Dog - Dogwood

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

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

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

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

In this section


[doggs; dogges; dogg; doge]

This well-known carnivore has been domesticated for thousands of years. It has many uses and as a result has been bred over generations to emphasize the different characteristics required for each purpose. Randle Holme mentioned four types, the Mastiff, used mainly as a guard dog, the Talbot or Bloodhound, and the Greyhound or Courser, both used for hunting, and the Spaniel, a hunting dog as well as a popular pet [Holme (2000)]. In the Dictionary Archive a 'sheepe dogg' [Diaries (Fell)] has also been noted. However, the Dog as a working animal or a pet was rarely recorded in the Dictionary Archive, one exception being a 'Dogg & Kennell' [Inventories (1723)], though literary and artistic records show that they were common, as do the accessories found for sale like DOG BELL, DOG CHAIN, DOG COLLAR, DOG COUPLE, and KENNEL. References to the DOG WHEEL indicate another use to which dogs were put - namely turning a spit - while the presence of DOG SKINs among the stock of glovers show that even in death they had their uses.

As a pet, dogs were seen almost as a fashion accessory and their loss sometimes provoked urgent appeals for their recovery. One foreign visitor recorded with astonishment that 'A lady will offer five guineas reward for a little lost dog worth fivepence' [Diaries (Saussure)]. The popularity of the dog found expression in models and TOYs, hence the 'Box w'th 4 d's doges & other toyes' listed in one probate inventory [Inventories (1682)], the 'Standing Lambs & Dogs', ' Lambs & Dogs on Bellows' and 'Larger Dogs and Goats', 'Alabaster Dogs & Birds' and 'Real French Dogs' all advertised in one catalogue [Tradecards (1794)], and the entry in the Book of Rates for 1660 of 'Dogs of earth, the groce, cont. twelve dozen' [Rates (1660)].

Dogs, like humans, received attention from the quacks, as numerous advertisements for cures show, like the one for 'Balsam cures all Manner of Strains and Bruises' both in man and dog [Newspapers (1743)] and patents like the one in 1783 for a 'Purging-paste for horses and dogs' [Patents (1783)]. More common, and more sinister, were the many promotions for supposed cures for Rabies, like 'Mr Hill's 'Ormskirk Medicine, for the Cure of the Bite of a Mad Dog and other Mad Animals' [Newspapers (1794)], and the recipes for the same unavailing purpose like 'Mead's Receipt for the Bite of a mad Dog' [Recipes (Smith)].

Possibly because of a vague resemblance to a dog lying down, the same label was used for one of the pair of IRON or BRASS utensils placed one on each side of a fireplace to support burning wood or as a rest for the FIRE IRONs. This was also known as a DOG IRON or a FIRE dog. Towards the end of the seventeenth century the dog in this sense was modified into a support for a DOG GRATE or STOVE.

OED earliest date of use: c1050 as an animal; 1596 as in the fireplace

As an animal: Found described as SHEEP
As a fireside accessory: Found described as BLACK, with BRASSes or BRASS heads, CHIMNEY, LITTLE Found made of BRASS, IRON Found in units of PAIR
As an ornament: Found described as on BELLOWS, FRENCH, LARGE, Standing Found made of ALABASTER, EARTH, STONE Found rated by Gross of 12 DOZEN

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Holme (2000).

Dog bell

[dog bel]

This was presumably a small BELL that could be attached to the COLLAR of a DOG. They have not been noted in the shops.

Found rated by the GREAT GROSS, SMALL GROSS of 12 DOZEN

Sources: Rates.

Dog chain

[dogge chaynes; doggchaines; dogg chenes; dogg chaynes; dogg chayne; dogg chaine; dogg chain; dog chayne; dog chaine]

A CHAIN for attaching to the COLLAR of a DOG in order to tie it up, or perhaps to use with a DOG WHEEL

Not found in the OED

Found described as COARSE, 2 link
Found rated by the GROSS of 12 DOZEN

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

Dog collar

[dogs collers; dogs coller; dogs collar; doggs collers; dogg-collars; dogg collars; dog-collar; dog collor]

A COLLAR to put round the neck of a DOG and so chain it up (hence DOG CHAIN), or for restraining it when out, dog collars were probably also seen as a sign of prestigeous ownership, which may be why Randle Holme illustrated 'a dog collar, or a grey hounds collar, edged, studded and Tirretted' [Holme (2000)]. They have been found among the wares of cutlers, which suggests that metal was required in making them, such as for the '2 Dog Collars with Brasses' [Inventories (1769)]. Some dog collars seem to have been made entirely of BRASS, as in 'Brass Dog Collars and Locks' [Inventories (1760)], presumably made by tradesmen like the one who advertised himself as carrying on a Mathematical Instrument, Brass Compasses and Brass Dog-Collar Business [Newspapers (1790)]. They are sometimes found associated with PADLOCKs as in 'Dogs Collers & Pad-locks' [Tradecards (18c.)], and these locks were also sold separately, as indicated in the entry for '2 doz. of Locks for Dogs Collers at 2s p Doz'n' [Inventories (1733)].

OED earliest date of use: 1524

Found described as with BRASSes, LONDON WORK Found made of BRASS, LEATHER
Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Holme (2000).

Dog couple

It is a devise by which two DOGs could be affixed to the same DOG SLIP, and released at the same time. They were one of the most common bits of IRON WARE found in the shops, so it is not surprising that according to Randle Holme the 'company of Ironmongers of the citty of Chester ... aunciently did use it' in their arms [Holme (2000)]. According to him its alternative name was a 'Tirrett'.

OED earliest date of use as Couple: c1340 under Couple

Found in units of DOZEN, PAIR

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

Dog grate

A form of FIRE GRATE developed in the late seventeenth century, in which the two DOGs have become decorative appendages and act as supports for the GRATE [Kelly (1968)]. It has not been located in the Dictionary Archive under this name.

