Specified "Uncollected" items in RESOURCES are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Compiled by Rosemarie Morgan for TTHA: unauthorised copying is a violation of the United States' copyright laws.

Sampler 11 


From Wilkinson Sherren's The Wessex of Romance (London: Chapman & Hall, 1902), 293-304.


Excerpted from The Wessex of Romance

The vitality of the dialect in the face of the wear and tear of nearly a thousand years is extraordinary; the purity of its main derivation from the Saxon is undoubted, there being scant intermixture of Latin and Norman words. Its picturesque and homely virility is remotely akin to the language of the unrevised edition of the Bible, the kinship being strengthened not only by the use of words now archaic, but by occasional similarity in sentence construction. The "go to" of Scripture lives on in the expression "set to," and the use of "do" in the emphatic form in which it is found in the Prayer Book is retained--"We 'do' give Thee most humble and hearty thanks."

In many respects the Dorset vernacular cannot be differentiated from the Somerset dialect, while, on the other hand, it has considerable likeness to Devon folk speech. . . . .The letter f is given the sound of v, as in "vo'k," "folk," and s is usually hardened to z. For the long a in "cake" and the single vowel sound in "bean," double sounds are substituted; thus, "ceáke," "beán." There is a proneness to drop r before s, as in "wo'se" for "worse," and a steady shifting of s for p, as in "clapse" for "clasp." A few nouns still hold the old plural ending en for s--cheesen, housen, vu'zen and stwonen. The Rev. William Barnes quoted a current saying in his time which still holds good: "It has been said of this folk speech that everything is 'he' but a tom-cat, which is termed 'she.'" The frequent use of the masculine personal pronoun is certainly noteworthy; of a tree it is even said: "he's a-cut down."

Without entering further into the theory, a comparison in point of expression is here given. The passage chosen to represent the standard English is from Ruskin's Crown of Wild Olive, a rendering of which in dialect form is then given with as much phonetic exactness as possible.

"Men will be taught that an existence of play sustained by the blood of other creatures is a good existence for gnats and jelly-fish, but not for men; that neither days nor lives can be made holy or noble by doing nothing in them; that the best prayer at the beginning of a day is that we may not lose its moments, and the best grace before meat the consciousness that we have earned our dinner."

"Men will be a-teached that litsome sperrets a-kept up by the plight of vo'k, be a tidy liven vor gnatses an' jally-vish, but not vor the likes o' we; that days an' lives should be chockful o' work to mak'en upright an' holy; that the bestest prayer at the dawnen be to gi'e the goo-bye to dawdlen, an' the bestest greáce avore a'setten down to woone's victuals be the veelen in the heart that the bit an' drap have been a-zweaetd vor."

Rare instinct is shown in the treatment of the dialect in the Wessex novels; an absolute reproduction of it would have been impossible as a generally intelligible literary medium, and Mr. Thomas Hardy has given his readers the true racial flavour of the folk speech without wearying them with a pedantic fidelity to it (290-292).

Wilkinson Sherren's



Specified "Uncollected" items in RESOURCES are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Compiled by Rosemarie Morgan for TTHA: unauthorised copying is a violation of the United States' copyright laws.

  • .Agean: Again, against.
  • Aggy: To gather eggs.
  • Aish: The ash.
  • Al's: All this
  • Anigh: Near to.
  • Any-when: At any time.
  • A-piggy-back: The carrying of children across the shoulder

  • A-stooded: Sunk into the ground
  • Athirt: across
  • Avore: Before
  • Avroze: Frozen
  • Ax: To ask

A-Stooded: The Abbot's Coffin, Bindon Abbey: in the bridal-night episode in Tess the distraught Angel Clare sleepwalks by night and carries his bride of only a few hours to be laid in a stone coffin set among the ancient ruins in the grounds of the nearby Abbey. [Photograph, courtesy Sumiko Inoue © 1996]

  • Backhouse: Outhouse.
  • Bad: Synonym for ill.
  • Ballyrag: To scold.
  • Bandy lags: Crooked legs.
  • Bankrout: Bankrupt.
  • Barken: Barton.
  • Batch: Hillock.
  • Beas': Beast.
  • Baven: A faggot of untrimmed branches.
  • Becall: To deride.
  • Beens: Because.
  • Beknown: Known about.
  • Bibber: To shiver.
  • Bide: To dwell.
  • Biddle: A beetle.
  • Bird-kippy: To keep birds from the corn.
  • Bissen: Bist not.
  • Bit-an'-drap: A meal.
  • Blather: An uproar.
  • Blether: To bleat.
  • Blooth: Blossom.
  • Blue-vinny: Blue mouldy.
  • Bottom: Steadfastness.
  • bound quickly


Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) Wooded Landscape with Wagon


"Rainbarrow" Photograph courtesy Hermann Lea (HL, 73)

"If we follow Captain Vye and the Reddleman as they pursue their way, we shall see on our left hand the tumuli called Rainbarrows..." (HL, 72)

  • Boy's Love: The herb Southernweed.
  • Brags: Boasting.
  • Brassen: Made of brass.
  • Bremble: Bramble.
  • Breze: To press down.
  • Bruckly: Brittle.
  • Bundle: To bound quickly.
  • Busgins: Short gaiters.
  • Bumbye: Bye-and-bye.
  • Caddle: Muddle.
  • Call hwome: Announcement of the banns.
  • Cradlehood: Infancy.
  • Chockvul: Replete.
  • Clim': To climb.
  • Car': To carry.
  • Cas'n: Canst not.
  • Chammer: Chamber.
  • Chaw: To chew.
  • Chetterlings or chittlens: The entrails of a pig.
  • Chippols: Young onions.
  • Chimley: Chimney.
  • Chimp: To chimp potatoes -- to break off the shoots.
  • Cider ring: Cider press.
  • Clacker: A rattle.
  • Clavy: Mantelpiece.
  • Clipse: To clasp.
  • Clote: Yellow water lily.
  • Cockle: To tangle.
  • Coll: To embrace.
  • Cowlease: An unmown field.
  • Count: To guess.
  • Crips: Crisp.
  • Croopy: To stoop.
  • Crousty: Ill-humoured.
  • Cubby-hole: A snug place for a child.
  • Culver: Wood pigeon.
  • Cwoffer:coffer
  • Dabster: An expert.
  • Dadder: To bewilder.
  • Drawlatcheten: Lazy.
  • Dewbit: The first meal of the morning.
  • Dank: Damp.
  • Dap: To bound.
  • Dead-alive: Apathetic.
  • Didden: Did not.
  • Dirn: The side post of a doorway.
  • Dousty: Dusty.
  • Dout: Extinguish.
  • Drashel: Threshold.
  • Drong: A narrow passage.
  • Drow: To throw.
  • Drinky: Intoxicated.
  • Duckish: Dull, dark







Landscape at Dusk, Auguste Ravier (1814-1895)

  • Eale: Ale
  • Easement: Relief
  • Effets: Newts
  • Ees: Yes
  • Elem: Elm
  • Empt: To empty
  • Emmets: Ants
  • Eth: Earth
  • Evemen: Evening


  • Faddle: A bundle.
  • Fall: Autumn.
  • Fantod: A fuss.
  • Feacen: Faces.
  • Fess: Proud.
  • Figgety-pudden: Plum Pudding.
  • Flummocks: To frighten.
  • Footy: Insignificant.
  • Furmenty: Frument
  • Gad: A stake.
  • Gawk: To gape.
  • Gear: Tackle, utensils.
  • Geate: Gate.
  • Gi'e: To give.
  • Gi'e out: Give way, renounce.
  • Gifts: White spots on the fingernail.
  • Gil'cup: Buttercup.
  • Girt: Great.
  • Goocoo: Cuckoo






Photograph courtesy Andromeda Oxford Limited, 1985

  • Gammer: Grandmother
  • Goo wi': To court.
  • Gramfer: Grandfather.
  • Gwain: Going.
  • Gwains-on: Riotous behaviour.


  • Haggler: Itinerant dealer.
  • Hag-rod: Bewitched.
  • Handy: Approximate.
  • Han'-pat: Ready at hand.
  • Haps: To fasten.
  • Hassen: Hast not.
  • Hedlen: Headlong
  • Heel-tap: liquor in a cask: Residue of
  • Hele: To pour out.
  • Het: Heat.
  • Hide: To whip.
  • Heth: Hearth.
  • Hold-wi': To agree with.
  • Hoboo: A child's name for a horse.
  • Hwome: Home.
  • Jis: Just

  • Joppety-joppety:Nervous trepidation

    • Keep: Food for cattle

    • Knap: Knoll, rising ground

    • Laggens: Leggings.
    • Lease: To glean after the reapers.
    • Leaze: Field stocked through the summer.
    • Leery: Hungry.
    • Lew or Lewth: Sheltered from the wind.
    • Limber: Flaccid.
    • Litsome: Cheerful.
    • Litter: Confusion.
    • Litty: Graceful bodily motion.
    • Lumpy: Heavy.





