1) A short thick nail.

1394-5 It. pro im stubs iis, Whitby

1504 xvc stubs xviijd, York

1535 Item a thowsand stubbes ijs, Stillingfleet

1615 100 of stubbes, iijs vjd, Brandsby

1715 for stubs to mend corves, Farnley near Leeds

1776 latt nails, spar nails, stubs, Holmfirth.

dates 1394-1395 1504 1535 1615 1715

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2) By the sixteenth century to ‘stub’, or more explicitly to stub up a tree, was to remove the stubs or stumps of those that had been felled, so that the land might be ploughed.

In 1520, a Fountains Abbey lease granted Ralph and Robert Scayfe of Bishopside libertye to stube upe and clense certain growndes … to ther more advantage and profett: in 1587 Sir John Kaye of Woodsome and his workmen dyd stubb a pece of the Carr beyond the Brodyng, calling yt the Great Stubbing, and in Ilkley verie woddy and bushey grounds were stubbed and made arable in 1591. The West Riding Quarter Sessions record a tragic accident in 1675 which paints a vivid picture of the dangers that such work involved: Joseph Hirst of East Ardsley testified that he had been stubbing of a tree … And being fetching of this blow with his axe, Stephen Allen, unknowne to [him], was betwixt his blow and the root of the tree that he was then stubbing and by that meanes was Accidentally sore cut into the head. The blow was not fatal but the unfortunate man was taken home to his Masters … who doth maintaine him. ‘Stubbing’ remained a common practice and the diarist Adam Eyre noted in February 1648 that his man was stubbing the ashes in the croft head: in 1732, John Hobson wrote of ploughing in a close where there had lately been some wood stubbed and in Beverley in 1774 the rents from the town pasture called Westwood were used in stubbing up old tree roots … and clearing the said pasture as far as the money will allow. The word eventually acquired a number of related meanings and in Kirkheaton in 1604 Mr Stocke was fined 12d for stubbinge and fellinge whinnes, that is gorse bushes: in 1837 the Thurstonland churchwardens accounted for stubbing Docks in the Churchyard,.

dates 1520 1587 1591 1604 1648 1675 1732 1774

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0