The books consulted in the preparation of this glossary includedthe glossaries of previous Prospect Books facsimiles and editions: Hannah Glasse,The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy; Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook(both compiled by Alan Davidson); Richard Bradley, The Country Housewife andLady's Director (compiled by Caroline Davidson); John Evelyn, Cook andJohn Evelyn's Acetaria (compiled by Tom Jaine); and The Closet of Sir KenelmeDigbie Kt. Opened (compiled by Peter Davidson and Jane Stevenson). I have alsoused Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food; Jancis Robinson, TheOxford Companion to Wine; the glossary by Elizabeth David in the facsimile editionof John Nott, Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary; Martha Washington's Bookeof Cookery, Karen Hess; The Englishman's Flora, Geoffrey Grigson; CultivatedFruits of Britain, F.A. Roach; The Book of Apples, Joan Morgan and AlisonRichards; Traditional Foods of Britain, Laura Mason with Catherine Brown;Thomas Mawe and John Abercrombie, Every Man his own Gardener; EncyclopaediaBritannica, 11th edition; A Dictionary of the English Language,Samuel Johnson; The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition.It is fortunate that the compilers of the OED consulted the works of WilliamEllis in making their collections. Many of his usages are recorded and compared intheir pages.

  Tom Jaine


adders-tongue is the popular name for the genus of ferns Ophioglossum,as well as many other plants, for example herb robert and some orchids.

æthiops mineral is a combination of quicksilver and sulphurground together to form a black powder, hence its name.

agrimony: Agrimonia eupatoria, also called Aaron's rod andliverwort.

alcalous: alkaline.

allhollandtide, allhollantide: All Hallows' Day, All Saints' Day,1 November.

allum, alum: an astringent mineral salt (sulphate of aluminiumand potassium, used in baking, dyeing, tanning, paper making and medicine). It wasextracted from earth or rock, the latter being sometimes defined as 'rock alum'.

alterative is a type of medicine, a treatment which 'alters processesof nutrition, and reduces them to healthy action'. 'Alteratives…have a power of changingthe constitution, without any sensible increase or decrease of the natural evacuations.'

anacks: a type of bread made from fine oatmeal. Not for the frsttime, though rarely acknowledged, Ellis is quoting Gervase Markham (d.1637),a further instance of his relying on books written during the previous century ratherthan current manuals.

animalcula: a small or tiny animal, a mite.


french pippin: it is unclear which variety is meant by this description. Pippins were generically French in origin, in English eyes, and described as 'fine-flavoured, late-keeping'. Mawe & Abercrombie (1805) include French Pippin in their list of varieties.

gold-rennet, or Golden Reinette, an English variety -- similar to Blenheim Orange -- associated particularly with Hertfordshire.

golden pippin is frst recorded by Parkinson in 1629, widely sold in the 18th century and used in tarts, cider and jelly.

green: it is not clear which variety is meant by this description.

holland pippin is noted by Morgan & Richards as being frst recorded in Lincolnshire in 1729.

john-apple is described by Morgan & Richards as a 16th- and 17th-century variety that was said to 'last until apples come again', i.e. until St John's Day (29 August).

kentish is the Kentish Pippin, or the Colonel Vaughan, an early type, much used for tarts and cider and for sale in the London markets.

lemon pippin: Morgan & Richards identify its frst naming in William Ellis though it was probably known earlier. Used for drying, for eating and in tarts. It may be of Norman origin.

non-pareil is an eating apple of high repute in the 18th century. First recorded in 1696, it was possibly imported from France in Tudor times.

parsnip: Ellis' favourite variety is not listed in any of the standard authorities.

russettings is a generic description of russet apples.

archangel usually describes either dead-nettle or black stinkinghorehound.

arsmart or arsesmart: water pepper (Polygonum hydropiper).It was so called as it would be laid in bed linen to repel fleas and would stingor make smart any bare flesh that came in contact with it.

avens: herb bennet or wood avens (Geum urbanum). It wasused in brewing to impart the flavour of cloves.

bagnio is a Turkish bath as well as a place of doubtful resort.

balsam is, literally, natural oleo-resin from trees or plants.The meaning was extended to an oily or resinous preparation (often using turpentine)in which various substances were dissolved or combined, usually for external applicationor inhalation of its heated vapours.

balsam of peru was the resin of the tree Myroxylon Pereiraewhich grew in San Salvador. Though fragrant, it has no specifically medicinal virtues(says Britannica).

bark is the bark of the cinchona tree, from Peru. It contains quinine.

barrow-hog is a castrated boar.

basilicon, black is a description of a family of 'sovereign' (fromthe Greek) healing ointments, ingredients not disclosed. Ellis' favourite doctor,John Quincy (d.1722) called it a tetra-pharmacon (four ingredients).

