1) North-country spellings of ‘bank’, that is a working section of the coal-face.

The OED reference is to narrow ‘roads along the benk faces’, used in a paragraph which dealt with the way in which a colliery was being worked in 1797. However, the word features regularly in earlier colliery accounts: 1690 for a benke feying

1718 five bencks turning in

1720 Titus lad [worked] 2 days in the down benck, Farnley .

spellings benk (1)
places Farnley
dates 1690

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