
farrier A person who shoes horses also 'one who professes to cure the diseases of horses (1775 dictionary)'
fate or fatehorse; ffatehorsses vat or vat stand often used to brew ale [Example Will of Katherine ADYN widow of Dorchester dated 14th Feb 1569 and proved 5th May 1570 - She left "the furnace standing in the kitchen and brewing fate thereunto belonging etc]
featherbed or (father bed) a “quilt” fabric bag (tick) filled with feathers. Often accompanied by a matching bolster
fee Fee The expression 'in fee' means 'hereditarily', and 'in fee male' means through the male line of descent. A Fee Simple was a freehold estate in land which passed at death to the common law heir. For Fee Tail see entail. Fee Farm was a fixed annual rent charge payable to the king by chartered boroughs
fellmonger (or velmonger) One whose business it is to part the wool from pelts, one who deals in sheepskins. Example is Simeon Furber Scard who married Jane Old Curtis at Holy Trinity Church in Dorchester on 8th April 1861 is described as a fellmonger when he married and later a farmer.
feodary a feudal tenant. see also 'feudalism'.
feoffee a trustee invested with a freehold estate to hold in possession for a purpose typically a charitable one. In Dorchester there were for example "Feoffees" elected to administer endowments and funds for the Free School
feudalism the dominant social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their Lord's land and give him homage, labour, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection.
Fforthington: or (Fording; Fordinge) Parish of Fordington in Dorset
filius [abbrev: fili] (or fila) latin for:-son (or daughter)
fine not a penalty as in modern English but refers to the sum of money paid or due; for example to the Lord of the Manor
Firedog or ffyerdogge Firedog is like an andier, but generally smaller less ornamental. They were used to support wood buring in a hearth Picture Link
ffirepan iron tray beneath a grate to catch the ashes
ffirepike (ffyrepicke, fyer picke, fyre pich) An implement used for stiring or making up a fire, sometimes abbreviated as in 'a pich shovel & tonges'
ffireshole or fyreskomar fire shovel
fflask flask in which to carry gunpowder
fifth monarchy Fifth Monarchists or Fifth Momonarchy men were a quasi-political religious movement which was prominent from 1649-61 Link to more information.
flitch or (flicke; flyck; flytch, ffliche) the side of an animal, usually bacon, cured and commonly hung from the roof or ceiling
flock bed flock-bed was a mattress filled with bits and pieces of wool (flock) or possibly carded wool
fluke or (fflucke, ffluck) mainly used in the context of bedding such as 'fluke bed' (which I cant trace as a type of bed) or 'ffluck bolster' which is clearly a bolster filled with fluck so I have assumed this is a local pronunciation for 'flock' see 'flock bed' above.
ffoure or (foure; fowre) four (so fowtte for example is forty)
'ffurnace pann' or ('fornace pann' ; 'ffurnispan'; 'ffurnes pan'; furnes pan) furnace pan - Some references to it being used to cook beef (when it was placed in the kitchen with other items and made of brass) but may generally be reference to a vessel for heating water for washing or more likely boiling the wort in brewing as several times listed next to brewing equipment.
flesh iron (flesh poke) see iron flesh
Forthington an old form of 'Fordington' as in 'the pish of Forthington' In the Parish of Fordington
foss [fosse] A long narrow trenchor excavation, especially in a fortification. The Roman wall around Dorchester included a foss to increase the height of the defensive wall.
fourme(s) or forme(s) or fforme or furme(s) form - a long seat without a back often used with a tableboard on a trestle
frank-almoigne A tenure by which a religious corporation holds lands given to them and their successors forever, usually on condition of praying for the soul of the donor and his heirs; - called also tenure by free alms
F.R.C.S. Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) it is a professional qualification enabling the individual to practise as a senior surgeon in Ireland or the United Kingdom.
Frek's Passage A passage which ran off 'West Back Street' in the parish of Holy Trinity Dorchester. 'West Back Street' has since been renamed 'Princess Street'
frith underwood or brushwood
Frome [Froome] River Frome - often spelt Froome in older records. The river rises in the Dorset Downs at Evershot, passes through Maiden Newton, Dorchester, West Stafford and Woodsford. At Wareham it and the River Piddle, also known as the River Trent, flow into Poole Harbour via the Wareham Channel. It gave its name to several places in the Froome Valley and along its course such as Frome St Quentin and Frome Vauchurch and Chilfrome. References in Dorchester & Fordington records to people being from "Froome" however generally refers to the area North of the River Frome, but still within the parish of Holy Trinity known as Cokers Frome or Frome Whitfield or Frome wood.
Frome Whitfield A hamlet within the parish of Holy Trinity. Note:- From British History on Line Website "House of Lords Journal - 25th May 1610 - Parsonage and Parish of Frome Whitfield united to the Parish of The Holy Trinity in Dorchester. The Bill, intituled, An Act for the uniting of the Parsonage and decayed Parish of Frome Whitfeild, in the County of Dorset, to the Parsonage and Parish of The Holy Trinity in Dorchester, in the said County, was returned into the House, by the Lord Privy Seal, one of the Committees, with an Addition or Amendment". This is also referred to in 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset' (3rd Edition published 1868 - page392) by John Hutchins
fuit Latin - suggests a past tense = has been erat = was est = is
fuller A cloth worker who cleansed and thickened the cloth, called a tucker in the west country
fulling mill From the medieval period, the fulling of cloth often was undertaken in a water mill, known as a fulling mill. In these, the cloth was beaten with wooden hammers, known as fulling stocks or fulling hammers. Fulling stocks were of two kinds, falling stocks (operating vertically) that were used only for scouring, and driving or hanging stocks. In both cases the machinery was operated by cams on the shaft of a waterwheel or on a tappet wheel, which lifted the hammer. Driving stocks were pivotted so that the foot (the head of the hammer) struck the cloth almost horizontally. The stock had a tub holding the liquor and cloth. This was somewhat rounded on the side away from the hammer, so that the cloth gradually turned, ensuring that all parts of it were milled evenly. However, the cloth was taken out about every two hours to undo plaits and wrinkles. The 'foot' was approximately triangular in shape, with notches to assist the turning of the cloth.
furze or furse or ferhes gorse or whin used in heating bread ovens
fustian (fustian weaver) A kind of cloth made of cotton ; or cotton and linen; one who produced a thick course cloth -- blanket made of coarse linen fustian
fyer fire
ganny a turkey
gauger A 'gauger' in 18th & 19th centuries was another name for an exciseman working for HM Customs. The 1775 Dictionary definition states "Guager - One who measures vessels or one who measures by a gauge"
geney a heron
gighouse a gig was a one horse drawn two whelled carriage suspended at the rear by leather starps attached to whip springs. Thought to have originated circa 1790 they were very popular as they were inexpensive compared to other modes of transport and reasonably comfortable. Gigs were also easy to handle and therefore suited to poor roads and because they were light moved quite quickly if road conditions were good so became a favourite mode of transport between local villages. A gighouse was a miniture form of coachouse that was an adjunct to a middle class home in which a gig was kept when not in use.
glebe land The land held by a beneficed clergyman. Glebe Terriers describe the boundaries of such land and mention the holders of lands adjoining.
gossip or gossippe relation one who is sponsor for a child at the font [godson - goddaughter]. Source:- The new and complete Dictionary of the Enlish Language by John Ash Vol 1 Published London 1775 Example Will of Henry DERBY of Beaminster dated 8 Mar 1620. See William Deby biography
gould (or goulde) gold
goune (or gound) gown
Grampound House 'Grampound House' in Fordington was re-named 'Grove House' see Holy Trinity Baptism Register baptism of Eliza Ann daughter of William Lewis HENNING Esq and his wife Rose Ann dated 21st dec 1830
Gregory's Buildings Located in Mill street, East Fordington
grist corn to be ground or that has just been ground to make flour or ground or crushed malt to make a mash for brewing
gristy gritty
Guinea (Ginney) Guinea - the sum of £1.05 (21 shillings in pre-decimal currency). First minted in 1663 from gold imported from West Africa with a value that was later fixed at 21 shillings it was issued up to 1813. It was replaced by the sovereign from 1817 but the guinea as a monetary unit continued until decimalisation in 1971. [Source Oxford English Dictionary] Often found in Dorchester Wills. Link to Pictures
G.W.R. Abbreviation for Great Western Railway
haberdasher The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language published in 1775 states 'a dealer in small wares but 17th century examples in Dorchester suggest a dealer in hats or clthing. In 1623 John White's nephew Josias Terry was described in the Freemen of Dorchester membership Register as a haberdasher by trade as was John Watts in 1625/6 (he was the brother-in-law of Richard Bushrod also described in his will in 1629 as a haberdasher) . In 1656 Josiah Terry took on an apprentice from which we know he was a haberdasher of hats. in 1621 Richard Bushrod of Dorchester was described as a haberdasher and he primarily sold hats
half head bedstead with a wooden back of medium height, short corner posts without a canopy

In the 17th century the 'Hall' was generally the main living room so it's often the first chamber to be itemised and for the better off contains things like tableboards and stools, an amry, a trencher cage, with trenchers and chargers for eating. The other main room was the kitchen and bedrooms might be described as 'the chamber within the hall' or 'the chamber above the hall'

Worth remembering that in the 17century many if not most houses in Dorchester were shared accommodation. It was quite common therefore for one person to own half of a house, or where they owned the whole house to live in one part and lease out the rest. This led to even the main room being divided between families.  

