Background Information



f or ſRef 1-F22

In old documents, a non-final letter s was written as a long s = ſ For example:

mistaken » miſtaken
mistress » miſtreſs
myself » myſelf
last » laſt
parish » pariſh
persons » perſons
assisted » aſſiſted
such » ſuch
shipped » ſhipped
suspicious » ſuſpicious
This looks something like – but is not – a letter f but without the full cross bar, and possibly just a short horizontal stroke or nub on the left side of the letter.

The long s is, of course, pronounced like a regular s.

The Times of London stopped using this form during 1802, and The Morning Chronicle after 1803

F-plan houseRef 1-9
A house with two bays projecting from the main building, giving an F shaped plan. The lower bay is usually the porch and entrance.

Redacre House, Mytholmroyd is said to be one of the earliest F-plan houses in Calderdale. Built in 1712, Greenwood Lee is the latest-known F-plan house.

See Halifax house and Hall-and-cross-wing

Factories Regulation BillRef 1-F14
See Ten Hours Bill

Factory ActsRef 1-3000
Legislation introduced to regulate child labour, the conditions of work, the working hours, the safety, and the sanitary conditions in the factories and workshops which had grown with the Industrial Revolution.

  • Factory Act [1802]: children under 9 years of age were not allowed to work; children may only work between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm; children between 9 and 13 years of age may work up to 8 hours a day; children between 14 and 18 years of age may work up to 12 hours a day
  • Factory Act [1833]: children under 9 years of age were not allowed to work; children between 9 and 12 years of age must receive 2 hours schooling a day and work no more than 9 hours a day; children between 14 and 18 years of age may work up to 12 hours a day
  • Factory Act [1844]: each child must receive 3 hours schooling a day and worked no more than 6½ hours a day, either in the morning or the afternoon
  • Factory Act [1850]: women and children may only work between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm in summer, and between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm in winter, and up to 2:00_pm on Saturday
  • Factory Act [1878]: children under 10 were not allowed to work; children between 10 and 14 years of age may only work for half days

See Factory Fine Fund, Half-timer, Health & Morals of Apprentices in Cotton Mills Act [1802] and Ten Hours Act [1847]

Factory Fine FundRef 1-1988
A fund which came from fines imposed under Factory Acts. The money was paid in grants given to public day schools where children, who worked in the factories, were educated.

In 1860, St Mary's National School, Halifax received a grant of £15.

This & associated entries use material contributed by Stan Mapstone

Factory returnsRef 1-F16
From the 1830s, details of the mills and factories were produced to enable the government to regulate the industry. The reports were discontinued in 1905

FacultyRef 1-F1
The authority to carry out works in and around a church

FadgeRef 1-2252
Aka Bunt. A pack made up of bundles of cloth, wool, or cotton wrapped in a pack sheet and fixed with wooden pegs or pricks. The pack was then loaded on to the packhorse and tied with a wanty rope

Failure of issueRef 1-2304
A term used in wills and deeds to indicate that – in the event of there being no children born to or surviving the deceased person – the property will go to a third party.

See Issue

Fairbridge SocietyRef 1-1058
A 20th century organisation which took British children to Australia and the colonies to train as farmers

FalconryRef 1-2103
The use of specially trained falcons and hawks to hunt and capture birds or small mammals was introduced to Britain from continental Europe in Saxon times. The Normans, Tudors, and Stuarts were fond of falconry, but the sport fell into disuse after the Civil War.

See Birdcage, Hunting and John King

Falling sicknessRef 1-846
An alternative name for Epilepsy. So called because the patient falls suddenly to the ground

FamiliaRef 1-1568
A term used by Bede and equivalent to a hide

Familiar NamesRef 1-2303

FamiliesRef 1-F20

Family CrestRef 1-1029
An image that is added to, usually placed above, a coat of arms, as shown here.

See Landed Gentry Pedigrees

This & associated entries use material contributed by Joanne Backhouse

Family historyRef 1-F36

Family History CenterRef 1-740
Abbr: FHC.

A research facility provided at Latter Day Saints locations.

