1) This was an allowance for drinks or an actual pot of ale given to certain workmen as a bonus, and references to the custom occur in a variety of early documents linked to building.

1332 In potu quando levaverunt meremium castelli, York

1355 In potu dato eidem et aliis auxiliantibus circa facturam eorundem 3d, Ripon

1404 In expensis custodis fabricae versus eandem quareram, cum potu dato operariis ibidem, 3s 6d, York. From the late seventeenth century it is again well documented in building accounts: 1719 Gave the mason for a thacking pott 2s, Bradford. Expenses for ‘pots’ granted to colliers are on record from the latter period but it is likely that the practice was already traditional. In the accounts for a colliery in Farnley near Leeds, payment is recorded in 1718 for a Holeing pott

that is probably 'a pot' for driving a tunnel or ventilation hole. A Wake pott in 1691 and a Wake supper are less easy to explain since ‘wake’ had a variety of meanings which included festivals and funerals. A Shibden reference to the marking out of a new pit contains rather more information: 1713 ‘all the colliers assembled and Mr Lister allowed them a ‘sod pot’ of two shillings with which to celebrate the occasion

that is the cutting of the first sods as the ground was opened up’. In Tong, it was linked with ‘earls’: 1760 given for earls of pit and sod pot. Note the rare alternative: 1749 gave sinkers to drink for a sod-cup 2s 6d, Halifax.

spellings holing pot sod cup sod pot
dates 1332 1355 1404 1691 1713 1718 1719 1749 1760

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0