haps the bar or shaft of a lock
a hay A net used for catching hares or rabbits
Hayward As in Hayward of the Manor: An official of the Manor primarily responsible for the maintenance of its hedges. Dictionary for 1775 also refers to looking after cattle and preserving the hedges of the common fields. Saxon in origin.
heifer or (heffer, hefer, heypher bease, heyffer, hypher) heifer beasts would be young cows that have not had a calf
hellier or hellyer a thatcher or tiler
herbage the right of pasture on another persons land
heriot A fine payable by a villein, and later a copyholder, to his Lord on inheriting copyhold land. Some freeholders too, were liable to pay heriots. It was an early form of estate duty. In practice, it might take the form of the best beast of the new tenant. Example Will of Henry DERBY of Beaminster dated 8 Mar 1620. See William Deby biography
hey reek hayrick - another term for haystack
hide a measure of land that varied between 60 and 120 acres
hind a servant in the countryside typically a farm servant or bailiff
hobelers used as in "consisted of twelve men at arms and six hobelers" which latter were a kind of light horse, who rode about from place to place in the night, to gain intelligence of the landing of boats, men, &c. and were probably so called from the hobbies, or small horses, on which they rode. Explanation from: 'The island of Graine', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4 (1798), pp. 250-258.
hock'day or hokkeday A holiday commemorating the expulsion of the Danes, formerly observed on the second Tuesday after Easter; -- called also hocktide . [ Eng.] [ Written also hokeday .] Found on
hog or hogg In the context of probate wills & inventories a hog was a domesticated male pig raised for slaughter (often castrated)
hogshead or Hogsed; Hoggesheade A Hogshead was a large cask holding 54 gallons of beer or 52 and a half gallons of wine but sometimes varied in capacity
holland holland today is used to refer to 'The Netherlands' but in the 16th & 17th century in Dorchester & Fordington it was a term used to refer to a kind of smooth hard wearing linen fabric imported from Amsterdam in huge quantities by the Dorchester Merchants. The definition given in The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language published by John Ash in 1775 states 'A fine substantial sort of linen cloth".
holle whole
homage To respect, to pay honour to profess feilty Source:- The new and complete Dictionary of the Enlish Language by John Ash Vol 1 Published London 1775 Example Will of Henry DERBY of Beaminster dated 8 Mar 1620. See William Deby biography
home whom
hooper a maker of hoops or bonds for barrels
hosyer maker of hosiery e.g. stockings
huckster huckster (derived from the german hock 'a pedlar') One who sells small articles retail, a pedlar, a low tricking dealer. Source:- The new and complete dictionary of the English language published 1775
huiod latin word abbreviation often used in probates for hujusmodi or huiusmodi as 'i' & 'j' are interchangeable meaning 'of this kind; this'
hurdler worker who made hurdles for a living - i.e. a portable rectangular frame strengthened with withies or wooden bars, used as a temporary fence
husbandmen a tenant farmer or small-holder who might also have to work on the land of larger landowners to maintain himself, below the rank of Yeoman. As such they were sometimes included in tax returns, eg hearth tax, or annual rates levied for the repair of the highways etc. An indicator of their status in these returns would be that they are contributing only small amounts compared to the main landowners.
hypher heifer - a cow that has not born a calf
iak jack of iron - device for turning the spit when roasting meat before the fire [note:- 'i' and 'j' were interchangeable in 17the Century]
ibidem (abbreviated ibm) Latin for 'in the same place; or at the same time'
iiij (as an example) The value of items appraised in inventories were written in roman numbers but whereas we would write 'iv' meaning '4' they wrote 'iiij'. Figures were succeeded by 'l' for pounds, 's' for shillings, and 'd' for pence and written above the line. Valuations of items often ended in 4 pence. A 'mark' (See below) for example was thirteen shillings and four pence in value and written as 'xiijs iiijd
Imprimis: [Abbreviated form Imp: or Impris] Latin for “In the first place” usually at the start of a list of bequests in a Will
inter alia among other things
iron flesh (or tosten eyen, or flesh poke, flesh iron) iron flesh is a toasting iron or toasting fork. Altough sold as Fleah Irons and Toasting forks as far as I can see they were mainly used for taking meat (i.e. flesh) out of boiling water. Link to pictures
Item: [abbreviated form Itm: or even It:] Usually following on from “Impremis” Itemising each bequest in a Will
Jac Often used as an abbreviation for the Reigh of James I hence Jac 5 was the fifth year of his reigh (which ran from 24th march each year) or 24 Mar 1606 to 23rd Marcxh 1607
jewter Jouster, a retailer of fish
jointure (or joynture) an estate settled on a wife for the period during which she survives her husband
joyne (or joynt, joyne, joyned, joined, ioyne, ioyned) usually used with “joyne stoole(s)” meaning a stool(s) made by a carpenter usually with four turned legs and of a joined construction - fixed with wooden pegs Picture Link
jump coate or (iump coate) short coat (The Glossary of Household, Farming and Trade Terms from probate inventories published by Rosemary Milward of the Derbyshire Record society from 1977-1991 states ' short coat worn by men in the seventeenth century'. I have only come across this in one Inventory in Dorset - that for Lucy Eames who died in 1665 - where the inventory was specifically only for her apparel as a separate inventory was drawn up for everything else as her son inherited his fathers estate - so it looks like it applied to a short coat worn by both sexes).
juncti sunt latin for:-matrimony
juramento (abbreviated form 'Jur') latin - by the oath of
kart or carte strong springless vehicle of two wheels used mainly in agriculture
kettel or kettell, kettele, keddle, keydyll, keytell, cetle, kittle kettle: An open cooking pot or pan with semi-circular handles , one on each side, to suspend it over the fire. The modern type did not come into use until the 18th. century. A kettle pan is a four handled pan. [One source used : A Glossary of Household farming and Trade terms from Probate inventories by Rosmary Milward Derbyshire Record society]
kine (or kyne) cows
kings evil Kings Evil: A serophulous ulceration of the glands: 'The gift of curing this malady has been superstitiously attributed to the kings and queens of England as successors to edward the confessor' [Source: The New and complete Dictionary of the English language by Jon Ash published in 1775]. or "Scrofula" formerly held to be curable by the royal touch [Source Oxford Dictionary of English] SCROFULA or Struma is a state of constitutional weakness generally exhibiting itself in early life, and characterized mainly by defective nutrition of the tissues, which renders them a ready prey to tuberculosis. The condition as it manifests itself in disease of the glands in the neck, was formerly known in England as 'kings evil' from the belief that the touch of the sovereign could effect a cure. This superstition can be traced back to the time of Edward the Confessor in England and to a much earlier period in France. Samuel Johnson was touched by Queen Anne in 1712, and the same supposed prerogative of royalty was exercised by Prince Charles Edward in 1745. [Source Blacks Medical Dictionary 32rd edition.] Example in Dorchester Division Militia list for 1762 Peter Green of Melcombe Regis was selected by ballot to serve in the Militia but discharged as "having Kings Evil".
kinsman or kinswoman kinsman / kinswoman is a very loose term used to denote a member of the same family. It is unlikely to be used for a direct descendant such as a son or daughjter or for a parent. It is used a lot in 1`7th Dorchester Wills
knitche of straw a bundle or sheave
kyne (or kine) cows
Lady day Lady Day is the traditional name of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin (25 March)
lanel (lannel) flannel a kind of wollen cloth
Latin Christian Names Agneta - Agnes
Aluredus - Alfred
Alienora - Eleanor
Aloysius - Lewis
Amabilia - Mabel
Amia - Amy
Amicius - Amyas
Andreas - Andrew
Caius - Kay
Carolus - Charles
Coleta - Nicholas
Constantia - Constance
Dionisia - Denise
Dionisius - Dennis
Egidius - Giles
Emelina - Emily
Francisca - Frances
Galfridus - geoffrey
Godefridus - Godfrey
Gratia - Grace
Gualterus - Walter
Guido - Guy
Gulielmus - William
Hamo - Hamon
Helena - Ellen, Helen, Eleanor
Henricus - Henry
Horatius - Horace
Hugo - Hugh
Isabella - Ysabel, Elizabeth
Jacobus - James or Jacob
Jocosa - Joyce
Johanna - Joan, or Jane
Johannes - John
Joscia - Joyce
Juetta - Jowet, Ivote
Lucas - Luke
Maria - Mary
Marcus - Mark
Milo - Miles
Paganus - Payn
Petronilla - Parnell
Petrus - Piers or Peter
Radulfus/Radulphi - Ralph
Roesia or Rohesia - Rose
Tedbaldus - Theobald
Villefrdus - Wilfred
Willelmus - William
Latin dates Dates were often expressed in roman numbers. The letter 'i' was interchangable with the letter 'j' and in writing numbers they generally used 'i' but if more than one in Dorchester and Fordington the last would be a 'j'. So the latin 'three' would be written as 'iij' and the 'third' as iijth. Today we would write '3rd' for the third. '2nd' for the second, or '5th' for the fifth but then they only used the suffix 'th' which was normally elevated into what today we term as superscript. In Wills and Letters of Administration dates were generally written in letters rather than numerals so you would get 'fuit sepult vicesimo quinto die mensis Novebris' [was buried twenty fifth day of the month of November].

i - primo ( ith - on the 1st )
ii/ij - secundo ( ijth - on the 2nd )
iii/iij - tertio ( iijth - on the 3rd )
iv/iij - quarto ( iiij th - on the 4th )
v - quinto ( vth - on the 5th )
vi - sexto ( vith - on the 6th )
vii/vij - septimo ( vijth - on the 7th )
viii/viij - octavo ( viijth - on the 8th )
ix - nono ( ixth - on the on the 9th )
x - decimo ( xth - on the 10th )
xi - undecimo ( xith - on the 11th )
xii/xij - duodecimo ( xijth - on the 12th )
xiii/xiij - decimo tertio ( xiijth - on the 13th )
xiv - decimo quarto ( xivth - on the 14th )
xv - decimo quinto ( xvth - on the 15th )
xvi - decimo sexto ( xvith - on the 16th )
xvii/xvij - decimo septimo ( xvijth - on the 17th )
xviii/xviij - decimo octavo ( xviijth - on the 18th )
xix - decimo nono or decimo undevicesimo ( xixth - on the 19th)
xx - vicesimo or rarely vigesimo ( xxth - on the 20th )
xxi - vicesimo primo (xxith - on the 21st ) and so on until
xxix - vicesimo nono or undetricesimo ( xxixth - on the 29th )
xxx - tricesimo (xxxth - on the 30th )
xxxi - tricesimo primo ( xxxith - on the 31st )          NOTE:- 'ultimo die' may also be used to mean the last day of the month of eg: 'ultimo die mensis Septembris' is 30th September
Latin Months usually expressed in dorchester parish registers, wills and Letters of Administration as 'month of' or "mensis":-
mensis Ianuarii (or Januarii)-- for January
mensis Februarii -- for February
mensis Martii -- for March
mensis Aprilis --for April
mensis Maii -- for May
mensis Junii -- for June
mensis Julii -- for July
mensis Augusti -- for August
mensis Septembris -- for September
mensis Octobris -- for October
mensis Novembris -- for November
mensis Decembris -- for December
latten or (latyn, laytyn, laten) alloy of copper, zinc, lead, and tin, similar to fine brass: as in 'latten skimmer'
lay by the heels to put in the stocks or imprison
lea; leas; leaze; lease, leasse meaning depends upon the context of the sentence 1) 'lea' is still used today to describe an open area of grassy or arable land but was often used in Dorchester wills as (2) 'leas' to describe meadow. Meadow was an area where grass was grown for a hay crop. After the festival of the wheat harvest, the hay having been cut, the beasts of the mannor were driven into the meadow, which was then used as pasture during the ensuing autumn, winter and spring. Meadows were often on low-lying ground near a river or stream , where beasts were more protected and had ready access to water. Not to be confused with (3) 'leaze' which can mean 'to glean'; or (4) 'a lease' used then as now meaning a legal contract to convey land or property to another party for a period of specified time. An added complication is the interchangability of 's' or 'ss' with 'z' depending upon the scribe
legum Latin - law. In probate 'legum dotore' = Doctor at Law
lettell little
Letter of Administration Letters of Administration: When a person died intestate [i.e. leaving no will] the next of kin or a close friend would often have to apply to the probate court for Letters of Administration to enable them to take possession of and distribute the estate. The applicant had to swear that there was no will, that the applicant would pay all funeral expenses and debts, administer truly, and submit a true inventory and account of his/her stewardship. The Court then granted Letters of Administration and might require the administrator to enter into a bond to administer the estate faithfully, in which case a copy of the act was endorsed on the document. A Bond is a binding agreement with a penalty for non performance. A bond deed is in two parts, the Obligation and the Condition. Before 1733 the Obligation, which records the penalty, was written in Latin. The Condition describes what the bonded person has undertaken to do, or otherwise committed himself or herself to (e.g. administer an estate), and was always in English. An inventory of all the goods of the deceased then had to be drawn up and exhibited into the Registry of the Court
lic. (or per licenciam) by licence
lininge, lynning or lynnen linen, articles such as sheets or clothes made of linen
linsey (or linsey woolsey) A kind of cloth made of linen and wool often described as a 'coarse, inferior woolen cloth'.
Lippath Hill

It has mainly been referred to throughout history as 'Glydepath' this name being found in the charters of Dorchester (See the following Charters already transcribed on this site: 151 (dated 1407); 153 (dated 1408); 293 (dated 1417) and 591 dated 1547). In 1603 it is referred to as 'Glippath Hill' (See Speeds 1611 Map of Dorchester - page down for index) and simply ran from 'Glippath Bridge' over the river and up the hill where it became 'Colliton Row'. I suspect that Glippath is simply a colloquial for of Glydepath. In the 1700's it is recorded as 'Glide Path Hill' but also commonly referred to as 'Lippath Hill' another colloquial form of the word (See Will of James Bly Senior 1769, image on which conveniently quotes both alternative names for the street). The 1771 Map of Dorchester shows little change; 'North Walk' now joins the start of 'Glyde Path Hill' but it still climbs the hill to 'Colliton Row' (Where the Churchill family lived). Throughout his tenure as Rector of Holy Trinity the Rev George Wood in his parish registers referred to it as 'Libboth Hill' or 'Glyde Path Hill' so both forms seem to have been in common use for many years. By the 1901 Old Ordnance Survey Map, 'Glyde Path Hill' has now been extended to run at the base of 'North Walk' but rises from the river on its original course further along to the junction with Colliton Street where it becomes Glyde Path Road.

lit or littened to light or lighted
livery in seisen One of the earliest methods of transferring land was known as, “livery of seisin”. The buyer was known to be, "seized of the land".
L.L.B Abbreviation used for a graduation degree standing for 'Bachelor of Law' - often found against the name of Rectors/Vicars of one of the churches in Dorchester or Fordington to indicate that they had graduated in Canon Law
lockram (locqueram; locram) A kind of coarse linen - often referred to in Dorchster wills eg. 'kerchief of lorcram' Source The New and complete Dictionary of the English Language published by John Ash in 1775
looms (loomes, lomes, lowmes, lommes, lowmys, lumes, loms) Two meanings:- (1) An open vessel of any kind; tub, bucket or vat (2) a weaving loom, usually identifiable by the presence of gears or tools of the trade such as sleas (slays). Link to article in Dorset Ancestors about weaving and the Act of 1666 for everyone to be buried in woollen.
lumber literally means disused articles of furniture etc but generally used in inventories to describe an assortment of items of little value
'lying in' 'Lying in' was a phrase commonly used to refer to the period a mother spent before and after childbirth when she could not work to support herself. It's importance came from the poor law where the churchwardens and overseers of the poor were required to account for the monies raised by the annual rate from landowners in the parish to support the poor. It gave rise to the interrogation of single women who were pregnant to clearly identify the father and ensure that he met the cost not only of her 'lying in' (usually in the workhouse) but also the future support of the bastard. This in turn led to the issue of Bastardy Bonds for the better off.
maijtrate A Magistrate
Manor At the Norman Conquest land had been granted to various nobles and landed gentry. Each agricultural estate was called a Manor headed by the Lord of the manor who held the estate from the King. Over a large part of England the typical estate contained a village with a church, and agricultural land consisting of two or more very large arable fields in which the inhabitants held scattered strips. The Lord’s demesne was usually held in a consolidated block adjoining the village. The land near the local stream was the meadow where grass was grown for hay, and the less lush grassland was the permanent pasture for the beasts of the manor, often a common. Typically the inhabitants of the early Manor were villeins a term used to denote a tenant of manorial land and a messuage or house that they held by agricultural service. He would be a free man to everyone except his feudal lord, which meant that he was bound to his holding in exchange for service. His work service was of two kinds: week work i.e. agricultural work done each week; and boon work, which was extra work done at important stages in the agricultural year such as harvest. This would include for example 3 days a year when everyone repaired the roads to the nearest town. The Lord of the manor had to provide horses, carts, and equipment. A villein could not bring a suit in the king’s court, and could not marry without his Lord’s permission; but he had rights, even against his lord, which were protected by the manor court. His holding - a house and usually a garden plot and orchard – carried with it the right to a certain number of arable strips of land on which he could grow his own food, the right to graze a certain number of beasts in the pasture, and the right to a certain crop of hay from the meadow. Sometimes there were rights to cut timber such as ash and elm from local forests. Oak was generally an exception harvested by the Lord and sold for shipbuilding etc. In addition to his work service the tenant paid rent of assize, which remained fixed for centuries despite the continuous fall in the value of money. At death his chattels were forfeit to the lord but might be bought by his heir. From about 1500 when the death of a tenant occurred, tenure of the land would be transferred only by copyhold, which meant its surrender to the lord of the manor and admission by him of the new tenant. Each admission was recorded in the Court Rolls.
Manor Court

Manor Court: The organs of manorial administration were the Manor Courts of which there were two types the Court Baron (which mainly dealt with disputes and administration of the lords estate), and Court Leet, dealing with such things as criminal proceedings where the principal was that Justice will be seen to be done by the Lord’s Court, not the Lord. Custom governed everything and checked the rights and duties of both the Lord and tenants. The Court Leet for Wareham still sits even today, although its functions are now largely ceremonial. The Lord of the Manor appointed a Bailiff and Hayward. The Bailiff looked after the lords interests, superintended his land, and liaised with tenants of the manor. The Hayward was responsible for all the hedges, fences, and enclosures of the manor.

Tenants elected from the most respected members of their community a number of officials. A Reeve was appointed to negotiate with the Bailiff on their behalf but the 'Constables', 'Tithing Men', 'Pinfalds', and 'Aletasters' had specific functions and were common across most of English Manors and had to report directly to the Manor Court. In Wareham for example, which was larger than most villages, they seem to have also had: - Carniter’s to check the freshness of meat and poultry, Bread Weighers to check on the freshness and ensure consistency of weight for the 2lb loaf; Scavengers to ensure standards of hygiene within the lanes and privies of the town; Leather Sealers to maintain the quality of leather goods and ever since 1762 Surveyors of Chimneys and Mantles to check that chimneys were regularly swept clean.

mantua (mantua maker,mantuamer ) A Mantua was a womans loose gown worn over a petticoat and open down the front usually made of a sumptuous material such as damask or brocade and worn for dressy occasions.- fashionable during the 17th & 18th Centuary. A 'mantua maker' also recorded as a' mantuamer' was one who makes gowns for women. Example:- Mary ABBOTT of Dorchester a 'mantuamer' took on an apprentice 'Ann BARTLETT' on 25th July 1767
mark or marke As long as currency was based on the value of silver, the basic monetary unit was the penny. Because that was a rather small unit the Mark (160 pence) and later the pound (240 pence) were used for accounting purposes, although no Mark coin was issued it was worth thirteen shillings and four pence. It was also common to leave six shillings and eight pence or half a mark in wills or see it as fees etc.
Martinstown The Parish of Winterborne St Martin a tranquil village situated some 7 miles from the coast at Weymouth and 4 miles south-west of Dorchester,
Matie Means Majesty - usually referred to as the 'Kings Matie'
mazer or maze from the old french word 'masere' - a hardwood drinking bowl
medleygowne a gown made of a mixture or miscellany of cloth - I am not sure whether this is a reference to colour or fabric but Joan HUNT in her will in 1609 lists her medleygown after her wedding gown so likely to have been her best and most expensive dress
meire or mere mare female horse
mendicant a begger ( from the latin Mendico - to beg) The new and complete dictionary of the English language published in 1775 also refers to 'one of some begging fraturnity in the Roman church'. Used in 1838 in Holy Trinity Dorchester burial register to descibe a 31 year old man (John Whiticombe) who died at the Queens Arms Public House whilst in transit
mensis Latin for:- 'of the month'
Menster Minister as in Vicar or Rector
mercer a dealer in cloth and other textiles
meshing vate [or fate] mashing vat - used in brewing beer
messuage a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use
Methodist Movement

[Note:- My great Grandfather Arthur William CHRISTOPHER (1859-1916) & my grandmother Catherine Lucy Denman (1857-1935) were Methodists]

History of Methodism

The Methodist movement began in 1738, when John and Charles Wesley, the sons of an Anglican Rector, set out to revive a sense of spirituality and inner holiness in worship. At first, they preached to church congregations and religious societies; then their followers formed themselves into two societies and met at member’s houses. In 1739 George Whitfield, an associate of the Wesley brothers when they were at Oxford, began to preach in the open air, and the Wesley’s followed his example. They accepted the nickname “Methodist” which had been mockingly bestowed upon them at Oxford as a derisive allusion to the methodical manner in which they performed the various practices and that their sense of Christian Duty and Church ritual required.

Although they remained members of the established church, they built supplementary preaching houses (Wesley) and tabernacles (Whitefield), and these became grouped into circuits under a Circuit Chapel.

In 1741 the followers of Whitfield, who were Calvinists and believed in predestination to heaven or hell, separated from those of the Wesley’s, who were Armenian and held that salvation was open to all true believers. During the eighteenth century both sects continued to be called Methodists. Much to my surprise Caerphilly became a centre of the Methodist revival in the 18th century; the first synod of the Calvinistic Methodists was held in a farmhouse near the town in 1743.

Wesley travelled the whole country and his following grew greatly. In 1778, Wesley’s chapel in City Road, London, was founded, with its own graveyard and burial register. By 1784, Methodist clergy were being barred from Anglican churches so they invoked the Toleration Act and became officially Dissenters. From then on they took less care to arrange their meetings at times that did not conflict with Church of England services, but the baptisms of their children were still performed and registered in church.

Charles Wesley died in 1788 and John in 1791. The movement continued to grow but in the following decades it was subject to an almost constant state of change, as a succession of sub-denominations developed and split off from the main body. In 1797 a sect called the Methodist New Connection was founded. It gave its laity more control over its affairs, and by 1837 it had thirty circuits, each with its own register.

In 1807, a small group called Independent or Quaker, Methodists left the main body, and in the following year the followers of Hugh Bourne were expelled from the Burslem Circuit for open camp meetings to the rural poor and built their first chapel at Tunstall. In 1812 they adopted the name Primitive Methodists and expanded, especially in the industrial towns of the north. Three years later, the Bible Christians (O,Bryanites) broke away in the south-western area of England. In 1818 a Metropolitan Wesleyan Registry of Births and Baptisms was begun in London, from duplicate certificates sent in by Circuits.

Three other groups resented the dominance of the Methodist Conference and the movement continued to divide. In 1827 the Protestant Methodists became a separate body, wanting more rights for ordinary members. In 1833, the Independent Methodists took over the name United Churches of Christ, and in 1836 the Wesleyan Methodist Association was formed, with the same aim of lay member rights.

In 1837 the Methodists obeyed the call to deposit their registers with the General Registrar – they sent 856 of which the oldest is one for London of 1738. However not all registers were sent although some have since found their way to local record offices.

Fragmentation however had taken its toll and there then began a program of consolidation. The Wesleyan Methodist Reformers from 1849, joined by the majority in 1857 then formed the United Methodist Free Churches. A further merger with the Methodist New Connexion group and the Bible Christians occurred around 1907 and became The United Methodist Church. All the ones against forming a Union became the Wesleyan Reform Union, mainly the Independent Methodists, United Churches of Christ and United Free Gospel Church. Source The Dictionary of Genealogy by Terrick VHFitzHugh published 1985

Michaes (or Michaiah) Old form of 'Michael'. Origin 'Michaelis' Latin, and 'Micha' or 'Michaiah' both used in the Bible meaning 'Michael'. Michaes is generally used in parish registers whilst Michaiah is more often used in cases before magistrates or JP's
milch cow A cow kept for milking; a dairy cow. A cow that produces milk
Militia A body of men enrolled for emergency military service, on a local basis. From Anglo Saxon times there was an obligation on every grown male between the ages of 15 and 60 to defend his country but it was the Normans who enshrined this obligation into law with The Assize of Arms in 1181, the Statute of Winchester in 1285 and other decrees which laid down what weapons each man must keep according to his means and status. In the middle ages the force was raised by the sheriff but in tudor times it became the responsibility of the lieutenant, later known as the Lord Lieutenant. In 1558 two Acts were passed revising each mans responsibilities for providing arms, armour and horses. Those with incomes of £5-£10 per year had to have a coat of plated armour, a steel cap, a longbow with arrows and either a bill or a halberd. men with an annual income of £10-£20 had to find the same, but with a harquebus instead of a bill or halberd and a morion instead of a cap. Additional armour had to be supplied by the gentry, and the scale of requirements went on up to men worth £1,000 per year or more, who had to provide 16 horses, 80 suits of light armour, 40 pikes, 30 longbows, 20 bills or halberds, 20 harquebuses and 50 steel caps or helmets and so on. From time to time, all men liable for service were called with their arms to musters and from 1570 men who were both fit and keen underwent regular training in small units. Consequently it became the custom to distinguish in muster certificates between trained and untrained men and so arose the term 'Trained Bands'. This system of self defence was taken to New England by settlers, an example being the churchwarden of St Georges in Fordington, Anthony EAMES (1595-1686) who trained in the Militia in England before emigration in 1633 to Charlestown and rose to Captain such a band at Hingham in Massachusetts.

In Stuart times in England many of the local militias ceased to be summoned but in some places, the more prosperous gentry raised their own volunteer forces. One problem of the age when firearms were replacing halberds and bills was to ensure that that all such arms brought to the musters had the same bore and used the same type of powder.

The Militia Act of 1757 aimed to create a more professional national military reserve. Records were kept, and the men were selected by ballot to serve for longer periods - typically 3 years. Uniforms and weapons were provided, and the force was 'embodied' from time to time for training. This Act resulted in the Militia lists of 1758 for Dorchester and Fordington which I have transcribed for this site and from the minutes of the Militia meetings in 1761 it can be seen that the Dorchester subdivision alone consisted of over 3,000 men. All men between the ages of 18 and 45 who were fit to serve were listed by the constables or tythingmen in each parish. In 1796 all men with more than a wife and one child were then crossed off the list as it was recognised that removal of the breadwinner would only result in his dependants seeking support from the overseers of the poor. When in 1798 the danger of invasion by the French seemed acute, the militia was increased and its organisation made more rigorous. By this time the cavalry units were known as Yeomanry to distinguish the from the infantry who were still called the Militia.
millesimo Latin - one thousand
mistlen mistlen or mistlin is interpreted as meaning a medley or mixture. Explanation from: British History on Line 'Introduction', Calendar of wills proved and enrolled in the Court of Husting, London: Part 2: 1358-1688 (1890), pp. I-LIV.
mittimus a warrant from a Justice of the Peace committing a person to prison
mixon a dunghill
moiety a term often used in 17th Century Wills - legally meaning: 'A portion of something, typically half' [example Will of William Norman of Dorchester (1722-1805) ]
mort a slang term for a woman, a female vagabond
mourning rings See Posie Rings below
Mr Mr. an abbreviation for Master and originally so pronounced. A title used to denote social class - in the Seventeenth Century it was a courtesy title for any man of respectable means
M.R.C.S. Member of the Royal College of Surgeons
Mrs Mrs (Mistress) The courtesy title for women of the status corresponding to that of men addressed as Mr., but throughout the seventeenth century applied to both married and unmarried women, and even through the eighteenth century to spinsters of mature age as a mark of respect. An example in Dorchester is Mrs Elizabeth Templeman who was buried at Holy Trinity on 20th July 1756 and we know from her Will that she was a spinster. Also Mrs Mary Shergold (1750-1840) of Dorchester who also left a will identifying her as a spinster.
Nat: meaning nativity - usually found in parish registers following a baptism entry meaning 'born' e.g. "Holy Trinity Baptisms 1696 - Jann. 4 Josiah ye son of Mr Joseph Cooper Nat: 10.bris 30.o (i.e. born December 30th 1697)"
natus fuit Latin - found in parish registers = 'born has been' = 'has been born'
nephew nephew - until the end of the seventeenth century this word could mean a grandson, descendant or kinsman. The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language published in 1775 states " The son of a brother or sister; a descendant, a grandson, but this sense has now grown obsolete"
nepkens napkins
New Year (start of) See comments under 'Calendar'
Nisi Prius court A trial court for the hearing of civil cases before a judge and jury
noble a gold coin worth six shillings and eight pence
nonage The period of a persons immaturity or youth - used in Wills and Letters of Administration when the inheritance might be placed in trust and used for their education or payment delayed until they reached their majority or a specified age. The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language published 1775 description:- Minority; the time of life before a person comes of age. An example is the will of Samuel Eyres written in 1672
nonagenaria (or nonagecius) Latin - nonaginta = 90 ; nonagesimus= 90th; I would welcome advice from someone who has studied Latin regarding the difference in pharses. nonagenaria seems to be a locally used latin phrase for nonagenarius i.e. a nonagenarian or a person aged between 90 and 99 years old. Examples for Dorchester from burials at Holy Trinity church include "John PALMER Nonagenarium November 9 1630" or "Gertrude Comfrey nonagenaria 16 March 1628/9" or that for "John Bailey nonagecius on 10 Feb 1636/7" which I think means aged 90.
non-conformist , quaker Non-conformist: Registers were indexed by in August 2013 and are now available to view on line for those with membership. Tip go to card index and input 'non-conformist'. Do not omit the hyphen as the search engine is character specific. This gives you direct access to the 'England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970' file holding 2.5million records. many of these do not come up on general searches. What you input affects every search you do, for example input of 'visitation' as opposed 'visitations' brings up completely different listings of what is available (someting i reported in 2010!). Input of 'quaker' not 'quakers' will give you access to their new file added in Nov 2013 'England & Wales, Quaker Birth, Marriage, and Death Registers, 1578-1837, which holds over another 580,000 records.
Notary Public Official charged with writing down and certifying acts of the court
nou now
Noverint universi per prsents nos Latin phrase used at the start of many Letters of Administration where the first part of the Letter of Administration known as the 'Obligation' is usually written in Latin. The next part known as the 'Condition' is usually written in English. My latin leaves a lot to be desired but 'Noverint universi per prsents nos' is usually transcribed as 'Know all men by these presents that I ----(followed by the persons name)' I have also seen it transcribed as 'Let all take notice that by these presents I ---' The first persons name may also be written in Latin but will be repeated in English in the first part of the condition.

Law (of a Will or Testament) declared orally as opposed to in writing. Until 1838 these were testamentary intentions expressed by the decease's word of mouth before credible witnesses', who later made sworn statements before the probate court. By the Statute of Frauds, 1678, there had to be at least three witnesses who had heard the deceased's wishes spoken in his own house and during his last illness. They needed to have them written down within six days, and not proved until 14 days after the death. Examples are the will of James Pook of Fordington or Robert Anthony of Dorchester dated 8th June 1724 and the subsequent letter of Administration issued 1st Oct 1724 - see wills index - images available on

Since 1838, nuncupative wills can be made only by soldiers on active military service, and by seamen at sea. Freehold land could not be devised by a nuncupative will, nor could a written will be revoked by one. Example of a nuncupative Will is that for Nicholas Purchase of Dorchester who died in 1620. Also in Wills Index are nuncupative wills for Thomas Lymington 20th Oct 1660; Mathias BRINE 10th March 1692; Christopher FOY 19th Nov 1692 ; John MILBORNE of Frome Whifield in Holy Trinity Parish in 1696; Jasper COLSON of St Peters 30 Dec 1726; Mary ROGERS of Blandford Forum 03 22 Aug 1736; Edmund BRYER 5th Oct 1770

nupti fuerunt (abbrev: nupt.) Latin for:-were married
ob. or (ob. s.p.) If used in a visitation record ob. stands for died. It is usually shown under a persons name as 'ob. s.p'. indicating that he was heir but died without children before inheriting so the estate passed to next eldest son.
octagenaria Latin - octagenaria = octagenarian, or a person aged between 80 and 89 years of age. An example in Dorchester is the burial at Holy Trinity Church Dorchester of "Agnes Brine Octagenaria October 5 1630"
orerrable arable as in 'arable pasture'
Overseers of the Poor Before the reformation the care of the poor was the responsibility of the Church i.e. the monaseries and the parish clergy. In fact one third of the parson's tithes were intended to be given to the poor. When the monasteries were dissolved the problem of relieving the poor became acute and the clergy were ordered to collect alms for poor people. An act of 1572 created Alms collectors and supervisors of Labour of Rogues and vagabonds in each parish. People who did not give alms could be compulsary assessed. In 1597 the two offices were combined under the title 'Overseers of the Poor' who was an official that required the approval of the Justices of the Peace. By the great poor law act of 1601 churchwardens became ex-officio Overseers of the Poor, together with those approved by the Justices. One of their number was appointed executive officer of the Overseers and looked after the funds raised by parochial rates. From 1691 the Overseers were obligued to keep a record of his disbursements and distribution of clothing etc .

His rate books list the sums collected from parishioners according to the value of their properties. Where records have survived this is a good way of identifying the wealthy in each parish and you can even establish a pecking order over time. These lists were generally made annually so where your ancestor had some wealth and is listed you can get an approximate idea of when they were in the parish. As owners of property it may also be worth checking for land records, and wills.

The Overseers accounts are usually split into two lists each month. The first will list those in the parish in receipt of relief each month. The second list often headed as Extra Payments for the month covers all other expenditure. Included in this latter listing will be any payments made to bury the poor for example those already on relief. What the overseers paid for differed but you will often find entries in the accounts for:- laying the person out, (the corpse was washed and dressed to be as presentable as possible). Cloth for a woollen shroud, the expense of making it, an affidavit, a waking which was an all night vigil (often by a close friend rather than family) by the corpse in the church. The coffin. In Fordington in 1818 there were often entries for 'Clark and Saxon's bill'. Saxon appears to have been a carpenter who made the coffins and Clark I suspect dressed them. A black cloth, which would be draped across the coffin, bearers (often with separate entries for beer for the bearers or the ladies laying out the corpse). Digging the grave and ringing the bells. If your ancesters were in receipt of weekly poor relief you may well also find entries in the Extra listing when they were bought a new coat, a shirt, a shift or a pair of shoes.

For those with access to they have imaged many of these records which can be accessed via the card index [Dorset - Poor Law records - Parish] but as at April 2014 these have not been indexed so they will not appear during name searches and you can't therefore automatically attach the images to your tree. What you can do is once you have found an image is save it onto your computer and then upload that image to your tree.
pane or pann pan as in cooking pan
pannitor panniter - a clothier or draper
parochie Latin for:-of the parish (of)
partlett The partlett was originally a small yoke of cloth to cover the low square necklines of the Tudor period. It was worn on the outside of the garment and often made of the same material as the dress, but it could be made of other materials and highly decorated. Between the Tudor and Elizabethan period it migrated from the outside of the dress to be worn inside but over the corset. In Elizabethan times the better off used it to protect the ruff from the face and neck but in others it was plainer and served a similar purpose to the kerchief.
payre or (apayer) a pair, two of
peck or (peake, pecke, peke, peyck) a vessel for measuring two gallons of dry goods
pen a female swan - whose feathers were used to create quills hence 'quill pen' and a 'pen knife' was the knife used to cut the feathers into quill pens
perch a measure of length especially of land, equal to a quarter of a chain or 5½ yards - also called a pole rod. Old Land Apportion and Tithe maps often refer to measures of land simply by the letters 'a' (meaning acre) 'r' (rood) and 'p' (square perch). A square perch was equal to 160th of an acre
perukemaker [peruke maker or perriwig maker] perukemaker = one who makes periwigs - periwig comes from the Franch peruque - a cap of false hair worn by men. EXAMPLES:- John Martin the elder and his son John Martin the younger are both recorded as perukemakers in Dorchester on a Letter of Administration granted 21st Jan 1750. John Kerby from Lyme Regis is recorded as perukemaker in the Militia return for the Dorchester Subdivision of the Militia for the year 1762 . Thomas Purse of Fordington is recorded as a Peruke Maker when he acted as security for Mary Bartlett on a letter of Administration granted on 1st Oct 1798 to administer her husband John Bartlett's estate. Peter Buckland of Dorchester a beneficiary under the will of Ann Clines dated 12th May 1780 is recorded as a perukemaker
pes or pese piece as in each
pettie coate or (petycot, peticote, peteycote) Petticoat - The modern term for petticoat is an underskirt which is not seen which then would have been called a shift. 15th to 18th Century petticoats were termed an under skirt because it went under an apron or a top skirt. There were several reasons for wearing petticoats. One reason was practical: Petticoats added body to the skirt and kept the women who wore them warm. But wearing petticoats was usually done to keep in fashion, especially in the seventeenth century. Once women quit using farthingales, or stiff hoops, to add body to their skirts, they turned to petticoats to do the job. Petticoats worn for warmth were made of wool or cotton, while those worn for fashion were made of taffeta, satin, linen, or a combination of starched fabrics. Petticoats were gathered at the waist and flared outward at the hem. Many were highly ornamental, featuring layers of ruffles, trimming, and lace. Most of the trimming was along the bottom edges, the part most likely to be seen. Beginning in the late seventeenth century women pinned up their outer skirts, allowing the petticoats to be seen. For the widow of a Yeoman petticoats would have been to the ground, and for the more wealthy may have had a short train at the back. Even working class ladies usually had some sort of trim on the petticoat and many were padded for warmth. Red petticoats seem to have been popular, even among puritans
pewterer Pewterer - one who works in pewter, an artificial metal used to make plates and dishes for the table
pfect or perfet perfect
pharmacopolam An apothecary - one who prepares medicines. Example John Morey alias Wilse of Dorchester a barber by trade the nephew and next of kin of Frances Ffildew spinster see letter of administration of her estate 14th July 1709
phillip (female) Today we would call a male child PHILLIP and a female child PHILLIPA. In the 16th and 17th centuries in Dorchester and Fordington however PHILLIP could be a male or female child and I have given some examples where it was used for females below:-
    (1) On 10th May 1568 Phillip Overy a widow married John Shepparde in Holy Trinity. Initially I thought this was just a clerical error for Phillipa but she was buried at Holy Trinity on the 4th August 1569 again referred to as 'Phillip the wife of John Sheppard
    (2) Phillippe Longe married John Narton at Holy Trinity church on 3rd April 1611
    (3) Philipp Shepherd a widow was buryed the 28th of August 1615 at Holy Trinity church
    (4) Philipp the daughter of John Watercombe was baptized the fifth day of Maye 1616 at Holy Trinity church
    (5) Philipp sonne (sic) daughter of William Mrtin June 12 1630 & buried as his daughter on 14th June 1630 at Holy Trinity church
    (6) Philip Paule married John Birche at Holy Trinity Dorchester on 12th February 1635
    (7) In the Will for Christian Lawrence Widow of Fordington in 1663 there is a bequest to 'my dafter [i.e. daughter] Phillip Shepard.
phthisis Means wasting, and is the general term applied to that progressive enfeeblement and loss of weight that arise from tuberculous disease of all kinds, but especially from the disease as it affects the lungs source Blacks Medical Dictionary.
piche pot or pich pan pot in which pitch was heated for marking animals with initials, or other identification marks
Piddle or Puddle (The River which gives its name to many parishes) The River Piddle (or Trent or North River) is a small rural Dorset river which rises next to Alton Pancras church (Alton Pancras was originally named Awultune, a Saxon name meaning the village at the source of a river) and flows south and then south-easterly more or less parallel with its bigger neighbour, the River Frome, to Wareham, where they both enter Poole Harbour via Wareham Channel. Many of the villages it passes through are named after it: Piddletrenthide, Piddlehinton, Puddletown, Tolpuddle, Affpuddle, Briantspuddle, Turnerspuddle. All but two of those names now contain "puddle" rather than "piddle"; a local tradition tells that the villages were renamed to avoid embarrassment before a visit by Queen Victoria but this is certainly not the case. The names appearing in parish registers clearly show use of both versions. The marriage registers of St Peters is a good example where there are lots of references to both from at leat 1700 and probably before that.
piece a gun or musket
pillowtie or (pillowtye, pilities; pillow bere, pillow beares, pillowberes) A 'pillowtie' is the outer cover of a pillow - now called pillowcases and as such is nearly always listed with other bedding such as a 'coverled' or 'rugg'. The word pillow was spelt in many different ways other examples e.g. from Rosmary Milward's Glossary of Household farming and trade terms that she took from probate inventories and as ever are affected by local accent. She quotes:- Pellowbere, pelo berys, pealobeare, pillow beer - or- pelowes, peylowes, pyllas, pillues, pelys. In Dorchester in the 16th & 17th centuries most of this cloth was imported from Holland by the Dorchester Merchants. Pillows for the more wealthy could be stuffed with down.
pinfald The person responsible for rounding up stray animals and confining them to the pound, or pinfold, of the manor. This was either an open (overt) enclosure or one roofed over (covert) or entirely enclosed like a stable or byre. Animals were released on payment of a fine by the owner. The parish officer in charge can be referred to as a Pinder, a Pinfald, Pinfold, Poundkeeper, Pounder, or Punder
pish (or psh or pishe) common abbreviation for "Parish" , used a lot on Dorchester and Fordington parish registers and Wills in 17th century
pitcher of withie a bundle of willows
platelayer a person employed in laying and maintaining railway track.
plater or platur, plater platter a flat dish or plate of pewter, wood or earthenwear
pleb Pleb. an ordinary person, especially one from the lower social classes. Extensively used in Alumni for Oxford and Cambridge Universities who enrolled pupils as "plebeians" as opposed to sons of gentry and aristocrats.
pleno jure with full right - origin Latin
poldavis poldavis was a coarse sacking or sail cloth imported from the Normany ports [also known as Normandy canvas] in the 17th century via the port of Weymouth by Dorchester Merchants
Source: Page 38 Studies in Dorset History by Maureen Weinstock M.A.,F.R.Hist.S published by Longmans (Dorchester) 1953
Polly (Polley, Pollie) Nickname for Mary. In the Biography of William Cuming MD of Dorchester his friendship with Miss Mary (known as Polly) Oldfield is referred to. In some cases registered as a name it it's own right eg 'Polley Lavinia Pritchard' GRO Births 1898 3rd qtr King's Norton Worcestershire - she married Charles Joseph Bernard Christopher (1896-1944) who was born at Poole
pooles or (peeles, pelowes, peylowes, pelowys,) pillows as in 'ffeather pooles'.
pooke a cock of hay
porringer See pottinger below
pose propose
posie rings (posy, poesy. posey) Posie rings (sometimes spelled "posy ", "posey" or "poesy rings") are finger rings with short inscriptions on their outer surfaces. More rarely the inscription is on the inner surface. Link to pictures of posie rings
posnet A small bason, a porringer, a skillet
pottes Pots
potthookes or (pothokes) pot hooks were long iron rod with a hook either end usually about 2 feet long but various lengths used to suspend pots from the iron bar across the top inside of the fireplace above the fire for cooking
pottinger (porringer) A pottinger is an earlier form of porringer or small basin from which broth, soup or porridge (pottage) was eaten; often with one or two flat handles. Most 17th century Dorchester inventories do not specify what they were made of, but I have seen several which specify pewter. They could be made of other metals see Picture Link ; The poorer classes would have had pottingers made of wood.
pouter or pauter pewter as in pewter dish or charger Picture Link
praepositus The Reeve or chief representative of the tenants
praised appraised at £-- used extensively in inventories of 'household stuff' attached to wills or letters of administration to mean valued at £
prebendary honorary canon of the anglican church who receives a prebend or stipend drawn from the endowment or revenues of an Anglican cathedral or church. Link to a listing of Prebenary's for Fordington
precentor a minor canon who administers the musical life of a cathedral
premise; premised used in a lot of 17th century wills does not refer to a house or dwelling but to 'a previous statement or proposition in the will from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion. origin from old french 'premisse'
presents (or prets or prsentes) legal term used in 17th century wills a lot e.g. "make and declare these presents to be my last will and testament". meaning the present writings, or this document, used in a deed of conveyance, a lease, and especially Letters of Administration to denote the document itself: e.g. Know all men by these presents
pro hac vice Latin - (pronounced "pro hack wee-chay"), meaning "for this occasion" or "for this event", (literally, "for this turn") Often used in the legal profession but in Dorchester in the 18th century used by the clergy meaning an 'Officiating Minister' as the normal vicar/rector or curate was absent and had arranged for another to take his place - usually from one of the surrounding parishes. Examples include (1) marriage of James Hawkins and Katharine Davidge who were married at Holy Trinity Church Dorchester on 21-Nov 1774 by Harry Place the curate of Marnhull whose father & grandfather lived in Dorchester, (2) marriage of Robert Tite to Elizabeth Standage by William Floyer the curate of Bradford Abbas 21st Feb 1776 at Holy Trinity.
probat (latin abbreviation for probatum) probate or proving of a will
proctor proctor - historically meant 'a qualified practitioner of law in ecclesiastical and certain other courts' source Oxford Dictionary of English. The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language by John Ash published 1775 states " A manager of another mans affairs, an attorny in the spiritual court ---etc".
psor Abbreviation for 'Pastor' or Minister
pte or pt abbreviation for 'part' often used in Wills - as in 'inherits one 3rd pte of my estate'
Puddle See Piddle
puter dish or (putter dish) dish made of pewter
querent a law tern for a complainent, or a plaintiff. Source. The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language: by jiohn Ash published 1775
quingentesimo Latin - five hundred
quart quart - When listed in a kitchen inventory likely to be a tankard as they were often referred to as 'quarts' See Picture Link
quietus quietus - a latin phrase meaning at rest, peaceful, neutral, calm, quiet, or asleep. In Dorchester it was generally used on legal documentation by the Courts on Letters of Administration where 'a quietus' was a formal endorsement by the court to show that the administrator was properly bound with surities to the court, had lodged an Inventory at the Registry of the deceased estate and paid any necessary fees and was therefore safe from prosecution.
Rafe Rafe was a male Christian name, a variation on Ralph it was fairly common in 16th/17th century Dorchester. Examples:- Rafe PERIN had his daughter Rose baptised at Holy Trinity Dorchester 28th Jan 1615/6: Rafe ROBAT was Churchwarden at Fordington in 1619: Rafe CORBIN was buried at Holy Trinity 8th Jan 1626/7. Rafe MULLETT married Elizabeth LIE at Glanville Wootton in 1589. It was also a surname eg Edith RAFE married in Fordington in 1590.
reade reed (not to read)
Recorder a barrister appointed to serve as a part time judge
rede red as in a 'rede rugg' for 'red rug' on the floor
reek a ruck; a heap; a stack; or a pile of: As used in 'a reek of corn' or 'a reek of wheat' or 'a reek of hay'
reeve officially the foreman of the villeins - and later the copyholders - of a Manor. He was the official with whom the Lord's Bailiff dealt. He was elected by the tenants, but could pay to be excused his office. In small villages, the reeve was also often the constable.
regnal years I have given an explanation and a listing of regnal years in the 'Bailiffs of Dorchester' file
relieving officer "The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834" ended parochial responsibility for the poor. Parishes were amalgamated for such purpose into Poor Law Unions and Governed by Poor Law Guardians. The Reieving Officer was employed by the Union to receive applications for relief and make payments when these had been approved by the Board of Guardians. They also issued orders to admit people to the workhouse.
reparens reparations
rescue to take men or animals from the custody of the constable or other official
reversion particularly used in 17th century Wills - reversion is a right after the death of the present posesser, a succession or right to succession. Source The new and complete dictionary of the English language by John Ash published 1775
R.H.A. R.H.A. Abbreviation for 'Royal Horse Artillery' who were often stationed at Fordington Barracks
right heires 'right heirs' is a phrase often used in 17th century Dorchester Wills to mean heirs lawfully begotton - i.e. not illegitimate
rood a measure of land area equal to a quarter of an acre. Old Land Apportion and Tithe maps often refer to measures of land simply by the letters 'a' (meaning acre) 'r' (rood) and 'p' (square perch). A square perch was equal to 160th of an acre
rother beasts (rother cattle) rother beasts are horned cattle, or black cattle. Source: The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language By John Ash published 1775
rugge or (rugg) Rug: A term generally found in Dorchester & Fordington Inventories in the chamber off the hall (usually the bed chamber) and included in a general description of bedding. For example the inventory for Tamzine Windsor 1649 states " In the Lodging Chamber one father [feather] bed one Bolster one Rugg two Pillowtyes [pillowcovers or pillowcases] one Lynning tester cloth and Bedsteed [bedstead] one pare [pair] of sheete praised at £3. 8s. 0d ". used in this way it refers to a large piece of thick woollen fabric used as a covering on the bed rather than on the floor. The 'Dictionary of Traded Goods (1550-1820)' indictaes that some of these were very big. Blankets which generally came in pairs were rarely coloured whilst ruggs are listed singly and often green or red.
sacers saucers. Although cups and saucers existed I have never seen any listed in Dorchester inventories. See "drinking vessells 17th century" explanation given above. When sacers or saucers are listed on their own in a kitchen inventory, but alongside ' chargers' or 'pottingers' for example, they are more likely to be a type of dish See Picture Link
salt Picture Link
say a delicate serge or woollen cloth
School Street School Street located in East Fordington was prior to Nov 1881 known as 'Cuckold's Row'
Scrofula See 'kings evil'
searce or (serce) a fine sieve or strainer
seisen or seisin possession of land by freehold - See also 'livery of seisen'
selled sealed
seneschal steward of a medieval great house
sennight derived from 'seven' and 'night' A week, the space of seven days and seven nights
sepultus (-a) erat (abbrev: sept) latin for:-was buried - hence sepultus 'he was buried' and sepulta 'she was buried'

Serjeants-at-Mace were officials appointed by the Mayor with the approbation of the Corporation. Their main function seems to have been ceremonial and to keep order at official meetings. See Link to Dorchester's Serjeants at Mace

sethed scythed (if used in the right context)
settell bord or settel A settle was a long wooden bench usually with arms and a high back with a locker or box under the seat Picture Link   Picture Link
Settlement (Source The Dictionary of Genealogy by Terrick VH FitzHugh) A legal right to poor relief arising out of a settled place of abode. By the poor law Act of 1601, a person was recognised as being legally a settled inhabitant of a parish after a month's abode. Parish vestries soon began to use the principle to operate an unofficial system of refusing relief to paupers who had settlement elsewhere. The Settlement Act of 1662 laid the basis of the law of settlement for the next two centuries.

