Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion : Background Information : A

Background Information



The symbols s and / come from Latin word solidus and were used to indicate the shilling.


  • 5/- would be read as five shillings

  • 5/6d or 5/6 would be read as five shillings and sixpence, or simply five and six

12th Century Names
About 1100, the Normans passed a law that everyone had to have a second name. As a result, most names in the 12th century roughly fell into three types:

  • son of – for example, John son of William
  • tradeJohn the Miller

    and later

  • topographicJohn of Greenwood

In the case of the sons of Essolf, for most of their lives, they were called son of Essolf, but towards the end of the 12th century, topographic names began to be used, and they went through a transitional period where they were, for example Jordan son of Essolf de Thornhill.

The next generation, in the late-12th / early-13th century, dropped the son of and their topographic name became fixed

See Surnames

The symbol £ is used for the pound, the unit of currency before decimalisation and after. The abbreviation comes from the Latin libra [a pound]

1914-15 Star
A campaign medal awarded to those who served with the British and Imperial Forces in World War I.

It was introduced in 1918. Officers and next-of-kin could apply for posthumous award.

See 1914 Star and Pip, Squeak & Wilfred

1914 Star
Aka Mons Star.

A campaign medal awarded to those who served with the British Forces between 5th August 1914 and 23rd November 1914 in World War I.

See 1914-15 Star, Pip, Squeak & Wilfred and Victory Medal

1d Bazaar

2½d Bazaar
A variant of the Penny Bazaar. Some local examples were those of Walter & Samuels

36 yard band coal
A seam of coal – about 10 inches in thickness – which lies above the fireclay deposits in parts of the district, notably in Shibden. The coal was known for its value. The seam lies 36 yard above the hard bed coal

3½d Bazaar
A variant of the Penny Bazaar. Some local examples were those of A. W. Scarr & Sons and Walters & Samuels

6½d Bazaar
A variant of the Penny Bazaar. Some local examples were those of J. Akroyd

Henry VIII banned abjuration of the realm and forced abjurors to remain in designated sanctuaries in England, branding the letter A on their thumb

Forced or illegal entry into a property in order to gain physical possession.

See Assize of abatement and Hamsoken

Another name for the weft, but sometimes used for the warp. The word comes from Old English words meaning outside the web

This was a 19th century slang term for the madame, or keeper of a brothel

Abbreviated Names
The Foldout lists some common abbreviations for forenames which may be encountered in older documents

See Familiar Names


Abjuration of the realm
One means of ending the right of sanctuary whereby a felon had to leave the country – travelling to a prescribed port by a prescribed route and within a specified number of days – and never return without the sovereign's permission.

The felon had to swear an oath to the local Coroner:

I swear on the Holy Book that I will leave the realm of England and never return without the express permission of my Lord the King or his heirs. I will hasten by the direct road to the port allotted to me and not leave the King's highway under pain of arrest or execution. I will not stay at one place more than one night and will seek diligently for a passage across the sea as soon as I arrive, delaying only one tide if possible. If I cannot secure such passage, I will walk into the sea up to my knees every day as a token of my desire to cross. And if I fail in all this, then peril shall be my lot

The port – typically Dover – and route were prescribed by the Coroner. During the journey to the port, the abjuror wore a simple white garment, and carried a small wooden cross which he made for himself. If he strayed from the prescribed route, he would be

treated as the wolf

and could be summarily executed. A large number of abjurors disappeared en route and became outlaws. If he did return to England without the permission of the sovereign, he could be outlawed and executed by the law, or excommunicated by the Church.

See A brand

A term used in the Poor Law system to describe those people who were unable to find work because of the local employment situation or their own lack of skills. The relief given was either work or money.

See Vagrants


See Temperance

This was occasionally used as a Christian name, for example Accepted Widdop [1750], and Accepted Frewen, Archbishop of York [1660]

A falconer

Accommodation bridge
A bridge which is provided for a farmer whose land was divided by a newly-constructed road, a canal, or the railway

In the context of 19th century education, this referred to the teaching of French, music and drawing.

