For a particular purpose.
An axe-like tool used for cutting.
A double sulphate of aluminium and potassium.
An area of high atmospheric pressure with diverging and descending air flows that rotate clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
An abbreviation of "Before Present." By convention, it means prior to 1950.
Fish used to bait hooks in the schooner bank fishery. This fishery used long lines of hooks usually baited with herring, caplin or squid.
Cod-fishery prosecuted in vessels, or in dories carried by vessels, on the offshore fishing grounds.
A very common, fine-grained, usually dark-coloured basic igneous rock.
Person responsible for curing and drying of fish on shore. Also know as a shoreman.
Benefit of clergy
In its original sense, the term "benefit of clergy" denoted the exemption accorded to clergymen from the jurisdiction of secular courts in the Middle Ages. The privilege of exemption from capital punishment was gradually extended in specific cases to all persons connected with the church and eventually to everyone who could read. By the 18th century, the term was used to indicate a one-time privilege, accorded to literate defendants, of exemption from hanging for certain felonies. It was granted in cases where a person convicted of an offence for which benefit of clergy could be claimed passed a literacy test by reading a passage from the Bible, usually the 51st Psalm. The person would usually be branded in the thumb and then discharged. During the 18th century, the literacy test was abolished in England; benefit of clergy was removed for many serious felonies (such as murder, robbery, and burglary), and became a means of pardoning some first-time offenders.
A tool that is chipped or worked on both faces or sides.
Bill of exchange
A written order to pay a sum of money on a given date to the drawer or to a named payee.
Having two somewhat circular areas as in a bilobate house.
Largest recognizable subdivision of terrestrial ecosystems, including the total assemblage of plant and animal life interacting with the biosphere (life layer).
A mass of puddled iron hammered or squeezed into a thick bar. See bloomery, puddled iron.
A factory that makes puddled iron into blooms. See bloom, puddled iron.
A certificate issued by a government or a public company promising to repay borrowed money at a fixed rate of interest at a specified time.
A market where bonds are bought and sold.
Of the north or northern regions.
Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus)
An arctic whale which inhabits the North Atlantic. It is believed that the eastern group of this mammal was originally the most populous of the bowhead whale stocks. Today, bowhead whales are listed on the endangered species list.
A square-rigged ship with two masts.
A two-masted ship having the foremast square-rigged and the mainmast fore-and-aft-rigged.
A stone tool, from which flakes, called "burin spalls", are removed in order to create a sharp edge that is used to carve grooves, commonly in bone or wood.
Inshore fishing boats owned and operated by fishers annually migrating as passengers from England.
Bye boat fishery
Cod-fishery prosecuted from small crafts in coastal waters.
A celebrated case. A single trial or judicial decision is sometimes called a cause célèbre when it is remarkable on account of the parties involved, the unusual nature of the facts, or the sensational publicity surrounding it.
An officer managing the household of a sovereign or great noble.
Charge to the jury
The final address by a judge to the jurors before they withdraw to consider a verdict, in which he sums up the case and instructs the jury about the relevant rules of law.
To enter into a contract to hire a ship or other vessel. See charter party.
A merchant or other person who hires a ship or other vessel.
A deed between a shipowner and a merchant for the hire of a ship or other vessel for the delivery of a cargo.
A colony established as a business venture by a group of investors.
A hard variety of sedimentary rock, similar to flint. It breaks in a predictable fashion which made it highly desirable for prehistoric toolmakers.
A trader in wool and woolen cloth.
A loose deposit of rock debris accumulated through the action of gravity at the base of a cliff or slope.
Commission of Government
After the Dominion of Newfoundland gave up responsible government in 1934, Newfoundland was governed by six commissioners appointed by Britain.
Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer
The group of judges, usually between five and seven men, to whom the Governor gave a commission authorizing them to convene a Court of Oyer and Terminer.
The action of turning something into or treating something as a mere commodity.
