ratton bread

1) ‘Ratton’ was the regional word for a rat.

It derives from Old French ratoun and its use dates from c.1300. The animal was considered a pest which needed to be controlled: 1510 like wise vestimentes ... are gretly fawtie, some worne full of holles some ettyn w[ith] rattons, York

1576 a ratton fell, Scriven. Ratton bread was a poisonous paste used for that purpose: 1395-6 It. pro sperstane et ratonbrede empt. ijs ijd, Whitby Abbey

1532 Ser Wylliam Gascoignes servaunte had lad raton brede in the house, Wombwell

1679 searching his pockets they found ratten bread and he confessed he intended to poyson himself, Northowram. In minor Yorkshire place-names the word was characteristically linked with water-courses, for example Ratten Clough, Ratten Gill, Ratten Gutter and Ratton Syke.

dates 1395-1396 1510 1532 1576 1679

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