Hondschoote say - Horn leaves

Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.

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Hondschoote say

[houndscot say]

Hondschoote is a FRENCH town right on the border of what is now Belgium. The weavers there developed a distinctive type of SAY with a ROCKSPUN weft on a slackly twisted wheel spun warp. The result was a characteristically stretchy TEXTILE. Other says with slightly different characteristics and a slightly different technique in manufacture were made in the region like ARRAS and BRUGES may have been imported under the general heading of 'Sayes, double Sayes, or Flanders serges'. Kerridge comments on their popularity with the English, but they have not been noted as such in the shops [Kerridge (1985)].

Found rated by the PIECE of 24 YARD

Sources: Rates.
References: Kerridge (1984).


[hunny; honye; hony; honny; honie]

A sweet, viscid liquid made by BEES from the nectar of flowers. Known to the earliest civilizations, honey and bees were viewed as sacred. The earliest evidence of keeping bees in HIVEs to produce honey dates back to about 2400BC. From 1650 onwards substantial improvements were made in the productivity of bee-keeping; most notably bees were no longer killed in order to gain access to hives for honey [Crane (1980)]. However, it seems unlikely that a yield of 20-40 LB of honey per annum, produced by properly managed modern cottage hives, would have been achieved by early modern bee-keepers. Nicholas Blundell was apparently using one of the modern hives in 1709, which he called his 'Joynted hive', and in which he had had bees for three years. From one layer he abstracted ¾ LB of WAX and ½ a PINT of honey [Diaries (Blundell)].

As a complex natural product, Honey was, as it still is now, variable in quality. The best type according to Kenelm Digby, writing in 1669, was termed VIRGIN. This was believed to be the product of younger bees that was drained from the combs without breaking them. He also named two inferior sorts of honey, 'Life' and 'Stock'. He reported that Hampshire honey was most esteemed in London, although some thought Norfolk honey the best [Digbie (1669, new ed. 1997)].

Before SUGAR was widely and cheaply available, honey was the main sweetener used in cooking; for example, in CAKEs and SWEETMEATs, and to glaze MEAT. Honey, lacking in sugar, has the advantage of adding flavour but it was not suitable for some cooking processes. For example, Galileo's daughter, Suor Maria Celeste, wrote of making a 'poor man's candied quince', poor because she had been obliged to use honey instead of sugar [Sobel, 1999, 189]. By the seventeenth century, honey was less important as a sweetener, largely having been replaced with SUGAR, than as the base for fermenting into MEAD or METHEGLIN. Its use in brewing BEER was prohibited in 1713 [Acts (1713)]. When clarified it was used as the binding medium for MITHRIDATE and VENICE TREACLE. In addition, honey was the chief ingredient in an ELECTUARY, and was found in other medical products, and in cosmetic preparations such as HONEY WATER. A remedy for colds called Pectoral Balsam of Honey appears frequently in the sample taken from newspapers for the Dictionary Archive. Honey might have also been used to dress wounds, an application appreciated by the ancients. When diluted, the enzyme glucose oxidase in honey reacts with glucose to produce gluconolactone and hydrogen peroxide, which gives it a bactericidal quality [Crane (1980)].

Honey had a wide range of uses, succinctly described by Houghton when he wrote 'Honey is meat, drink and medicine' [Houghton]. During Elizabethan times the importance of honey in home and foreign markets was reflected in the legislation of 1581 to standardize measures: a BARREL to contain 32 WINE - GALLON, the KILDERKIN 16, and the FIRKIN 8 [Acts (1581)]. These were intended to limit corruption by traders of this precious commodity, which according to the legislators 'by the goodness of God this Land doth yield great plenty of.'

OED earliest date of use: 825

Found described by clarified, ENGLISH, FINE, NEW, Norbonne Found describing TUB
Found in units of BARREL, FIRKIN, GALLON, HUNDREDWEIGHT, LB, PINT, POT, QUART, VESSEL Found imported from Holland, Spain Found rated by the BARREL containing 42 GALLON, CASK, FIRKIN, JAR, LB, TON, TUN

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Crane (1980), Digbie (1669, new ed. 1997), Sobel (1999).

