dog pits

1) A common minor place-name with no very early references.

Dog Pots Plantation in the township of Nidd, Dog Pits in Brearton and the Minskip field name Dog Pits are three of the names recorded by Smith in his work on West Riding place-names but the evidence for them is late. One or two earlier examples are on record, in Barwick in Elmet for example, which has Dog Pitt Close listed in a terrier of 1693 and in Tong where Dog Pitt Close is shown on the 1725 estate map, sited near to the hall, tenanted by Peter Ver. The repeated use of the name is a clear indication that it referred to some commonplace feature of the landscape, and Smith’s suggestion that it ‘presumably denoted a pit frequented by dogs’ is hardly satisfactory. The function of the dog pit is made clear in a North Bierley lease of 1618, in which the highway to Bradford was said to lead upward by a little runninge water on the south to a pitt made for keepinge of horsflesh, heretofore for the hounds of William Rookes of Roodes Hall . The practice of feeding hounds on horse flesh has continued until the present day and there are clear references to it in local estate records. In 1745, for example, a payment of 13 shillings was made at Whitley Beaumont to John Jessop for Horses for the Doggs and in 1772 the Mirfield diarist John Turner wrote Bawle my good old horse died aged 23. Thomas Shaw had him for hounds. The North Bierley lease of 1618 quoted above makes it clear that such pits served as storage places for the horse flesh before it was fed to the dogs, so we should look for the place-name close to the kennels or the dog-keeper’s cottage. It is worth noting that in Tong the field named Dog Pitts Close lies immediately to the south of Keeper Lane and some distance from the hall. The noise created by the dogs when they were feeding might partly explain that. Norristhorpe near Liversedge has the by-name ‘Doggus’ locally

that is dog house, and this must surely be where the dogs for Liversedge Hall were kept. A deed records the sale of the messuage called Doghouse in Liversedge to Sir John Armytage of Kirklees in 1725. In 1560, Ralph Hawkesworth surrendered one messuage called Dogghouse in Thornsett.

dates 1560 1618 1693 1725 1745 1772

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