Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hop-harlot and dogswain

Hop-harlot and dogswain

Old name for a coarse coverlet. Etymology: corrupt form of hap-harlot from the verb hap, meaning to wrap or cover.

"...and we ourselves have lien full oft upon straw pallets, covered onelie with a sheet, under coverlets made of dagswain or hopharlots (I use their own termes), and a good round log under their heads in steed of a bolster, or pillow. If it were so that our fathers or the good man of the house, had within seven years after his mariage purchased a mattress or flockebed, and thereto a sacke of chaffe to resh his head upon, he though himself to be as well lodged as the lord of the town, that peradventure laye seldome in a bed of downe or whole feathers; so well were they contended, and with such base kind of furniture..."
From: William Harrison (1534 - 1593) in "A Description of England, or a briefe rehearsal of the nature and qualities of the people of England and such comitatus as are to be found in the same" (here)
Dagswain: A coarse woollen fabric made of daglocks. (A dirty or clotted lock of wool on a sheep.) [here & here]
In their youth they lay upon hard straw pallets covered only with a sheet, and mayhap a dogswain coverlet over them, and a good round log for pillow. If in seven years after marriage a man could buy a mattress and a sack of chaff to rest his head on, he thought himself as well lodged as a lord. Pillows were thought meet only for sick women.
From: Charles Dudley Warner - For Whom Shakespeare Wrote (here)

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