Samaritan water - Sauce boat

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

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Samaritan water

[samaritan-water; samaritan do]

A popular QUACK MEDICINE of unknown composition, sometimes labelled by its maker's name, for example GREENOUGH. In one advertisement it was listed under MEDICINEs [Tradecards (1790s)]. According to Thomas GREENOUGH, who made a version to his own formulation, it was 'a remedy for strains, bruises, wounds, and many complaints' [Patents (1779)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Patents, Tradecards.


The Latin name for ELDER, and often used in place of it in medical texts. The term has been noted in various medicinal preparations; for example as 'oyle sambucie' [Inventories (1573)], as 'fungus sambucinus' [Inventories (1665)], and as 'syrup sambucin' [Inventories (1730)].

OED online earliest date of use: 700 under Elder

Found used to make OIL, SYRUP

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

Sand box

[sand-boxes; sandboxes; sand-box; sandbox; sand boxes]

A box with a perforated lid for sprinkling SAND as a blotter onto the wet INK of a manuscript

OED earliest date of use: 1572

Found described by HARDWOOD, SOFT WOOD
Found rated by the GROSS of 12 DOZEN

See also POUNCE BOX.
Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Rates, Tradecards.

Sandbach ale

[sambich ale]

ALE from SANDBACH in Cheshire or in the same style. According to William Webb (c1621) quoted by Daniel King, Sandbach ale was comparable with the 'nappy' DERBY ALE. 'Our Ale here at Sandback being no less famous than that of a true nappe. And I have heard men of deep experience in that element contend for the worth of it, that for true dagger stuffe it should give place to none.' [King (1656)].

It apparently found a market outside the district since two consignments are recorded going down the River Severn, respectively in 1709 (4 CASKs) and 1711 (1 BARREL) in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books.

Not found in the OED

References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998), King (1656).

Sap green

A PIGMENT producing a somewhat dirty GREEN, prepared from various organic materials, but particularly fron the berries of a variety of BUCKTHORN. Gerard suggested Rhamnus solutivus, rather than Ramnus catharticus, the one usually used in medicine. If the berries were picked unripe, a YELLOW was produced, but when ripe, a green was obtained. The berries were collected, steeped and boiled with the addition of ALUM. If air were excluded, the product remained soft for some time, being stored in bladders, but if it allowed to harden it could be restored by adding water of VINEGAR. Although one eighteenth-century source stated it was the 'best green for Water-Colours jour Age affords', there do seem to have been problems with it, and it was not widely popular [Harley (1970)].

OED earliest date of use: 1578

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Harley (1970).

Sap lath

LATH made from sap wood (i.e. the soft wood) as opposed to HEART LATHS. According to Houghton they were mainly used for fixing into side walls [Houghton].

OED earliest date of use: 1350

Found in units of BUNCH, HUNDRED

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (late).



The Latin term for SOAP usually found in trading documents in the genitive case as Saponis. It may also be found in medical texts or lists of stock as, for example 'Diachylon De Sapone [Inventories (1701)]. The eighteenth-century Materia Medica included Sapo mollis, or SOFT SOAP, while the Pharmacopoeia gave a recipe for SAPO AMYGDALINUS, in English Almond soap [Pemberton (1746)].

OED earliest date of use: 1657

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Pemberton (1746).

Sarsenet of Genoa

[sarsnets of genoa; sarsenets of genoa; sarcenets of genoa]

It is not clear why this variety of SARSENET was singled out in an Ordinance of 1647 [Acts (1647)], or in what way it was distinctive. It appears among the specified sarsenets in the 1657 Book of Rates [Rates (1657)], alongside SARSENET OF FLORENCE and BOLOGNA SARSENET, which had also appeared in 1582. In 1657, the Genoese sarsenet was associated with other TEXTILES normally made of SILK, such as DAMASK, SATIN and TABBY, though they were measured by the YARD.

Found in units of ELL

Sources: Acts, Rates, Tradecards.

Sastra cundies


Sastra cundies probably took its name from a place called Sastrakunda, presumably near to Madras whence Milburn claimed it was exported as INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. A TEXTILE, presumably made of COTTON, it was listed among 'India goods for Africa' in [Acts (1766)] and among those goods that in the 1784 Book of Rates were prohibited for home use and that could be imported only for re-export. In other sources, the form 'Sastracundees' is found.

Sources: Acts, Rates.
References: Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996).


Now a preparation, usually liquid or soft, and often consisting of several ingredients, intended to be eaten as an appetizing accompaniment to food. This meaning was already the usual one in the early modern period, even though the term had not yet lost its wider application to condiments of any kind, as is shown in one list of RICH SAUCEs offered for sale [Tradecards (19c.)]. One quotation given in the OED and dated 1656 suggests an additional quality was sought: 'A sharp kind of sowrenesse in sawces is esteemed pleasing and tastfull'.