The Center at Huddersfield is at

12 Halifax Road
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England
Phone: 01484 454573
Hours: Tues 10 am-3 pm; Wed 10 am-3 pm, Thurs 10 am-3 pm; Friday 6.00 pm-9.00 pm by appointment only

FamulusRef 1-950
A paid worker on a mediæval estate, as distinct from the voluntary/compulsory boon workers. The plural is famuli.

The word comes directly from the Latin famulus [a servant]

FancyRef 1-1077
A type of weaving which was used to create a decorative effect, and could often involve silk or cotton

FaneRef 1-F30
An archaic term for a church or temple

FarmRef 1-979
A fixed sum or rent – usually paid annually – for the right to collect all revenues from the land. The lord of the manor could farm land to vassals, receiving a fixed annual rent in place of the normal feudal obligation

FarthingRef 1-2998
Unit of currency before decimalisation equivalent to ¼d, one-quarter of a penny. Until 1279, when Edward I introduced the first silver farthing coin, the token was simply a penny cut into four quarters. In 1613, Lord Harington was given a patent to produce a copper farthing – these were known as Haringtons. The copper farthing coin introduced by Charles II in 1672 carried the portrait of Britannia – see token. The farthing was discontinued in 1956.

In 1279, Edward I issued a half farthing – see qu – as did Victoria in 1839 along with a quarter farthing and a third farthing in 1844. Elizabeth I issued coins and ¾d.

The name is from the Old English term for one-fourth – compare riding

Fastening pennyRef 1-1678
At a hiring Fair, the bargain between worker and employer was sealed with a sum of money known as a fastening penny

FealtyRef 1-1965
By an oath of fealty, a feudal tenant or vassal swore allegiance or fidelity to a lord. This was done at a ceremony known as homage

FearnaughtRef 1-205
A machine for mixing and combining wool.

See Fearnoughting

FearnoughtingRef 1-340
A stage in cloth-making which removed knots from the wool and aligned the fibres in one direction.

When mechanised, this was done by a Fearnaught machine

Fee simpleRef 1-2564
An inheritance or bequest which has no impositions, limitations or conditions in its use

Feet of finesRef 1-1720
Introduced about 1182 – possibly by Hubert Walter – these were records of decisions and judgements concerning the ownership of land and property. These may be the result of actions to determine title in the absence of documents.

3 copies of the judgements were written on a single scroll, then cut in irregular lines to avoid forgery, and placed on file at the Court of Common Pleas.

They are useful in researching surnames

See Final concord

FeldRef 1-643
The element is found in early names and documents, and is equivalent to the forms felt, field

FellfireRef 1-1621
A form of the word fieldfare

FelonyRef 1-984
In mediæval law, any serious violation of the contract between the lord of the manor and his vassals. It came to mean any crime against the King's peace, and has come to mean any serious crime

FeltRef 1-522
Mechanical processes such as heating, steaming, applying pressure and vibration, converted woollen fabric into felt. It is thought that making felt was introduced before weaving

FeltRef 1-642
Aka Feld, Field. Used in place names – such as Stansfield and Langfield – the element [not surprisingly] means a field or a piece of land suitable for cultivation

FemeRef 1-2577
Any female, woman, or wife.

A feme sole is an unmarried woman or a married woman who has property independent of her husband.

See Baron & feme

FencibleRef 1-F13
A soldier who was liable only for service at home

FenderRef 1-1349
A low, metal frame which was placed in front of an open fire to catch sparks and coals. Some were padded on the upper edge and served as a seat.

See Fire guard, Fire screen and Hearth tin

FenianismRef 1-511
The Fenian Brotherhood was an Irish Republican organisation founded in the USA in the 1850s.

In December 1881, the number of men known to belong to the brotherhood were reported.

  • Bradford and district: 113 men possessing 206 articles [or arms] with £181 13/-
  • Halifax: 74 men with 39 articles and £11
  • Brighouse: 80 men with 7 articles and £63 7/6d.

    In 1882, it was recorded that there were 35 paid-up members of the movement in the town

See Irish riots, Irish immigrants and Sun Dial, Brighouse

FentRef 1-189
A piece of rejected or faulty cloth. Usually a small piece of material.