See Ciphering and Working

An older form of the word account

A rechargeable lead-acid battery which was widely used in industry and in homes before the introduction of domestic electricity supplies. These were a familiar sight when listening to the radio in the 1940s and 1950s.

The batteries were collected or taken away each week and recharged.

See Alklum Storage Batteries Limited and Doric Accumulators

A unit of land area which was the amount of land which a yoke of oxen could plough in a day, equivalent to an area of land measuring one chain by one furlong. An area of 120 acres was deemed sufficient to support one family.

Edward I standardised the acre to 4840 square yards = 4047 square metres = 0·405 hectare.

Rural areas might have a local standard size for an acre, often larger than the national standard.

It has been suggested that in Domesday Book, the acre is a unit of taxation, and is larger in poorer districts. In mediæval times, the name was used to denote a selion, or simply a piece of arable land without any indication of size.

It is often abbreviated to a in old documents.

The acre is still valid as a unit for trade in the UK, following legislation of 1994/5 which replaced some imperial units by metric units See Arpent, Customary acre, Day's work and Oxgang

A unit of measurement used for large volumes of water, such as the capacity of a reservoir, and equal to its area in acres multiplied by its average depth in feet. One acre-foot is equivalent to the amount of water covering one acre to a depth of one foot = 43,560 cubic ft or 1,233·5 cubic metre

Act Book
The minutes of an ecclesiastical court session. Found from the 16th and 17th century. These were usually written in Latin until 1730

Act for supplying Halifax with Water [1762]
Empowered the Trustees to remove all obstructions from the spring at Well Head and to keep it free from rubbish and dirt.

An Act of 1768 included provision of better paving, cleansing and lighting the streets.

See Water supply

Act of Uniformity
A series of Acts – from 1549 – requiring that all clergymen and ministers use a standard English prayer book. Some 2,000 ministers who refused to comply and accept the Act were ejected.

The list of those who were ejected included Robert Armitage, William Ashley, Eli Bentley, Mr Bevel, Rev James Bowker, Richard Coore, Nicholas Cudworth, Rev Joseph Dawson, Christopher Etherington, Joshua Ferrett, Mr Fisden, Nathaniel Heywood, Rev Oliver Heywood, Edward Hill, Rev Josiah Holdsworth, John Kaye, Roger Kenion, Gamaliel Marsden, Jeremiah Marsden, Josiah Marsden, Samuel Marsden, John Peebles, John Robinson, Henry Root, Timothy Root, Rev Jonathan Schofield, Rev Samuel John Stancliffe, Robert Town, Rev Robert Towne and Rev Joshua Whitton

See Five Mile Act

Act of Union [1800]

The simplest form of coal mine where coal seams come to the surface.

See Day hole pit

The legal representative of someone who has died intestate


Adult School Movement
The first adult education began in Nottingham in 1798, to train young women for work in the lace and hosiery industries.

The Adult School Movement was established around 1800 by Quakers, Methodists, and others. This initially provided non-denominational Bible classes.

In 1816, Thomas Pole, a Quaker, produced a report on Adult Education.

See Friends Adult School, Halifax


Someone who had the right to present a clergyman to a benefice.

See Advowson

The right to nominate the priest to a church.

In mediæval times, the advowson was frequently given to a monastery or a nunnery, which then took the rôle of rector and was empowered to appoint a vicar to serve the parish

Adwalton Moor, Battle of
A battle during the Civil War, at which 10,000 Royalists – under the Earl of Newcastle – defeated 3,500 Parliamentarians – under Ferdinando Fairfax – at Adwalton Moor, near Bradford, on 30th June 1643.

After the victory, the Earl of Newcastle laid siege to Bradford.

After the battle, many Parliamentarians went to Lancashire, some later joining the garrison at Heptonstall.

