The picture to the left shows Castleton in the Peak District, North Derbyshire. On the skyline is Peveril Castle. What has this to do with the word in the title? All will be revealed.
My friend JDL has a copy of a work in Derbyshire dialect written in 1870. It has been in his family for many years. Its title is Owd Sammy Twitcher’s Visit tu ‘t Gret Exibishun e Derby. You may be interested in a PDF version of the tale to be found in the Salamanca Corpus.
The story, which involves a Castleton farmer and his wife who visit Derby to see the exhibition, was written by Joseph Barlow Robinson, who at the end of his preface tells us he is:
A Darbysher Mon,
Whose Ansisters wor nashon big foaks i’t
Peke, moor than foar hunded yere sin.
The word nashon puzzled both JDL and me. It’s clear what it means, because the author kindly included a glossary in which there is an entry defining nashon grond as “very grand”. But how does it come to mean that? The OED comes to the rescue. It says that the word nation is a pared down version of the word damnation and was used as an intensifying adverb quite widely, but is now rare.
Photo credit: T Chalcraft. Used under this license.