    Segment from Caspar David Friedrich's (1774-1840)

    Ruins of the Abbey of Eldena in Pomerania, c.1820

    • Maggotty: Fanciful.
    • Main: Mighty.
    • Marten: A barren heifer.
    • Mel: To meddle.
    • Miff: A slight quarrel.
    • Mixen: Dung heap.
    • Mistrustful: Suspicious
    • Nammet: Noon meat, luncheon.
    • Near: Miserly.
    • Nesh: Tender.
    • Nettlens: A pig's inwards.
    • Nipper: Small boy.
    • Nirrup: Donkey.
    • Nippy: Sharp.
    • Nit: Not yet.
    • Nitch: A bundle of wood as large as a man can carry.
    • Noggerhead: Blockhead.
    • Nu'ss: Nurse
    O- P -Q
    • Oben: Open.
    • Orts: Remnants of fodder.
    • Outstep: Remote.
    • Overlook: To bewitch.
    • Overright: Opposite.
    • Pank: To pant.
    • Pantiles: Roof tiles.
    • Peart: Lively.
    • Pease: To ooze.
    • Pelt: A fit of anger.
    • Pinsle: Pimple

    • Pleazen: Places

    Stonehenge, John Constable (1776-1837)

    • Plim: To swell.
    • Plush: To plush a hedge is to cut the stems near the ground, and turn the branches down
    • after trimming them to a suitable size.
    • Pole: The nape of the neck.
    • Pook: Cones of wheat.
    • Pucks: Miry.
    • Pummy: Apple pumace from the cider-wring.
    • Put-up-wi': Patiently bear with.
    • Quag: Quagmire.
    • Quar': Quarry.
    • Quob: To quiver
    • Raft: To rouse oneself.
    • Rale: To walk.
    • Rafty: Rancid.
    • Ramshackle: Rickety, broken down.
    • Ramshacklum: Good for nothing.
    • Randy: Merry making.
    • Ratch: To stretch.
    • Rate: To scold.
    • Rathe: Early.
    • Ray: To array, dress.
    • Reddick: Robin.
    • Reaves: The ladder-like framework of a waggon.
    • Reed: Wheat straw drawn for thatching purposes.
    • Reeve: To unravel.
    • Rig: To walk with difficulty.
    • Rine: Rind.
    • Rise: To raise.
    • Rong: The step of a ladder.
    • Rowse: To scare off.
    • Ruff: A roof.
    • Run down: To depreciate.




        Segment of Richard Redgrave's (1804-1888) The Valleys Also Stand Thick With Corn

      [oops * * * * * * FIND THE SCYTHE !* * * * * *]

    • Taffety: Fanciful, dainty in appetite.
    • Taffle: Tangle.
    • Teaken: An agitation.
    • Teave: To struggle.
    • Tell: To reckon.
    • Tetchy: Irritable.
    • Thick: That.
    • Thirtover: Perverse.
    • Tilty: Peevish.
    • Tinklebobs: Icicles.
    • Tole: To allure.
    • T'other: The other.
    • Traipse: To tramp.
    • Trig: Sound and firm.
    • Turmit: Turnip.
    • Twite: To reproach.
    • Twankleten: Melancholy
    • Unbeknown: Strange, unfamiliar.
    • Undercreepen: Sly, hypocritical.
    • Unray: To undress.
    • Upsides-wi': To be even with.
    • Urge: To retch.
    • Vall to: Begin.
    • Valie: Value.
    • Vargen: Farthing.
    • Versey: To versey, to read the Bible verse by verse.
    • Vitty: Proper.
    • Vlinders: Splinters.
    • Volly: To follow.
    • Vower: Four.
    • Vu'z: Furze.
    • Wag: To stir.
    • Wants: Moles.
    • Werden: Were not.
    • Werret: To worry.
    • Whindlen: Weakly.
    • Whist: A stye; inflammation of the eye.
    • Whicker: To neigh.
    • Whiver: To hover.
    • Wink: A winch or crank.
    • Wizzen or weazan: The windpipe.
    • Wopsy: Wasp.
    • Wrack: Consequences
    Y - Z
    • Yeo: An ewe; still preserved in standard English as in the word yeoman.
    • Yop: To talk rapidly.
    • Yoller: Yellow.
    • Zeale: Sack.
    • Zebn: Seven.
    • Zummat: Something.
    • Zummerleaze: Unmown grass for summer feed.
    • Zwail: To swagger.
    • Zweal: To scorch.
      Segment of Albrecht Dürer's (1471-1528) The Great Piece of Turf











    END of Sampler 11

    Specified "Uncollected" items in RESOURCES are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Compiled by Rosemarie Morgan for TTHA: unauthorised copying is a violation of the United States' copyright laws.