Background Information



VaccaryRef 1-1162
A cattle farm or an area of a forest where the lord of the manor bred and grazed his cattle. Many of these were established in the 12th century.

The remains of vaccary walls can still be seen in the district. These were often made of flags erected vertically.

Compare with Bercary & Vivary.

See Instauratores, Saltonstall, Shackleton and Tunstall

VaccinationRef 1-881
See Anti-Vaccination League, Bailiffe Bridge & Anti-Vaccination, Brighouse Anti-Vaccination League, Cowpox, Smallpox and Variolation

Vagrant ActsRef 1-1164
Several laws were passed to control vagrants from mediæval and post-mediæval times

  • 1494: Vagrants should be put in the stocks for three days and nights, and fed only bread and water

  • 1531: Vagrants should be tied to the end of a cart and be beaten until his body be bloody

  • 1535: For a second offence, the vagrant should lose part of his right ear; for a third offence, he should be hanged

  • 1547: Two magistrates may adjudge an able-bodied vagrant to anyone who wants him as a slave, branding him with a V and keeping him in slavery for 2 years

  • 1572: Vagrants should be flogged, branded on the shoulder, and have their ears bored. See Beadle

  • 1597: Allowed offenders to
    be banished beyond the seas
    and opened the way for transportation to the American colonies

  • 1604: Vagrants should be branded with the letter R for rogue

The terms vagrants, beggars, sturdy rogues, and idle poor - were used in the Poor Law system to describe those people who could work but refused to. In the 16th / 17th century, they were regarded as potential criminals who were likely to do mischief when hired for the purpose. They were considered to be people needing punishment, and were often whipped in the market place as an example to others, or sometimes sent to houses of correction

ValleyRef 1-713
With exceptions such as Copley and Mytholmroyd, most local communities were originally hill villages, to avoid the boggy valley bottoms. There were cases of malaria in such low-lying terrain.

With the appearance of the railways and the turnpike which followed the easy valley route – especially those which crossed rivers – the population moved down into the valley and these newer centres superseded the hill villages:

The elements Bottom, Clough, Den, Dene, Hope, Mir, Op, Rake, Slack and Slead are used in local place names to indicate a valley

Value of MoneyRef 1-V1

VariolationRef 1-2452
Aka Inoculation, ingrafting. The injection of smallpox material at a part of the body where it could not be seen, in order to prevent later disfigurement by natural infection

VassalRef 1-1166
A person who paid feudal homage to a lord, and who swore homage and promised military service in return for a grant of land.

See Fealty

VE DayRef 1-2511
[7th/8th May 1945] The Victory in Europe day when the Allies in World War II accepted the surrender of the armed forces in Nazi Germany. There was celebration throughout the land 7th May 1945

VeilRef 1-1192
To Veil = to become a nun

When a lady with extensive lands became widowed, she would often be married to another man who would purchase that right, without her having any say in the matter. Her only alternative would be to enter a convent.

On 3 July [1482], William, Bishop of Dromore, was commissioned to veil Alice, widow of
Sir John Savile

VellumRef 1-1197
Prepared skin of a calf or a lamb – often still-born animals. Vellum and parchment were used for manuscripts until paper was introduced around the 14th century

Edwards of Halifax developed a process for rendering vellum transparent and then painting or drawing designs on the underside. The vellum was first soaked in a solution of pearl ash – potassium carbonate – and then subjected to high pressure

VelvetRef 1-2911
A cloth with a thick soft pile of short erect threads made of silk, cotton, or wool and worsted. The name comes from the Latin vellus, meaning a fleece or tufted hair. There are many types: Chiffon velvet; Cisele velvet; Façonné velvet; Lyons velvet; Nacre velvet; Panne velvet; Transparent velvet.

Samuel Cunliffe Lister designed a velvet loom for weaving such piled fabrics.

See Wire loom

VelveteenRef 1-2902
A cotton fustian cloth, in imitation of velvet. The strong quality takes hard wear, poor quality rubs off. The cloth is used for children's wear, dresses, coats, and drapery

Venereal diseaseRef 1-822
A sexually transmitted disease

VenisonRef 1-V4
The mediæval word referred to all live-stock

VerminRef 1-333
Under an Act of Parliament of 1566, churchwardens had responsibility for destroying noyfull fowles and vermin such as foxes, hedgehogs, and polecats. This continued into the 19th century.