Any competent housewife and cook would assume the ability to make sauces for immediate use, and most cookery writers offered help those less able to invent their own. For example, Duncan Macdonald included almost 50 recipes [Macdonald (fl. 1800)]. In the previous century, cookery writers were less likely to include a complete section on sauces, preferring to include a description of the sauce along with the main dish. Even so William Rabisha included two pages of general instructions [Rabisha (1682, facs. 2003)]. During the eighteenth century, military and naval personnel serving overseas created demand for sauces and the like to enliven what would otherwise have been very dull fare. This elicited a response from cookery writers and from trade. Hannah Glasse, for example, included a short chapter 'For Captains of Ships', including a recipe for a FISH SAUCE 'to keep the whole year' [Glasse (1747, facs. 1983)]. Several entrepreneurs siezed the opportunity to establish manufactories of sauces and like foods, including BURGESS [Tradecards (18c.)] and Skill [Tradecards (1800)]. The latter claimed to have been established upwards of forty years, to be the inventor of a CAMP SAUCE, and to have 'FISH SAUCE and PORTABLE SOUP Manufactories'. Their catalogues show they offered a wide range of PREPARED SAUCEs, with packaging and marketing facilities to cope with an overseas trade. Although it may be too early to talk of brand names in the eighteenth century, the trade in sauces was certainly one in which manufacturers established proprietary ownership of their sauces, and attempted to defend them from imitators.

OED earliest date of use: 1350

Found described as Padua, Quin's, rich Found describing BOAT, coratch, Esquimaux, PLATE Found made of ANCHOVY

Sources: Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Newspapers, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Glasse (1747, facs. 1983), Macdonald (fl. 1800), Rabisha (1682, facs. 2003).

Sauce a la militaire

This is now one of the more obscure PREPARED SAUCEs found advertised in the late eighteenth century [Tradecards (1800)], though at the time it was apparently so well known that it was deemed unnecessary to give any information about its use or composition. Since many of these sauces were intended for the military or for naval use, as the title of this one suggests, it was probably highly flavoured to compensate for the dull fare available in camp or on board ship.

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of BOTTLE, CASE

Sources: Tradecards.

Sauce a la suisse

An eighteenth-century PREPARED SAUCE, which its maker gave a fanciful FRENCH name. He claimed it was 'for Mock Turtle, rich Soups, and all kinds of Gravies' [Tradecards (1800)]. It seems to have been an early example of a product made specifically to help the cook 'improve' what might otherwise have been simple home-made fare, rather than to be served at table. In this it may have been similar to SAUCE ROYAL, which was made and advertised by one of the rival manufacturers of sauces [Tradecards (18c.)].

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of BOTTLE, CASE

Sources: Tradecards.

Sauce a l'eschalot

[sauce a l'echallotte]

A SAUCE in which the principal flavouring was SHALLOTs and commonly in the repertoire of a competent cook and in most recipe books. A version given this French name may be found in a long list of PREPARED SAUCEs produced by a London manufacturer in the late eighteenth century [Tradecards (1800)], but it probably differed little from PICKLED shallots, and would have been quite unlike the sauce produced in the home.

Found in units of BOTTLE, CASE

Sources: Tradecards.

Sauce a l'espagnole

The modern SAUCE of this name is one of the classic FRENCH sauces based on stock, sometimes reduced to a 'demi-glace' or jelly. It is not therefore a keeping sauce [Froud and Turgeon (1961)]. Samuel Pepys recorded a sauce that the Duke of York had from the Spanish Ambassador, which he said was 'the best universal sauce in the world'. It consisted of PARSLEY, dried toast, VINEGAR and salt and pepper all beaten up in a mortar [Diaries (Pepys)]. This could have become fashionable and acquired a name like Sauce a l'Espagnole, but it would not have kept either. However, one London retailer advertised a PREPARED SAUCE under this name that he said could be used for making various meat dishes involving game and could be 'heated in a Stewing Dish at the Table' [Tradecards (18c.)]. This suggests it may have been a somewhat upmarket version of POCKET SOUP, or a highly flavoured stock reduced beyond jelly to a firm consistency that would keep, albeit probably not very safely. If this interpretation is correct, it was a keeping version of the modern classic.

OED online earliest date of use: 1845 under Espagnole

Sources: Diaries, Tradecards.
References: Froud and Turgeon (1961).

Sauce a l'imperiale

A PREPARED SAUCE given like so many others of this type a FRENCH name. Its maker, BURGESS, was one of the most notable manufacturers of a wide range of sauces in the late eighteenth century and it is difficult now to distinguish them. All that is known about this one is that it was declared to be 'most excellent for Stewing Eels, Pike, Carp, Tench, &c.' [Tradecards (18c.)], and was therefore what could have been called a FISH SAUCE.

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of BOTTLE, CASE

Sources: Tradecards.

Sauce boat

A small vessel with a lip, used for serving SAUCE. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century sauce was served in a SAUCER, but as that was increasingly associated with A TEA CUP and used to place under it, a new implement was required to carry sauce.

OED online earliest date of use: 1747

Found described as LARGE, PAINTED, SMALL
Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (late).