Anyone entering a township and occupying a tenement worth less than "10 per annum might, within the next forty days, be removed by the parochial Overseers of the Poor, acting on an order from two Justices of the Peace who had examined him on oath.He would then be escorted by the constable or by a series of constables along a route back to the place where he was considered to be legally settled unless he could give security for indemnity against becoming chargeable to the parish. However if he managed to stay for forty days he obtained settlement in his new abode.

In a family, a child's place of settlement was the same as his father's until he or she was apprenticed which could happen at the age of seven. Then his place of apprenticeship would become his parish of settlement. Unmarried persons not apprenticed could obtain a new settlement after service in a parish for one year. At marriage a woman took on the same settlement as her husband.

Illegitimate children were granted settlement where they were born. This led Overseers to try to get rid of women pregnant with bastards. If the child was born while the mother was actually under an order of removal it was given the same settlement as hers.

From 1685 the forty days removal period began from the date of delivery in writing to the Overseers of a notice of residence. This led to private compassionate arrangements between paupers and Overseers; so in 1691nthe forty days were made to begin from the publication of the notice in the church . It is from this year that records of removal began.

In 1697 ban Act circumvented paupers who hired themselves to serve a master or mistress for a year but actually quitted their service after a few weeks. It also took the important step of authorising Overseers to issue Settlement Certificates to paupers of their parish but this issue was a grace not a right. The document eased the paupers temporary acceptance into another parish (e.g. for helping with the harvest) since it enabled the parish authorities there to send him back where he had come from if he even looked like becoming chargeable to them. In fact the parish into which he removed was given the right of demanding such a certificate.

In 1795 removal by the Overseers was forbidden unless the pauper became chargeable to the parish which did away with much of the injustice of the law. Though the Settlement Act was repealed in 1834, the principle of settlement remained substantially in force until 1876. The main documents relating to settlement are:
    (1) The Indemnity Certificate of Settlement, given to the pauper by his own churchwardens
    (2) The Examination of the pauper by the churchwardens or a magistrate prior to the issue of a Removal Order. This mentions his family, recent moves, and other valuable information
    (3) The Removal Order, made out in duplicate after application by the Overseers to two Justices of the Peace; one copy to each parish concerned.
    (4) Quarter Sessions records of appeals against removal orders sometimes with councils opinions on the case
    (5) Vestry Minutes and the accounts of overseers and constables.
sexton an under officer of the church; usually a person who looks after the church and churchyard, typically acting as a bell ringer and gravedigger. Those identified for Dorchester can be found in the Church Officials File
Sheep Lane 'Sheep Lane' (See Speeds 1611 Map of Dorchester - page down for index) was a common name in use during the early 1700's for 'Pease Lane' (See the 1771 Map of Dorchester)
shearman a cloth worker or finisher
Shaston Shaston is an earlier form of Shaftesbury for confirmation see 'A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis published in London in 1831' The problem is that like Dorchester there are three distinct parishes Shaftesbury Holy Trinity, Shaftesbury St James and Shaftesbury St Peter.
(sic) used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original
sidesman (sidesmen) Sidesman: An assistant to a churchwarden. Sidesmen the Vestry, the paymasters of the parish assembled to assist the parish officers. Definition fron the 'The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Languarge by John Ash published in 1775
skillet or (skellet, skillett) a small metal pot with a long handle and usually 3 short legs for cooking in the fire - Note Americans use the term for a frying pan but not in Fordington or Dorchester. Picture Link
skimmer generally a cooking ladle, lots of different types Picture Link
skyrn (or skrine) screen
sigmun Latin for Signature - used a lot on Wills and Letters of Administration
simony the buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges, for example pardons or benefices
sister sister - a term often used in Dorchester Wills to mean a 'sister-in-law' . sometimes a real sister is distinguished by referring to 'my own sister'
sithe Sithe is Old English for Scythe
sizar usually admitted 'Sizar' ie as an undergraduate at university receiving financial help from the college and formally having certain menial duties to carry out
Slave Trade [In looking for evidence I searched for a 'negro' a 'blackamore' a 'black man, woman or child' and 'slave']. Given the thousands of documents I have transcribed, unlike Bristol, I have not found any real evidence of Dorchester being involved in or profiting from the slave trade. I am sure there must have been some who owned a slave here at one time or another but documentary evidence showing this is virtually non existent. I have therefore used this file to simply record the very few occasions that I have found any reference to someone who could even possibly have been a slave or involved in the trade:-

--The nephew of the Rev John White (1575-1648), Captain James White of Barbados (1621-1666), left a 'negro boy valued at £25' when he died at Boston in 1667 who was sold to pay off part of his funeral expenses. Capt White was not of course operating at Dorchester but features in John White's biography.
--'John Laurence a blackmoor 16 years old or more' baptised at Holy Trinity on 16th April 1719.
--A black woman a prisoner was buried at All Saints Church on 1st Dec 1729.
--'Charles Leek ( a West Indian) aged 21 years of age' also baptised at Holy Trinity on 20th June 1746.
--Also Dr John Gordon (1728-1774) helped to quell a rebellion of negroes in the parish of St Mary on the Island of Jamaica, on the 8th April 1760, as recorded on his tombstone in St Peter's Church where he was buried on 4th October 1774. Link to Memorial Plaque.
---Municipal Records page 485 ' Nov 3rd 1788 Mr Edward Cozens money by him paid when Mayor for a packet received from the Chairman of the society established in Exeter for the Abolition of the African Slave Trade (this is the only entry in the official records of the town)
--At Melcombe Regis there is an entry in the parish register " A black man belonging to his Majesty's ship the Wasp - found drowned - a pauper 7th Sept 1791.
--An Infant son of a negro name unknown buried at All Saints 2nd July 1810. This individual would have been freed already by the Abolition of Slavery Act passed in 1807.

I do know of a few that emigrated to the West Indies to profit from Sugar Plantations which undoubtedly were run by slave labour but most of these just left never to return to Dorchester. Nathaniel Branker the son of Damaris Strong by her first marriage was a typical example of a son seeking his fortune abroad. He arrived in Barbados circa 1673 and descendants owned the Sunbury plantation in St Philip's Parish in Barbados. Another was Christopher Stoodley (1670-1731) the son of Charles Stoodley the Mayor of Dorchester in 1682. His son did make a fortune on Antigua and eventually returned to London to live bringing two personal slaves with him. When he died in 1731 he left instructions that they were to be freed and he even stated that she could return to antigua and continue to receive a small weekly sum for her support.
sleas (sles) part of a loom that is pulled by hand among the threads. Seen used as 'sles harnis' (Inventory of Alice Ford of Dorchester 1668) which is a girdle or belt encircling the hips, from which sleas were suspended from hangers, presumably holding sleas with different coloured wool etc. Link to article in Dorset Ancestors about weaving and the Act of 1666 for everyone to be buried in woollen.
smallpox (inoculation, vaccination, variolation)

(Info extracts from "Vaccination Jenner's Legacy" by Derrick Baxby published by the Jenner Educational Trust 1994) Before control measures were developed most people in populous areas contracted smallpox and of those approximately 20% died. The survivors were often terribly scarred, and blindness was a common complication. It is estimated that 200,000 to 600,000 people were killed annually by smallpox in Europe in the 18th Century, and it was a major killer of children. Smallpox caused about 10% of all deaths and 25-35% of deaths in children. With its characteristic appearance it was realised that those who survived smallpox did not get it again, and this led to a greater willingness to employ servants etc with pock marks because of their immunity. Prevention of smallpox by isolation of patients required some idea that the disease was specific and had a specific transmissible cause, and predated proof of the germ theory of disease. It also required specific knowledge of the infectious period which was from about the time the rash appeared until after the scabs dropped off. Such knowledge was acquired gradually and as presented by John Haygarth in his 'Rules for the prevention of Smallpox (published 1785)' meant that by this date many villages had an old cottage or similar on the outskirts of town that was used to immediately isolate individuals suspected of having the disease. Dorset was at the forefront of many of these developments.

Deliberate infection as a preventative measure was practiced in India and China centuries before it was introduced to Britain by Lady Mary, wife of the British Ambassador to Turkey. The process involved deliberate inoculation of smallpox material into the arm in the hope that mild smallpox would develop. The practice was called inoculation later called variolation. Lady Mary had her son variolated in Constantinople in 1717 and on her return to England she had her daughter variolated in 1721 and so introduced the practice to London Society. A successful trial on six prisoners soon followed and in 1723 two children of Caroline of Ansbach, Princess of Wales were variolated. Initially Variolation was used mainly only in populous areas and when epidemics threatened but became increasingly common in the 1760's. Dorchester and Fordington of course sat at the crossroads of major trade routes not just throughout Dorset to places like London, Oxford and Exeter but also with the continent through the nearby coastal ports as many of the merchants in Dorchester imported wine, textiles and other produce from the continent. Protection was therefore a major concern and not just for the rich.

There is no doubt that inoculated smallpox produced a less severe effect reducing mortality significantly, but there were occasional disasters such as at Blandford in 1766 when many were very ill and 13 out of 384 died. There was particular concern about the fact that those in contact with variolated individuals caught smallpox which was fully virulent and fatal and this was a major barrier to its widespread use. Individuals could be isolated but few could afford it so the practice arose for a whole village to be inoculated so that everyone was infectious at the same time.

Although Edward Jenner (1749-1823 ) is credited with the widespread introduction of vaccination using cowpox he did not carry out his first vaccination until May 1796. The use of cowpox was in use in Dorset well before that date mainly because of the work of Benjamin Jesty (1736-1816) (picture) who was using the practice some 22 years earlier. Jesty and two of his female servants, Ann NOTLEY and Mary READE, had been infected with cowpox. When an epidemic of smallpox came to Yetminster in 1774, Jesty decided to try to give his wife Elizabeth and two eldest sons immunity by infecting them with cowpox. He took his family to a cow at a farm in nearby Chetnole that had the disease, and using a darning needle, transferred pustular material from the cow by scratching their arms. The boys had mild local reactions and quickly recovered but his wife's arm became very inflamed and for a time her condition gave cause for concern, although she too recovered fully in time. There is a blue plaque commemorating Jesty's pioneering work at Upbury Farm at Yetminster. Jesty's experiment was met with hostility by his neighbours. He was labeled inhuman, and was "hooted at, reviled and pelted whenever he attended markets in the neighbourhood’". The introduction of an animal disease into a human body was thought disgusting and some even "feared their metamorphosis into horned beasts". But the treatment's efficacy was several times demonstrated in the years which followed, when Jesty's two elder sons, exposed to smallpox, failed to catch the disease.

