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Bedlington farms pre 19th century


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@Canny lass - John Krzyzanowski posted on the Facebook group - Bygone Bedlington - was this comment :- 

              'Typing a list for work and came across somewhere I hadn't heard of before. It's a lease from 1739 for "Honey Sack Farm" Bedlington. Does it still exist or has anyone heard of it before. Unfortunately I can't look at the document as we are working from home. The document is part of the Ridley collection.'

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I know the year 1739 well before the first UK census but has the name 'Honey Sack Farm', in Bedlington, ever jumped out, and stuck with you, during your searches of the census records?

  :)

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I can't help you there i'm afraid. I've never heard of it. I think it's an odd name - honey and sack are not two words I'd automatically put together. 'Money Sack' might be better. H and M are sometimes hard to distinguish in old handwriting. There's a farm and a place at Stannington called 'Make me rich' and I understand that it's an old name, so Money Sack sounds feasible. I do know that the second Lord of the manor married into a coal-mining family and bought land all over the area which probably included many farms. I have a book somewhere about the Ridley estate. Heaven knows where but I'll see if I can find it. It might give a clue.

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I had another look at this, but from a linguistic point of view. The English language has changed a great deal since 1739 so I was looking for similarities or changes in spelling that might have occurred. I didn't find any and the word forms have existed as written for several centuries prior to 1739. I did see one thing that got me thinking though. I know from my own experience that old handwriting can be difficult to decipher. As I mentioned above, some letters can easily be confused. Something I do is to look at the shape of words as well as the orthographic construction. 

Words have distinct and comparable shapes according to how they are spelled. If we consider a word as a straight line, there will be deviations upwards and downwards (rises and falls) from the line if the word contains: capital letters, which will produce a rise. The letters b, d, f, h, k, l and t will also produce a rise. while the letters f, g, j, p, s and y will produce a fall (the old 'f'  and 's' had a tail. There are even some variations depending on the year of writing as hand style has also changed over the years. 'Honey' begins with a rise and ends with a fall. 'Sack' begins and ends with a rise. Using that pattern I've had a look around some old maps. I found something interesting, to me at least.

A name that pops up often is Coney Garth (same pattern) just north east of Bothal It’s a huge farm with seemingly huge amounts of land. I’ve found it as far back as the OS First series 1805-1869 and a reference to it on Speed’s 1610 map as Cunny Garth.

It might be worth thinking about if the hand style is difficult to read.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Canny lass said:

I had another look at this, but from a linguistic point of view. The English language has changed a great deal since 1739 so I was looking for similarities or changes in spelling that might have occurred. I didn't find any and the word forms have existed as written for several centuries prior to 1739. I did see one thing that got me thinking though. I know from my own experience that old handwriting can be difficult to decipher. As I mentioned above, some letters can easily be confused. Something I do is to look at the shape of words as well as the orthographic construction. 

Words have distinct and comparable shapes according to how they are spelled. If we consider a word as a straight line, there will be deviations upwards and downwards (rises and falls) from the line if the word contains: capital letters, which will produce a rise. The letters b, d, f, h, k, l and t will also produce a rise. while the letters f, g, j, p, s and y will produce a fall (the old 'f'  and 's' had a tail. There are even some variations depending on the year of writing as hand style has also changed over the years. 'Honey' begins with a rise and ends with a fall. 'Sack' begins and ends with a rise. Using that pattern I've had a look around some old maps. I found something interesting, to me at least.

A name that pops up often is Coney Garth (same pattern) just north east of Bothal It’s a huge farm with seemingly huge amounts of land. I’ve found it as far back as the OS First series 1805-1869 and a reference to it on Speed’s 1610 map as Cunny Garth.

It might be worth thinking about if the hand style is difficult to read.

 

 

Thanks for that CL - I will pass on your thinking and research to John. It will be awhile before John gets back to work and gets a chance to do some research at his place of work - Woodhorn Museum temporarily closed because of Covid- but hopefully he will remember to update me on his findings.