In Newfoundland, refers to the union of Newfoundland and Labrador with Canada. Also refers to 1949, the year this union took place.
A tree of the order Coniferales, that typically bears cones and needle-like, often evergreen, leaves, e.g. a pine, spruce or fir.
An area of relatively shallow seabed which lies between the shore of a continent and the deeper water of the ocean.
An overhanging ledge of compacted snow on the leeward edge of a ridge or cliff. It is formed by wind currents and represents a hazard because of its inherent instability and tendency to fracture without warning.
An officer of a county, district or municipality, holding inquests on deaths thought to be violent or accidental.
Court of oyer and terminer
Literally, a court to hear and determine. The court could deal with all crimes except treason.
Courts of Chancery
A court administering equity and proceeding according to the forms and principles of equity, rather than principles of law.
An archaeological culture refers to the pattern of remains left behind by a distinct group of people. Culture in the anthropological, as opposed to the archaeological, sense can be defined as the sum total of socially-learned and transmitted behaviour and thought.
A method of preserving fish by salting and drying, or by pickling. Variations in the process resulted in different cures.
The revenue received by a government from taxation.
Subject to, or held by the custom of the fishery, etc.
An area of low atmospheric pressure with converging and ascending air flows that rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
A tree that sheds its leaves annually.
That which actually exists, even without lawful authority.
A judgement entered against a party who has failed to defend against a claim that has been brought by another party. When a party against whom a judgement is sought has failed to plead, i.e. answer or otherwise defend, that party is in default, and a judgement may be entered either by the clerk or the court.
The rate or amount payable to a shipowner by a charterer for failure to load or discharge a ship within the time agreed.
A foreigner admitted to certain rights in his or her adopted country.
Giving sworn evidence, or an allegation.
Dew point temperature
The temperature at which a body of air becomes saturated, holding all the water it can hold. Any further cooling or addition of water vapour results in condensation. In the atmosphere, this condensation results in cloud or fog formation.
A new kind of servant who remained in Newfoundland through the winter, working for little more than room and board.
tax on income or profits.
Downslope movement of groundwater close to, or at the surface.
Drainage basin (catchment)
The area drained by a stream or river.
A person who writes out a bill, cheque or draft.
Individual who removes the head, guts, and backbone of a codfish.
Refuse or impurities such as whale blubber.
Branches or mats, etc. placed around a cargo to protect it from damage by water or chafing.
The stone or metal point of a harpoon.
Of or relating to the plant family Ericaceae, which includes heathers, azaleas, and rhododendrons.
A long ridge of material deposited from meltwater streams running subglacially, roughly parallel to the direction of ice flow.
The loss of water from the surface to the atmosphere by evaporation combined with transpiration by plants.
Ex proprio vigore
By its own force, i.e., imperial statutes did not need to be specifically cited in order to be in force in Newfoundland.
A business agent.
A measure of six feet.
The animal life of a region or geological period.
A serious crime, usually violent, which is punishable by a heavy sentence under the law.
A low marshy or flooded area of land.
The waterfront area from which a fishery was conducted, including all necessary facilities.
The master of the first English migratory fishing vessel to reach a harbour in Newfoundland, exercising certain privileges for the season.
A platform built from wooden poles for drying fish.
A large knife used by the Inuit and their ancestors to cut blubber and skin from sea mammals. Often made from slate in the prehistoric period and iron in the historic era.
Newfoundland fishermen who prosecute the cod-fishery in schooners along the Labrador coast.
The cod fishery prosecuted in schooners along the Labrador Coast by Newfoundland migratory fishermen.
The plants of a particular region, geological period, or environment.
Of or found in a river or rivers.
Men stationed in the foretop (platform over the head of the lower mast) in readiness to set or take in the smaller sails, and to keep the upper rigging in order.
That section of the coast of Newfoundland where, from 1713, the French possessed the right to fish in season.
A cylindrical wicker or metal basket for filling with earth or stones used in engineering.
A stone wood-working tool with a chisel-like cutting edge.
