Book candle - Boultings

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

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Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl, 'Book candle - Boultings', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007), British History Online [accessed 22 June 2024].

Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl. "Book candle - Boultings", in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) . British History Online, accessed June 22, 2024,

Cox, Nancy. Dannehl, Karin. "Book candle - Boultings", Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007). . British History Online. Web. 22 June 2024,

In this section

Book candle


It is referred to in [Acts (1581)] regulating the manufacture of WROUGHT WAX, where it was listed between SEALING WAX and CERING CANDLE. Most of the other items mentioned were not to provide light. It was possibly to be used in BOOK making in a fashion similar to the CERING CANDLE in treating THREAD.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Acts.

Book of essences

[books of essenses]

The term appears only once in the Dictionary Archive, among the stock contained in an 'Italian Warehouse' [Tradecards (18c.)]. This suggests that the ESSENCEs may have been imported; they were certainly being marketed in such a way as to attract the elite, rather than the general run of people. How essences were packaged in a book, if the term may be taken literally, is now not clear. The entry in the advertisement of another up-market retailer of 'Perfume for Pocket Books' [Tradecards (1790s)], may indicate an alternative. The book of essences could have been nothing more than a POCKET BOOK with scented pages.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Tradecards.


[botehose; bootehose]

The term for a long overstocking with a flared top, often richly embroidered, which could be turned down over the top of the boot. This top could be a separate unit as in '1 payre of boote hose w'th ttopps' [Inventories (1612)], and '11 pr Searge boot hose tops 12d pr' [Inventories (1676)]. Boothose were often made with only a strap under the instep.

OED earliest date of use: 1588

Found described as FRINGEd, HOLLAND, Popping Found describing top Found made of SERGE, WOOL
Found in units of PAIR

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

Boothose fringe

[frynge for boote hose; bothose ffringe; bothose ffring; botehose fringe; bootehose fringe]

A FRINGE, which was of a distinct type judging by the frequent references to it, used in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth as a decorative edging to BOOTHOSE. Since boothose were turned down over the top of the boot, the fringe would have been an important feature of the dress as a whole. The anonymous portrait of William Style of Langley (1636), shows them in use [Cumming (1984, reprint 1987)]. Later boots with an open top lent themselves to different means of decoration.

Not found in the OED online

Found described as PLAIN, SINGLE
Found in units of DOZEN, OZ, PIECE, YARD

Sources: Inventories (early).
References: Cumming (1984, reprint 1987).


OED (among other meanings not pertinent here) suggests a bootikin was a soft BOOT or MITTEN made of WOOL and oiled SILK worn to relieve gout. However, the only example in the Dictionary Archive associates bootikins with TRAVELLING CAPs and travelling STOCKINGS, which suggests they were articles of APPAREL worn when travelling, possibly to keep the feet warm [Newspapers (1790)].

OED earliest date of use: 1767

Sources: Newspapers.

Borage water

[burrage water]

A DISTILLED water made from BORAGE, and probably the same as AQUA LANGUE DE BOEUF. It was a pleasantly flavoured drink with limited medicinal uses. For example, the earliest reference in the OED online claimed it was 'good agaynst madnes or vnwytyng [German 'unsvnnigkeit' (spelling as OED)] and melancolye'. Both John Gerard and Nicholas Culpeper confirmed the excellence of borage generally against these conditions, and Culpeper added that the water 'helpeth the redness and inflammation of the eyes' [Culpeper (1792)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1527 under Unwitting

Found placed among SIMPLE WATERS
Found in units of LB

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).
References: Culpeper (1792).

Borax box

According to Randle Holme it was also termed 'a Borace Box; but more vulgarly a Burras Box'. He included it among the 'Founders Tools' and described it as 'is a Brass or Copper Box with a Pipe in the side, in which bruised Borax is put, to scratch it by little and little out of the Knobbed Pipe, on the place intended to be Soddered' [Holme (2000)]. Elsewhere he included it among Jewellers tools [Holme (2000)], which fits more aptly with the only example noted in the Dictionary Archive found among the equipment of a WATCHmaker [Inventories (1715)].

OED earliest date of use: 1688 under Burras-pipe

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Holme (2000).

Bordeaux sauce

An eighteenth-century proprietary PREPARED SAUCE made for use on 'Beef-Steaks'. However, in the one advertisement noted [Newspapers (1790)], no indications were given either of ingredients, or of why it was given this name.

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of PINT

Sources: Newspapers.

Bordeaux vinegar

[bourdeaux vinegar]

Possibly either a VINEGAR imported from the French town of Bordeaux, or a vinegar made from WINE of the Bordeaux type. See FRENCH VINEGAR for the probable method of manufacture. An alternative suggestion is that it was a flavoured vinegar of some sort that has been given the descriptor 'Bordeaux' for reasons now obscure. This would account for the fact that the only example contained in the Dictionary Archive is found listed together spiced and otherwise exceptional vinegars, some of which, like RASPBERRY VINEGAR, were intended for drinking rather than for flavouring food [Tradecards (19c.)].

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Tradecards.

Borebadn flax


The single entry gives no clue to meaning except that the descriptor probably refers to a place not as yet identified in northwest Germany.

Found in units of C, LB, QUARTER

Sources: Inventories (late).


This is almost certainly an idiosyncratic spelling of BOAR sty, that is a shelter for the boar. In [Inventories (1573)] it was apparently empty.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (early).