It was sometimes specifically the last 2 ft of a piece of cloth. It was often used by the weaver to make his own, or his family's, clothes

FeoffmentRef 1-2034
The conveyance of freehold estate – between a feoffee and a feoffor – by a formal transfer of possession. The new owner of the property may sell it or pass it on to his heirs.

An early form was known as feoffment with livery of seisin was conducted on the land to be transferred when a bunch of grass, a twig or piece of earth was handed over as the parties recited that the transfer was being made

FeormRef 1-F31
A payment in land equivalent to one night's food and upkeep for the court. Around the time of the Norman Conquest, this had been commuted to cash. The Old English word means a farm

FerlingRef 1-F8
A mediæval unit of land equivalent to ¼ of a virgate

FerryRef 1-F35
The right to carry persons and their goods across a river in boats, and to charge a toll

FertiliserRef 1-1751
The fertility of the land was often improved by spreading crushed bone-meal, shoddy, and night-soil.

Night-soil – human fæces – would be used for crops such as kale and cabbage during the first year. In the following year, it would be used for root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, swedes and turnips

FettersRef 1-2220
Iron rings with chains attached, which are placed around the ankle of a convict to restrict movement.

Several convicts may be chained together to form an iron-gang or chain-gang

FeudalismRef 1-1922
A mediæval form of social organisation based on a land and land-owning hierarchy of authority, rights, and power from the monarch downwards. In return for military service the monarch allowed powerful vassals to hold land – the manor – to administer justice, and to levy taxes; lower down the hierarchy, the serfs worked on their manor lands belonging to their lord in return for the rights to cultivate a part of the land for themselves.

See Boonwork, Lord of the manor and Sergeant

FeverRef 1-831
Any disease or infection of which the symptoms are a high temperature – possibly accompanied by thirst and loss of appetite

ffRef 1-917
In printed and handwritten documents up to the 18th century, ff was used instead of a capital F, as in

Rev W. D. ffrench
Joseph ffryear
As a Victorian affectation, this form is still retained in some surnames

FibreRef 1-289
The hair-like filaments of a textile material, such as the fibres of cotton and silk, or the individual hairs of wool

FiefRef 1-2105
An estate or lands granted to a vassal by his lord after swearing fealty promising to serve the lord.

See Grant in fee, Knight's fee and Money-fief

FieldRef 1-645
Also Felt, Feld. This Old English element is used in many local place names.

The word was also used for any unenclosed open land – without bog, trees or other features – as distinct from the permanently fenced close, and may also imply that the land was used for agriculture.

In many cases, the word is often written as feild – and names such as Stansfeild are often found

Field bookRef 1-1013
Aka Terrier

Field-namesRef 1-141
From the 16th century, many fields and other pieces of land were given individual names, and the practice increased with the arrival of enclosures.

Certain elements – such as broad, butt, gore - may indicate the shape, nature or width of the field.

Although many hedges and field boundaries have been removed, the line of the boundary is often indicated by trees which are now left standing in the middle of a field – as in the illustrative photograph.

Some field-names are still retained in local place names.

See Ganny and Names

FieldfareRef 1-1746
Also Fellfire. A game bird

FiguresRef 1-2667
A cloth with a raised pattern, such as damask.

See Alpaca figures and French figures

FilbertRef 1-F9
Another name for the hazelnut

FileRef 1-F18
17th/18th century slang term for a thief, a pickpocket

Filiation orderRef 1-1950
Aka Bastardy bond

Film photographyRef 1-F38
Early photographs were produced on metal or glass plates. In 1884, these were superseded by gelatine film.

When it was found to be too fragile, gelatine film was replaced by highly-flammable nitrate-based films. In 1939, a non-flammable plastic-based safety film was introduced.

Roll film was introduced in 1889

Final concordRef 1-1522
A document recording a fictitious legal case which was used to prove the right of a purchaser to property. The document began with the phrase:
hic est finalis concordia

this is the final concord

3 copies were made: 2 copies were identical whilst the third – the
foot of the fine – was kept by the Court of Common Pleas

FineRef 1-2502
This was originally a document recording a legal decision. The word is related to the Latin fines, meaning an end, a conclusion.

The document comprised two parts, each being a copy of the decision, one being given to each party. Later a third copy – known as the feet of fines – was added for retention by the legal authorities.

It could also be a fee paid when conveying property. The fees were recorded in Fines Books

Our modern concept of a fine was known as an amercement

Fines BooksRef 1-2516
A book in which fines were recorded, showing the ownership of houses and land

Finger postRef 1-2589
A road sign in the shape of a hand with fingers pointing the way.

See Milestone

FinishingRef 1-196
The final stage in cloth-making

Fire badgeRef 1-F4
A plate indicating the name of the company who insured the house. These were often numbered and bore the year for which the property was insured. Important in times when insurance companies had their own private fire-fighting forces

Fire dogRef 1-F17
An iron frame to prevent logs rolling off a fire, or in which to burn logs

Fire guardRef 1-1894
A metal screen which was placed in front of an open fire to catch sparks and coals.

See Fender and Fire screen

Fire hoodRef 1-86
The fire was used for cooking in earlier halls, and as a means of heating houses which appeared in the 15th century and was common until the 17th century. A hood – with a vent – was built against a wall to let the smoke out of the hall. The partition wall behind the fire gave rise to the hearth-passage design. A fire window often indicates where a fire hood was present. The fireplace with an external chimney became popular at the end of the 16th century

Fire screenRef 1-1814
An ornamental screen, often embroidered and mounted on a vertical stand, which protected a person from the heat of an open fire.

See Fender, Fire guard and Hearth tin

Fire windowRef 1-85
A small window – typically with two lights – which threw light on to the ingle-nook area beneath a fire hood

FireboteRef 1-1378
The right of the tenants of a manor to gather wood for fuel.

See Bote

FirkinRef 1-F26
A small cask, and a unit of 9 gallons = ¼ of a barrel

First cousinRef 1-F27

First fleeterRef 1-1973
The name given to any one of the people to be transported to Australia on the first fleet of nine ships which left Portsmouth with 1493 passengers – 586 male, 192 female, and the rest were crew, naval officers and their families

See Mary Greenwood, Lady Penrhyn and Scarborough

FistulaRef 1-1154
An abnormal passage within the human body.

Dr Richard Hooke died from one such condition

Five Mile Act [1665]Ref 1-125
Passed in October 1665 to prevent clergymen who had been expelled for refusing to obey the Act of Uniformity from living within five miles of their old church, effectively ejecting dissenting clergymen from the towns. The penalty was a fine of £40. Oliver Heywood was one of many ejected under the act

FlagonRef 1-F37
A unit of volume – typically for beers, wine and spirits – equal to 2 pints = 1 quart

FlakRef 1-1057
German anti-aircraft defence = flugabwehrkanone

FlamboyRef 1-F33
A simple torch of burning wood

FlannelRef 1-408
A type of cloth made from carded wool or worsted yarn.

See Flannelette

FlanneletteRef 1-410
A type of cotton cloth with a texture similar to Flannel. It is highly flammable.

Flannelette was used for making nightdresses and – in the 19th century – led to a great many deaths when children's clothing caught fire

FlashRef 1-1665
An old name for a small pond.

See Ball flash

Flash lockRef 1-2867
A movable weir – or similar device – which carries boats through on a flush of water. These were superseded by the pound lock

Flat candleRef 1-1949
A candle with a short stem and a broad base which fits into a flat candle-holder

FlattRef 1-F3
An alternative name for a selion

FlaxRef 1-1778
Aka Line. The plant is used to produce the fibres for linen.

See Heckling and Scutching

Fleight spadeRef 1-2561
A tool for cutting peat

FlemeswiteRef 1-1286
The seizure and possession of the goods of a fugitive

Flesh chamberRef 1-2402
A room where salted meats and bacon were stored.

There was a flesh chamber at Shibden Hall which was reached from the Red Room

FlockRef 1-227
A hard tuft of wool which is rejected for the manufacture of cloth.

