Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N is for Norton St Phillips

Here are the dialect words starting with N .... do you know what never-the-near means? What does nistn't mean? What does nunny-fudging mean? The answers are at the end of this post.
The village of Norton St Philip is about 7 miles west of Trowbridge and was the site of one of the battles during the Monmouth Rebellion.  This was a plot to overthrow King James II and allow the Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles II, to claim the throne.  The rebellion started on 11th June 1685 and Monmouth was eventually defeated on 6 July 1685 at the Battle of Sedgemoor. 
The battle at Norton St Philip took place on 27th June 1685; Monmouth and his followers had made camp at Norton St Philip, the rebel leaders using The George Inn as their headquarters (see photo below).  They were attacked by the royal forces led by the Duke of Grafton, who on advancing into the village were ambushed and surrounded by the rebels; they are said to have escaped by hacking their way through hedges.  Chevers Lane at the edge of the village is reputedly known as 'Bloody Lane' because the blood shed as a result of this battle flowed down the hill! 

Following the failed rebellion, Monmouth was executed and his followers were tried in a series of trials collectively known as the Bloody Assizes.  The judge was George Jeffreys, known as 'Hanging Judge Jeffreys', who had a reputation for harsh and biased judgements - in the Bloody Assizes he sentenced 320 people to death and about 800 more to transportation to the West Indies. 

In the autumn of 1685 The George Inn, previously the rebel's headquarters, was subsequently used as a court by Jeffreys.  Local prisoners were sentenced to be either fined, flogged or transported but twelve men from Norton St Philip were convicted of treason and sentenced to death.  They were brought back to the village, marched from The George Inn, through the Fleur De Lys (another pub just across the road, shown on the left of the photo) to be hanged in Bloody Close.  A local man allegedly opened a gate for the condemned men to pass through and for this act of respect he was taken and hanged with the rest - known as the 'wrongly hanged man', thirteen men were hanged that day!
The bodies were then hung about the village as an example to others until they were taken down and burned in a field behind the Fleur De Lys pub.  The Churchwardens' book  lists a payment of '12s for faggots for the pyre'.  After burning, their bodies were buried in the field in unconsecrated ground.

Of course there are ghost stories linked to this.  Both the Fleur De Lys and The George Inn have reported apparitions and unexplained noises which they link to this event, including rattling chains, shadows of men walking along corridors and a vanishing man.  The ghost of the 'wrongly hanged man' is supposed to remain in the Fleur De Lys. 
 The answers to the dialect words are:
  • never-the-near - uselessly
  • nistn't - need not
  • nunny-fudging - nonsense

Hope to see you again tomorrow for the letter O


  1. Hello... good words and completely make sense to an oldster like me. :) Thanks for bringing them to my memory! I enjoyed the post and the lesson in history. Best regards to you. Always happy to make new friends! Ruby aka Blabbin' Grammy. Today, my name is number 760 on the blog challenge list. It changes as people drop out of the Challenge.

  2. Your dialect words are so much fun to see. I've been stumped by each and every one so far. Such a treat =)

    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge