Foalfoot - Fox trap

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

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Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl, 'Foalfoot - Fox trap', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007), British History Online [accessed 23 June 2024].

Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl. "Foalfoot - Fox trap", in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) . British History Online, accessed June 23, 2024,

Cox, Nancy. Dannehl, Karin. "Foalfoot - Fox trap", Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007). . British History Online. Web. 23 June 2024,

In this section



An alternative name for either COLTSFOOT or ASARABACCA. In the only example noted in the Dictionary Archive it was probably the former.

OED online earliest date of use: a1400

Found in the form of a SYRUP

Sources: Inventories (early).



An animal in the same family as the polecat and the weasel, the term refers to the beech-MARTEN. It was classified under 'Skinnes for Furres' in the early Books of Rates [Rates (1582)]. Unlike some other SKINS imported for fur, the foin skin was usually cut into four parts, being the BACK, the POLL, the TAIL and the WOMB for trade, presumably because they had different characteristics, or were differently prepared for importation. Foin wombs, for example, were imported either STAG or seasoned by the PANE or MANTLE [Rates (1657)]. Foin tails were also imported by the pane or mantle, while the backs came in by the DOZEN [Rates (1582)], and polls by the HUNDRED of 5 SCORE [Rates (1660)]. The Books of Rates also provided for the import of the whole skin, with or without the tail, rating it by the PIECE [Rates (1657)].

In dress foin was used mainly for FACING, hence entries like 'a scarlett gowne faced w't foynes' valued at £3 6s 8d [Inventories (1552)].

OED earliest date of use: 1423

Found described as RAW, Seasoned, STAG Found describing BACk, POLL, TAIL, WOMB
Found in units of C (TAIL) Found rated by the DOZEN (BACK), MANTLE, PANE (TAIL and WOMB), PIECE (SKIN)

Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.

Folding screen

[foulding skreen; foulding screen; folding screene; ffolding skreen; ffolding screen]

An upright portable SCREEN made of several leaves, or parts, which fold together. In the Dictionary Archive screens have been noted with two [Inventories (1738)], three [Inventories (1701)], four [Inventories (1697)], and six [Inventories (1764)] leaves or folds. Such screens are not usually called folding screens as such, but are defined by the number of their leaves or folds.

OED earliest date of use: 1858

Found described as OLD

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

Folium auri

[ffol auri]

A latinized version GOLD LEAF found among an apothecary's stock [Inventories (1730)]. The Latin indicates its medicinal use.

Sources: Inventories (late).

Folium indiae

[folium indum]

A latinized version of INDIAN LEAF. The Latin indicates its medicinal use.

Found among the DRUGS in the Rate Books, rated by the POUND

Sources: Houghton, Rates.

Foot sugar

[ffooty sugar]

The refuse from refining SUGAR, probably the thick end or base of a SUGAR LOAF where the impurities collected during crystallization and subsequently scraped off to enable the main loaf to be further refined. In the only example in the Dictionary Archive 'ffooty sugar' is entered as well as 'foule sugar', so the two were apparently seen as distinct [Inventories (1667)]. The Gloucester Coastal Port Books also had 'Dross of Sugar', which may be the same [Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1988)].

OED earliest date of use: 1882, but as Foots: 1858

Found in units of BARREL

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).
References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).

Forehead comb

[forehead ditto]

By the early twentieth century this was a semi-circular, narrow COMB used to secure the front HAIR [Cox (1966, pb 1969)]. Whether the term applied to the same article in the early-modern period is not known.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Diaries.
References: Cox (1966, pb 1989).

Forge hammer

[hammers for forging mills]

Also Forging hammer, and according to Randle Holme, this was an alternative name for the SLEDGE, which he described as 'the Smiths great Forging Hammer; he that useth this, holdeth the further end of the Hammer in both his hands, and swinging it about his head, he at Arms length lets it fall as heavy a Blow as he can upon the Work that is to be Battered or Drawn out [Holme (2000)]. It has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive under this name, though sledges were quite common.

Increasingly, a forge hammer came to mean one worked by water (and later by steam) in the IRON industry where processes like slitting IRON BAR into IRON ROD and hammering out WROUGHT IRON were more and more mechanized. These pieces of heavy equipment, being fixtures, were not listed in probate inventories, so only appear in the Dictionary Archive in patents, like the one in 1696 for an 'Engine for blowing the bellows and working the hammers in melting and forging iron, copper, and other metals' [Patents (1696)], or in Acts, like the one prohibiting the export of various bits of machinery including 'Hammers and Anvils for Stamps ... Cast Iron Anvils and Hammers for Forging Mills for Iron and Copper' [Acts (1785)].

OED earliest date of use: 1815 under Forge

Sources: Acts, Patents.
References: Holme (2000).

Fortune screen

A term not found in the dictionaries, and only once in the Dictionary Archive among a long list of TOYs and knick-knacks advertised by an up-market retailer [Tradecards (1794)]. Apart from that, the context is not helpful.

Sources: Tradecards.

Founders box

A BOX in which the mould is set for casting metal ware at a foundry.

Fox skin

[fox-skin; fox skinne]

SKINs from the FOX were popular as FURs. It appears that the skin of the vixen was preferred to that of the dog [Recipes (Queens)]. Before the Restoration in 1660, when probate inventories tended to list APPAREL in some detail, articles of clothing are often found trimmed with fox fur, so it is not surprising to find that a Coventry widow of a skinner [Inventories (1581)] had fox among her stock of skins. The 1582 Book of Rates shows that fox skins were imported, and they continued to find a place in subsequent editions with the addition of the exorbitantly rated 'black fox'. However the list of imports into London during part of 1682-3 recorded by John Houghton [Houghton]; [Houghton] show that by the last quarter of the seventeenth century relatively few were imported compared with other fur bearing skins. A London milliner and furrier [Newspapers (1787)] was still using fox on fashionable wear in the 1780s, advertising winter CLOAKS trimmed with fox and fox skin MUFFs from 1s 6d to 25s. The portrait of Eliza Farren in 1790, shows her carrying a fox-fur MUFF lined with silk satin and decorated with a blue silk bow [Ribiero (1983)].

OED earliest date of use: 1598, though 1501 for the fur of a fox

Found rated by the DOZEN, MANTLE, PANE, PIECE

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Newspapers, Rates, Recipes.
References: Ribiero (1983).

Fox trap

Probably a devise, now illegal, similar to a MAN TRAP though on a smaller scale. It worked by an animal stepping on a plate hidden under a covering of leaves or soil that activated a spring and caused a set of metal teeth to snap round the creature's leg.

OED earliest date of use:1605, though possibly not in this sense

Sources: Tradecards.