Roger Wilbraham was a Whig MP from 1786 to 1796, representing Helston and later Bodmin (both in Cornwall). Neither was a rotten borough in the strictest sense, although both were a bit whiffy to say the least, and were both subsequently reduced from sending two members to parliament to sending just one. Initially, Wilbraham had stood unsuccessfully for election in Mitchell, a rotten borough by any standards, which was abolished in the 1832 Great Reform Act.
Finding himself at something of a loose end after the end of his political career, Wilbraham turned to his great hobby: collecting books. In 1802 he became a member of the Society of Antiquaries, who published his detailed study of the dialect of Cheshire in 1817, titled An Attempt at a Glossary of Some Words used in Cheshire. Wilbraham’s work was sufficiently popular to warrant reprinting several times. The following is a selection of some of his words and definitions:
AFTERINGS: the last milk that can be drawn from a cow.
BAGGING-TIME: the time of the afternoon luncheon.
BANDY-HEWIT: a little bandy-legged dog.
BEARDINGS: the bushes which are stuck into the bank of a new made hedge, to protect the fresh planted thorns.
BOGGY-BO, or BOGGART: a bug-bear or scarecrow.
CAPERLASH: abusive language.
CLARGYMAN: a ludicrous appelation for a black rabbit.
CRANNY: pleasant, agreeable, or praiseworthy.
CREWDLE or CROODLE: to crouch together like frightened chickens on the sight of a bird of prey.
DING: to surpass or get the better of somebody.
DUNGOW-DASH or DRUMBOW-DASH: dung, filth. When the clouds threaten hail or rain, it is said, there is a deal of pouse or dungo-dash to come down.
FITCHET-PIE: a pie composed of apples, onions, and bacon, served to labourers at harvest-home.
FUKES: the hair.
GAFTY: doubtful, suspected; a gafty person is a suspected person.
HIDLANDS: concealment. When a person keeps out of the way from the fear of being arrested, he is said to be in Hidlands.
HOBBITY HOY: an awkward stripling, between man and boy.
JACK NICKER: a Gold Finch, why so called I cannot conjecture.
KNOCKER-KNEE’D: said of those knees which in action strike against each other.
LITHER: idle, lazy; long and lither is said of a tall idle person.
MICKLES: size. He is of no mickles; he is of no size or height.
MUCKINDER: a dirty napkin or pocket handkerchief.
POSS: to poss is a jocular punishment common among marlers when anyone comes late to work in the morning; he is held across a horse with his posteriors exposed, and struck on them with the flat side of a spade by the head workman, called the lord of the marl pit.
SCRATTLE: to scratch as fowls do.
SKITTERWIT: a foolish, hare-brained fellow.
STEPMOTHER’S BLESSING: a little reverted skin about the nail, often called a back friend.
TO TACK ONE’S TEETH to any thing, is, to set about it heartily.
A THRIPPOWING PUNGOWING LIFE is a hard laborious life.
TOOT, to pry curiously or impertinently into any little domestic concerns.
WHOOKED: broken in health, shaken in every joint.
Anyway, I mustn’t be lither. I’m off to wash my muckinders, comb my fukes, and walk the cranny bandy-hewit. Sometimes, it’s a thrippowing pungowing life.