1) A word with an Old English origin, used as a collective singular term for items of merchandise or manufacture, goods or commodities.
It came also to be used in the plural, and cutlers’ inventories for the period 1690-1739 reveal that they were making ‘common wares’ for the mass market. In 1711, when the Cutlers’ Company was anxious about immigration into Sheffield and the security of its members, they sought to restrict the number of apprentices each freemen might take because they make such vast quantities of wares of all sorts that they can’t sell them. Attributive uses include ‘ware tools’, presumably the tools required to produce ‘hardware’, that is ironmongery or small metal goods. In 1546, Steven Fox of Ecclesall bequeathed ‘all things belonging to his shope as wayre toylles’ to his son Laurence. The inventory of Samuel Baylie, in 1737, listed large quantities of files in his Ware chamber, an upper room used as a store. This is another word that echoes the earlier vocabulary of the York cutlers: their ordinances in 1479-80 warned that much evill ware … be sold … in greit dissate [deceit] and hurt of the common people.
3) To spend, lay out money.
a.1417 Thare shall comme two of tham to gider and ayther of them shall ware xviijd in fyssch, York
1472 and this money to be waryd of the beldyng of the Mowrouse, Pontefract
1545 I bequeath to the hie altare at Giesley xijd to be wared of some adornment, Yeadon. It may have intruded into ‘wear out’, meaning ‘pass away’: 1679 he knew he must wear out the rest of his days in misery in that place, Halifax.