See Ewood Hall, Mytholmroyd, Captain John Hodgson and Joshua Stansfeld

Affinities / People Who Cannot Marry

Afghan Wars
There were several conflicts between Britain and Afghanistan:

  • The First Anglo-Afghan War [1839-1842]
  • The Second Anglo-Afghan War [1878-1881]
  • The Third Anglo-Afghan War [1919]

Some of the names are shown in the Foldout

Ages on Census Returns
The ages recorded on Census returns can be a constant source of confusion. Some people may not have known their exact age. Others may give a false age for various legal and social reasons.

On the 1841 census, it was usual to round down the age of adults to the nearest 5 years. This was not always applied: some ages may be exact, others may be rounded down to the nearest 10 years

The right to graze animals on common land in summer. Also the charge levied on grazing of pasture.

See Vicarial Tithes, Halifax

Related to the father's side, or a line of descent through the male line. A relative descended from a common male ancestor

Agricultural revolution
A major change in British agricultural practices which preceded the Industrial Revolution. Land enclosures had brought an end to mediæval methods and encouraged large-scale farming and improvement in scale and methods

Recurring malarial fever with cold, hot and sweating stages. The term is also used for an acute fever with hot, cold and sweating symptoms.

See Hot Ague and New Ague

A German term meaning ancestor table which is used in genealogical research.

The table depicts the ancestry of one individual by generation in text format, rather than as a chart.

The table may include

  • The individual's name

  • Date and place of birth,

  • Dates of baptism, marriage, death and burial

  • Biographical information

  • Historical and general notes

  • Details of the source documents used

See Ahnentafel number

Ahnentafel number
A number which is assigned to each member of each generation in an ahnentafel.

  • Number 1 is the first generation;

  • Numbers 2 and 3 are the parents of number 1 and the second generation

  • Numbers 4, 5, 6, and 7 are the grandparents of person number 1 and the third generation

and so on

The obligation of a vassal to provide money to the king or to the lord of the manor for events such as ransom, the marriage of his eldest daughter, the knighting of his eldest son, or for going on Crusade

Air Shafts
There are many structures in the local countryside which serve as ventilation shafts for local mines, reservoirs and other subterranean activities.

See J. S. Morton & Sons Limited, Ramsden Wood Reservoir and Miss Lister's Mine, Shibden

Aisled house
A house design in which the main part of the house was open, with a parallel aisle at the rear and outside the main body of the hall but under the same roof. These often have a catslide roof in which the slope of the lower, outer edge is shallower than at the ridge of the roof.

Some local examples of aisled houses and aisled barns can be found at Aisled Houses in the Halifax Area, Bankhouse, Salterhebble, Benns, Warley, Broadbottom Old Hall, Mytholmroyd, Cinder Hill, Coley, Clay House: Gabled Barn, Dam Head, Shibden, Deerstones Farm, Sowerby, Fold Farm, Illingworth, Fur Street, Northowram, Gold Street, Boothtown, Great Stubb Barn, Greenwood Lee, Heptonstall, Hagstocks, Shibden Valley, Haigh's Farm, Sowerby, Hartley Royd Farm, Warley, High Bentley Hall, Shelf, The Hollins, Warley, Longley Farm, Norland, Low Moor House, Soyland, Lower Bentley Royd, Sowerby, Lower Field Bottom Farm, Shelf, Mare Hill, Warley, Middle Longfield House, Todmorden, Old Lindley, Stainland, Prior's Mead, Priestley Green, Raw End Farm, Luddendenfoot, Scout Hall Farm, Shibden, Shibden Barn, Shibden Hall, Halifax, Sladden Street, Boothtown, Smith House, Lightcliffe, Steps Barn, Sowerby Bridge, Town House, Norland, Upper Bentley Royd, Sowerby, Walt Royd Farm, Wheatley, West End& Barn#44; Hipperholme and White Hall, Ovenden

The place name and surname appear to have originated at the house Akroyd at Pecket Well.

The name is derived from oak and royd, and means an oak clearing

Also Alderwoman. The Old English title – ealdorman – for the office which was known as sheriff after the Norman Conquest.

A member of the local town or borough council elected by his fellow Councillors, or anyone co-opted to a county or borough council. There may be several Aldermen, each representing a different ward. Aldermen are next in rank to the Mayor.

