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1) A colloquial form of both ‘cloths’ and ‘clothes’.

1554 Item a close presser, South Cave

1570 Item one standinge bede rede furnisshed with close, South Cave

1570 Item ij lin sheites and ij burd cloes [board cloths], South Cave

1581 2 paynted close 4 other lytyll hangings, North Anston

1637 one bed ... with the bed close belonging the same, Hambleton

1764 A Close press 9s, Ecclesfield.

dates 1554 1570 1637 1764

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2) An enclosed space, particularly a field.

The history of this word can differ from one region to another but a detailed study of the minor place-names in a township can reveal how waste was brought under cultivation over the centuries: 1553 a close called souremoore or Newclose, Lepton or how the open arable fields were enclosed, changing from communal ownership to ownership in severalty, that is by individuals: 1625 one little close called Furlongheades heretofore taken out of a common field in Lepton ... called Furlong feild

1630 seaven closes as the same adioyne one to another ... lately enclosed in severall and hedged out of and from the common feildes, Honley. Such closes are named regularly from the fifteenth century and a few even earlier examples have been noted. The word survives in dialect use and is pronounced ‘cloise’ in Halifax and neighbouring districts. It began to be replaced by ‘field’ from the 1700s: 1723 Samuel Wright was mowing oats in a close or field not far from Bilbrough.

dates 1553 1625 1630 1723

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0