bay-salt is made by natural evaporation in the sun in southernEurope. It is large and coarse-grained and was thought stronger than common saltbut in fact it is a better material for use in salting meats, etc., because it isslower in dissolving.

bearbind: Grigson records this as a Home Counties name for bindweed(Calystegia sepium), though it was also used to name other sorts of convolvulus.

bearing: OED defines this as the external parts of animalswhich are involved in parturition, citing 'The teats and external female parts…calledby farmers the bearing' (1779). Ellis, however, seems to be describing a prolapsedwomb.

beaver or, more commonly bever, is a snack between meals. Ellis'description, repeated in his Modern Husbandman, is 'they eat wholly on this[cheese] and bread at one time of the day, which they call their beaver and thisis commonly about four of the clock in the afternoon.'

betony: Stachys officinalis, believed to be diuretic andcleansing.

bite: an imposition or deception.

blain is a sore or pustule, as in chilblain. In cattle, it describesspecifically a swelling that erupts on the base of the tongue, stopping the beastfrom breathing.

blow, to: Ellis talks of butchers 'blowing' or inflating veal tomake the meat seem white and fleshier, and soaking the joints in water. OEDcites Balfour (c.1550) on the same practice, to 'cause it seme fat and fair'.

blue vitriol stone is made of copper sulphate -- copper heatedwith sulphuric acid, then moistened. It is a desiccating agent.

bole armoniac or bole armeniac is an astringent clay-like earthformerly brought from Armenia, used as an antidote or styptic. Bole (from the Greek)meant clod of earth: another sort was brought from Lemnos. It behaved like fuller'searth.

bolster: a surgical compress or pad of lint.

botts: a parasitical worm or maggot.

brawn: brined pork set in jelly, see Traditional Foods of Britain.

brimming-time: the time a pig is in season.

brimstone: vernacular name for sulphur.

brooklime: speedwell (Veronica beccabunga), growing nearwater, eaten as a salad plant, hot in taste.

buckbean is a bog plant (Menyanthes trifoliata) with leavesthat resemble a broad bean's. It had wide medicinal uses and could be substitutedfor hops in beer. The name is a 16th-century homophone of the Dutch, which meansgoat's bean.

burgoo is a thick oatmeal porridge or gruel. Ellis thinks it identicalto loblolly. The name derives (OED) from the Turkish burghul or bulgur.In N. America the name described a meat and vegetable stew or soup.

bushel: a dry measure equivalent to four pecks or eight gallons(of wheat).

candlemas: 2 February.

capivi: balsam of capivi is a resinous extract from the copaibatree of Brazil. It was used in making lacquers, and in treating urinary disorders.Its taste is not pleasant.

carduus is the blessed thistle, Carduus (now Cnidus)benedictus, or it was the milk thistle (Silybum maritimum) whichwas more generally used as a food plant and to increase the flow of mothers' milk-- its flavour was bitter, like the wormwood's.

caudle: a warm drink of thin gruel mixed with ale or wine and sweetened,often for the sick-bed.

chamberlye is urine. It softened the water. Ellis suggested inhis book on brewing that it was used as an additive in London pale or amber maltdrinks. More generally, it was the waste water from the house reycled to economizeon soap.

chauldron or chawdron is the general term for the entrails of abeast, most often a calf.


kentish or mayduke: frst mentioned, as the Duke, by John Rea in1665. This variety, and its cousins, was an English hybrid of the sweet Prunusavium and the acid Prunus cerasus. In France they were called 'Anglais'.

kerroon, or Caroon, widely grown in Hertfordshire and Norfolk.

chiers or chires are blades of grass or stamens of flowers. Theword is used by Ellis in an unacknowledged quotation from Gervase Markham.

cicatrize, to: Ellis writes of 'a wound that requires digesting,deterging, incarning or cicatrizing'. To cicatrize means to heal by forming a scar.

clivers or (a later spelling) cleavers, is goosegrass --which cleaves or sticks to the clothing.

clob-weed: Grigson records this as a Gloucestershire dialect namefor knap-weed; Ellis also suggests it might be knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare).He seems to be describing batchelor's buttons, i.e. knap-weed.

clove july-flower or clove gillyflower is the clove-scented pink,the original of the carnation.

coffin is a stout pastry case.

collar is a boned, rolled, bound, and tied joint of meat or fish.Collaring was a universal method of controlling floppy joints, as well as allowingthem to be stuffed, spiced, then boiled without dissolution.

collop is a small slice.

coom is the black stuff, comprising grease and dust, which worksits way out of axles or bearings.

copperas is really the same as vitriol. The term embraced blue,green and white copperas, the salts of copper, iron and zinc respectively. Whereit was used without qualification is usually referred to a salt of iron, ferroussulphate, used in dyeing, tanning and making ink.

