Glossary - Some Helpful Words

In collating information about Tudor Southampton we have included words that were prevalent in the tudor period as they appear in the original texts, the glossary provides a definition of those words. In addition this section also gives information on the main buildings within the town.



aglette – silver metal tip at the end of a lace

aliens - foreigners

All Saints Day - 1st November

almain rivets – Armour comprising a breastplate and simple arm defences. Mass produced inGermany for common soldiers, used by archers

alum - a mineral used as a mordant during dyeing

Annunciation of Our Lady - 25th  March

apothecary - druggist

argosy – large ship, especially of Ragusa orVenice

arriage - average, compensation, duty

Ascension day - 40 days after Easter

assize - of bread, this laid down the price that could be charged for a loaf

awndirons – tongs



bagerot - a name for a foreigner

balet -  probably half a bale

ballivus aque - water bailiff

ballivus curie - court bailiff

barque -  type of ship

barratrice - deceitful person

basis – Base. Type of small-bore cannon or breach-loading gun.

beadles -, minor town officer with the power of punishing petty offenders

bearers and keepers – employed to look after plague victims and remove bodies

bell mettell -   alloy of copper & tin used to make bells

bills – axe with long wooden handle, a staff weapon based upon an agricultural bill, with a cutting edge and several spikes on the head. A forest bill would be very similar, quite possibly just a local or colloquial term for the same thing.  

billet    - small log

billmen - soldier armed with a bill, a concave battle-axe with a long wooden handle

biscuit - bakers would make biscuit for long voyages on ships

biskeniers, biscayaners – musketeers

black book   -  enrolled deed, wills, property transfers

blackamoor - negro

bows – longbows

brasil - red dye produced in powder form from the South American brazilwood tree

brass bassler  - brass gun or possibly baslard,

breast plate – metal defence for the front of the torso

brigandines – Type of flexible armour for the torso made up of metal plates riveted between layers of fabric of canvas, linen or leater.

brimstone – used in the making of gun powder

broad cloth-  weave of 2 yards wide, hard wearing woollen cloth

brown bill – type of half halberd painted brown and used by foot soldiers and watchmen

bulwerk - rampart fortification

burden - measure of fish

burgess - freeman of the borough

bushels,bz - dry measure of 8 gallons

butt, measure of wine, originally 120-140 gallons, standardised to 126 gallons


calliver – Caliver. type of hand gun, lighter than a musket or arquebus.

candlemas - 2nd February

cappers – hatmakers

carrick/carake - large sailing ship, vessel of choice of the Genoese, a three masted, square rigger freighting up to 700 tonnes

casement - iron window frame

chafing dish - which can be heated by using hot coals

chain shot – artillery projectile consisting of a chain between two balls, used for fouling rigging and masts of ships.

chaldron - measure of coal, usually 36 or 48 bushels

chalice - a cup or bowl

chamber – the removable piece of a breech loading cannon, into which gunpowder would be placed

chargers - large serving plate

coffer - chest for holding money

cog - merchant ship with square rigged sails and a stern post rudder developed in the early 14th century

colouring - selling goods of a non burgess as if they were your own

comfit- sweetmeat

conduits - used for carrying the town’s water supply fromHill Lane in Shirley around to various locations outside the main churches of the town.

coney – rabbit

confection - medicine made up of more than one drug

conger - type of eel

corn powder – gun powder formed in to large pieces like pepper-corns, rather than fine powder. Originated in France in e15th century, 3 ingredients mixed together while in a wet state and the resulting paste was then spread thinly and allowed to dry into a cake.  This was then broken up and crumbled into granular form in which each grain contained the correct proportion of ingredients.  Also packed less tightly when loaded allowing the ignition flame to penetrate more easily and give more certain ignition and a faster explosion said to require one third less powder than serpentine. It was 20% more powerful than serpentine powder. However it was often too much for the cannon, so design of cannon returned to casting instead of stave and hoop.  Initially cast in bronze in 15th century then iron

Coronation Day of Elizabeth I -  15th Jan 1559

corselettes – Corslets. Half-armour comprising breast & back, gorget (neck defence), helmet, tassets (upper thigh pieces) and arm defences.                                            

counters - counterfeit coins

coupulles - measure of fish

cresset - kitchen utensil for setting over a fire

crewel - fine worsted yarn

crigtes - ship

crossbow shot – expanding bullets or cannon balls

culverin – heavy artillery piece


d. - dimidium ie half

dandyprate -   gold coin

dagger – a double edged knife

demi-cannon – heavy siege gun

demi-culverin – another artillery piece, slightly lighter than the culverin

deodand – an accident or ‘act of god’ caused by an inanimate object which was then sold in compensation

diker - 10 hides or skins

disguising aparrell -  mummers costume

double beer - strong beer

doublets – mans outer garment

dowlas - a coarse linen cloth fromBrittany


earred dishes - dishes with ear shaped handles

Easterlings -  traders from the Baltic

Egyptians – gypsies

electuary - medicine, conserve, paste

ell - measurement, originally taken from the arm , 45 inches

engrossing - to buy up

estreats - copies of court records especially referring to fines and mercements etc


falcon - windlass, instrument for bending a cross bow   

falcon chot – shot for a small-bore artillery piece known as a Falcon.

