1) James defined ‘withy’ as any species of willow, which is how it is explained in the OED. However, in Yorkshire it appears to be an alternative spelling of ‘with, withe’.

1563 ‘2 cartloads of withies’, Aldborough. In 1661, a Glaisdale man was said to be a rogue who deserves a withy, doubtless a flogging, and in an editorial note Canon Atkinson said ‘withy, with both mean not only a willow rod … but one that could be twisted and would thus become a more stinging instrument of chastisement’. It is found in several compounds: 1550 one schakill, one plewghe, one fottewethie, Killinghall. In some cases such ‘withies’ were specifically made of iron but it is likely that these were seen as an improvement on an earlier willow binder.

dates 1550 1563 1661

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