Vestry minutes in Dorchester & Fordington record:-
Holy Trinity Paris, Dorchester: 15th Dec 1763 "At a Vestry held this day according to public notice given on Sunday last it is agreed :- Such Poor as will be inoculated at the expense of the Parish are to make their application so the officers who are to apply to Mr William DAVIS Apothecary and are to be inoculated at ten shillings and six pence per head

Holy Trinity Parish, Dorchester: 25 Mar 1770 "At a Vestry then held by public notice this day after divine service:- Ordered that a List of the Poor unable to be at the expense [i.e. unable to afford the expense] of the Smallpox of themselves be taken, and when the number appears, to employ some person at the lowest expense that can be to inoculate such as are willing to undergo the operation

Holy Trinity Parish, Dorchester: 12th Dec 1779 that James KEATS & five of his children be inoculated at this parishes expense & that Mr James BUCKLAND be employed to inoculate them

Holy Trinity Parish, Dorchester: 3rd June 1781 "At a vestry held this day pursuant to notice given it was agreed that Dr BUCKLAND do inoculate the poor of this parish at 5/3 each - that the Officers are requested to ascertain in the mean time the number of proper objects that the expense of the undertaking may be known"

St Georges Parish, Fordington "For the month of May 1789 Minutes show that the poor of the parish had all been inoculated at the cost of the ratepayers.

Holy Trinity Parish, Dorchester 28th April 1789. "At a Vestry held this day pursuant to notice given it is agreed that Mr Christopher ARDEN do inoculate the poor of this parish at 5shillings each agreeable to the list now ascertained, and again on 12th Feb 1792, 10th April 1796 and 9th Oct 1798.


Most burial records do not record the cause of death at all which belies how prevelent it actually was, but a few are known and these include:-

(1) The Rev Baruch NOWELL dissenting Minister in Dorchester for 50 years from 1689 to 1739 buried at St Peters on 10th Sep 1739 known to have died from Smallpox see account of the Old Dissenters Meeting House.

(2) St Peters burial register: 16 Dec 1739 Mary HUGHES buried. See' A Popular and Illustrated guide to St Peters Church Dorchester published 1907' page 39 where it states " The following is a translation of the inscription on the defaced tablet outside the porch given me by Mr H.D.SIME -- Underneath lies buried, prematurely snatched away by smallpox MARIA the thrice best beloved daughter of John & Alisa HUGHES. She died December 13th AD 1739 in the eighth year of her age.

(3) William Trask CHRISTOPHER (1741-1785) died of smallpox being buried in St Mary's churchyard in Morden on 9th August 1785

(4) Holy Trinity burial register: John WHITE died of the smallpox of South Back Street in this parish; buried 23 Jan 1821; age 73 years;

smock (smoc; smocke) The basic item of underclothing worn by women - an old saxon word later became a shift or chemise
smockfrock A loose outter garment work to protect one's clothes
sojourner often used in parish registers to mean someone of temporary residence. i.e. his/her place of settlement would be elsewhere, often they had work locally and lived in rented accommodation.
solis Latin meaning 'sun' -- note most often in Dorchester registers as 'die solis' for Sunday
sonne son
s.p. means died without children. Usually used in a visitation pedigree and shown as (ob. s.p.) i.e died without children
Stamp Duties (tax on baptisms, marriages, & burials) The Stamp Duties Act of 1783 (23 Geo.III c.67) was passed by the House of Commons of Great Britain in order to raise money to pay for the American War of Independence. Under the provisions of this act, all baptism, marriage and burial entries in each parish register were subject to a tax of 3d (old pence). Church ministers were empowered to collect the duty, and were allowed to keep 10% of this fee as compensation for their trouble. Refusal to pay carried a fine of five pounds]. This was a deeply unpopular tax, and many clergymen were sympathetic to the plight of their parishioners, and as paupers were exempt from this tax, it is not uncommon for family history researchers and genealogists to find that the number of supposed poor people within a parish has increased many times above normal during these years until the act was finally repealed in 1794. Such entries in a parish register are annotated with either the letter "P." or "Pauper". If a family could not claim exemption then it was not unusual for them simply not to bother, and this would result in a number of adult "late" baptisms during the following decades. The Act was repealed by section 1 of the Act 34 Geo.3 c.11.
standing bed bed, actually the bed frame. It had a board or rope mesh foundation on which was placed a mattress. If the bedstead was 'furnished' it was appraised together with its hangings which would be worth more than the bedstead. (e.g. see 'tester' below) It would usually be the most impotrtant piece of furniture in the house and a prized status symbol. A 'standing bedstead' would be high enough to have a 'truckle bed' sliding beneath it on which generally a maid would sleep. Picture Link
stockes (or stokes) Colonies of bees
stoles See also 'joyne' above. Usually referred to as 'joyne stoles' meaning a stool(s) made by a carpenter usually with four turned legs and of a joined construction - fixed with wooden pegs Picture Link
strumpet The 1775 Dictionary still gives more or less the definition we use today of "A woman of ill fame, a prostitute". The only person that I have seen use the expression extensively is the Rev George WOOD [1773-1847] the Rector of Holy Trinity church in Dorchester from 1825 to 1847. Most Rectors simply left the column for 'occupation' blank for illegitimate births but he religiously used 'strumpet' and some of the women involved were certainly not common protitutes.
stuffe woollen fabric. Also used to mean goods as in Household stuff as a title on inventories.
sum or sume; summe; svmme did not seem to differentiate between sum and some except by the context of the sentence
suprascripto Latin - in the above written
surmaster deputy to the head master of the school
Swann Inn Situated at the end of Mill street opposite Fordington Corn Mill
sweyne or swine sweyne/swain are female pigs used to breed piglets
S.W.R. Abbreviation for South Western Railway
't' (or) 'ti' as in 100ti often seen in 17th century wills as superscript as in t or ti and after a sum of money such as 100ti: It's meant to be a capital L with a cross bar and stands for the latin word 'libra' or the english 'pound'. Today we simply prefix the amount with £ as in £100
tablebord (or 'tableborde' or 'tabell board') tableboard - The flat top of a table, often appraised separately from the frame (or tressylle or tressle ) on which it stood, being fixed with removable wooden pegs Picture Link
tampons Long Pellets used to kill game
tankards Tankards - see 'drinking vessels 17th century' explanation above"
terrier A written description of a landed property by acreages and boundaries. Manorial estate records usually include a terrier of the estate. Glebe Terriers are thos dealing with the land belonging to a parish incumbent's benefice. The bondaries are described by reference to the holders of adjacent lands.
Testa de Nevill The Book of fees compiled by the Kings Remembrancer commonly called the Testa de Nevill (1198-1242).
testamento Latin - Testament
tester (or testerne) [Note: A linen tester cloth or canopy was the covering for the upper rectangular part of a four poster bed. Usually, the function of the tester was to hold bed curtains that could surround the bed to keep out draughts.]
testtum (latin abbreviation for testamentum) Latin often used in probate statements for 'by testament or bequest' i.e. will
tex toris weaver i.e. by trade
theifelord Lord of the Manor
thong-cutter harness maker
ti (in superscript) 't' (or) 'ti' as in 100ti [often seen in 17th century wills as superscript as in t or ti and after a sum of money such as 100ti: It's meant to be a capital L with a cross bar and stands for the latin word 'libra' or the english 'pound'. Today we simply prefix the amount with £ as in £100]
Tilley's Buildings situated in Mill Street Fordington.
tinman or tinnman [tynman or tynnman] a person who makes or trades in tin which was often mined in Devon and particularly in Cornwall. It was often used in making Pewter which has a 85% to 99% tin content.
tinning or tinnen [tynning or tynnen] 17th century used to mean tin
tippler, tippling house, tippler supprest a retailer of ale or the place where ale was sold. excessive drinking is not necessarily implied by either term as everybody including children drank ale as water carried infection. The strongest ale from the first mash was generally reserved for men, the second mash for women and the weakest third mash for children. A tippler supprest was one whose licence was revoked
tithingman [tythingman] The elected representative of the manor court responsible for presenting to the Court the tithing list at each View of Frankpledge. This was reviewed to ensure that all men and boys of the age of 12 or over were enrolled in a tithing. Originally this referred to a group of ten men and boys who were held responsible to the manor court (by giving a frankpledge) for its member’s good conduct. If one member offended then the other nine were responsible. The Tithingman would therefore report to court all misdemeanours committed by members of the families within the tithing.

Another function sometimes carried out by the Tythingman was to draw up the Militia Listing for the parish as was the case in 1796 in Cheselbourne and 1798 and 1799 for Lytchett Minster so the ability to write was often paramount in selection. In reality particularly in small parishes there was a duplication of role with that of churchwarden, parish clerk etc. Other parishes used the constable as was the case in Fordington. Tithingmen and constables were, among other things, expected to carry out Bastardy Orders issued by JP's.
title in capite by the laws of England, one who holds immediately of the king. According to the feudal system, all lands in England are considered as held immediately or mediately of the king, who is styled lord paramount. Such tenants, however, are considered as having the fee of the lands and permanent possession
tonges (or tongues) Although often part of inventories of kitchen items 'tonges' usually meant iron tonges for placing coal on the fire, hence they also appear in inventories in the 'Hall' (or main room of the house)
to or too two
toft A plot of land on which a building stood, or, as the word is more often used, had formerly stood. In a manor, it had manorial rights of common attached to it. Not to be confused with 'croft'.
toubs tubs
trammel an iron hook in a fireplace for a kettle. The ones that I have seen have a hook at one end ( like one end of a pot hook) to go on the iron bar which stretches cross the inside of the top of the fireplace. The other end of the hook goes through one end of a flat iron strip of metal about a foot long by an inch wide which is bent into an "S" shape. This then provides a secure resting place for the handle of a kettle to hang over the fire from which it can easily be removed. Also see below
trammel net sometimes just referred to as a 'trammel' as well - a net for fishing - a modern description from the oxford english dictionary is "a three layed dragnet designed that a fish entering through one of the large meshed outer sections will push part of the finer meshed central section through the large meshes on the further side, forming a pocket in which the fish is trapped".
tramper a person who travels from place to place on foot in search of work or as a vagrant or begger. not to be confused with a tranter see below
tranter a person who carries fish from the sea coasts to sell them inland (From Dictionary dated 1775). The husband of Elizabeth Martha BROWN (executed at Dorchester gaol in 1856 for his murder) was described as 'a tranter or waggoner possessing a horse and waggon'. I have a feeling that it was a phrase used in Dorset more to describe anybody who owned their own cart or waggon and traded goods from the larger towns into the countryside villages. John Anthony Brown, Elizabeth's husband, for example bought goods in Beaminster and they owned a small chandlers shop in Broadwinsor where presumably they sold much of the merchandise. A number of people in the Christopher Family were also described a 'tranter's' but again this seems to refer to carters moving almost any goods as they are also referred to as hauliers and even in one case moving coal.
travayle travail - ie a painful or laborious effort or labour pains as in 'a woman's in travail'
treager Treager was another linen fabric which got its name from Treguier in Brittany and was imported into Dorset in the 17th century via the port of Weymouth by Dorchester Merchants
Source: Page 38 Studies in Dorset History by Maureen Weinstock M.A.,F.R.Hist.S published by Longmans (Dorchester) 1953
trencher a trencher was a plate or platter usually of wood, but occasionally of pewter . It could be square or circular, flat (the most useful shape for carving meat) or turned up to provide a rim. Some were even shaped like a plate. The trencher constituted the cheapest, and commonest form of utensil from which to eat solid food. Trenchers were usually made of a hardwood that was non-porous, did not transmit its taste or odour to the food and turned well, such as beech or sycamore. There is also reference to trencher boxes in which typically a dozen or more trenchers where kept and in one will a 'trencher cage' which I assume is more like a rack into which trenchers could be stored when not in use. Picture Link
trendelles or (trendle, trendol, trondell, trondele) 'trondell' appears to refer to Trendle or Trendell a round or oval tub - also described as a dough trough
trilbed, trenbed, probably refers to a trindlebed see trucklebed
truckle bed [trunole, trockle, trunle, trundle, trundel, truggle] a low bed running on truckles or small wheels which could be pushed under a high or standing bed when not in use. Picture Link      Definition from Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820 (2007). URL: bed An alternative and common name for a TRUCKLE BED, designed to slide under a high bed or STANDING BED during the day; hence 'one standinge bed and a trundle bed' [Inventories (1596)]. Trundle beds were by their nature smaller and so needed their own-sized furnishings, hence 'Trundle ffeather Bed & Bedstid' [Inventories (1694)].
[Common variations :- tundle bedstead; trunle bed; trundlested; trundlebedstead; trundlebedd; trundle-bed; trundle bedstid; trundle bedsteed; trundle bedstedle; trundle bede; trundle bedd; trundle bed sted; trundle bed stead; trundell steed; trundell bedsteede; trundell bedsted; trundell bedstead; trundell bedd; trundele bedsted; trundelbed; trunale bed; trondle bedde; trendle]
trunke a trunk used as now for travel but also for storage within the house Picture Link
Tubb's Corner Situated in East Fordington on Tubb's Road [See 1901 Ornance Survey Map of Dorchester now part of Kings Road] close to the Swan Inn and Fordington Corn Mill
turnkey a jailer. Most worked at the County Gaol in Dorchester and some are known from records at Holy Trinity Church in Dorchester (unless otherwise stated) such as:-
Thomas BUNN described as a late turnkey on the baptism record of his son William Thomas Bunn on 1st Jan 1826.
William MONKTON whose dau Elizabeth bap HT 7 Feb 1842 & lived in Pease Lane
George BOWRING who married Mary WARREN on 19 Feb 1844 and lived in Shire Hall Lane; also 26 Apr 1848 at bap of dau Charlotte at HT or
Henry HELLIER married Mary HILL on 29 Apr 1844; or
Jesse PHELPS who married Margaret BAKER on 12th Oct 1847 and later Sarah WELLSPRING at West F 9th Mar 1854
Jerimiah JOINER who married Frances Matilda SAMWAYS on 03 May 1848;
Robert SEAL who married Elizabeth GREGORY 15th Dec 1857.
Robert MORGAN described as a turnkey from St Peters at baptism of his son Edmond at All Saints church 21 Sep 1864
Henry PITFIELD (1837-1889) described as a prison warden in 1871 census lived in Fordington
Edward CONWAY described as a warden in a prison on the baptism of his son Edward at All Saints church on 16th May 1880
tynne tin see also tinning and tinman
usher under master at a Dorchester Free school
uxor [also seen oxor] (abbrev: ux. uxr) Latin for:-wife of. uxor ejus =' wife his' = 'his wife'
valens valens is an abbreviation in common use in the 17th century for Valence and refers to the fringe or drapery hanging about the tester and head of the bed
vassal a holder of land by feudal tenure on condition of homage and allegiance. see also 'feudalism'.
vailes I have not located an official definition but the context within which it is used was where an under master at Dorchester Free school appears to have had a right to voluntary contributions made towards the running of the school
velmonger See fellmonger
vertue virtue (Used a lot in Letters of Administration as in "abide in full force & vertue")
Vid. (abbreviation for vidua) Latin for widow
vill Old English (from the Latin villa) A village ; a part of a parish. [Source:- The New Complete Dictionary of the English Language by John Ash Volume 2 published 1775]
villein or villain