Honey comb

[hony combe]

The WAX framework which bees build and use to store their HONEY. Although not noted in the Dictionary Archive in this sense, the shortened version of 'comb' does appear in a record where the writer was clearly referring to honey comb [Diaries (Blundell)].

The individual cells are hexagonal, so the term was used to denote any similar pattern; hence a TEXTILE so patterned. Montgomery found one instance of the term to describe a VELVET in 1786; the context of the example in [Inventories (1717)] suggests the same type of fabric.

OED earliest date of use: a1050 as the product of bees; 1884 as a textile

Found in units of PIECE, STEAN, YARD

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (late).

Honey press

Presumably a press by which honey is separated from the comb. It has been noted in the CANDLE shop of a chandler, but there is no other evidence in the inventory that he was making WAX CANDLEs [Inventories (1680)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).

Honey tub

[honny tubbe]

Presumably a water-tight TUB in which HONEY was kept or processed. If the former, the tub would have needed a cover or lid, just as the BUTTER TUB had.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Inventories (early).

Honey water

[aqua mellis]

Water in which HONEY has been dissolved. It was made at home, but was also for sale in the shops, although then it seems likely it was of a more complex composition. It has been found in French as EAU DE MIEL, perhaps to give it status as a fashionable drink. It also appears in Latin as AQUA MELLIS, which suggests it was used medicinally, possibly as a base for more complex (and unpleasant tasting) preparations. Given that it attracted a pseudo - BRAND NAME as 'King's honey water', it has at times connotations of a QUACK MEDICINE.

OED earliest date of use: 1597

Found described as CURIOUS

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Hook and eye

[hukes and eyes; hucks and eys; hucks & eyes; houkes and eyeies; houcks and eyes; hooks eys; hooks eyes; hooks and eys; hooks and eyes; hooks & eies; hookes eyes; hookes and eys; hookes and eyes; hookes & eyes; hookes & eas; hook & eye; hoocks and eyes; hoocks & eyes; hoockes and eyes; hoks and yes; hoks & eyes]

A metallic fastening, especially for a dress, consisting of a hook, usually of flattened wire, and an eye, or wire loop on which the hook catches, one of the two being fixed to each of the parts to be held together. CLASP and EYE [Inventories (1587)], and BOLT and EYE [Inventories (1705)], have also been noted. These were probably more substantial than the many thousands of hooks and eyes found for sale in the shops.

OED earliest date of use: c1626

Found described as BLACK, Breech, Broken, for CLOAK, GREAT, LITTLE, MEN, OLD, in a PAPER, in broken PAPERs, unsorted, Waist, WHITE, WOMEN Found in units of DOZEN, GROSS, HUNDRED, LB, M, OZ, PAPER, THOUSAND Included among HABERDASHERY and rated by HUNDREDWEIGHT of 112 LB

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Tradecards.

Hook and hinge

[hooks and hinges; hooks & hinges; hookes & hinges]

The usual type of DOOR HINGE, which was so-called because of its structure in two parts 'whence it is termed a Hook and Hinge, or a Hinge for a Hook' [Holme (2000)]. Hooks and hinges were used 'When they have a Street-door (which commonly is to take off and lift on)'. According to Moxon's extensive description of this type of HINGE and its fixing, the 'hook' consisted of a sharp spike turned up at a right angle at the other end to form the axle for the hinge plate fixed to the door itself [Moxon (1703, facs. 1989)]. The hook was hammered into the door post, while the hinge part was attached to the door. The use of this type of hinge explains why doors were not always regarded as fixtures, and so were sometimes listed in probate inventories. The same mechanism could be used, and still is today, with the two axles facing in opposite directions. They are more difficult to fit, but make it much harder simply to lift the door off its hinges to gain access to the premises feloniously.

