1) The verb to breed has developed numerous shades of meaning but is most commonly used to describe the bringing forth of offspring, the propagation of the species.

In connection with animals we say a farmer raises or breeds a particular kind of cattle or sheep. By analogy it has come to have the more general senses of ‘bring into existence, produce and give rise to’, so that we might speak of poverty breeding despair or resentment, or comfort breeding complacency. In husbandry it was used formerly in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield to describe the production of manure by domestic animals, particularly those which were 'folded' by the farmer. In c.1570, Mr Kaye of Woodsome Hall advised his son not to let his cattle or horses into the pasture grounds at certain times of the year, but to sele them upp to brede … mucke . To ‘sele’ in this sense was to fasten the animals securely in their stalls.This approach was an essential aspect of farming in late medieval times: the commodities produced on the manor were not to be exploited commercially and not to be sold to neighbours, but ‘husbanded’ and put to their best use locally. So a farmer’s lease in 1651 required him to feed or use for bedding all the haye and strawe … gotten upon the premises … for breeding of manure : a Honley lease of 1624 defined ‘breed’ for us, referring to all the maynour or compost being brede or arising by occupation of the premises . By extension the word came to be used of other fertilising agents: in Meltham, a clause in Joseph Taylor’s lease of 1735 insisted that all the ashes that he might make or breed during his tenancy should be spread upon the lands and there were similar clauses in deeds for Southowram in 1783 and Addingham in 1790. Its use was not confined to the West Riding: in 1615, Richard Cholmeley of Brandsby in the North Riding wrote in his diary: Manure besyd that I breede Ł5.

dates 1570 1615 1651 1735

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