I promise, when the world gets back to normal, I won't drop any more research, of this nature, on to you - I'll stick to gardening questions.☺️  

Project2.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

I promise, when the world gets back to normal, I won't drop any more research, of this nature, on to you - I'll stick to gardening questions.☺️  

Not a problem! I do like a challenge and linguistics can be used to solve many historical conundrums.

PS gardening questions are also welcome!

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On 26/03/2021 at 19:40, Canny lass said:

I can't help you there i'm afraid. I've never heard of it. I think it's an odd name - honey and sack are not two words I'd automatically put together. 'Money Sack' might be better. H and M are sometimes hard to distinguish in old handwriting. There's a farm and a place at Stannington called 'Make me rich' and I understand that it's an old name, so Money Sack sounds feasible. I do know that the second Lord of the manor married into a coal-mining family and bought land all over the area which probably included many farms. I have a book somewhere about the Ridley estate. Heaven knows where but I'll see if I can find it. It might give a clue.

HONEY SACK FARM.                                                                                                                                                                    Could the farm have been fermenting mead?                                                                                                                          HONEY is the main ingredient in Mead.                                                                                                                                      SACK is an old English term for fortified wine. According to Wikipedia, mead is also called HONEY WINE.                              If, in medieval times, wine was also called sack then honey sack and honey wine would have the same meaning. If this reasoning is correct (highly unlikely) then the farm's modern name would be Honey Wine Farm - sounds quite nice!

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On 01/04/2021 at 16:36, James said:

the farm's modern name would be Honey Wine Farm - sounds quite nice!

Sounds lovely! 

... and that’s an interesting theory, James. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we’ve had such an establishment in Bedlington! Unfortunately, I think there are a few holes in the theory.

The Old English (OE) period in the development of the English language was 700 – 1100 AD. That’s more or less the period from the arrival to Britain of the Vikings through to the arrival of William the Conqueror and long before 1739. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (ODEE) there was already during that time a word for wine in the English language – win (pronounced ‘ween’). This was the same word in Old Norse and in Old High German and it seems to have been part of the normal development of the word winam  in the Germanic languages – from which English is descended.

 

At that time, English also had a word for Mead – meodu  - and even this seems to have arisen as part of the natural progression of the Germanic word meduz  through the same group of languages as seen in: Old High German  - metu or mitu and Dutch – mede. (Point of interest: It’s from the same source that we get the word methylated).

This begs the question, why did English introduce sack as another word for wine?

According to the same source, ODEE, the first recorded use of the word sack, when related to alcoholic beverages, is found in writings from the sixteenth century. (In its relation to the coarse textile (sackcloth) or the bags made from it, it  appears a couple of hundred years earlier). However, in relation to alcohol, the meaning of sack was very specific. It didn't relate to just any fortified wine but related generally to a specific "class of white wines from Spain and the Canaries” and the original spelling would have been “ (wyne) seck” meaning dry (wine). ODEE goes on to say that [seck] may originally have been “applied to wines of the sherry class, but later applied to others”. The Sherry connection would cover your theory on fortified wines; however, it seems that sack referred not to the wine itself but rather to one particular quality of wine – dryness. You might recognize it today as sec on French wines or seco on Spanish wines.

The alteration from OE seck to modern English sack is not explained but there are, throughout the history of the development of our language, many instances of changing vowel sounds in speech which lead to changes in spelling. Too many to go into here.

Edited by Canny lass
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Confused, Vic?  What I'm trying to say is that "sack" has never meant wine. In more modern day parlance, wine is a noun and sack is the adjective that describes the wine as being dry. The modern day name would therefore be HONEY DRY FARM. This just doesn't sound right for a farm name. Mind you, neither does Honey Sack Farm.

I'm hoping John can let us see the original of those three handwritten words.

Edited by Canny lass
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6 hours ago, Canny lass said:

Confused, Vic?  What I'm trying to say is that "sack" has never meant wine. In more modern day parlance, wine is a noun and sack is the adjective that describes the wine as being dry. The modern day name would therefore be HONEY DRY FARM. This just doesn't sound right for a farm name. Mind you, neither does Honey Sack Farm.

I'm hoping John can let us see the original of those three handwritten words.

Not really confused, but I never did get past the noun, verb and adjectives rules! but I learned just enough to be understood (usually) 

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