OED earliest date of use: 1881

References: Gloag (1991), 111, Kelly (1968).

Dog head

[dog-head; doggheads]

There are two distinct meanings for this term that appear in the Dictionary Archive. The first, which is not without ambiguity, may be for a NAIL or SPIKE with a projecting shoulder, otherwise known as a 'dog nail'. According to an OED quotation dated 1703, these were 'proper for fastning of Hinges to Doors for ... they will hold the Hinge close without the Heads flying off'. The only entry in the Dictionary Archive for this type of dog head, placed them among other IRONWARE and BRASS WARE including HINGEs [Inventories (1697)]. In the other entry in the Dictionary Archive a 'Dog Head Stamp' was included in a list of 'Tools and Utensils made use of in the Iron and Steel Manufactures' that were not to be exported [Acts (1785)].

OED suggests that a dog head was 'Part of the lock of a gun; the hammer', a meaning that probably fits neither of the entries in the Dictionary Archive, but could well be found among the stock of a gunsmith.

Sources: Acts, Inventories (mid-period).

Dog iron

[dogirons; dogirons; dogge irons; dog:yron]

Often abbreviated to DOG, this is a UTENSIL, usually made of IRON or BRASS, and usually found in pairs, placed one on each side of a fireplace to support burning wood. When the FIRE GRATE became more common, dogs irons were sometimes retained as decorative features in the fireplace. It is also called a 'fire dog'.

OED earliest date of use: 1596

Found described as OLD, SMALL
Found in units of PAIR

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

Dog leather

[dogs lether; doggs leather; dogges lether]

An exceptionally soft and supple type of LEATHER made from DOG SKIN used mainly to make GLOVES.

OED earliest date of use: 1593

Found used to make GLOVES
Found in units of DOZEN

See also DOG SKIN.
Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).

Dog skin

[dog-skin; dogskin; dogs skin; dogge skinnes; dogg skins; doges skynne; doges skyn; doage skyne]

The term may have been used occasionally for DOGFISH SKIN. The skin of a DOG, or the LEATHER made from it; The term was also applied to a kind of leather made from SHEEPSKIN with similar characteristics. Dog skin is both strong and flexible, and it was in demand for making GLOVES [Collins (1877)]. For this reason, most of the skins are found among the stock of glovers, and the occasional gloves made of it; hence 'dogge skinnes xvjd' [Inventories (1603)], and 'dogges Lether gloves' [Inventories (1575)], in both instances the inventories of glovers.

OED earliest date of use: 1676

Found described as DRESSED, for fletchers, UNDRESSED Found used to make GLOVES
Found imported by SKIN Found rated by the DOZEN, PIECE, SKIN

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Collins (1877).

Dog slip

A DOG leash or lead of a particular type, so contrived that it can easily be released. As Randle Holme explained, both the terminology and probably the structure varied depending on use. He illustrated a 'dog lease rouled vp', but he explained in his text that 'This is termed by Huntsmen either a lease, or a Lyne, or a Lyame; and that according to the dog that is lead with it, as for example, if it belong to an Hound it is a Lyame; for a grey hound a Lease, or a slipe; and for a spanniell a Lyne' [Holme (2000)]. Of his terms, only the dog slip has been noted, in an entry for 'eighte dogge slippes' [Inventories (1603)]. According to Randle Holme, these would have been used with greyhounds, usually in pairs, and in conjunction with DOG COUPLEs.

OED earliest date of use as Slip: 1578 under Slip

Found described as ENGLISH

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

Dog wheel

A WHEEL in the form of a cage in which a DOG could be trained to run, thereby turning it. The motion could be transferred through a CHAIN to turn a SPIT, as is suggested in entries like 'two Spits a Dog Wheel' [Inventories (1741)], and 'a Dog Wheel & Chain' [Inventories (1751)] listed together with other kitchen utensils.

OED earliest date of use: 1756 under Dog

Found described as ENGLISH

Sources: Inventories (late).

Dogfish skin

[dog fish skin]

The SKIN from a small shark, it was much used for smoothing and polishing ARROWs. It was possibly sometimes shortened to DOG SKIN, and then potentially confused with the skins taken from the bodies of dogs, which also constituted a product of trade.

OED earliest date of use: c1475

Found described as for Fletchers, UNDRESSED
Found rated by the DOZEN, SKIN

Sources: Rates.


[dog-stone; dog stone]

The term refers to a STONE which was used as a MILLSTONE. The 1784 Book of Rates, which rated stones not exceeding 4 FOOT in diameter and between 6 and 12 INCH thick [Rates (1784)], gives some indication of size. Many dogstones were imported and since suitable stone were rare and millstones a necessity for grinding CORN, they were heavily rated. In 1657, the rate was £40 for the LAST of three PAIR [Rates (1657)] and although this was the highest rate recorded, it was never low; even in 1582, when prices were generally much lower, the last of 9 pair was rated at £6 [Rates (1582)].

OED earliest date of use: 1640

Found rated by the LAST of 9 PAIR or 3 PAIR

Sources: Rates.


The wild cornel, Cornus sanguinea, is a shrub common in woods and hedgerows in the south of England, with dark red branches, greenish-white flowers, and dark purple berries. Cornels are decorative shrubs and in the late eighteenth century at least two varieties were available to gardeners, to be grown from SEED [Tradecards (n.d.)]. Dogwoods do not seem to have been used medicinally, although the BARK of Cornus florida, an American species, provides an excellent substitute for PERUVIAN BARK, according to a modern herbal [Wren (1941)].

OED earliest date of use: 1617

Found as SEED

See also CORNUS.
Sources: Tradecards.
References: Wren (1941).