See Lightcliffe Old Church

VertRef 1-911
An heraldic term referring to the colour green

VertRef 1-V5
All trees and bushes which provide greenery suitable for feeding animals

VestryRef 1-1488
The room adjoining the chancel where the clergy and choir dress and the vestments are kept

See Parish Vestry, Sacristy and Todmorden & Walsden Select Vestry

ViaductsRef 1-V9

ViandsRef 1-V10
Good-quality foods

VicarRef 1-1738
or Vicarius. A member of the clergy who deputises for, or is acting for, the more senior rector in a community or parish. The Latin word means a deputy or a substitute.

In 1548, Parliament decided that priests may marry.

The vicar did not receive full tithes. There is now no difference between a vicar and a rector

See Vicars

Vicar RateRef 1-767
A vicar's income comprised an annual stipend plus fees from marriages and burials. This was augmented by a local tax known as the Vicar Rate.

There was much opposition – especially amongst Nonconformists – to the rate in the 19th century, including Rev Dr Enoch Mellor and Thomas Theodore Ormerod.

Because of difficulties with the Vicar Rate, the living at Halifax was vacant for some time following the death of Rev Charles Musgrave and the appointment of Rev Dr Francis Pigou.

It was abandoned in 1877.

See Chapelry, Halifax Anti-Vicar Rate Association and Halifax Tithe Commutation Bill

Vicars of ...Ref 1-V3

VictoriaRef 1-V64
[1818-1901] She succeeded her uncle, William, as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland [1837-1901].

She was succeeded by her son, Edward.

In July 1864, a bust of Queen Victoria – by sculptor Marshall Wood – was placed in the centre hall of Halifax Town Hall. It was inscribed

Presented to the Corporation of Halifax by John Crossley, Mayor, 1862-1863

It was in the same style as one of Prince Albert, presented by the Mayor, and the last of 4 Royal busts in the hall.

See Jubilee

VidoniaRef 1-V11
A dry white wine produced in the Canary islands. Also called Teneriffe

VillRef 1-2437
or Villa. A unit of land – corresponding to a large village, a township or modern civil parish – which is identified by name.

See Nomina Villarum and Social Classes

This & associated entries use material contributed by Joanne Backhouse

VillanRef 1-2229

VilleinRef 1-2247
Also Villan, Villane, Villain.

A villager who belonged chiefly to the Lord of the manors.

They were either villanes regardant, annexed to the manor or land, or they were in gross, or at large, and annexed to the person of the Lord and transferrable by deed from one owner to another. They could not leave their Lord without his permission. They held small portions of land by way of sustaining themselves and families, but it was at the mere will of the Lord who might dispossess them whenever he pleased. They were employed in

rustic works of the most sordid kind

such as to carry out dung, hedge and ditch the Lord's demesnes. Their services were not only base but uncertain, both as to their time and quantity. A villein could not acquire property, either in land or goods, but if he purchased either the Lord might seize them to his own use. Children of villeins were in the same state of bondage with their parents.

In the 12th century, it was not uncommon for a big landowner to give one of his villeins to the monks at a local monastery.

See Social classes

This & associated entries use material contributed by Joanne Backhouse

VinoliaRef 1-1278

VirgateRef 1-1698
A mediæval unit of land equivalent to ¼ of a hide = 20 or 30 acres.

The name comes from the Latin word virga meaning a rod

Visitation of GodRef 1-959
A term often used in the verdict of inquests into deaths which could not be explained by familiar medical conditions.

Instances of this verdict include Charlotte, the wife of James Lightowler

VitadatioRef 1-1277
A herbal tonic made in Australia in the late 1800s and early 1900s by Sydney Arthur Palmer. It was launched in Tasmania. Several claims were made for the drink: it could cure cancer amongst other serious ailments.

Locally, it was manufactured by one of Palmer's descendants at Armley, Leeds. It was sold around the world and was still being advertised in Britain in the early 1950s, although of course they were not making the same wild claims for it since that kind of advertising was banned under the Patent Medicines Bill [1935]

This & associated entries use material contributed by Alan Thomas

VitriolRef 1-2703
Concentrated sulphuric acid. The acid and its sulphate salts are widely used in industry.

See Thomas Outram and Shelf Vitriol Works

VivaryRef 1-957
A park or a pond, a place where fowls & beasts and fish are kept.

Compare with Bercary & Vaccary

This & associated entries use material contributed by Joanne Backhouse

Volunteer Training CorpsRef 1-1083
Abbr: VTC.

A voluntary home defence during World War I.

A means of service for men who were over age, or unable to serve on account of family, business or other commitments.

See Home Guard

VulcanRef 1-V7
A popular term for a blacksmith

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 12:33 / 3rd April 2024 / 23029

Page Ref: B113_V

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