1) In Yorkshire the ‘dam’ was usually the pond or reservoir at a mill or water wheel, rather than the bank which held back the water, although occasionally it probably had that meaning.

1366-7 ‘a dovecot lying by le Dam in the vill of Pontefract’

1549 to make a substantyall dame or weyr, Ashton Carr. In fact the early evidence indicates that the word was probably employed as a verb, meaning to obstruct the flow of a stream. There could be a variety of reasons for doing that but mostly the connections are with the confinement of water in an artificial pond, so as to make it available to turn a water wheel. An undated thirteenth-century land grant for Aughton near Rotherham, mentions ‘half an acre at le Dam’ and the context there suggests that it referred to a ‘pond’. Similarly, in Selby, the Latin word stagnum was consistently used from the fourteenth century for the abbey’s mill dam, and an indenture between the archbishop and the abbot has

1321 de stagno vocato le Damme. The waterway which feeds the dam is also known as Selby Dam. When water power was harnessed for industrial purposes, the dams and associated goits or water courses were often mentioned in leases

1705 shall well and sufficiently keep, scour and Repaire all manner of Dams, goyts, streams, water banks, Wortley Forge. In 1736, Joshua Spooner, grinder, took a 21-year lease of the Second Coppice Wheel in the Rivelin Valley which allowed him to build a new cutlers wheel with one end and as many troughs as he might think proper with all ways, dams goits requisite for the said wheel. In Sheffield the area by the river Sheaf known as ‘The Ponds’ was exceptional in giving rise to the name Pond Mill, a manorial corn mill.

dates 1321 1366-1367 1549 1705 1736

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