The title was discontinued after 1974.

See Borough of Halifax

A mediæval term for beer made with hops.

Like beer, it was widely drunk by people of all ages and was safer than the water. It also provided many of the vitamins and carbohydrates in the diet – see Temperance. Domestically, ale was usually made in small batches by the women of the household.

The term – such as Church ale, medale and Whitsun ale – referred to a festival – often charitable – at which ale was drunk to raise money for the parish church and other causes.

See Church Ale, Half & half, Helpales, Purl and Whitsun Ale

Ale assize
See Assize of Ale

A woman who kept an alehouse or tavern

Vinegar made from sour ale.

Compare this with vinegar – ale made from wine.

This meaning is unlikely to be involved in names such as Alegar Well

Alehouse Act [1552]
Required all victuallers and alehouse keepers to be licensed by the Justices.

See Assize of Ale and Beerhouse

In old records, many names have the form:
John Smith alias Greenwood

The second surname was often the name of a locality, and was used to distinguish one of several John Smiths. It was not a sinister concept and did not necessarily imply deceit on the part of John Smith. If John married, his wife might be called Mary Smith alias Greenwood. The word might also be written:


The Latin terms vulgo [commonly] and vulgo vocatus [commonly called] are also encountered

A citizen of another country, a foreigner

A legal term meaning
the transfer of the ownership of property rights

A grocer

A small plot of land rented to individuals.

The mediæval usage referred to an area of enclosed land.

In modern usage, allotments are typically rented to individuals and used for growing fruit and vegetables. The local council – or private organisation – offers an area of land which is divided into individual allotments.

During the Dig for Victory campaign of World War II, the number of allotments in Britain increased from 300,000 in 1939 to 600,000. There are still a great many today.

See Freehold Land Society, Gallipole Allotment, Barkisland, Haley Hill & New Town Allotment Gardeners' Society, Pellon Allotments Association, Skircoat Green Allotments, Halifax and Waterloo Allotments, Brighouse

Used in the names of streets and pubs, the element usually commemorates the Battle of the Alma of 20th September 1854, the first battle of the Crimean War in which Anglo-French forces defeated the Russians near the River Alma

Almanac show
An exhibition of almanacs. These were a popular attraction in the 19th century. Many were held at pubs – such as the Cross Keys, Walsden

Almanac tax
There was a tax on almanacs from 1711 to 1834

Money collected for the relief of the poor.

The word is also used to mean a good or charitable deed

A dish which was left out for receiving alms

A fur-lined hood – later, a fur cape – which was worn by a church official in church processions

The hair from the alpaca, a member of the llama family. Cloth made of alpaca is fine, silk-like, soft, light weight and warm. It is also strong and durable. The cloth is used for suits, coats, linings and sweaters

True alpaca is expensive so it is often combined with – or imitated by – other fibres. It is also imitated in wool, wool and alpaca, mohair, or cotton and a cotton warp and alpaca filling.

Sir Titus Salt pioneered a method of processing the wool.

Several local firms have processed and manufactured goods made from the wool of the alpaca, including S. Bottomley & Brothers, William Edleston Limited, John Foster & Son Limited and Benjamin Outram.

See Damask, Lustre Fabric and Woolsorter's disease

Alpaca figures
A figured cloth made from alpaca wool.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1836

In the mediæval period, the altar was a table or rectangular slab made of wood, stone or marble, often set upon a raised step.

The fundamental purpose of a church is to house and protect the altar.

In the 11th century, Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, said that altars were to be made of stone. The five crosses incised into the stone represent the five wounds of Christ on the cross. After the Reformation, stone altars were replaced by wooden communion tables.

The altar may be covered by a cloth: white for important feasts; violet for fasts; red for martyrs; and green for other days.