In 1533, Henry VIII sent a commission to the West Riding to look into the practice of mixing flocks with the wool. A list was published of 282 Halifax clothiers who had between ½ and 3 pieces of their cloth condemned.

See Upper Bradley Mill, Stainland

FloggingRef 1-931
Aka Cart-tail flogging. A form of punishment in which the felon was carried around the streets of the town in a cart – or following a cart – and being whipped as he/she went along.

Ling Roth describes how

every Saturday at high noon, a man would be tied to a cart and flogged from the Waterhouse Arms to the Upper George. On arrival at the Inn, salt was rubbed into the man's lacerated skin

The last person in Britain to be flogged to death was Dangerfield, an informant of the Popish Plot, in 1685.

The last person to be flogged in the district was Grace Holden in the 1850s.

In 1881, flogging was abolished in the armed services.

See Scourge and Whipping

Flood lockRef 1-2866
A lock located at the high-water end of a navigation cut. Both top and bottom gates are kept open except in times of high river levels

FloodsRef 1-F25

Florence oilRef 1-F2

FlorinRef 1-2942
When introduced by Edward III – along with the half-florin, and quarter-florin, and the noble – the gold coin was worth about 6 shillings or 6s 8d.

The name comes from the fiorino d'oro, a gold coin issued in Florence, which became a standard unit of currency in the 1600s.

The image of an animal on the coin gave it its popular name of leopard. There was also the quarter florin, worth 6d introduced in 1344.

A silver florin coin worth 2/- was introduced in 1849 and remained a unit of currency after decimalisation, when it was equivalent to 10p and was legal tender until 1991. A double florin worth 4/- was introduced in 1887

FlourRef 1-758
In the 19th century, millers and manufacturers frequently used cheaper substitutes in order to add weight and bulk to the flour they produced, adulterating it with plaster of Paris, bean flour, chalk or alum. Such adulteration led to problems of malnutrition.

In particular, alum produced bowel problems, constipation or chronic diarrhoea, which was often fatal for children.

See Clifton flour, Sugden's Crown Flour, Todmorden Flour Mill Society and Woodside Flour Mill, Elland

Fluid ounceRef 1-1699
A unit of volume equal to 1 ounce of water = 28·413 millilitres.

The fluid ounce is still valid as a unit for trade in the UK, following legislation of 1994/5 which replaced some imperial units by metric units

FluxRef 1-840
Aka the bloody flux. A name for a form of dysentery caused by the bacteria shigella. It is spread by food contaminated with fæcal matter, such as fruit collected from the ground in orchards where cattle graze

Fly boatRef 1-2868
A horse-drawn canal boat which used relays of horses and travelled by day and night

Fly Sheets ControversyRef 1-752
A Methodist controversy of 1846-1852, in which a series of pamphlets was published, criticising the dominant rôle which Rev Jabez Bunting played in Wesleyan Methodism.

Schism resulted after 3 ministers refused to answer questions about the fly sheets – the Wesleyan Methodist Reformers was established

Flying shuttleRef 1-233
Invented and patented in 1733 by John Kay, this was the earliest of the great inventions which revolutionised the textile industry.

The weaver pulled a cord which triggered leather (or wooden) hammers to propel the shuttle, first left, then right, across the loom-gate and the width of the cloth. Thitherto, the shuttle had been passed by hand from side to side through alternate warp threads – see picker.

The flying shuttle – or fly shuttle or spring shuttle – replaced the old weaving process of passing the weft through the warp. It also meant that the weaver could produce cloth which was wider than his own arm-span. When weaving broad cloth, two workers had to be employed to throw the shuttle from one end to the other.

With the flying shuttle, the amount of work a weaver could do was more than doubled, and the quality of the cloth was also improved. It was widely used in Yorkshire from 1763. This led to an increased demand for yarn and a corresponding demand for weavers and for spinning machinery – such as John Wyatt's roller-spinning machine and James Hargreaves's spinning jenny

FoldRef 1-599
In place names, this is derived from Old English and means an enclosure for animals, typically sheep – see Pinfold.