corking pin describes the largest size of pin. The epithet derivesfrom the word calkin: either the turned-down edge of a horse-shoe so as to raiseits heel from the ground, or the pins around the edge of the heel of a clog.

cram is a ball of compressed food for cramming. Linguistically,the verb preceded the noun.

crinklings are now better known as pork scratchings.

crow is the mesentery or giblets.

crow-garlick: a wild species of garlic (Allium vineale).

dane-weed is dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus), an importantmedicinal plant.

deterge, to: Ellis writes of 'a wound that requires digesting,deterging, incarning or cicatrizing'. To deterge means to wipe off or cleanse anulcer or sore.

diapente is a medicament containing five ingredients. OED'scitations mostly concern farriery, the medication being used to purge horses.

digest, to: Ellis writes of 'a wound that requires digesting, deterging,incarning or cicatrizing'. To digest means to 'promote healthy suppuration'.

discusser is a medicine or substance that disperses humours.

dodder of thyme was also called hellbind in Hertfordshire (Grigson)and was a leafless parasite that grew on thyme and other plants (Cuscuta epithymum).It was good for the itch or scabies, 'spleenful headaches' and other ills.

dog-parsley (Æthusa cynapium), also called fool's parsley.This is not cow parsley, which is wild chervil.

dram, drachm is, for apothecaries, 1/8 of an ounce; avoirdupois,1/16 of an ounce; as a fluid measure, 1/8 of a fluid ounce.

dwarf-elder is also called dane-weed (Sambucus ebulus),an important medicinal plant.

elecampane or elicampane (Inula helenium) is an importantmedicinal root. Ellis advises it against the itch or scabies. Others recommend itagainst coughs and snake venom, convulsions, contusions and bad sight. It was alsodeemed effective against elves.

electuary is a medical conserve or paste of powder on a vehicleof honey, syrup, or treacle. Venice treacle (q.v.) was one of the most famous suchelectuaries.

elixir salutis was the invention of Dr John Daffy (d. 1680)and consisted, more or less, of elecampane, liquorice, coriander, anise, senna, guaiacum,carraway, raisins, aniseed water, rhubarb and manna (The New Female Instructor,c.1810).

eringo is sea holly (Eryngium maritimum). The roots wereoften candied and were esteemed as an aphrodisiac.

fasting: 'every morning fasting' -- Ellis often uses this wordto indicate that you haven't eaten before doing whatever he advises.

fetch is vetch.

filletting was tape for binding collars and other joints of meat.

firkin is a small barrel. Its size depends on the material stored.

flair or flare, the leaf or fat about a pig's kidneys.

flashy means watery, frothy, unstable, sometimes insipid or tasteless.

flay, to, or flea means to skin.

fleam is the lancet used in letting the blood of animals.

fleet is another word for skimmed. The verb describes the act ofskimming.

florentine arrach-root seems here to refer to the orris root: theedible iris, cultivated particularly around Florence. His spelling, 'arrach', mightindicate orach, the wild spinach, but that was known for its leaves, not its root;nor was it especially Florentine.

flummery is a confection whereby oatmeal or wheat bran is steepedin water, the liquid then boiled until it became a jelly.

frank: pen or sty, usually used for fattening.

fumitory is the plant Fumaria officinalis.

furmity, frumenty: whole-husked grains, cooked in water, then oftenenriched with cream, eggs, spices, sugar and dried fruits, or a combination of these.

gallipot is a glazed earthenware jar.

garget may describe a swelling in an animal's throat, but Ellisuses it to define a hard swelling in, or inflammation of a cow's udder.

germander can refer to several species of plant. It is most likelythat here it is the speedwell or bird's eye (Veronica chamaedrys) -- a rathersinister number, according to Grigson.

gill or jill is a quarter of a pint.

glean: the placenta or after-birth, especially of a cow. The verbdenotes the act of shedding the after-birth.

grain of paradise or Melegueta pepper is the fragrant seed of anAfrican fruit widely used in traditional medicine, or as a stimulant (in its hometerritories), as an ingredient of hippocras, or as a fraudulent boost to the strengthof ales. It has something of the taste of cardamom.


  honeysuckle, is white clover.

  ladyfinger, is birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).

  ray, is presumably rye grass.

  tyne, or tine, is a wild vetch or tare. Ellis likens it tothe cliver as a strangling weed in the wheatfeld, yet persists in naming it and ladyfingergrass as his two favourite meadow grasses (Modern Husbandman).

grass-onions: Avena elatior, a species of wild oat, so calledfrom the rounded nodes of the root-stock.

graves are a by-product of making tallow, the meat or skin residueafter melting animal fat, often used as animal feed.

ground-pine is the plant Ajuga Chamæpytis, so calledfrom its resinous smell.

gum guaiacum is the resin obtained from the American tree Guaiacumofficinale, often called lignum vitae.