oor in the Wall ~ Glossary

This book takes you into the world of the 14th Century England, and many words and phrases will seem unfamiliar to you.  The definitions below will help you understand the language of a time so long ago.

PAGES 7 - 25

almonry main part
Ave prayer
bowsprit a forward part of a ship
breviary book of prayers and songs
cloisters covered walks in a monastery
cobbles stones
Cockney speech English dialect
conduit a channel for moving water
corbel a bracket to support a shelf
Crookshanks crooked legs
embrasure opening
escort one or more persons accompanying another to guide or show honor
father's retainer servant
fie on thee shame on you
friar a member of a Catholic order of monks which depend on the charity of others for a living
garlands flowers wreaths
gentil noble
Hour of Nones three o'clock p.m.
Glossary, page 2
humors fevers
impertinent bold and sassy
jennet a small Spanish horse
joust fighting with a wooden weapon
liege lord ruler of a castle
linen coif a cap that fits the head closely
mailed glove glove covered with armor
manuscript a handwritten book or document
molding board bread board
monastery the home of monks and friars
monk a man who is a member of a brotherhood living in a monastery
mutton the flesh of sheep
pallets mats on which to lay
parchment the skin of a sheep or goat which was used to write on
parish church members or district under a priest or minister
physicians doctors
plague any deadly epidemic disease
postern back door or gate
procession line of people
pruning cutting away parts of a plant
pumice a light, porous, lava used to smooth wood
rook bosses decorative knobs
Prior the priest or superior that ranked next to the abbot of a monastery
priory monastery where monks live
Glossary, page 3
solar sun room
shire reeve's man in charge of the shire or district
tethered tied up
vaulted tall arched structure
 

PAGES 26-41

 
acquainted know personally
apprentice one who is learning a trade or an occupation
armor a tough protective covering, usually made of metal
befuddled confused
bracegirdler leather worker
brocaded a heavy fabric interwoven with a rich raised design
cassock ankle length garment worn by clergy
delicate frail
embroidery ornamental needlework on fabric
chantry a chapel
chisel a metal tool used to shape wood or metal
crusader military person who fought during the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries
dismounted got off a horse
devised planned
dwelleth lives
farthing a coin formerly used in England worth one fourth of a penny
fennel plants having cluster of yellow flowers
granary a building for storing grain
Glossary, page 4
guild a group of merchants
honorable law-abiding and honest
hospice a shelter for those in need
hovel a small, miserable house
humanity human being
jerkin sleeveless jacket
lectern pulpit
mail flexible armor
Midsummers Eve the evening before June 24, which was the feast celebrating John the Baptist's birth
minstrel a musician
office a prayer, usually a prescribed or memorized prayer
padlock a detachable lock
peasant a country person
Pouchmaker Guild house where men made pouches of purses
quill a writing pen made form the shaft of a feather
refectory dining hall
rehearsals practices
Roman legions Roman soldiers
saffron plant used to color foods yellow
slattern untidy, dirty woman
scriptorium a castle room used for writing and copying
tonsured shaved
trundle a low-wheeled cart
Glossary, page 5
unyielding not bending
urchins playful children
weir a fence placed in a stream to catch fish
 

PAGES 42-61

 
cutpurses pickpockets
faggots bundles of sticks used for fuel
farthing English money which equals about one-fourth of a penny
fullers those who work with cloth
hag (night hag) female demon or witch
hedgerow rows of hedge which form fences
ironmonger iron worker
noggins cups or mugs
pasty small pie filled with meat
pilgrimage long journey taken for religious reasons
ruffians hoodlums or brutal people
say the office say a prayer
thatch straw-like roof
Verger person who carries a staff and walks ahead of a bishop
 

PAGES 62-85

 
belfry a bell tower
bannock oatmeal or barley pancake
bowman an archer
Glossary, page 6
breached broken through
caparison horses horse covered with decorated cloth
chamber a room
craftsman a man who practices a craft with great skill
drawbridge a bridge that can be raised or lowered
flageolet small flute
flambeaux a flaming torch
fletcher one who makes arrows
fripperies trivia or miscellaneous items
peasants poor farmers
hospice a house of shelter
keep central tower of a castle
jousting a combat between two jousting knights
jugged hare wild rabbit stew
largess money or gifts
newel a vertical support at the center of a circular staircase
heath open, uncultivated land
pease porridge thick pea soup
pikestafffs walking sticks tipped with a metal spike
portcullis strong iron gate which opened by raising it up and closed by dropping it down
punts tapered extensions of land
recreation activity that amuses
punts small boats
Glossary, page 7
turrett a small tower
Welsh a person from Wales
yeoman a farmer who farmed his own land
 

PAGES 86 - 103

 
aloft to a high place
Benedicite a prayer which asks a blessing for someone
bracken weedy fern
centuries periods of 100 years
cotter cottage
drover one who drives cattle or sheep to market
ewer pitcher
fidget to behave nervously
garrison a military post
larder pantry
lathe a machine for shaping wood or metal
priory a monastery
ravine a deep, narrow valley worn by running water
sacristan an officer of the church
sally port a wide gateway for troops
sentry a guard posted at a given spot to prevent unauthorized persons from entering
the downs open, rolling country
ewer pitcher
Glossary, page 8
treacherous tricky or dangerous
windlass machine or hoisting or hauling
yeomen a lesser official in a royal household

PAGES 104-121
 
basin a sink or washbowl
coif a tightly fitted cap
curfew a regulation requiring certain or all people to leave the streets or be home at a prescribed hour
dais a raised platform
doublet a close fitting jacket without sleeves
gratitude thankfulness
hearth floor of a fireplace
holly a shrub having bright, red berries
invaders people entering by force
lances a weapon with a metal shaft and a sharp metal head
medallions large medals
scones small, biscuit like bread
siege an attack
spruce an evergreen tree
tapestry a heavy cloth interwoven with designs
tutor a private teacher
viol a 6-stringed instrument played with a bow
yule log the large foundation log used on the hearth for Christmas eve