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The OED gives two meanings for ‘pampilion’, the first as a word for fur, for unknown origin but possibly from an unidentified animal: the second as the name of a coarse woollen fabric, derived from one of two similar place-names in France and Spain. As a word for fur it dates from the fifteenth century and Veale suggested that it was 'lambskins presumably from Pampeluna, the capital of Navarre'. As a fabric it is on record from the sixteenth century when pampilion was characteristically used for trimming garments. A definition offered by John Brierley, a cloth frizzer in Wakefield in 1761, throws light on its later meaning: A sort of hair cloath called pompilion in Yorkshire itt is made of that cow hair wich comes of salted hides. Itt is a sort of strong stapled hair and free from lime or dirt but calf hair has the finest staple to make cloath. Cloath on pompilion is made like wadding and is used for to lay shear boards with all in Yorkshire. It was actually a traditional material in the West Riding and some of the points made by John Brearley appear in a much earlier reference. In 1538, complaints were made by a number of Wakefield men that dyvers persons byeth nawtte herre of the tannerrs and sells it to Cendell men to blende it with woile and make cloth of it called pawmpillzon cloth . The complainants were saddlers who were objecting to hawkers selling unlawfull ledder so the inference may be that ‘pampilion’ was being used in some of the products, perhaps as wadding in saddles, although saddles were not actually mentioned. It seems possible though that ‘animal hair’ in these references may link the two quite distinct meanings offered in the OED. That is not the first reference to this word in Yorkshire sources for it occurs as the specific element in a minor place-name more than two centuries earlier: Pampellion Holme was an enclosure held by the Earl of Surrey in 1316, located in Thornes which formed part of Wakefield parish. It is explained by Smith as deriving from a nickname but I find no evidence for such a name locally. However, examples occur in other counties, notably in East Anglia: 1310 John Pampiloun, Suffolk

1381 William and John Pamphilonn, High Easter in Essex. This does not clear up the origin of the word which may have to be looked for much earlier than has been thought.

dates 1310 1316 1381 1538 1761

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