OED online earliest date of use: 1627

Found described as LARGE, LITTLE
Found in units of PAIR

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Holme (2000), Moxon (1703, facs. 1989).

Hop clover

Either the yellow CLOVER, Trifolium procumbens, or SAINFOIN, Medicago lupulina [Wright (1898-1905)]. It may have found a use when land suffered from 'clover sickness', thought to be caused by growing clover for too long on the same patch, but [Patents (1673)] seems to suggest there was some problem in thrashing it.

OED earliest date of use: 1679 but without a definition

Sources: Patents.
References: Wright (1898-1905).

Hop pole

A tall POLE between 10 and 18 FOOT in length, made from COPPICE WOOD, particularly from ASH trees (hence ASH POLE), on which HOP plants were trained.

One of the problems of identifying hop poles is the number of poles for unspecified purposes found in virtually all the sources in the Dictionary Archive. The sources given must therefore be assumed to understate the actual records of hop poles that were present. If HOPs are noted in the same document with a number of poles it is probably safe to assume the two are related.

OED earliest date of use: 1573-4

Found made of ALDER, WILLOW

Sources: Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).

Hopple chain

[hopple chaine]

A CHAIN used as an HOBBLE (of which 'Hopple' is the older from) or FETTER.

No earliest date of use in the OED

Sources: Inventories (late).

Horehound water

Neither Nicholas Culpeper nor John Gerard referred to a WATER made from HOREHOUND. However, Culpeper did speak of the virtue of the herb in the treatment of pulmonary complaints, and it is probable this water was used for that purpose.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (early).

Horn box

[horne box; horn boxe]

Apparently a BOX made of HORN. Some found in the Dictionary Archive may be no more than that, but the '20 Horne boxes' valued in all at 3s found among the stock of a Saddler [Inventories (1665)] remain unexplained. Probably most horn boxes were small and decorative, like the 'Clear Horn Boxes for sugar plumbs' [Tradecards (1794)].

Not found in the OED

Found described as Clear, for SUGAR PLUMS

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Tradecards.

Horn comb

[horne coome; horne combe; horne comb; horne & ivory combes; horncomb; horn do; horn coombe; horn combe; combes of wood, bone or horne; combes of horne]

According to Randle Holme, horn combs were made of OX HORN or COW HORN [Holme (2000)]. He seems to have considered that the horn comb was the type most commonly found, describing in detail how it was made, starting from the horn itself, 'sawing [it] into it lengths' and 'Pressing [it] by heat to open and streighten' it to make HORN PLATE. Thereafter followed no less than twelve more steps including scoring both the size of the comb and a line to show how far the teeth were to be sawed in, 'Dantaching' or sawing the teeth, 'Grailing' or cleaning the teeth, 'Priting' or 'making of the ends of the teeth three square', 'Rounding', Redishing' and 'Polishing', and finally 'Sorting and binding them up by dozens in papers' [Holme (2000)].

A horn comb was valued more cheaply than an IVORY COMB, a TORTOISE SHELL COMB or even a BONE COMB; for example in on inventory the nine bone combs were valued at 5s, the nine horn ones at only 18d [Inventories (1642)]. But even at this valuation they were dearer than WOODEN COMBs, PENNY COMBs and HALFPENNY COMBs. Although many horn combs must have been bought for personal use, they seem to have formed part of the stock in trade of barbers along with a set of BOX COMBs [Holme (2000)], possibly because they were a visible sign of quality as much as because they were extremely functional.

OED online earliest date of use: 1714 under Box

Found described by for barbers, LARGE, LONG, small tooth Found in units of DOZEN, GROSS Found rated by the DOZEN, with their COMB CASEs

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Holme (2000).

Horn leaves

Thin, translucent leaves of HORN for use as the 'glass' in a LANTHORN, hence also LANTHORN LEAVES. Horn leaves have not been noted as such in the Dictionary Archive, but a horner had among his stock '32000 of ordinary leaves & 9000 of square leaves' [Inventories (1673)].