The name is also used for a small group of cottages, and an enclosed courtyard and houses

FoldcourseRef 1-F24
Grazing sheep brought from open pastures in an enclosed area so that the manure could be gathered and used as fertiliser. Often an overnight practice

FolliesRef 1-F28

Follies of Halifax CorporationRef 1-735
Over the years, Halifax Corporation and its various successors have made a number of decisions which can only be described as folly, faux pas, Philistine and barbaric, and just unpopular and short-sighted.

See Lost houses in the district

FontRef 1-1766
These held the holy water which was used in baptism, and generally stood just inside the church door. The holy water was blessed at Easter for use throughout the year.

Early Saxon and Norman fonts were quite large when children and adults were baptised by immersion. Later mediæval fonts were smaller and octagonal in plan.

Fonts often had a locked lid to prevent the holy water being stolen for witchcraft. In 1236, it was compulsory to have a locked cover in the font.

Later font covers – such as that at Halifax Parish Church – were very elaborate and were raised by pulleys and balances.

In 1644, Parliament passed a law forbidding the use of holy water in churches and chapels. Eventually, fonts were simply shallow bowls.

See Elland Parish Church Font, Halifax Parish Church Font Cover and Witch mark

FootRef 1-1495
An Imperial measure unit of length equivalent to 12 inches, 30·48 cms.

The word is abbreviated to ft, and the symbol ' is also used; thus a length of 2 feet 6 inches could be written as 2' 6" or 2 ft 6 ins.

The foot is based upon the length of the human foot. In Roman time, it was about 11½ inches, and in Old English times, it was just under 10 inches.

The foot is still valid as a unit for trade in the UK, following legislation of 1994/5 which replaced some imperial units by metric units

See Cubic foot, Fotmal and Square foot

FootboardRef 1-2869
A narrow platform or walkway attached to canal lock gates

FootpadRef 1-1530
A highwayman who went around on foot

FootpathRef 1-2675
A right of way for the public on foot only

Foreign coinsRef 1-308
During the 16th and 17th centuries, foreign coins – such as Doubloon, Ducat, Escudo, Louis, Louis d'or, Moidore, Pistole, Real, Reis, and Spanish Dollar - were widely used in Britain on account of the scarcity of British coins.

From 1561, an Act of Parliament made it a crime – known as Misprision of Treason – to manufacture counterfeit foreign coins.

This encouraged the work of the coiners. Charles Montagu undertook a revision of British coinage in 1699.

See Banknotes

ForestRef 1-955
Originally, an area for hunting deer and other game, and not necessarily woodland.

Forest law demanded severe penalties for poaching, stealing and trespass and was imposed by the forest's own courts and officials – verderers

Forest WhitesRef 1-336

ForestallRef 1-960
To corner – that is, buy goods which are bound for market – with a view to reselling wholesale them at a higher price than on the open market. In 1337, the township of Halifax was accused of concealing forestallers.

In the early 19th century, a deputy constable called John Carpmael and a beadle named Joshua Milner arrested, and imprisoned in Dungeon Street, a farmer who had bought butter at 17d a pound and later sold it for 17½d pence a pound.

See Regrate

ForestersRef 1-2141

See Ancient Order of Foresters, Elland Juvenile Foresters Society and Royal Foresters

Forinsec ServiceRef 1-930
Forinsec service was an obligation under feudal law, a service to be performed away from the holding of the mesne lord for his superior. It included foreign military service, providing labour, and certain payments

This & associated entries use material contributed by Joanne Backhouse

FormarriageRef 1-2784
A fine paid by a serf to the lord of the manor when the serf's daughter marries a man from another manor

See Merchet

ForthfareRef 1-2446
A church bell – or passing bell – tolled on someone's death

FortnightRef 1-F34
The word for two weeks is derived from the words fourteen nights.

Compare Sennight

FotherRef 1-F11
A unit of weight equal to about 19 hundredweight

FotmalRef 1-939
A unit of length equal to a foot

FotmalRef 1-F10
A unit of weight for lead, equal to 70 pounds

FouldRef 1-1585
An 18th century name for an area of housing occupied by the poor

Four-poster bedRef 1-F29
A bed with a canopy supported by four posts, one at each corner of the bed.