A large church may have several altars. The high altar is the main altar in the chancel. Other altars may be located on the sides of the nave or in separate chapels, and may be dedicated to particular saints

See Chapels (Nonconformist) and Roman altar

Someone who reads or acts as a secretary; often for a blind or disabled person

See Hebden Bridge Ambulance Association, St John's Ambulance Association, Brighouse, St John's Ambulance Brigade, Brighouse, St John's Ambulance Association, Halifax, St John's Ambulance Brigade, Halifax, St John's Ambulance Brigade, Hebden Bridge, St John's Ambulance Hall, Brighouse, St John's Ambulance Hall, Rastrick, St John's Ambulance Hall, Todmorden, The Ambulance, West Riding Ambulance Service, West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service and Yorkshire Ambulance Service

A covered passage or aisle which passes around the east end of a church, behind the altar and linking it with chapels at the eastern end of the church.

It may be semi-circular or polygonal.

See Apse

A type of fine cloth like a damask. In order to produce the cloth, the draw-boy stood at the end of the loom, and drew the leashes necessary to form the figure once every four picks woven by the weaver, the design being thus continued to the end of the piece.

The introduction of the Jacquard loom did away with this manual process.

The name is derived from the Belgian town of Amiens

To impose a fine or amercement

A fine for an offence at a manorial court leet. This was a common punishment before a prison system was introduced. The name reminds us that the offender had to purchase the mercy of the lord whose peace he had broken.

See Fine

American Civil War
[1861-1865] After Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party campaigned against slavery in the 1860 presidential election, 11 southern slave states seceded from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America.

They conducted a civil war against the Union made up of all the free states in the north and some slave states which bordered on the free states.

Over 600,000 soldiers died in the conflict.

The North blockaded the southern ports, and prevented import of supplies and war materials to the South. The blockades also prevented the export of cotton which resulted in the Cotton famine in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The misery of the slaves was not the only concern of those involved in the dispute. There were other issues such as the threat to jobs if the enslaved people were to be emancipated, and started looking for work.

See William A. Asquith, Alfred Grundy Bintliff, Thomas H. Bintliff, George Bottomley, English Civil War, General Joseph Brevard Kershaw, sons of John Menzies, James Mallalieu Shepherd, John Shepherd, Charles Whipp and Charles Wade Whiteley

American War of Independence
[1775-1783] The American Revolutionary War began as a conflict between Britain and the 13 British colonies in north America, and resulted in an independent United States of America

See John Wheeler Collington, Siege of Gibraltar, Captain Jeremy Lister and Yorkshire Association

Someone from whom you are descended.

See Common ancestor

Ancient demesne
Land that belonged to the Crown in 1066.

See Demesne

Ancient Free Gardeners
A benevolent society

Ancient Order of Rechabites

Ancient Romans
A closed benevolent society

Ancient woodland
Land which can be proved to have been continuously wooded since 1600

A heavy, broad-bladed, sharp-pointed, double-edged knife

Aka Noble-angel, Rose-noble. A coin worth 6s/8d – or more – introduced by Edward IV in 1464. The coin often bore the image of St Michael the Archangel slaying the dragon, hence the name. In the 16th century, the coin was given to those who received the King's touch. It ceased to be legal tender in the reign of Charles I.

The half angel – or angelet – coin worth 3s 4d was issued in 1471 by Edward IV. A quarter angel coin worth 1s/7d was issued in 1578 by Elizabeth I.

It is said that the coin gave rise to the word Angel in pub names

A coin worth 3s/4d issued in 1471 by Edward IV

Anglo-Saxon chronicle
The early Christian church produced a Latin record of historical events, made up of a collection of Easter tables, genealogies, and monastic texts. The text known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was introduced by King Alfred around 890 AD, and were updated annually until the 12th century. The work was carried out in monasteries across England. Copies are held at Abingdon, Canterbury, Peterborough, Worcester, Winchester, and York

The angora goat is one of the oldest animals known to man. Goats are raised in South Africa, Western Asia, Turkey, and neighbouring countries. The wool of the animal is 2½ times as strong as wool, and has long wavy hair. Cloth made of angora wool is known as mohair

Aka Blodwite. An out-of-court settlement for bloodshed

An obsolete unit of liquid capacity and volume equal to 10 gallons. The Scots anker contained 20 Scots pints

