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The ashes of ferns and certain kinds of wood were used to form a lye in soap-making.
dates 1587 1644 1715 1791

Soaked or saturated, a regional usage.
places Rawdon
dates 1562


Charcoal-burners used sods or turves to cover and seal the cordwood in their pits, thus preventing combustion. The right to get these within the wood was often written into the terms of a lease.
dates 1549 1720 1766


A large tub.
dates 1412 1459 1566 1580-1581 1590 1698

The soe or tub had two ‘ears’ so that it could be carried on a stang or pole (OED).
dates 1572 1611 1612

Inferior coal.
places Colsterdale
dates 1705

To excuse or make a payment for non-attendance at a court.
places Acomb Conistone
dates 1661 1685 1692

spellings soygner
A short form of ‘essoiner’, that is the man who excused the non-attendance of another at the manor court.
dates 1297-1298 1307 1323-1324 1379 1391 1421

spellings soil tree
A dialect spelling of ‘sole’.
dates 1383-1384 1501 1612-1616 1667

Within the manorial system this was a right attached to a mill which required the tenants of certain lands to have the corn they produced ground there, or the cloths they made fulled there.
dates 1522 1591 1653

A horizontal piece of timber, especially one used in the foundations of a timber-framed house.
dates 1335 1358 1417 1419-1420 1433 1464-1465 1525 1661 1731 1739

Leather of a thick or strong kind, suitable for the soles of boots and shoes.
dates 1458 1627

A horizontal stone which served as a foundation for a timber-framed building, a term explained under the headword groundsel.
places Holmfirth
dates 1463

A beam or piece of timber used as a foundation or support.
dates 1527-1528 1581 1707

An upper room or apartment.
places York Oakwell
dates 1365 1611

‘Somewhat’, that is in some degree or measure, now archaic.
places Halifax
dates 1546

A certain amount, the source of dialect 'summat'.
places Skipton
dates 1499


A piece of bread soaked in milk, wine, hot dripping or other liquid.
places Almondbury
dates 1588

spellings sored sowre
The colour ‘sorrel’, that is reddish-brown or chestnut, used especially of horses.
dates 1420 1541 1564 1587

A buck in its fourth year.
dates 1523 1621 1698

spellings sorrelled
Reddish-brown or chestnut coloured, used particularly of horses, sometimes as a name.
dates 1257 1406 1515 1541 1551 1620 1637 1697

spellings souther
Regional forms of solder; that is a fusible metal alloy used for uniting metal parts.
places York Howden
dates 1400 1450 1595

spellings open tail sough tail
An artificial water course, drain or sewer; a word commonly found in documents which relate to works associated with bridges, mills, the farming landscape, and coal-pits in particular.
dates 1582 1597 1599 1665 1692 1720 1761-1762 1814

Probably a sump where waste water was stored before being disposed of.
dates 1728

The common sorrel, noted as a minor place-name.
places Barkisland
dates 1595

A maker or mender of shoes, derived from a word meaning to sew or stitch.
dates 1202 1298 1379 1490

A common alternative spelling of ‘sough’.
dates 1539 1590 1598 1655 1701 1718

spellings sow metal
Workmen used the word ‘sow’ for a large oblong piece of solidified metal, from the fifteenth century at least.

spellings swooned
For swooned, that is fainted, pronounced ‘sound’ in Cleveland.
places Langthorne
dates 1606

The tool used by plumbers for soldering.
places Selby
dates 1685

The space between the roadway and the arches and piers of a bridge (DHB127).
places Aldham Bridge
dates 1713

To wean, especially calves and lambs.
dates 1508 1578 1593

spellings spencket speng spynget
A regional word used in descriptions of an animal’s skin colour, particularly cows. It has been said to mean flecked, speckled, spotted, and even pied (OED).
dates 1540 1552 1558 1559 1570 1591 1600 1756

A form of spanged which can be compared with sterneld, taggled.
places Knaresborough
dates 1600

Used of calves, lambs, etc. during the weaning process.
dates 1543 1573 1672

Iron was imported from Spain by Sheffield cutlers, as the high-grade Spanish ores were preferred to the local ironstone.
dates 1377-1378 1453 1454 1490 1537

The name of a horse belonging to Sir Hugh Cholmeley, so probably one that could move at a fast pace.
places Whitby
dates 1657

A fabric, possibly one imported from Spain or imitating one from Spain.
places York
dates 1475

It can mean a roof rafter, as in Henry Best’s description of a thatcher at work.
dates 1357 1409 1463 1614 1642

A small headless wedge-shaped iron nail, said to be a spelling of ‘sparrow-bill’ (OED). It was used in the soling and heeling of shoes.
places Conistone
dates 1686

Respite or delay.
places York
dates 1528

Found once only; possibly a diminutive of spar, or a mistake for purlin.
places Bridlington
dates 1642

A small fish, also called a smelt.
dates 1259-1260 1512-1513 1516-1517

A shade of gray inspired by the sparrow.
places Nosterfield
dates 1656

The OED has this as the name for a small anvil used in silver-working, with examples from 1869.
places York
dates 1490

Noted in a fisherman’s will so probably a type of fishing net, one with a small mesh.
places Hornsea Beck
dates 1390

Gypsum or plaster, used to give walls a white coat.
dates 1299 1395 1439 1481

A canopy for a bed.
dates 1444 1526-1527 1547 1568

A tumour on a horse’s leg, caused by inflammation. As an adjective it was used in the more general sense of lame.
places Wooldale
dates 1726

A medicinal or mineral spring, named after Spaw in Belgium.
dates 1574 1662 1665

spellings speke
A wooden spoke of a wheel.
places Creskeld Swinsty
dates 1557 1639

A maker of glass spectacles for those with defective vision.
places York
dates 1423 1468-1469

spellings spelled
Used of cattle, but of uncertain meaning.
dates 1558 1574 1636

Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0