Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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Of the various meanings given to this term in the OED, the one most commonly found in the Dictionary Archive is for a piece of ARMOUR for the head; a helmet. Randle Holme went to some lengths to describe a headpiece writing that 'some [are] with eares, others without eares, some with crests all over the head, others have the crest but halfe through' [Holme (2000)].
Possibly HAIR POWDER, but more probably a medicinal product for treating an infestation of lice, as in 'Little's Vegetable Head Powder, very necessary' [Tradecards (1794)]. The fact that this proprietary product was given the descriptor VEGETABLE suggests that other powders for this purpose may have contained more noxious substances like ARSENIC; good for killing bugs, but harmful to humans as well.
The OED defines a head pump as a small PUMP, fitted at the head of a ship communicating with the sea and used for washing the decks, with an earliest date of use being 1840. The term as found (only once) in the Dictionary Archive is considerably earlier, but could have been a pump for the same purpose. It appears in a patent for a 'Hydrostatic pump' among other things 'useful in ships as a head pump' [Patents (1774)]. On the other hand, this may have been the form of pump Randle Holme described as one 'made of Cane or Latin, which Sea men put down into the Caske, to pump up the drink; for they use no Spickets' [SPIGOT] [Holme (2000)].
The OED gives several shades of meaning to 'roll' that relate in some way to the various entries concerning 'head rolls' in the Dictionary Archive. One is that a head roll was a round cushion or pad of hair or other material, forming part of a woman's HEAD DRESS, which the OED has noted from 1538 onwards [under Roll]. It is probable that the '23 head Roles' noted in one shop valued at about 1d apiece were of this type [Inventories (1613)]. Although the '4 doz of Callico head rowles at 9d p doz' were probably similar, the '2 doz & 3 bla silke head Rowes' at 1s 4d the dozen found in the same shop were clearly intended to be part of the display rather than having a supporting role in the full head dress [Inventories (1668)]. Randle Holme in his definition of Head rolls played up the decorative nature of these articles of APPAREL calling them 'Hoods made of either Gaues, Alamode, Lutestring, Sarsenet, Ducape, Vinian Sarsnet, Persia, Lindia Silk, or Gaues and Birds Eye flowered' [Holme (2000)]. By the 1790s a form of TURBAN had become fashionable for women as shown in the portrait of the Lambton family dated 1797 [Ribiero (1983)]. Possibly this was sometimes called a head roll.
The head saw was one of the SURGEONS INSTRUMENTS. It was used, as Randle Holme put it 'sometyme to give vent throw the Cranium, whereby the use of the Trepan is happily forborn. And some time a small rugged peece of the skull may so hang, that this instrument may be used to saw it away' [Holme (2000)]. Elsewhere he gave more detail: it was a saw, 'which Surgeons use to cut away the distances between the holes made in the Skull with the Trepan. And also to abolish Rafts like haires that do not penetrate, and to scrape away the rottedness of the Cranium. This is also called a streight Hand Saw, and is sometyme set in an iron frame after the maner of a Dismembering Saw' [Holme (2000)]. He included three illustrations. Against one he wrote that 'it resembles a double edged Axe or Hatchet, one fixed to the head of the other, and set in a round handle, save the edges are toothed like a Saw. Its use is to cut the Skull in case of Fractures, and for divers other Operations where small Saws are to be used' [Holme (2000)]. Holme's attention to instruments used to cope with broken skulls show how common such injuries were, and how relatively advanced this type of surgery had become.
The OED suggests with a question mark that a head sheet was SHEET put at the head of a BED. It is possible that head sheets were a flat cloth intended to put over or round a PILLOW. In which case, they may have been similar, or identical with a PILLOW BERE, rather than a PILLOW CASE.
That part of a BRIDLE or HALTER that fits round a HORSE's head. The addition of at least a BIT and REINs was necessary to form the complete bridle, hence entries like 'hedd stayles w'th ther Raynes' [Inventories (1564)], and '5 Head Stalls with Snaffles'
Probably the WOOL shorn from the head of a sheep, which will be much shorter than that from the body. Eric Kerridge notes it among the stock of a clothier or yarn master of Cirencester, who was providing YARN for the local SERGE makers, while BLANKET makers in Witney used the head wool for the heaviest of their wares [Kerridge (1985)].
The usual meaning of the term in the Dictionary Archive is the piece of WOOD shaped to make the head or the foot of a BARREL, HOGSHEAD, PIPE, etc. It was often included in such general terms as COOPERY and TIMBER STUFF.
There are, however, two other uses of the term noted in the Dictionary Archive that are not found in the dictionaries. The first as in '1 m hedings' [Inventories (1665)] appears in a list of varieties of NAIL. A heading in this sense was presumably a nail with a head, probably of a particular type. The second, as in 'one greene heading for a bedsted' [Inventories (1685)], was probably a label for a BED HEAD, but possibly a piece of decorative TEXTIL hung on the wall behind the bed.
Randle Holme defined the heading knife, 'or Wine Coopers Heading Knife', as 'a crooked Instrument with two Handles, one standing inward to the edge, and the other streight along, answerable to the back of the Knife' [Holme (2000)]. It was presumably for preparing the HEADING or the BARREL so that the two could be fitted together.
STAVE was the term normally applied to a piece of shaped WOOD that, fitted with others, formed the side of a BARREL and the like. It was not normally used for the HEADING. In the single example of heading staves noted in the Dictionary Archive [Rates (1784)], the term seems to have been applied to the pieces of wood used to make the HEAD and the foot, more briefly a HEADING.
Heading treadle has not been noted in the dictionaries and only once in the Dictionary Archive among a PIN maker's equipment as 'In the heading shop an heading treddle' [Inventories (1707)]. It was probably a form of STAMP, similar to the one Randle Holme described as 'the engine by which the heads of pins are made fast vpon the shank of it, which is done at a Blow, by raising with the foot, an Iron weight and lett it fall on the pin head laid on a small Stiddy or Stake' [Holme (2000)].
An imported LINEN CLOTH. According to Leif Wilhelmsen, lake was a medieval fine linen, though the term was obselete by 1603 [Wilhelmsen (1943)]. She does not refer to headlake, but the few, valued examples in the Dictionary Archive, as 'ij peases of headlake viijs' [Inventories (1544)], do not suggest high quality, particularly as the Books of Rates suggest the pieces were long.