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THESE Miscellanies have been prepared to make a small second volume for 1888. They are historical documents of considerable interest and have a great dialectic value in addition to the information they afford about Northern persons and manners.
The documents are chiefly drawn from the registers of the Lord Mayor and Corporation of York, and comprise :
I. An account of the proceedings in a remarkable case of adulteration at York, showing the care that was taken to prevent what has been in all ages one of the great vices of traders. It also shows how a criminal could often escape from justice by appealing for protection to some great personage.
II. All the verdicts of the searchers called in to decide about encroachments, &c., in the city of York, down to the year 1500.
III. The presentments of the juries appended to the Court-rolls of the Abbots of Selby, from the originals in the possession of the Earl of Londesborough.
IV. A series of certificates of the parentage and birth of certain persons who had been charged with being Scots. This series contains all the certificates in English on the York registers, and they are exceedingly curious.
V. The programme for the reception of Henry VII. on his first visit to York in 1486.
VI. The customs and liberties of the burgesses of New Malton, from the original roll in the possession of Earl Fitzwilliam.
VII. A somewhat new version of the famous old Northern ballad of Sir Andrew Barton, Knight,' with important variations.
In the Appendix is given a sample of a suggested Glossary of Northern English words, to illustrate and explain the publications of the Surtees Society.
It has long been the intention of the Society to make such an attempt, as may be seen from the list of the works which the Council has intended to publish. So long ago as October 1854, in the very beginning of his secretaryship, the present writer commenced the undertaking at the instigation of his father. His method of procedure was a simple one. He provided himself with a pair of stout folio volumes, divided and cut away at the edges into alphabetical divisions. One of these was for English words; the other for medieval Latin, which requires a Glossary quite as much as the English. The English volume is the only one that has been persevered with. Into this the writer has from time to time entered his quotations and references, sometimes working for a month or two continuously, sometimes laying the work aside for a long time.
The writer has gone systematically through the publications, making a selection of the most pertinent examples of each dialectic and peculiar word, and reading some of the volumes many times over for that purpose. But he has done more than this. He has greatly added to the value of the collection by incorporating in it the words which have struck him during his examination of Northern MSS. and printed works of authority prior to the reign of George I. A reference to the examples given will show how wide the range has been. He has also included the words which occur in the publications of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-on-Tyne, the Yorkshire Archæological Association, and the North Riding Record Society, in the hope that the Glossary may be of use to other literary bodies as well as the Surtees Society.
The ground covered by the examples is chiefly the three counties of Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland.
The following method has been adopted:—(1) To give the date and place. (2) The quotation in the original spelling. (3) A reference to the authority from which the quotation bas been derived. An attempt has also been made, which can be tried in a district of limited extent, to spread the examples as far as possible over the selected area, and to pay regard also to their chronological sequence. It is, of course, impossible to do this in any work of a general character.
During the time this Collection of Northern Words has been in progress, the great English Dictionary of the Philological Society has commenced, and another Dictionary of the English Dialects will soon be in the press. Several kind friends of the writer have advised the surrender of the materials he has collected for the furtherance of these two great schemes, especially of the first. It must be remembered, however, that the main object of the writer has been to place within the reach of the members of the Surtees Society an explanatory handbook of the English words contained in the works of their own Society, which a dictionary on so grand a scale as that of the Philological Society cannot possibly do. No one can have a more hearty desire for the success of the great dictionary than the writer. As soon as he heard of its commencement, he sent to Dr. Murray a list of all the words under the first letter in the alphabet of which he had examples, and gladly sent to him all that he desired to have. This, of course, detracts somewhat from the novelty of some of the words which appear in the present specimen. At the same time, it must be mentioned that since the list was sent to Dr. Murray the number of words under the letter A which the writer has acquired has been very largely extended.
The writer has contented himself with giving an explanation of the meaning of each word, often derived from the great dictionary, and always, he hopes, acknowledged. As to the
origin and descent of the words, and their connection with various races and tongues, the reader is referred to Dr. Murray and his colleagues, who are carrying out a work which will last for all time. If he may venture upon a criticism, he would very respectfully suggest that a number of words seem to him to come from the Late Latin rather than from the Old French, and that scarcely enough regard seems to be paid to the Scandinavian element in the Northern vocabulary.
The readers of this specimen will observe frequent references to the Northern provincial glossaries as evidence of the present use of many words. There are not many of these glossaries that are of any importance; some are mere word-lists hastily compiled, and often taken from some printed work. The amalgamation of these provincial efforts, great or small, may best be left to the editors of the great Dictionary of Dialects. It is not the duty of the writer to pursue a word beyond the boundaries of the three great Northern counties to which he confines himself. The dialectic element, has, of course, been mainly regarded in the choice of the words selected. It is not easy always to say when a word ceases to be dialectic, Several friends would have inserted a still larger number of words; others would have picked out fewer. There are some words, such as abate, abide, abridge, accord, affect, and others, which seem, at first sight, to be of a more general character, although they are by no means general in their use at the present day.
It is to be hoped that a Dictionary of the Old Northern English will some time be compiled, for which there are ample materials. The present specimen makes no pretence whatever to оссиру such a position. It is merely, as the writer said before, a kind of handbook to the local words contained in the books of the Surtees Society, with illustrations and additions, that is all. These few pages are now presented to the members to evoke criticism and direct their attention to a scheme of very considerable importance. Perhaps nothing further may come of it; but, if it is to be carried out, there must be a combination