1) In the Fountains Abbey records ‘crochon’ is one spelling of a word that occurs numerous times in the ‘Expenses of the master of the cattle’, often alongside ‘drape’.

1456-7 pro custodia de Crochuuse [sic] … in consimili pro drapis

1496 lez Crochons, Bewerley

1537 ix crochone kye, Birthwaite. The meaning of ‘crochon’ is evident in the abbey leases which provide a great deal of information about livestock and farming practices. These documents refer to the ‘renewing’ of the herds at twelve-month intervals, with arrangements made for the older animals to be exchanged for younger ones. Typically nine of the oldest and most crochy kye were put into the care of the chief herdsman and replaced later by nine heifers, to fulfyll the stynt. The ‘crochons’ or older beasts were then moved to good pasture at Whitsuntide and fattened there in preparation for their slaughter in the autumn. It is a word that I have found only in the western Dales and it is responsible there for several distinctive place-names, most obviously several fields named Crutching Close, in Langcliffe, Rylstone and Settle, and Crutchon Close in Halton Gill. Less directly it explains Crutchin Gill in Horton in Ribblesdale and Crutchenber Fell in Slaidburn. A connection with the word ‘crock’ used for old ewes in 1528 and later for broken-down horses seems likely.Ironically, because certain examples were mistakenly transcribed as ‘crochous’ and ‘crochuuse’ the word was taken by one editor to be a place-name, with the suffix ‘house’: Smith listed ‘crochuuse’ as a spelling of Crooke in Halton Gill, failing to recognise the connection with Crutchon close which he rightly placed among the field names. See YD11-14.

dates 1456-1457 1496 1537

Related Content Loading...

Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0