call

1) The OED has an entry for ‘cauld’ or ‘caul’ as a Scottish word for a dam, for which the earliest reference is 1805. The Yorkshire word meant ‘dam’, ‘weir’ or 'weir wall' and it is on record from much earlier.

It is found frequently in bridge documents from the seventeenth century, describing structures that can could be made of either wood or stone: in 1675 the undertakers' charges for work on Ilkley Bridge included Ł41 5s For wood for Centrees ... frames and Caules

in 1739 there was a stone call or wear across the river Ayre at Riddlesden. The function of a ‘call’ is made clear in two references to Paythorne Bridge: in 1687 there was need for a call to bee made att the west end of the bridge, 20 yards in length up the water, to keep it in its due course and in 1704 a call or wear 5 yards in length was deemed necessary to secure the water from overflowing a cawsay . An obscure usage occurs in connection with land granted for a water-mill in Kilnhurst: 1589 to fast and binde one milne dam upon to be erected and builded of pyles, and wyndings with call hedges of the water of Done. Perhaps ‘hedges’ here should be ‘edges’. Occasionally ‘call’ is used as a verb, as in a Stansfield by-law of 1608 which threatened to fine William Greenwood 5s iff at aney tym he call the water out off the ould cours which roneth doun to Radwell end . Presumably he was being warned not to build a call or dam. In 1576, it is probably the first element in the minor place-names Calbancke and Calsteyle in Leeds, possibly represented now by Call Lane which is a street near the river Aire.

spellings caul
dates 1576 1589 1608 1675 1687 1704 1739

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2) A noun, a dialect word for a coop or hutch for fowl, mostly recorded as ‘hen-call’.

Kaner described it as a coop for fattening poultry which was placed under a dresser in the kitchen. Examples in the EDD date only from 1788 but it is on record from the fifteenth century: 1452-3 j hencall xxd, Beverley

1460 de j flandyrs kyst ... j alia cista ... j archa ... de j call precii xijd, Ripon

1527 To Alicie Skinnera calle, Thirsk

1542 Item iij hawmes and a caull, xs, Bedale

1581 1 hopper, 3 naves, 2 sews, 1 hen call, North Anston

1599 a henne call with certayne kyttes and five sackes, Rawmarsh

1621 an olde panne with hen caules, Slaidburn.

dates 1452 1460 1527 1542 1599 1621

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3) As a verb, to insult, to apply abusive names to somebody, still used with this meaning in dialect.

1690 why doest thou abuse my children … and she answered I will abuse them if they call me as they doe, and he said what do they call thee and she answered they call me witch, Idle.

places Idle
dates 1690

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0