A yellowish-red dyestuff made from the pulp which surrounds the seeds of the tropical tree bixa orellana

Anne, Princess Royal
[1950-] Daughter of Elizabeth II. She has visited the area on several occasions:

See Princess Royal

Someone who received an annuity, that is, a yearly income or allowance. The money typically comes from a pension, a trust or other investment

A ring

See also Annulet

A plot of land to be cultivated by compulsory service of the tenant for the benefit of the lord

An infectious disease of warm-blooded animals – such as cattle and sheep. In humans, it may develop as black skin pustules or damage to the lungs resulting in pneumonia.

It can be transmitted to humans by infected hides and wool, and was known as woolsorter's disease and rag-picker's disease.

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

On 11th August 1911, cases were reported at Todmorden. On 2nd September 1931, an Elland woman died of the disease.

See Black Death

Anti-Poor Law Association
See Poor Law

Anti-Vaccination League
There was considerable opposition to the Vaccination Act [1853] which was introduced to tackle smallpox, with violent riots in many parts of the country. The first Anti-Vaccination League was formed in London in 1853 by people who felt that vaccination was dangerous.

After the Vaccination Act [1867], concerns turned to issues of personal liberty and choice. Several journals and books were published on the subject: the Anti-Vaccinator [1869], the National Anti-Compulsory Vaccination Reporter [1874], and the Vaccination Inquirer [1879]. In 1885, an anti-vaccination demonstration in Leicester attracted about 100,000 people. There were demonstrations in Bailiffe Bridge in 1888.

In 1896, after 7 years, a Royal commission concluded that vaccination did protect against smallpox, but it recommended the abolition of cumulative penalties.

See Bailiff Bridge & Anti-Vaccination, Brighouse Anti-Vaccination League and Vaccination

Any religious group which does not adhere to any established ethics or morals

Aka Antiquary. Someone who studies or collects antiquities.

Antiquarian is also an adjective.

See Halifax Antiquarian Society

An object which is more than 100 years old is considered to be an antique

An opening medicine, a laxative drink

A crippling stroke resulting in loss of muscle control or paralysis

Someone who prepared drugs and medicines. They sometimes worked as doctors, paying house calls, and giving medical advice.

See Ounce apothecaries

Apple-and-pear window
A circular window with a central circular light surrounded by a swirl of 6 pear-shaped lights – or mouchettes.

Compare this with a Rose window.

See William Akroyd, Barkisland Hall, Booth Independent Church, Bradley Hall, Holywell Green, Heath Grammar School, Kershaw House, Luddendenfoot, New Hall, Elland, Saint John the Divine, Rishworth, Square Congregational Church, Halifax and Wood Lane Hall, Sowerby

A person – usually a young man – who is bound by an agreement to work for a master for a specified period in return for instruction in a trade, art or business.

The master received a fee from the apprentice or his sponsor.

The apprentices usually lived in lodgings provided by their employers.

The apprenticeship was usually 7 years long.

At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice became a journeyman.

They were members of a guild.

In the 17th century, pauper children came from outside the district – some are recorded from Westmorland – to serve apprenticeships in Halifax.

Until the early 19th century, medical training was acquired by apprenticeship to a qualified doctor or surgeon.

Between 1710 and 1804, a tax was charged for apprenticeship.

See Apprentice Notices, Charity apprentice, Health & Morals of Apprentices in Cotton Mills Act [1802] and Poor apprentice

A minor right or duty which is attached to the holding of manorial land. These included submission to the manor court, grazing rights, the payment of fines to the lord of the manor.

The term also refers to rights which appertain to, and pass under a conveyance of real property without being specifically mentioned, and is often loosely applied to those things which are generally enjoyed with the principal thing, such as a grant of house with its appurtenances may include the garden

Appurtenant rights
The rights which belonged to a manor

The round or polygonal end of a chancel or chapel. This may be domed or vaulted. These were common in Norman churches.

In Britain, the apse is generally square (Celtic), while on the continent, rounded (Roman) apses were common.

The adjective is apsidal.

