1) A piece of ‘U’ shaped metal which had sharp ends so that it could be driven into wood.

It is found frequently from an early date, often linked with ‘hasp’ which points to its use as a fastener for a gate or door. 1371 Et in haspis et stapils emptis pro berefrido, York

1394-5 Item pro j stapill ad hostium, Whitby

1469 pro ij staples et j crouke, York. In colliery accounts it occurs independently but in pairs, so it probably referred there to the handles of a corf: 1754 2 plates for a corf 2d

two staples 2d, Beeston.

dates 1371 1394-1395 1469 1754

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2) A word of Old English origin for a post, pillar or column, usually of wood or stone.

It was an element in the Yorkshire place-name Stapleton and the thirteenth-century Altunstapel and retained this meaning over the centuries: 1619-21 a crosse in the grounde where sometime was a stoope called the Staple stoope, Tollerton. An OED reference shows that it could be used of a steeple, possibly by association, so it may lie behind the place-name ‘dumb steeple’: 1771 a Pyramidal Column or Pillar usually called the dumb Steeple, Grange Moor.

dates 1619-1621 1771

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0