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IV] CURVED TREE PRINCIPALS 37

mentions a barn at VVrington which has forks (‘ furcas ’) and a beam
of the forks (‘ trabem furcarum ’). The Close Rolls of the reign of
Henry I II contain an entry of two forks and two wall-plates (‘ii furcas
et ii paunasl’). Both the upright, straight posts and the slanting,
curved crooks were ‘forks’ to the medizcval writers, and so it is im-
possible to say which kind was meant in the above quotations.

Farther to the South, the name ‘ forks’ is used in Northampton-
shire, and in that county many examples are said to still remain in
ancient farmhouses and barns. They have also the name ‘crucks’ in
Northamptonshire, and this is used in Westmorland and in the West
Riding of Yorkshire ; about Sheffield a building of this kind, with
curved tree principals reaching to the floor, is said to be built ‘on
crucks.’ In Lancashire and Cheshire ‘ crooks,’ a newer form of the
word, is used, and in these two counties there are to be seen some
of the largest and finest specimens in existence. A curved tree of
the bowed shape used in ship-building is known in the trade as a
‘crook,’ and in the days when English warships were of wood, oak-
trees of the same kind were advertised for sale as ‘ crooks’ in the
newspapers of the period.

The older form of the word is ‘ cruck,’ and according to
Lacomblet, the historian of the Lower Rhine, the ribs of boats
on the river are known as ‘crucks’ (‘curva ligna naviculae quae
crucken dicuntur’). The use of the word is widespread in the
Teutonic languages and its history is investigated in J. and W.
Grimm’s Deutsckes Wé’rterbuc/z”. The Wb'rterbuc/z shows that the
original meaning of the word was ‘bcnd,’ and that the present
meaning of ‘prop’ is a later variation. At the present time, in
‘ Skaane,’ as Mr Bernhard Olsen informs the writer, the word
‘ krykke ’ is only applied to the large post with a forked end,
which carries the swingle-tree for the bucket of a well of the old-
fashioned kind“.

Our English word ‘cruck’ agrees with both the older and the
later meanings, as a cruck is a curved prop.

The word ‘ cruck ’ has passed through the usual softening, like
‘ kirk’ into ‘ church,’ and has become ‘ crutch ’ and ‘ crotch,’ the use
of which, in building, is restricted to upright posts.

1 Kat. Lift. Clam, I, p. 539 b quoted in Select Plea: of the Forest, published by the
Selden Society.

2 5.1). Kriicke.

3 An example is illustrated in Billedbogfra Frz'laudmmseet.

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