falling sickness - epilepsy

fardell - small bundle of varying size

featheredge - edge of a plank or board thinner than the other edge

fee farm - annual rent payable to the king by chartered boroughs

fenestrals - building term,, iron window frame

fetterlock - padlock

fifteenth - tax of one fifteenth of annual income

foreign - not traded in the official market

forlocks  - Firelocks. General term for a matchlock gun, fired by a piece of burning match cord.

fowlers – general term for a firearm, possibly longer barrelled for greater accuracy and used for hunting.

franchise – the liberties of the town

frank – free

frith -   brushwood

foyt - measure of herring


gabion - bottomless basket of earth used in fortifications

galoshes - leather shoes with wooden soles

gambrells - crooked stick for hanging carcases

gargoyle – grotesque carving

gawne, gaun - a ladle that originally held a gallon

gemowse - type of hinge

girth - for holding a saddle bag in place

glyster pipes -  tube for administering medicine in the rectum

God’s penny - a small payment to seal a bargain

gorgit with splint -neck armour with overlapping splint or splent i.e. Strip of armour

gorget – metal defence for the throat and collar area.

green linsey woollsey - mixed fabric of wool & linen, or wool & flax, used for furnishing & clothing for poorer classes

great linges - measure of fish, ling a fish of the cod family

grograine, grosgraine - heavy corded silk used especially for ribbons and hat bands

ground-sill - a timber serving as a foundation to carry a superstructure, especially a timber framed building

guildhall – main meeting place for governing officers

gun stones – stone shot for artillery pieces.


haburgen  - breastplate

halberd – similar to a bill, but the halberd was designed as a weapon rather than converted from a tool like the bill

half hake – possibly a half pike or short pike.

handguns – general term for a hand held firearm, as opposed to artillery

hardwareman - itinerant traders

harke rings -   door knockers

harquebus – term for an early heavy musket also Arquebus, range of 250 feet and barrel not above a yard

harness – usually means armour. Possibly a full harness or complete suit of armour

hawser - large rope

helying - a bed cover

hethe - brushwood, used in connection with piling to provide a firm foundation

hogs head, hh - measure of wine a large cask of 48 or 52.5 gallons

Hollander - Dutch

horse bread - cheapest type of bread made from beans

hose - tights

hoy - type of boat, single deck, commonly rigged as a sloop

hoyndarde – measure of shot

hulk - type of ship


in pix/in pixide - in the box, refers to the accountants’ coffer used for the collection of fines

indenture - a deed under seal

Iron shot – miscellaneous cannon shot made from cast iron.


jacks – Thick padded fabric armour for the body. Could also be Jack of plates – small metal plates sewn between layers of fabric to make a flexible but tough defence.

jaggynge - butchering

Janaway - genoese, general name given to all Italians

javelin – a light spear which could be thrown or used in hand.


kersey - coarse twilled woollen cloth

kine/kene - cows

kirtle- outer most layer of a woman's clothing

knapp scull – Type of helmet, possibly small skull-cap type often worn with Almain-rivets, usually just referred to as Skulls

kyntalle - measure of wood


lamas - feast of first fruits 1st August

lamballe - fabric made in the town of Lamballe in Brittany, France

lamprey - type of eel

last - a measure of fish equating to 12 barrels of herring

last measure of gunpowder 2,400lbs

laten naylles - triangular nail, latten was a mixed metal of a yellow colour similar to brass

lathis - strips of wood, used to make wattled panels as foundation for plaster, slate, or tiles

laver - washing bowl

lawday - the day when burgesses and non burgesses made their payments in order to trade

Leaguers - members of the Catholic League

lighter - vessel

ling-  type of cod fish

linstock – staff with a piece of match cord at one end, used to ignite the powder of an artillery piece.

