1) A heap or pile, as of stones, turf or hay, a word found in several glossaries.

Canon Atkinson defined ‘rook, ruck’, as ‘a carefully made heap, of no great size

of turves, stone, etc’. Isolated examples illustrate its use in the everyday vocabulary: 1577 vj rookes of peise strawe vs, South Cave

1590 2 lytle ruckes of hay, Marske but it occurs more commonly in traditional boundary descriptions: 1637 unto one howe called Cooke Howe and from thence to one rooke of stoanes in Arnesgill heade and soe to one rooke of stones above Hew Hill Brow, Bilsdale Kirkham

1642 to a great Ruck of Stones aboue Stainedale Farm, Helmsley. In fact, it has a much longer history in such contexts: 1294 et abinde usque locum vocatum rukke super Cockhowe et deinde sicut aqua cćli dividit, Marske in Swaledale. It is likely therefore to be the first element in place-names such as Rookstones in Rishworth, listed by Smith but with no explanation and there are others where it may be preferable to ‘rook’ meaning the bird. It seems as though ‘ruck of stones’ was the original expression but that ‘ruck’ could be used on its own when the sense was clear. Its use for stacks of turf or peat, both used as fuel, may have something to do with its early history in Nottinghamshire, where it was used of a particular measure of coals, possibly a pile of a certain size originally. The movement of miners from one coalfield to another may explain its later use in south Yorkshire. It is found there as a measure in colliery records from the early eighteenth century: 1729-31 three Rooks or Stacks being two Dozen Of Coals

Colliers shall get the Coals at 18d per ruck

thirty Corfs to each Ruck, Swillington.

dates 1294 1577 1590 1637 1642 1729-1731

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