Shoal or banks in the Atlantic Ocean east and south of the island of Newfoundland which extends about 500 miles from west to east, and about 200 miles wide, with an average depth of 50 fathoms (or 300 ft). It is crossed by the Labrador Current from the north mingling with the Gulf Stream on its eastern edge. Until recently, it was the greatest cod-fishing region in the world.
Bottom-dwelling species including cod, pollock, haddock, turbot, and red fish.
Warm ocean current in North Atlantic Ocean which flows out of the Gulf of Mexico through the Straits of Florida. At that point the current is 50 miles wide and more than 2000 ft. deep. It continues northeast along the coast of the United States to Nantucket Island off New England and then eastward toward the Grand Banks. In the north mid-Atlantic ocean it merges with the North Atlantic Drift Current, a warm current flowing northeast to the Barents Sea, a sea located north of Norway in the Arctic Ocean. At about 30 west it turns south eventually touching the Iberian Peninsula.
The upper edge of the side of a boat or ship, called so because it formerly supported guns.
A spear-like weapon with a line attached, usually thrown or thrust into a marine animal. Harpoons are generally barbed, or are toggling harpoons.
Any non-woody seed-bearing plant which lies down to the ground after flowering.
Also called horsy-hops. In the Morris-dance it was a figure of a horse which was attached to the waist of one of the performers. It was also a figure of a horse carried by mummers during Christmas activities. Each group of mummers would have at least one hobby horse to accompany them from house to house. A pair of mummers would often dress up as a hobby horse by crouching beneath a blanket or a cloth covering - the one in the front put on a wooden mask in the shape of a horse's head. The head could be turned by sticks and the jaws, containing teeth made from nails, were manoeuvred by string.
A large compartment in the lower part of a vessel where the cargo is stored. In earlier days, the hold also housed the ships gear and any provisions which would be required on the voyage.
The frame of a seafaring vessel. It is the main body, essentially only the upper deck, sides and bottom. The hull does not include the vessel's masts, rigging, or internal fittings such as boilers and engines.
The peninsula comprising Spain and Portugal.
The act or practice of forcing men into military service, or seizing property for public service or use.
The essential elements of a system or structure.
The most important administrative office in New France, eventually responsible for the administration of finance, justice and police in the colony.
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The highest court of appeal in the British Empire and Commonwealth. The Judicial Committee sat in London and was composed of senior British judges. Few, if any Commonwealth countries currently allow appeals to this body.
Justice of the Peace
A part-time magistrate who is not a lawyer by profession.
A North American evergreen shrub having clusters of cup-shaped flowers.
A large ceremonial structure in which the Inuit and their ancestors carried out a variety of rituals.
The stunted and gnarled woodlands characteristic of forest margins at high altitudes and high latitudes. The dwarfing, distortion and, in extreme conditions, the prostrate habit of trees are a result of the combined effects of wind and cold.
Ocean current flowing south along West Greenland and Labrador coasts and east of Newfoundland uniting with the Gulf Stream in the area of the Grand Bank. Its cold waters meeting with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream cause the frequent fogs of this part of the North Atlantic.
Of, or pertaining to a lake.
Not ordained to the priesthood.
Of or pertaining to stone. In archaeology, lithic artifacts include ground and chipped stone tools and the debris resulting from their manufacture.
The rigid outer part of the earth consisting of the crust and upper mantle.
A long tapering pole, usually a conifer with bark left on, used in constructing roofs, floors, surfaces of stages and flakes, etc; fence, rail. See shortlar.
Lord of Misrule
A position assigned by an old English Christmas custom wherein the king chose an individual of initiative and joke playing abilities to act as ruler for the duration of the Christmas season (Christmas Eve until the fifth of January). This mock ruler would then select his own officials with whom he would direct all Christmas celebrations in his master's court. He dressed elaborately and often led revellers on wild nighttime processions through town. The Lord of Misrule was permitted to do whatever he pleased: play practical jokes, create disorder by breaking into homes; or spend huge sums of money. Nobody could interfere with him or his behaviour as long as he kept those around him in laughter.
