Thursday, 17 December 2020

Old Tiverton Words

From the book The Peasant Speech of Devon by Tiverton resident Sarah Hewett (Principal of the Wilderness House ladies' boarding and day school in Barrington Street) in 1892:

Whipshire = Tiverton
Tradition has it that, in 'olden time,' persons found guilty of minor offences were not sent to prison as at present, but were punished by being whipped at a cart's tail through the streets. This practice was at one time so common at Tiverton, that the name of 'Whipshire' was applied to the town. An old man at the Warren, near Dawlish, told me that he 'larned cheermaking tü Kentisbeare, an' then zot up in businez tü Whipshire, but was a-foced tü layve tha place, cuz tha Latin-bwoys zot vire tü his 'ouze.'

Stid = to study
On a boy returning from Blundell's School, Tiverton, to his home at Dawkridge, his fond mother asked the gardener how he thought Master Joe was looking. The gardener looked the lad up and down, then shaking his head said:
'Well, mum, 'e dü lüke cruel wisht tü be sure, pale and pittice-like; I zim 'e 'th a stid tü ard. I rekkon 'e 'th abin keept tü tight tü tha taskis.'

Stodgers or Busters = large satisfying buns
Mr. Tom Ward, of Tiverton, some years ago was in the habit of making once a week a batch of very large buns, which he sold at one penny each. Children on going into the shop would invariably say: 'Plaize I wants a penny stodger.' Others would ask for a 'penny buster.'

Shine = fine, well dressed
The question of clothing cropped up recently before a certain Board of Guardians in this district. An old man, who said his 'matics' were so bad that he could not work, applied for outdoor relief. Rightly enough he was questioned as to the earnings of his sons; and one of the Guardians asked:
'Didn't I see one of them home a little while ago cutting a fine shine?'
'Well, sir,' was the old man s reply, 'I don t know about cutten a vine shine: 'e weer 'ome bad, and wore one of these 'ere coats wi' a cape to; but they do say down our way as how poor vokes can wear um as well as rich uns. I can't say whe'er tis true or no; I bant eddicated up to that.'
In the end the applicant got relief for a fortnight.
- Tiverton Gazette, August 25th, 1891.

Mommet or momet = a scarecrow
'A man named Morrish came along and said defendant's little girl was a "mommet." Mrs. Berry accused him of calling her (defendant) that name. He said he had not, and then she said he had called her shadow a "mommet." The male defendant came out and began to abuse them. Both were much the worse for liquor. He could not say that they were sober. Cross-examined: There was a brass band there.
'MR. WATKINS. "What was there at Halberton on Monday night?"
'WITNESS. "I don t know."
'MR. WATKINS. "What was there on Wednesday?"
'WITNESS. "Halberton and the people, I suppose." (Laughter.)
'Witness was sure defendants were "perfectly" drunk. The last witness did not speak the truth if she said they were sober.
'William Morrish, thatcher, of Halberton, said he went through the village about ten o'clock on the night in question. When near the Swan he saw five or six men listening to a row. Thomas Gray was with witness, and as they went down the road he saw something standing against the wall. It gave him a "bit of a turn" and he said, "Oh, what mommet is that?" He found that it was a child. Mrs. Berry directly after began to abuse him for calling her a "mommet."
'REV. R. B. CAREW. "What is a 'mommet'? A scarecrow?"
'MR. WATKINS. "I am equally ignorant. Perhaps witness can give a definition."
'WITNESS. "We stick it up in a cornfield to frighten the birds."
'THE CHAIRMAN. "Now we understand." (Laughter.)
- From the Tiverton Gazette, June, 1891.

Scads or Scats = passing showers
'On Friday crowds of people assembled at Cloutsham. There was a cold pressing wind and a few scats during the day. A stag harboured in Sweet Tree gave a lot of trouble ere he was forced away, continually finding substitutes in the shape of younger deer. At last he was induced to ascend Dunkerry, on the crest of which the pack was laid on, and ran their deer into the Cutcombe coverts. Here hounds got scattered on other deer, and by an accident a three-year-old was killed. The stag was lost in extensive woods, and a return and further search along the eastern slope of Dunkerry failed to yield another. So we jogged homeward.'
- Tiverton Gazette, Sept. 20th, 1889.

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