Who’s been sleeping in my bed?

December 13th, 2014

Way ahead of their time?

December 8th, 2014

Oi be bloggin’

At the risk of stating the astoundingly obvious I hereby declare that you are reading a blog. And as we all know I’m sure the word blog is a shortened form of weblog. The OED’s earliest dated reference for the word is 1999, both for the noun and the verb.

So what are we to make of the sentence: Thee be olweys…blogging, which occurs in a work from North Devon called An Exmoor Scolding published in 1746? I came across this quite by accident while looking up another word in Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary.

The word was apparently confined to Cornwall and Devon. As a noun it meant ‘something resembling a log, something sturdy’ and could for instance be applied to a horse. As a verb it meant ‘looking sullen or sulky’.

Just kidding

November 14th, 2014

Source: The Guardian, 13/11/14

Joseph Wright

November 13th, 2014

While ferreting around on the web for information about Thomas Hallam, I have come across his involvement with Joseph Wright’s massive 6 volume English Dialect Dictionary. The first volume of this was published in 1898 and on page viii of the preface Wright writes:

I also express my deep sense of indebtedness and obligation for the bequest of the late Thomas Hallam, Esq., Manchester

Wright was using his own money to cover the expense of printing the dictionary and and goes on to say that he had spent considerably over £2000. Without Hallam’s legacy and a grant from the Royal Bounty Fund the project may have been scuppered.

Some of you may be interested to know that the whole of the EDD is available online at this address. Click on the link to a particular volume and this will take you to a page where you can read it. Better still you can choose one of the formats in the left side-bar, left click (or whatever) and download the file. I chose B/W PDF and it seems pretty good. What is more, the files are searchable.


The image of Wright is in the public domain

Thomas Hallam Found!

November 8th, 2014

The picture shows the tower of St Thomas Becket Church, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire. The churchyard here is where Thomas Hallam is buried and his tombstone reads:

Here rests the body of / Thomas Hallam / a member of the / Council of the / English Dialect Society / Born 26 December 1810 / at Raglow [Draglow] Chapel en le Frith Died 7th September 1895 / at Ardwick Manchester / He devoted the leisure moments / of a long and busy life / to a patient and diligent enquiry / into all that is noteworthy / in the various dialects / of Northern England / The results of his Studies are / placed in Bodley’s Library / in the University of Oxford.

There seems to be some doubt about the date of his birth, because the Chapel-en-le-Frith parish record of births baptisms has an entry: 30 Jan 1820 Thomas the son of John & Hannah HALLAM of Raglow, farmer and an entry for a burial: 11 Sep 1895 Thomas HALLAM of Ardwick, aged 75. I am trying to resolve this. The above information comes from the website of The Hallam Family of the Peak District. Many thanks to them.

The Bodleian Library does indeed have works by TH. Apart from the two works mentioned in my previous post, the catalogue also lists:

  • 1882 Three Great Dictionaries.
  • 1882 with Chamberlain, Edith L. A glossary of west Worcestershire words.
  • undated [Newspaper cuttings and printed items of the years 1838-94, chiefly of philological and biographical interest, collected by T. Hallam].

I am still trying to find information on TH’s profession, marriage and offspring if any.

Update: See the comment from Steven Hallam.


Photo credit: Tony Bacon. Used under this licence.