An Exedra is an open or colonnaded semi-circular apse, with seats or a bench and intended for conversation

See Ambulatory

A structure which carries a canal or other waterway over roads, rivers, streams, railway lines or other canals. These are provided to keep the canal level, thus avoiding the need for locks. Some local examples include Black Pit Aqueduct, Hebden Bridge, Farrar Mill Lane Aqueduct, Siddal and Luddendenfoot Aqueduct

Arable farming
The topsoil in the district is unsuitable for arable farming. A major crop was oats, although wheat and rye were also grown. The acid soil of the moorland was remedied by the use of lime. After liming the soil, potatoes were planted, then oats, and then the land was left fallow. The growing of corn ended in the latter half of the 19th century.

See Farming

A form of the crossbow made from metal

A ship of The Winthrop Fleet which sailed from Yarmouth to America in April 1630.

The Arbella was said to carry 42 tuns of beer (10,000 gallons)  and 14 tuns of drinking water (3,500 gallons).

Sir Richard Saltonstall and his children Richard, Rosamund, Samuel, Robert, and Grace were aboard the Arbella.

The ship arrived in Salem, Massachusetts on 12th June 1630

Information about archæology can be found at the links below

Edward IV introduced a law requiring every Englishman between 16 and 60 years of age to own a longbow of his own height, and to practise every Sunday after attending church and on feast days on butts set up by the township.

In 1511, all men under the age of 40 were required to possess bows and arrows, and to practise archery. In 1543, the law was revived for all men between 17 and 60 when a French invasion was feared, and fell into disuse from the 17th century.

In December 1541, the Unlawful Games Act made it illegal for any sport – other than archery – to be played at Christmas.

The profession of arrowsmith or fletcher continued until the 17th century.

See Butts, Crossbow and King's archer

Information about church architecture and domestic architecture can be found at the links below

Archiving your material

A small basement yard at the front of a 18th/19th century house.

The yard is accessed by a flight of stairs from the street level, and railings protect the area.

The purpose is to allow access, light and air to the basement.

In some early references, it is called an airy – alluding to the ventilation provided. Area may be a corruption of airy

An heraldic term referring to the metal silver / silvery white – this is usually shown as white

A measure of land roughly equal to an acre. It was used by the Normans to measure vineyards

To summon a prisoner to the court, to read the charge or indictment, and to ask whether he/she pleads guilty or not guilty

Arsenic was used in Victorian times because it was thought to

  • To treat syphilis
  • As a stimulant
  • To make the skin look younger
  • To stimulate men's libido

Arts & Crafts
Late 19th century movement with styles, designs and techniques based on vernacular models.

Local architect J. F. Walsh produced buildings in this style

Aka Arval. A wake or funeral feast in honour of the dead.

The word comes from the Old Norse erfil and dates back to the heir-ale feasts when heirs drank themselves into their father's land and goods. The English arval was more concerned with eating than with drinking, and in later times the term was extended to arval dinner or arval supper. One distinctive feature was the arval-bread, which was specially baked for the occasion and spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and raisins, and which was distributed among the poor

In the early 20th century home, asbestos was used in hairdryers, floor tiles, toys, oven gloves, gutters, brake linings, suits for fire fighters, electrical and thermal insulation, fireproof materials for the building industry – and even domestic ironing-boards.

It is produced from a group of minerals which have a fibrous structure.

There are 3 varieties:

  • White asbestos is made from the mineral serpentine and is the more common and least harmful
  • Blue asbestos is made from sodium iron silicate and comes from South Africa and is the most dangerous
  • Brown asbestos

The raw mineral is broken down into fibres which then are woven together or bound in an inert medium.

During processing, and as the fibres wear, the material produces a dust which can cause cancer, and exposure to asbestos – especially blue asbestos – is a recognised cause of the incurable industrial cancer, mesothelioma.

Asbestosis is a chronic lung inflammation caused by asbestos dust.

Asbestos usage is now strictly controlled.

