Oat malt - Oeillet

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

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Oat malt

[ote malte]

MALT made of OATS prepared for brewing or distilling. Most MALT was made from BARLEY, but OAT MALT was regarded as a useful addition by some brewers.

OED earliest date of use: 1707 under Oat

Found in units of SACK

Sources: Inventories (early).

Oat mill

[oatmill; oatmeall mill; oatmeal mill; oat meal mill]

A MILL for grinding OATS to make OATMEAL

OED earliest date of use: 1686

Found described as OLD

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


[oatmeall; oatmeale; oat-meal; oatemeale; oatemaill; oate meale]

MEAL made from OATS. Reducing a BUSHEL of OATS to oatmeal led to a substantial loss from 38 LB to 22. An anonymous author suggested a 'noble exilerating meal' could be made from a couple of spoons of oatmeal, two QUART of water and an ONION [Recipes (Save Wealth)], though it hardly sounds like one. Even so, oatmeal was an essential foodstuff in the northern half of the country, where porridge and gruel provided staple carbohydrates for the poor rather than BREAD.

Oatmeal was included by an act of 1781 among SHIPS STORES and MILITARY STORES [Acts (1781)].

OED earliest date of use: c1420

Found described as NORWICH Found describing BOX, TROUGH

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Recipes, Tradecards.


[otties; ottes; otes; oates; oate]

Edible seeds of plants from the genus Avena, particularly Avena sativa and Avena orientalis (but see also BLACK OATS). The plant probably did not become established in Britain until the Iron Age, but by the early-modern period it was an important crop, particularly in the northern half of the island since it is hardier than other grains and tolerant of poorer soils [Masefield et al (1969)]. Oats were used for human consumption and also for HORSEs, hence the entry 'in Oates for horse provinder' [Inventories (1635)], and also apparently for GEESE [Enys (1997)]. Lacking the levels of gluten found in WHEAT, BREAD made from OATS is solid and lacking porosity [Simmonds (1906)]. It was therefore rarely used for this purpose in the more affluent parts of the country. According to Worlidge Oats 'make indifferent good MALT' though it was usual to add a small quantity when making a keeping STRONG BEER [Worlidge (1681)]. Apparently it was sometimes dried in a specialist kiln [Diaries (Blundell)]; [Diaries (Blundell)]. Oat flour has antioxidant properties which helps to delay deterioration in store.

It was generally sold by the BUSHEL, set to weigh 38 LB towards the end of the period [Acts (1791)]. John Houghton also found oats measured by the GALLON, with 20 GALLON to the BUSHEL in Apelby and 40 in Chester [Houghton]. Prices noted range from 2s 6d per BUSHEL, 17s per QUARTER, though in a private transaction the price could be as low as 18d per BUSHEL.

OED earliest date of use: c1000

Found described as BEARDED, BLUE, COMMON black, ENGLISH, LOOSE, naked, Unmalted, Unthrashed, WHITE, from north Wales Found describing BARREL, BIN, CHEST, STRAW
Found in units of BUSHEL, COOMB, LOAD, PECK, QUARTER, Stook, STRIKE, THRAVE Found rated by the QUARTER of 8 BUSHEL

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates.
References: Enys (1997), Masefield et al. (1969), Simmonds (1906), Worlidge (1681).

Oculus cancri

The Latin name of CRABS EYE

Found described as POWDERED Found in units of OZ

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

Oculus indicus


In one sense, the term is the Latin version of Indian eye, the name for a species of PINK (Dianthus plumarius), from the eye-shaped marking on the corolla. It is unlikely that this was the meaning of oculus inde when found in medicine. It has here been treated as a variant spelling of COCCULUS INDICUS, and dealt with under that entry.

OED earliest date of use as a PINK: 1573


Oiellet is the French name for the CARNATION of which the CLOVE GILLYFLOWER was a sweetly scented precursor [Leyel (1937, pb 1987)]. The scent was used under the French name in an ESSENCE and a POWDER [Tradecards (1790s)], and in a POMATUM and a SCENTED WATER [Tradecards (1794)]. The term also appeared as 'Mareschale d'Oeillet' among other ESSENCEs [Newspapers (1786)]. The French name may have been used to add an air of fashionability.

The term was also applied according to Cotgrave as 'Oeillet d'Inde' to the African Marigold [OED, Marigold]. This does not have a pleasant smell and would not have been used in TOILETRY.

Not found in the OED except as a Oiellet d'Inde, then earliest date of use: 1611 under Marigold

See also MARECHAL.
Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Leyel (1937, pb 1987).