It is said that these were introduced to protect the bed from dust and insects falling from the ceiling / roof of the room

FrameRef 1-2337
A general term for a piece of machinery whose design is based upon a frame or framework.

See Frame-breaking and Water-frame

Frame-breakingRef 1-2345
The wilful destruction of frames and other machinery, as done by the Luddites' outbreak in Nottinghamshire in 1811. In a 3-week period, more than 200 stocking-frames were destroyed.

This was central to the plot of Charlotte Brontë's novel Shirley.

See Frame-breaking Bill and John Hill

Frame-breaking Bill [1811]Ref 1-1003
Proposed by Lord Liverpool to make frame-breaking a capital offence.

See Luddites

FrankalmoignRef 1-948
A type of tenure by which religious bodies held lands granted to them, usually on condition of praying for the soul of the donor, and often for the souls of his parents and heirs

This & associated entries use material contributed by Joanne Backhouse

FranklinRef 1-1599
Also ffranklan.

A freeman who was not of noble birth, and who held his land in free socage.

A freeholder – one having large holdings of land and eligible to certain dignities.

A gentleman.

One of Chaucer's Pilgrims was a franklin.

From the 16th century, the name Yeoman was used

This & associated entries use material contributed by Joanne Backhouse

FrankpledgeRef 1-1917
From the 11th century, this was a mediæval system of collective responsibility whereby every male member of a tithing aged 12 or over was – on pain of fine or other punishment – answerable for the good behaviour of the others. Each group had to attend a court – called a view of frankpledge – which was held by their lord in order to demonstrate their obligations had been met.

See Chief Pledge

Free warrenRef 1-2219
The right to hunt small game. This was usually granted by the King.

See Warren

FreeBMDRef 1-2350
A free website with information about births, marriages and deaths

FreebornRef 1-F15
Someone who was born as a freeman

FreeCENRef 1-2351
A free website providing access to census information

Freehold landRef 1-1025
Land held by a freeholder free of duty to the lord of the manor. After death, freehold tenure could pass to anyone named in the deceased's will.

See Relief and Yeoman

FreemanRef 1-933
A man who is not bound to the lord of the manor, but may owe rents and obligations to the lord.

See Bondman, Ceorl, Freedman, Tenant at will and Thane

FreeREGRef 1-2395
A free website allowing you to search parish registers

French figuresRef 1-2666
A type of figured cloth.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1834

French PoxRef 1-879
Aka Syphilis

French RevolutionRef 1-472
[1789-1799] A period of unrest in France when popular protest resulted in the execution of the monarch and the establishment of the French Republic.

The unrest in France had economic consequences in Britain and started off fears of republicanism here. Many local military groups were established to pre-empt such activity.

See John Baines, James Edwards, Guillotine, Jacobin, Etienne Edme Jarry and Unitarianism

FrettingRef 1-246

Friendly SocietiesRef 1-F21

FriezeRef 1-1790
A heavy woollen fabric with a long nap.

See Frizing

Frith-stoolRef 1-F5
A seat in which a frith man claiming the right of sanctuary had to sit

FrithburgerRef 1-F32
Aka Frithborh. A security for keeping the peace, a frankpledge

FrizingRef 1-177
Aka Friezing, Frising, and Frizzing.

A finishing process for woollen cloth carried out by a friezer.

The cloth is passed between 2 boards – each measuring about 120 inches by 15 inches, one of which is coated with a paste of glue, gum arabic, sand, with a little aqua vitæ, or urine. It then passes over a beam, or drawer, which is covered in metal pins, much like a card. This raises the nap of the cloth and produces small burrs on the surface of the material. The cloth was moved by water-power or horse-power.

