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XIII] THATCHING 193

to absence of literary standardisation, and in Somerset and
Gloucestershire at the present time, the cutting-off of the ears of
wheat is called ‘haulming.’ Properly, haulm is stubble, and in
Somerset in the year 1437 ‘helm bote’ was the right of cutting
haulm in a common field. In the Promptorz'um Farm/0mm haulm
or stubble was translated by ‘stipula,’ and according to Bishop
Kennett, haulm was straw left in an ‘esh’ or ‘grattan.’ Ray, in the
seventeenth century, correctly defined ‘haulm or helm ’ as ‘ stubble
gathered after the corn is inned.’ In Essex, in the year 1811,
wheat stubble was haulmed, that is it was mowed, immediately
after harvest. °

Straw is usually wetted before being used for thatching. Best
said that if dry straw were used it made the hands sore and
dulled the ‘eiz knife’; he also said that the difference ‘betwixt
strawe that is layd on dry, and strawe that is layd on wette, is
that the wette strawe coucheth better and beddes closer.’ Best
gave full instructions as to the watering of the straw in summer,
and said, ‘ In summer time wee allwayes desse and water our strawe,
but in winter time wee onely throwe it out, and the raines and wette
that falls are sufficient without any wateringe, for (this yeare) wee
threwe out all our barley strawe that was threshed betwixt that
time we gotte all in and the 17th of November,’ then the straw
was well wetted by the swine and on ‘ 18th of November when the
thatcher came, wee did noe more but sette one of the threshers
with a forke to shake up all the best of it, and lye it on an heape
togeather, and then sette one to drawe it out immediately, and
it was very good thatch.’

In Norfolk, at the present time, it is said that if the straw is not
wetted it will not ‘lie’: with this object a quantity of straw is
placed in a heap and soaked with bucketfuls of water to soften it.

After the straw has been wetted it must be ‘drawn,’ that
is, taken from the wet heap and laid in straight bundles. In
Best’s time this was done by one of the thatcher’s two women
helpers. The bundles were called ‘ bottles,’ and the drawer was to
be provided with dry oat straw wherewith to make bands to bind
them. The word bottle is still used in the dialect of Cumberland.
The Memorials of Ripsz show that the drawing of the straw was
done by women in Yorkshire long before Best’s time; in 1379~8O

1 111, p. 102.

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