See Acre Mill, Kebroyd Mills, Triangle, Kosset Carpets Limited and Turner & Newall

A chronic lung inflammation caused by exposure to asbestos dust

Ashanti Wars
In the 19th century, there were several wars between the British and the Ashanti Empire of what is now Ghana.

See Punitive Expedition to Benin and Captain Harry Christopher Shaw Rawson

An area of land – often irregular in shape – which has been cleared for agriculture by grubbing up the trees and shrubs of a forest for cultivation. Such land was also called royd land and intake or breck. Much assarted land returned to an uncultivated state when the Black Death reduced the labour force. The process of assarting was continued into the 19th century.

The term comes from the Latin ex sarrire meaning to hoe or to weed

Assembly rooms
From 1700, assembly rooms became a fashionable venue for upper classes to dance and to socialise. Some were purpose-built others were held in theatres, inns and other public buildings.

Some local examples were Assembly Rooms, Brighouse, Assembly Rooms, Halifax, Assembly Rooms, Halifax, Lyceum Assembly Rooms, Halifax, Raven Street Lyceum Assembly Rooms and Victoria Assembly Rooms, Sowerby Bridge

Assession rolls
A record of rents and land transactions under the manorial system. The assessment had to be carried out every 7 years

Assigned servant
A transported convict whose services were assigned to a private master or mistress for a specified period and under specified conditions

A court for the trial of more serious civil and criminal cases held by judges of the High Court in each county. These were introduced around the 16th century, and abolished under the Courts Act [1971].

The term is also used for a standard specification for the quantity, quality, or price of items such as the Assize of Ale, Assize of Bread, Assize of Cloth.

See Quarter sessions and York Assizes

Assize of Abatement
Legal action of recover possession of property after seizure by abatement

Assize of Ale
Under 13th century legislation, the assessment of the price, quality and quantity of ales and beers which were brewed and sold in ale houses. The assessment was performed by an ale-conner. Any infractions were amerced.

See Assize and Margery de Wyndhill

Assize of Bread
Under legislation of 1266, the assessment of the price, quality and quantity of wheat and loaves of bread which were baked and sold. Any infractions were amerced.

See Assize

A general wasting away of the body, lack of strength

To arrest someone

A penalty enforced until 1870 against a person who had been sentenced to death or outlawry, typically after a conviction of treason, by which he forfeited all his real and personal property and his civil rights. The verb, to attaint, is to subject someone to the penalty of attainder

Attendance committee
Created by an Act of 1876, in areas where there were no school boards

Alternative form of ullnage

Aka Aumbrey. A cupboard recessed into the north wall of the chancel of a church for storing the vessels, sacred objects, and oils used for church ceremonies. It is usually on the north side of the chancel. This may be enclosed by a wooden door.

See Dole cupboard

The process used in cloth-making in which material is heated under pressure in a temperature above 100 °C and/or in steam

Autumn crocus
The flower – crocus nudiflorus – grows in meadows and grassland. It is not native to Britain, but is found in the Pyrenees, and was introduced to Britain, possibly from the Near East around the time of the Crusades, and grown as a source of saffron for flavouring and dyeing.

It has been suggested that the plant is associated with – and found on or near – land owned by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, as at Holdsworth House, Holmfield and Wynteredge Hall, Hipperholme.

Another species – colchicum autumnale – also known as autumn crocus, meadow saffron, and naked lady, has leaves in the spring and flowers in the autumn. This plant is native to Britain.

See The Mystery of the Autumn Crocus

Auxiliary Territorial Service
Abbr: ATS. The women's branch of the British Army during World War II

See Territorial Army and Wellesley Barracks, Halifax

A system of measures for weight based around the unit of 16 ounces = 1 pound = 7000 grains

The lord of the manor

A type of carpet in which pile tufts are inserted into a backing during weaving according to a specific arrangement of colours and patterns – compare Wilton. The method allows up to 240 colours to be used. These were originally made in Axminster, Devon

An heraldic term referring to the colour blue


© Malcolm Bull 2017 / [email protected]
Revised 21:19 on 7th December 2017 / b113_a / 74