1) To clean, the usual spelling in Yorkshire of 'to fay'. The OED has examples of the same word from <i>c</i>.1205 to 1400, spelt ‘fay’, meaning especially to clean weapons.
There is then a gap from 1400 to 1573 when Tusser employed the word in his book on good husbandry. New references from Yorkshire add to our understanding of how ‘to fay’ had developed the sense of to ‘clear away’ by the sixteenth century: 1530 For feyng the howse, Burton Pidsea: in 1533, a Wakefield tenant was ordered at the borough court to fey hys donge hyll a way, so that it would not interfere with the town sewer or skytterick. Something of the same idea is contained in the accounts of a Sheffield iron forge, in 1574, where a workman was paid for breakeinge and feyinge of synders . At St Michael’s, Spurriergate, in York, in 1539, two labourers worked on repairs to John Robinson’s house and received 2s from the churchwardens for feyng of the ground wall that was falyn down . They were preparing the site for new foundations. A lease of 1578 allowed Thomas Lockwood of Thurstonland to clear the land that he was about to occupy, specifically to feye and stubbe up … all maner of woddes.
The meaning extended to the cleansing of ponds and streams, either simply because they had to be kept flowing smoothly or to scour out the accumulated mud for use on the land. In 1570, each Halifax householder was ordered to feye the watercourse … against his own house. Hunter’s Hallamshire Glossary gives the meaning ‘to empty, as a pond, of mud’. The spelling he used was ‘feigh’, which I have found in coal-mining accounts: 1717 Titus, one day to feigh, Farnley
1750 to feigh and repair the level, Elsecar. This was doubtless by analogy with 'weigh' and it represents the west Yorkshire pronunciation. A more specific meaning was ‘to winnow’: in 1642 Henry Best of Elmswell wrote of oats being threshed and feyed, and a reference in 1535 in Stillingfleet to ij feing clothes indicates that this was not a recent development. Feying cloths were winnowing cloths, and they feature frequently in the inventories of farmers. In Holmfirth, there are occasional references to ‘feying rakes’, e.g. 1742 cow rake [cowl?], feaing rake. The word remained in common use through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and even into the modern period. It is met with in commonplace books, diaries and, particularly, in coal-mining and farming records. In Tong, William Barker was paid for feying the draw end of the colliery in 1760 and in 1815 a South Crosland farmer wrote of the time he spent feying for the Coal hole of his new house. In 1819 he was faying down hills as he levelled land newly enclosed from the moor.