a feudal tenant entirely subject to a lord or manor to whom he paid dues and services in return for land. (see also 'feudalism'). The term was introduced in Norman times and he was free in regard to everyone except his feudal lord, which meant that he was bound to his holding. Even there, he held his land hereditarily only by right of the custom of the manor. His work service was of two kinds: week work i.e. regular agricultural work done each week; and boon work which was extra work done at important stages in the agricultural year e.g. harvest

A villein could not bring a suit in the king's court, and could not marry without his Lords permission; but he had rights even against his lord. which were protected by the Manor Court. His holding - a house and, usually, a garden plot on which there was often an orchard - carried with it the right to a certain number of arable strips of land, the right to graze a certain number of beasts in the pasture, and the right to a certain crop of hay from the meadow. Villein status virtually died out by 1500, after which time the villein's descendants became entirely free and held their land of the Lord of the Manor by Copyhold

vidua (abbrev: vid:) Latin for:-widow
viduus latin for:-widower
virgate Usually thirty acres of arable land scattered among the common fields of a manor, but it varied from as little as ten acres to as many as eighty in some parts of the country. It was a quarter of a hide and was also known as a yardland.
vizt viz - to witt, namely (from videelicet) Often used as an abbreviation in Dorchester Wills. Source the New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language Published by John Ash in 1775
wainscotte [wynscott or wenscott] woodden panelling to line the walls of a room but the word is also used to describe a panneled chest or chairs etc.
waking An all night vigil (usually by a close friend) next to the body laid out in the church prior to burial, sometimes accompanied by ritual observances
warming pan A flat metal pan with a lid and a long handle which was filled with hot coals and used to warm a bed before retiring at night. Picture Link
wascote, wasacote waistcoat
MEN: The waistcoat has been one of the standard pieces of formal dress in the West since the late sixteenth century, and it has gone through several changes over time. From the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, men's waistcoats were long-sleeved garments worn as middle layers of clothing, over a shirt but underneath a topcoat or justaucorps. Some men's waistcoats extended only to the waist, hence their name, while others continued several inches lower. Generally, they grew shorter as time passed. Waistcoats were buttoned down the front, and featured collars and pockets. By the eighteenth century, a man's formal suit consisted of a coat, waistcoat, and breeches, or pants
WOMEN: Women also sometimes wore waistcoats between their outer-wear and underwear. Some were sleeved but most were sleeveless. Unlike menswear, however, women's waistcoats were considered intimate apparel, and were not meant to be seen by anyone but the wearer. Still, they cannot be classified as underwear. By the eighteenth century, women wore vest-like waistcoats as riding attire and white, snugly sleeved waistcoats as blouses with long skirts. Read more: Waistcoat - Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages
waste the land of a manor, not devoted to arable,meadow or wood. It usually lay on the manorial boundaries and was used for pasture, and was gradually assarted (brought under cultivation) over the centuries. Applications to build on the waste had to have permission from the Lord of the manor and be approved at the Quarter Sessions.
wayne wagon or cart
waywarden Overseers accounts sometimes refer to "Way Wardens". The Highways Act of 1555 transferred the responsibility for maintaining the roads from Manors to the Parish Vestry. Each parishioner owning ploughland or keeping a plough horse was required to provide a cart for 4 days a year for use in road repairs. Similarly each able bodied parishioner was required to give 4 days labour a year (increased to 6 days in 1563) or pay a fine in lieu. The act also established the office of Surveyor of the Highways (also called Waywardens) & made the churchwardens, constable and some parishioners responsible for selecting such an officer. From 1662 the selection was made by a majority of parishioners and finally in 1691 the Vestry was expected to produce a short list from which the Justices of the Peace sected a Surveyor for the ensuing year - he was not paid. His job was to organise whatever work needed doing and ensure this was carried out properly. Repairs usually consisted of filling potholes with stones, which would be quarried nearby. Less frequently the work might consist of repairing a bridge or clearing of ditches or watercourses. At the end of each year the Waywardens (often two per Parish) would draw up an account of income and expenditure and submit it to the Justices of the Peace for approval. Wheeled vehicles were rare until the mid sixteenth century and they caused much more damage to roads than horses. As coaches and carriages became more common the cost to parishioners rose & was not always sufficient to effect repairs. The Highways Act of 1691 authorised the levying of a Highways Rate. For the next 140 years the cost of repairs was covered by a combination of statute labour and a highway rate. 
weilles, welles,wheales, wheles, wheilles wheels
whitesmith A person who makes articles out of metal especially tin, often refers to a person who polishes metal goods
whittle a fringed mantle worn by women out of doors
widdoe or (widdow; widdowe or abbreviated to wid:) widow
wif , wyf or wyfe wife
window tax In 1696 a new tax on houses replaced the Hearth Tax which had been discontinued a few years earlier. One of the chief objections to the latter had been that it meant the intrusion of inspectors into private dwellings. The window tax was assessed from outside and was imposed on occupiers not the owners and small dwellings whose occupants did not pay poor rates were exempt. All paid a basic 2 shillings but houses with 10 to 20 windows paid 8 shillings and rates for large houses was increased in 1709. Householders would reduce their rates by blocking up non essential windows. In 1747 the act was repealed and replaced by a new one where in addition to the basic rate houses with 10 to 14 windows paid 6 pence per window; those with over 20 windows paid 1 shilling per window with rates being increased in the 1750's and 1760's. It was abolished in 1851
Winterborne Farringdon & Winterborne Germain Winterborne Faringdon, the latter part of the name derived from the name of former landholders, also known at one time as Saint Germain's due to the dedication of the church that once stood here. It also occurs in old records as Winterborne Germain. It was once a parish, but became depopulated and the church was in ruins by 1648. It became united to the rectory of Winterborne Came in 1751. It lies just west of Winterborne Herringston and between that and Winterborne Came, a mile to the east. [Source]
wth An abbreviation commonly used in 17th century wills which can mean 'with' or 'which' according to the context of the sentence
woodman A person working in woodland, especially a forester or woodcutter [not a carpenter]. The new and complete dictionary of the English language published in 1775 refers to him as "someone who takes care of woods; a hunter, a sportsman". As far as I can see around Dorchester they were often employed by the larger landowners to manage their woodland, cutting timber. This was then trimmed into uniform lengths by 'woodcutters' and stacked to season before being taken to the sawmill by a 'carrier'.
woolstapler A person who buys wool from a producer, grades it (by the quality of the staple or fiber), and sells it to a manufacturer
wynowing shet or (wydowynge cloth; winsheat; winsheet) large sheet or cloth on which corn was winnowed or a sheet or sack over an unglazed window to keep out the cold
xpõfor (or xtopher) xpõfor = Christopher - Some parish priests looked upon the 'x' as the cross of Christ and used it to abbreviate 'Christopher' to 'xpõfor' or 'xtopher' in parish registers. I have seen ''xtian' for 'Christian' as well (see below) but not so often. Examples in Dorchester are William son of Xtopher [Christopher] & Sarah PARKER baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 13 Nov 1763; and Elizabeth daughter of Xtopher & Sarah PARKER bap HT 15 Mar 1769 here it is written in full on the original register but abbreviated to Xtopher in the copy.
xtian xtian = Christian (See comments above for 'Xtopher') Examples 'Xtian the daughter of Thomas WINSOR was christened the viij [8th ] day of March' 1607 at St Georges Church Fordington : 'Xtian CHAPLINE married Thomas (Thomasine) BIRDE' at Sherborne Abbey 13th September 1579 : 'Henry son of Joseph & Xtian CHURCHILL' bap at Holy Trinity 23rd Oct 1751 and Thomas son of Joseph & Xtian Churchill bap Holy Trinity 15th Dec 1769.
xtned xtned = Christened or baptised, often encountered in early baptism registers eg All Saints Church 1708
yardland A yardland is an area of about thity acres. hence a 'half yard meadow' would be an area of about 15 acres of meadowland.
ye the
yelle or ielle aisle - (Late middle English ele, ile from old French ele) The spelling was changed in the late 17thc because of confusion with isle
yeoman Yeoman in the plantagenet period, meant a knight's retainer. There were also Yeomen of the King's Chamber, who were minor court officials under the Chamberlain. At that period, there was a class of freemen called Franklins, and under the Tudors the name of yeoman gradually became attached to them. Broadley speaking they constituted a stratum of cultivators of the soil, either freeholders or tenants, who differd from the minor gentry more by way of life than by any economic category. The yeoman would put his own hand to work that the gentleman would employ servants to do, and his wife likewise; but many a young man of gentle and even armigerous family was styled yeoman, as long as he lived like one (i.e. until he inherited his father's estate). Below the yeoman class came the equally ill defined stratum of husbandman, whose landholding was normally smaller. The standing of the yeomanry is reflected in the later use of the word for the local volunteer force, mounted on their own horses, as distinct from the (infantry) militia.
yeoting or yeoteing fate yeoting is the process of soaking barley before making malt; a yeoting fate is the vat used for the purpose
yewre or (ewre, owre, youre) ewer; a pitcher with a wide spout, used to bring water to the table for washing hands in a basin [often spelt 'basing'], before and after meals. Some could be very elaborate such as those at the British Museum or sold a Christies and were often made of brass or silver but there is no indication in the inventories that I have seen from Dorchester as to what they were made of.
yous 'ewes' when used in the right context.

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