The process of preserving fish by salting and drying; curing.
May Day rites
An English custom which is believed to go back to the time of the Druids. The old Celtic name is Beltane, meaning "Bel-fire" or fire of the Celtic god of light. May Day marked the beginning of summer, lasting from sundown on April 30 to sundown on May 1st. Its customs included processions of chimney-sweeps and milk maids, archery tournaments, morris dances, sword dances, feasting, music, drinking and maidens washing their faces in the dew of May morning to retain their youthful beauty. Originally a celebration of fertility, its meaning became tamed and altered over time. By the Victorian era, it represented the beauty and innocence reminiscent of Merry England. This still remains a strong secular festival, especially with the working class who long ago celebrated it as a holiday from work.
A document recording the terms of a contract or other legal details.
A dealer in textile fabrics, especially silk and other costly materials.
Codfish that is split, salted and dried in a manner suitable for sale or marketing. Over time the term came to mean dry fish of a specific and superior quality or grade. See Refuse Fish below.
The policy of rigidly regulating economic life in such a way as to maximize employment and create a favourable balance of trade.
Rock that has undergone transformation by natural agencies such as heat and pressure.
A small rectangular flake, 5 centimeters or less, shaped like a prism in cross-section, and struck from a microblade core.
A place where a fire was maintained inside a Palaeo-Eskimo mid-passage house (i.e., a house with an entry in the middle and a clearly defined "passage" separate from the sleeping area of the house).
A place where coins are made.
Knitted woolen glove with separate sheaths for thumb and forefinger, or for thumb alone.
An accumulation of unstratified debris, especially boulders and coarse material, carried down and deposited by a glacier or ice sheet.
The use of a substance, such as alum, to enable a dye or stain to become fixed in a fabric.
A group of specially trained male dancers who perform a type of ritual folk dance called Morris dance. although its precise origins are unknown, it was probably at one time connected with food supply and soil fertility. Usually performed during the May Day revel, the dancers blacken their faces and wear white shirts and trousers with bright ribbon or garland crossing the chest and back. Bells are attached to pieces of leather that are wound around the legs. Originally, the bright coloured clothing was worn to help the sun's efforts to promote growth and the height reached by the dancers' leaps was believed to encourage the growth of the crops. Morris dance is still performed throughout rural England today.
Also called themselves Jennies or Fools. Someone ridiculously disguised who participates in various group activities during Christmas such as visiting local homes. Please see further explanation under "Mummering, mumming."
Also known in many outport communities throughout Newfoundland as jennying or jannying. It involved a group of people, disguised in ridiculous attire, who called on local homes during the Christmas season. These Mummers of Jennies, as they called themselves, dressed in bright coloured clothing and wore masks when available or painted their faces black. They also distorted their voices to avoid being easily recognized. After being invited inside a house, festivities ensued where food and drink were offered to the visitors who acted the fool and sang and danced while the hosts attempted to identify them. Once a person's identity was correctly determined, it was customary for the mummer to remove his or her mask. The traditional custom of mummering still occurs in many regions of the province today.
A relatively small vessel.
Oath of Allegiance (or Obedience)
An oath required of persons in the employ of the British government. The person taking it swore allegiance to the monarch of Britain and not to the Bishop of Rome and any claim he may make to the right to depose the monarch of Britain.
Oath of Supremacy
An oath required of persons in the employ of the British government. The person taking it swore that the British monarch and his or her successors, not the pope, is supreme monarch in Britain.
Large trawlers which pull bag-shaped nets, held open by large flaps or 'otter boards'.
The person who supplied the equipment for a fishing or hunting expedition. The outfitter was responsible for 'fitting out' a vessel by equipping it with all necessary supplies and gear.
A narrow, vertical flat strip of wood, usually with a pointed top, used for fencing; a paling.