loaves of sugar - conical loaf weighing between 4-14lbs

lockerum, lockram -   a coarse linen

lombard - Italian, i.e. from Lombardy

London Russet - a coarse home spun wool, reddish brown,grey or neutral

longhanger - it hung from the belt to hold knives

loops - embrasures

lugg, lug - a perch or rod of land (5 ½ yards)



mail coats – garment of mail, possibly with or without sleeves

malmsey - a sweet wine

malt - barley grain

maragon - a carpenter from the Italian maragone

maser - bowl made of maple wood

maund - a wicker basket with handles

mensis - month

mercement - fine

meretricula - latin for whore

michaelmas - 29 September

midsummer - 21 June

mill puffe, milpuff - flock for stuffing mattresses

minions – cast iron gun

morions - type of helmet

muscadel – wine

musket – matchlock. In this period terms were very interchangeable, so the same gun could be referred to as several different things

muster – all men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to train to defend the town


narrow - type of cloth

nihil/nichil - no payment

noble - coin worth 6s 8d



ob. - obulus, halfpenny

olderns - coarse fabric

ordnance - cannon

osteledge - receiving lodgers, entertaining guests or strangers

ostrey – lodger

Our Lady's Day - 25th March

Our Lady eve of the Nativity - 7 September


pace - headress

pannier – basket

pargettying - rough cast plaster

partisan – A type of bladed spear or staff weapon., blade having one or more lateral cutting projections

pauline/pavelyn - Pavilion Court of the Bishop of Winchester

paxbread - the name given to the governing ordinances of the town

peekesye - pilfering, thieving

pennybread - cheap bread

pentecost - festival of Whitsuntide, 7 weeks after Easter

per diem -  per day

petty pyker - petty thief

pieceworking - piece work, being paid per piece of work rather than by the hour

pikes – various names for the same thing: a long spear with a small thrusting head. Maybe some variation in length of shaft

pikemen - soldier armed with a sharp pointed weapon on a long stave

piles - used to shore up the seawall

pillion  -  cushion behind a rider for a bag

pole axe – another staff weapon, with a variety of types of head, including axes or hammers with additional spikes

portcullis - retractable gate used in the entrances to the town

portyngales - portuguese

potinger - type of dish usually for soup or porridge

pottle - vessel which held half a gallon and a pint of liquid or 2 quarts.

poundage -  A custom duty on the sale of ships

privy coat – light coat of defensive mail worn under ordinary clothes

puncheons - vertical timbers in a wall or cross frame which are not main or immediate posts

pursuivant, king’s messenger

punchin, puncheon - cask, measure of wine 70-120 gallons

putto - young boy


q. - quadrans, farthing

quarrel - diamond pane of glass

queen – prostitute

quo warrant , quo warranto  - writ to inquire into a claim for franchise rights, exercised by ancestral rights


Ragusan - a native of Ragusa, modern day Dubrovnik, then a Venetian colony

rammer – Rod used to push the cannon ball down the barrel of the gun.

rapier – a sword with a lighter, longer blade optimised for thrusting. In this period they were still double edged and used for cutting as well

regrate - to buy and sell a commodity again in the same market or fair

robinet  - military engine used for throwing darts or stones

runlet- small barrel

running glass  - ship's hourglass

rutters – mercenary horsemen


St Andrews eve - 29 November

St Andrews day - 30th November

Saint Bartholomew's day -24 August

St Edwards eve - 12 October

St James day - 25th July

St Lukes day - 18th October

St Lukes eve - 17 October

St Marks day - 25th April

St Mathias day - 14th May

St Matthew's day - 21st September

St Michael the Archangel – 29th September

St Matthews eve - 20 September

St Nicholas eve - 5 December

St Peter's day - 29th June

SS Simon & Jude day - 28th October

St Stephens day - 26th December

sacar – Saker. Type of artillery piece, a cast iron gun

sacar shot – shot for a saker

sarplier - large sack of course canvas for wool and other merchandise

scavage officers  -charged with collecting a toll for keeping the streets clean

screvan - galley purser

scrivener - scribe

scullions – kitchen worker

selying – panelling

seminaries, seminarian -catholic priest educated in a foreign seminary

senescallus – steward

serpentine powder- fine powder with a tendency to separate out into its constituent parts when transported in barrels, the heavier saltpetre and sulphur falling to the bottom leaving the charcoal on top.  This meant it had to be re-mixed on arrival at the gun, this was dangerous due to its susceptibility to ignition by friction.  [41% saltpetre, 29.5% sulphur, 29.5% charcoal].

shepster - seamstress

shermen - cloth cutters

silkwoman - woman who worked in making silk goods such as ribbons

simple - preparations of one unmixed substance

skaverer – Scourer

skavinger - rubbish collector

skeeling, skilling - shed, outhouse, lean-to

skylors – squeelers, bagpipes

spyle -  a wooden peg, skewer or narrow slip of wood

stammel - a type of woollen cloth usually dyed red.