Bostocks cordial

[bostock's original cordial; bostock's cordial]

A branded CORDIAL originally made by a so-called Dr BOSTOCK available in Apothecary and other shops [Inventories (1748)], and more widely through promotion in the newspapers. It is not known whether this Dr Bostock is the same 'Doctor Bostock' that Nicholas Blundell travelled all the way down to Whitchurch to consult in 1709 [Diaries (Blundell)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (late), Newspapers, Tradecards.

Bottle screw

The OED suggests that it was an alternative name for a CORKSCREW.

OED earliest date of use: 1702

Sources: Inventories (late).

Bottle ticket

Probably the metallic plaque, which may be hung round the neck of a BOTTLE of WINE identifying it origin, date, etc. In the only reference in the Dictionary Archive it was listed among items of small SILVER WARE that were not exempted from being stamped [Acts (1790)].

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Acts.

Bouging hammer

[booging do]

A TOOL used by the SPOON maker, but it is unclear whether it was the same as the SPOON HAMMER, or different but serving the same function. Randle Holme's somewhat cryptic description is of a HAMMER that 'is round at one end and flat at the other, tending towards an edge, but of a roundness' [Holme (2000)]. The accompanying illustration shows a short-handled hammer with a relatively long head that is arched slightly - markedly different from the spoon hammer. The OED does not know of it, but defines a bouge as a hollowed rim running round a piece of SILVER WARE. It is possible that the bouging hammer was used to work metal into a bouge, though Randle Holme's illustration does not suggest that his version was well adapted to do so, and what is more, he included it among the tools of a spoon maker.

Not found in the OED

Found described as OLD

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Holme (2000).


[bulter; boulter]

The OED has not been entirely consistent in its preferred spelling of this term and its associates. For the present purpose, 'boultel' was chosen. Though both that form and 'boltel' appear in the Dictionary Archive, the former is more common. The term referred to a FABRIC specially prepared for sifting; hence a degree of fineness as defined by the fineness of the SIEVE.

OED earliest date of use: 1266

Found described as BEAUPERS, RYE
Found rated by the BALE, DOZEN pieces, PIECE

Sources: Rates.



Boulter is an occasional variant spelling of BOLSTER. The term refers to a piece of fabric used for BOULTING or the SIEVE or STRAINER through which the ground grain was passed. In [Inventories (1624)] three varieties of boulter were valued with FINE and WHITE at 9s PIECE, while the 'rander' (probably an eccentric variant of RENNES BOULTER) was valued at not much more than half of that.

OED earliest date of use: 1530

Found described as FINE, NARROW, rander, WHITE
Found measured for sale by PIECE, YARD

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

Boulter cloth

[bowter clothe]

The fabric used to make a BOULTER or SIEVE, and similar to or the equivalent of BOULTING. It is not a common term and the elliptical use of BOULTER is found more frequently.

OED earliest date of use: 1609

Found describing HATCH
Found measured for sale by PIECE, YARD

Sources: Inventories (early).



OED has not been entirely consistent in its preferred spelling of this term and its associates. Though both 'boulting' and 'bolting' appear in the Dictionary Archive, the former is more common and consequently it is here standardised to 'boulting'.

In reference to a fabric, it is also found in the form of 'boultering'. As a TEXTILE, usually in the form of a thin CANVAS, it is used to make a BOULTER or SIEVE, but also found for making SAMPLERs.

The term can also refer to the process of sifting grain after it has been ground so as to separate out the FLOUR or MEAL from the coarse BOULTINGS.

Whereas the process of grinding was almost always done by the miller, up to the Restoration in 1660 many households had their own equipment for boulting, including quite frequently a 'boulting house' in which to do it. During the second half of the seventeenth century, home processing seems to have become less common as does the presence in the shops of the variously named fabrics used in boulting. The Dictionary Archive includes two examples of large scale boulting that give insight into the processing of grain [Inventories (1675)] and [Newspapers (1760)].

OED earliest date of use: a1300

Found described as BROAD, COARSE, FINE, for SAMPLER Found describing CLOTH, house, PIPE Found measured for sale by YARD

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

Boulting hutch

[boulting hutche; bolting-hutch]

A HUTCH in which to store BOULTINGS or to use in the process of BOULTING.

OED earliest date of use: 1596

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

Boulting mill

Presumably some sort of mechanical device to simplify the separation of the BOULTINGS from the FLOUR and MEAL. In probate inventories between 1660 and 1700 there are several examples of boulting mills in the home, which suggests they were fairly simple, but the one advertised in [Newspapers (1760)] was associated with a windmill and grinding equipment, and was almost certainly for operations on an industrial scale.

OED earliest date of use, but without definition: 1766

Found described as NEW

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Newspapers.

Boulting poke

[bultin poocke]

Not defined as such by the OED, but the quotation given suggests that it may be a BOULTER, probably in the form of a a POKE or a BAG made of BOULTING.

OED earliest date of use, but with no definition: 1552

Boulting tub

[bulting tubbe; bowting tub; bowltinge tubbe; bowlting tubb; bouting tubb; boultinge tubbe; boultinge tubb; boulting tubb; boltynge tub; boltinge tub]

Possibly a TUB in which to store BOULTINGS, or else one into which the FLOUR fell when sifting out the boultings.

OED earliest date of use: 1530 under Bolting

Sources: Inventories (early).

Boulting whitch


A WHITCH in which to store BOULTINGS, or to use in the process of BOULTING.

Sources: Inventories (early).


The BRAN or coarse MEAL separated in a BOULTER by sifting. In the Gloucester Coastal Port Books, the term seems to have been used to label a different commodity, which was measured by the DOZEN. This could not therefore have been referring to BOULTING CLOTH used for sieving. A possibility is a type of IRON for which see BOLT IRON.

OED earliest date of use: a1300

References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).