1) Usually a fold or yard close to the house or other buildings, but used also regularly of much larger enclosures.

1540 a garth called Northegarthe, by estimacyon four acres whereof 1 acre is of brushe wood, Wilberfoss

1558 my parych churche garthe, South Cave

1629 frontes, fould, middingsteade, 2 garthes, Hanlith

1642 such a close or garth may be ‘raked and cocked’ on such a day, Elmswell 1663 all that messuage ... with the garth or backside, Selby

1722 into his fold or garth, Pontefract. It occurred commonly in place-names from the twelfth century and is the source of the surname Garth.

dates 1100-1199 1540 1558 1629 1642 1663 1722

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2) The wooden hoop used by coopers in barrel-making.

In a Ripon account of 1424 the cost of v garthys ligneis was 5d. Later references include: 1468-9 ‘For 5 girths ... for the Trinity saa 2d’, Hull

1528 circulis lineis, discis, les tubgirthis et scottels, York

1565 iiij bucket girths, Knaresborough

1669 he found two peeces of cleft wood which William Smyth cooper intended for garthes, Brodsworth

1694 to a Cooper for makeing ... garths, Tong. It was also used as a verb and the York Minster fabric rolls have entries for gerthyng tubbarum in 1399 and garthyng tubbarum in 1403. Examples are found into the eighteenth century at least: 1579 Item to a couper for gerding a vessel, Stockeld

1755 To garthyng a pigen, Beeston: this entry in a blacksmith’s account for a colliery confirms that the ‘piggin’ continued to be a cooper-made object. Used as a verb: 1483 the Cowpers … to gyrth barels, York. Some spellings lack the final 'th' : 1525 Item for ij gyres to a say [tub] jd, York.

spellings girth (2)
dates 1399 1403 1424 1468-1469 1483 1525 1528 1565 1579 1669 1694 1755

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0