standing - site where itinerant traders could set up a site 

staples - for holding a bolt secure

staves – general term to describe staff weapons such as a simple wooden staff or a spear.

steveis - a mechanical arrangement for unloading galleys

stews - brothel, which inSouthampton was licensed to trade

stilliard - balance, weights

stockefish - unsalted dried hake or cod, usually beaten with a stick before cooking

stranger – someone not from the town

suckett - type of wine

subsidy tax – royal tax

sucket - wine

sword – military swords of 16th century generally double edged and straight-bladed, but term could refer to more or less any type of sword


taboryn -  player of the tabor pipes

talewood - wood used for fuel

tapster - a purveyor of beer and ale

tippler - purveyor of beer

toddes,todd - measure of wool = 4 cloves or 28lb

toppettes - measure of dry goods

tornebroche -  turnspit

touch boys – possibly another name for a linstock, or another type of ignition device

trochisk - pastille or lozenge

truckle bed - small camp style bed, usually used by servants, which fitted under the master bed

one third of a pipe or cask

tun  - a large cask and a measure of liquid 216 gallons of ale and 252 of wine


ungauged - unmeasured

vanes - small triangular flags on poles

verince - sheep’s fleece

very - ferry

vicecomes – sheriff

vido, viduo - widow

virken - firken a small cask containing nine gallons of beer

visors – removable face-protection on a helmet (may just refer to a helmet with a visor).


wantkatcher - mole catcher

wanty - a rope used to fasten a pack on a pack saddle

watermen - water-borne porters                                 


wendraft – latrine

wevid – stolen

wherlpoole,  whirlpool - huge whale like sea monster

wherries - boat

whit sondaye   - Whitsun


Glossary of Place names and Places of interest, Roads, Streets,& Lanes


Above Bar - the area of the town outside the Bargate to the north of the town

Acorn bridge - one of the town’s boundary markers it crossed a stream which ran from the common through valley to the east of Hill lane

All Hallows or All Saints church - east side of the High street

Alms houses - situated adjacent to St Marys church

Arundel tower - NW corner tower, named for the earls of Arundel who were constables of the castle

Audit house - situated in front of Holy Rood church on the High street 


Banasteres court - area adjacent toSouthampton common, to the north of the town

Bargate - name of the north gate

Biddlesgate - situated on the west walls at the end ofSimnel street

Blechynden lane - ran from Hill down towards the town

Bridge House - possibly near Lady Dawtry's bridge, or near the woolbridge at Town quay

Bull Hall -large tenement, west side of Bull, now Bugle Street

Bull Street - old name forBugle Street

bull ring - robably situated in the High street but possibly at the pound

Bursledon - on the river Hamble, and under the jurisdiction of theport ofSouthampton


Calshot spit - on the far side ofSouthampton water

Castle –SouthamptonCastle took up a large part of the north east corner of the walled town, it was owned by the crown

Castle Ring- ring for playing bowls

Catchcold tower - also known as Prince Edward tower, a 14th century gun tower in the west walls

Causeway - ran fromEast street towards St Mary’s

Chantry -adjacent to St Marys church

Chapel- area around St Marys

The Chayne - name of a large tenement on the corner of Porters lane andFrench street

The Common – public open space to the north of the town

Common wedraft house - public toilets

Conduites - name for the public water system

Cooper's Tower - tower situated behind Bull Hall

Court hall - The Mayor’s court was held in the room above the Bargate

cross house - covered passenger waiting area on theSouthampton side of the Itchen ferry

The Crown- inn on east side of High Street below Holy Rood

Custom house - adjacent to the watergate

Cut Thorn - ancient meeting place, situated adjacent toBurgess Road cross roads on the east side.


Dibden - on Southampton water

The Dolphin inn -on the High street on the east side


East gate -  at the end ofEast street

East street- which ran down to the East gate and across the causeway to St Mary’s


Fish market - held beneath the cloth hall in St Michael’s square

Free School - Free grammar school

friars benches -public benches at the friary site in the south east corner of the town, one 30' long and one 41' long by 7' wide

Friars gate - minor gate which led from the Friary out of the east walls out to the ditches near God’s House 

friars head - public latrine at the friary site


God's House - complex of buildings in SE corner of the town including alms houses, warden’s house and St Julian’s chapel,

Gods House green - green outside god's house gate

God’s House gate - in the south east corner of town walls

God’s House Tower - tower next to god's house gate

Goswell, now Water, lane - where the conduit house was located

Governour - originally a ship of Henry V’s navy, the hulk of which was cannibalised by the town

Gubbins Farm – in Above Bar

Guildhall - situated in a room above the Bargate


Hamell - Hamble-le-Rice

Haven stone - a town boundary marker situated at Firzewell stream which runs into the river Itchen

Heg stone - town boundary marker at Blackworth below Northam bridge.