See James Walton

This & associated entries use material contributed by Alan Longbottom

FroeRef 1-F12
An axe for working wood

FrumentyRef 1-1039
A kind of porridge made from wheat boiled in milk. Possibly with sugar, cinnamon, rum or spirits added. It was traditionally eaten at Christmas. The name comes from the Latin frumentum meaning corn

Fuller's earthRef 1-67
A soft clay-like mineral which is able to adsorb and absorb impurities and is used – in its dried and powdered form – in fulling wool and cloth.

The clay may be blue, grey or yellow in colour. The mineral was formed by the deposit of fine volcanic ash in water, and a major source of the clay was around Maidstone in Kent.

The powder was essential to the British cloth-making industry and, in the 17th century, laws were passed to ban export of the mineral. It is still used today in the textile industry and in the purification of oils.

See Bracken

Fullers' CompanyRef 1-490
A livery company originally for fullers. In 1528, the company joined the Shearmen's Company to form the Clothworkers' Company

FullingRef 1-280
Aka fretting, lecking, milling, walking, waulking, and weeting.

The process of cleaning, shrinking and thickening woven cloth by matting the surface fibres together. The piece was soaked in lant and then beaten or trampled in a stream or a trough of water to make the fibres felt together.

Fuller's earth was added to remove any soap and oil. Potash produced from burned bracken was also use as a detergent.

The process was a strenuous process was carried out by a fuller or a walker.

Domestic manufacturers carried this out at home by hand (or by foot), but water-powered fulling mills in the district offered a service to small producers.

See Roger the Fuller and Fullers' Company

Fulling millRef 1-70
The process of fulling – shrinking and thickening woven cloth by matting the surface fibres together – was originally done by hand, or by treading the cloth underfoot in a stream or a trough of water.

Water-powered mills – in which the cloth was beaten by large wooden mallets known as fulling stocks which were worked by a waterwheel – were introduced in the 12th century, against much opposition reminiscent of the Luddites. Mills were prohibited in London between 1298 and 1417, in favour of hand-fulling.

The hammers reproduced the action of treading the cloth underfoot – giving the mill its older name walk mill.

In the dual economy, this stage of the processing could not be done on a small scale.

The fulling mill was often owned by the Lord of the Manor – where a man was obliged to full his cloth – and also served as the corn mill. It would be leased to a walker or a fuller. Many fulling mills were former corn mills. The fulling mill attracted weavers and cloth-making centres grew up around the mills.

The Halifax fulling mill was situated along the Hebble near North Bridge.

In 1758, Watson recorded 39 fulling mills in Halifax parish.

From the 18th century, there were fulling mills at many places – usually the larger towns – including Brighouse, Elland, Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall and Luddendenfoot.

The rotary fuller was introduced around 1840

Fulling stocksRef 1-68
The large wooden hammers which beat the cloth in a fulling mill. These were driven by a waterwheel

FumageRef 1-2025
Aka Hearth tax. This name was used in Domesday Book

Funeral biscuitRef 1-1086
Aka Finger biscuit. A sponge finger measuring about 6 in by 1½ in. Packets of these were handed out at funerals in the 18th century.

Some families specialised in baking such biscuits.

See Spice cake

Funeral clubRef 1-1924
Aka Burial Club. A formal, or informal, 19th century insurance scheme – a friendly society – which collected and invested members' subscriptions to cover the costs of private funeral expenses for burials of members and their family.

See Old Town Club Houses and Wadsworth Club Houses

FurlongRef 1-1048
Aka Flatt, Shot, Shutt. A unit of length = 220 yards = 10 chains = 1006 links = 40 rods = 1/8th mile = 664 feet.

It was originally the length of a furrow in a common open field, and the name means furrow long.

An area of land measuring one chain by one furlong is one acre

FustianRef 1-7
Originally, a cloth with linen warp and cotton weft, but later, the name was used for any tightly-woven, thick, twilled cotton cloth with a short nap, and often in dark colours.

See Moss family, John Ashworth, English Fustian Manufacturing Company, Hebden Bridge Fustian Manufacturing Co-operative Society, Pecket Shed and St George's Square, Hebden Bridge

This & associated entries use material contributed by Jackie Wood

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 12:33 / 3rd April 2024 / 78357

Page Ref: B113_F

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