1) We are very familiar with the plural noun ‘goods’, used in the sense of movable property, but formerly the word could also be used for livestock, certainly in Scotland and the north of England.

In 1533 an East Riding lady referred in her will to her quicke goodes, as horse, mayres, sheipe and swyne, and thoder half of my neite. In fact, the word was used frequently in both wills and manorial documents, typically in a by-law of 1635 which warned tenants not to putt any goodes or cattelles into the Townefeilds. In 1608, William Atkinson of Malham was fined for eating Scaylgill with his goodes. It was not unusual for the distinction between the two meanings of ‘goods’ to be drawn in wills, where livestock would be described as ‘quick goods’ and moveables as ‘dead goods’. In 1552, John Scott of Thorp Arch left his goodes, both qwicke and dead to his wife

in a Barwick will of 1593, the testator defined his deade goods as implements of husbandrye or household stuff. ‘Quick good’, in the singular, was quite often the mortuary left by a parishioner to the minister of the local church: 1516 I bequeathe for my mortuarie my best quyke goode, Ryton. Similarly, in 1485, Margaret Piggot left her best quyke goode to the kyrke. According to Wright this meaning of the word was still in use in the second half of the nineteenth century, and examples occurred not only in the northern counties but as far south as Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Although it may still be in occasional dialect use, few northern glossaries mention the word.

spellings goods
dates 1485 1516 1533 1552 1593 1608 1635

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