Hill - small settlement to thenorth west of Southampton, part of modern Shirley

Hill cross - town boundary marker at Hill lane, Shirley

Hill lane - main route to Hill

Hod crosse - town boundary marker

Holy Rood or St Cross located on the east side of High street

Houndwell- part of the Lammas lands outside the town walls to the north and site of a public well, watering place for horses and a wash house

Houndwell pit - sawpit at Houndwell cross on the junction of Above bar/Regent St/Pound Tree road 

Houndwell house – public wash house on the Houndwell, lammas lands                        

House of office - Bargate latrines

Hythe[Hethe] on Southampton water



Itchen - village on the east bank of the River Itchen, and a ferry crossing

Itchen ferry - the ferry boat which crossed the Itchen from cross house hard to Woolston

Jakes - public latrines

Keyhaven - one of the centres where the admiralty court of Southampton was held


Ladies Lane - formerly My Lord's Lane andPostern Lane, nowBlue Anchor Lane

Lady of Grace - a chapel at the end ofEast street

Lady Dawtrey’s bridge - Lady Dawtrey lived in the house now known as Tudor House.  The property extended down to the western shore

Langhorn gate – one of the town boundary markers situated at the east end ofBurgess Road

Lawday place - held at cutthorn onSouthampton common adjacent to theBurgess Road crossroads on the east side

Linen Hall - on West gate street

Little Hampton -  an area in Above Bar

little Postern Lane - at the end of Lords, now Blue Anchor, lane

little House of  Easement - one of the town’s public latrines

Lords Lane - seeLadies Lane, named for Lord Chief Justice, who lived in Tudor House

The Lyon tenement -  outside the walls on the east side of Above Bar purchased by the town in 1439, and previously known as The Bull. There was a second building known as theLyon in the fifteenth century, situated near Holy Rood.


Maudlin House in Above Bar street, west side above Windmill Lane

Maudlen field - Fields of St Mary Magdelen (Marlands)

Mill of the White Horse - situated in Above Bar

Millbrook - a village outside the town to thenorth west and a centre for tanning

Netley - site of a Cisterian Abbey, a sister abbey of Beaulieu abbey 

New corner - opposite Holy Rood which took traffic around the Audit House

New quay - also known as le wood quay


Our Lady of Grace - Chapel at the end ofEast Street

Petty Custom House  - at Water gate

Portswood - suburb to the north of the town

Pound - The corporation pound was used to corral stray animals, it was situated in Above Bar wherePound Street is now located


Redbridge- on outskirts of west side ofSouthampton

Roncevale - a landmark building adjacent to the north of West gate dating from the 12th century and acquired by the town in the 15th century


St Andrew's castle - on the Netley shore, one of the forts built by Henry VIII to defend the coast

St Denys priory - adjacent to the outlyingvillage ofPortswood, supplied clergy to the town’s churches

St Denys wood land associated with the Saint Denys Priory

Saint Ellins (helena) possibly in the High Street, close to the Bargate 

St Johns - church in French Street

Saint Laurence - church situated in High street

St Marys - motherchurch ofSouthampton, situated in Hamwih

St Michaels -  church in St Michael's square

St Michaels prison - in north east corner of St Michael's square


the Saltmarsh - outside God's House gate

Sholing - suburb on east of the river Itchen, supplied wood to the town

Sighhouse - public toilet

South quay - outside of Watergate

The Star - An inn situated on High street

Stewesside -Southampton’s licensed brothel was situated onEast street


Tin house - on West gate street

Totton - to the west ofSouthampton

town ditch - ran outside the walls on the North and East

town hall - upper chamber of the Bargate

Trinity fair - established 1496, held annually for 3 days at Holy Trinity Chapel St Mary’s.  The feast is moveable so the fair was probably late May and June


Walking space - outside the Audit House

water course - conduit that ran from Hill Lane around to various points in the town

Watergate - located at the Town quay end of High street

Weigh House - onFrench Street

West Hall - important town house on Bugle/French street, usually rented out to Italian factors

West key - West quay located outside of the West  gate

White Horse - inn just outside Bargate on the east side of Above Bar

Withdraught - one of the town’s public latrines

woad house - West gate Street

The Woolhouse - was a large warehouse on Town quay used to store wool after it had been assessed for customs and before export

Woollen Hall - onFrench Street at corner of St Michael's square

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