Subsoil which remains below freezing point throughout the year, as in polar regions.
A meeting of two or more justices of the peace to deal speedily with certain offences.
The component of plankton consisting of microscopic plants.
The small and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea or fresh water.
A settler in Newfoundland, rather than a migratory fisherman, who supported himself through the inshore boat fishery.
A rock formed from molten magma deep in the earth. Same as igneous rock.
A stretch of open water surrounded by ice, esp. in the Arctic seas.
Portolan book, portolano, portolan
A book of the late medieval and early modern period giving sailing directions, describing harbours, sea-coasts etc., and illustrated with charts. See rutter below.
Posting a bond
Also referred to as sufficient security. Refers to a security for good behavior, which is a bond or recognizance that a magistrate exacts from a defendant brought before him on a charge of disorderly conduct or threatening violence. This bond is conditional upon the defendant's good behavior and keeping the peace, for a prescribed period of time, toward all people in general and the complaintant in particular.
A small allowance paid by a shipper to the master and crew of a vessel for the loading and care of goods. Over time this allowance was, on occasion, retained by the shipowner.
An armed vessel owned and officered by private individuals holding a government commission and authorized for war service.
Privy Council, Judicial Committee of
The highest court of appeal in the British Empire and Commonwealth. The Judicial Committee sat in London and was composed of senior British judges. Few, if any Commonwealth countries currently allow appeals to this body.
A generic term used to describe bone, stone, or metal points for arrows, darts, lances, and other projectiles.
A colony launched by an individual proprietor who may have had reasons other than profit for encouraging overseas settlement.
Iron that has been stirred while molten to expel carbon; wrought iron.
A person who is very strict in morals and religion.
A court with limited criminal and civil jurisdiction, held each quarter by justices of the peace.
The measure of cod for sale: 112 lbs (50.8 kg) of dried saltfish.
Dried and salted codfish well below the "merchantable" standard or grade. See Merchantable Cod above.
A procedure whereby a substance such as animal fat is melted down in order to clarify them through extracting the impurities.
The constitutional arrangement prevalent in British North American colonies until the 1840s and 1850s. There was an elected House of Assembly, but the executive government was appointed by the Crown, to whom it was responsible.
The constitutional arrangement in which the executive government consisted of elected members of the House of Assembly, usually belonging to the majority political party. The government had to maintain a majority in the Assembly, to which body it was responsible.
A Spanish coin which the English mint valued at 6¼ pence during the 17th century. Eight rial equaled a Spanish dollar, or piece of eight, worth 4s. 6d. in England, although it was worth more in the colonies. Also spelled Real.
Any large-headed whale in the family Balaenidae. Right whales are rich in whale bone and easy to capture.
Bedrock at the surface, normally the result of glacial erosion.
A set of instructions for finding one's course at sea; a mariner's guide to routes, tides, etc; also a northern and slightly less defined version of the portolano. In use during the late medieval and early modern period. See portolan book above.
White wines from Spain and the Canaries.
Vessel engaged in carrying dried cod from Newfoundland to Iberian and Mediterranean markets, and then often wine, sack or other cargo to British ports.
Codfish which has been dressed, salted and usually dried.
A bone or stone tool used to scrape the fat from hides in order to prepare the skins for use.
A certificate whose value is recognized by the payer and payee. Scrip is not currency but may be convertible into currency.
Equality in the Canadian Senate based on sections of Canada, rather than on provinces.
A person employed in the fishery on wages.
A partly decked boat of less than 20 tons, used mostly in the cod fisheries.
Properly, a vessel large enough to have three masts. Most "fishing ships" were smaller than this, usually with two masts.
English migratory fishery in Newfoundland.
Person responsible for curing and drying of fish on shore. Also know as a beachmaster.
A spruce branch about the size of a thumb and 3 feet long, woven vertically into the horizontal longers of a fence. See longer above.
A written order for payment of money payable upon presentation.
An elevated platform on the shore with working tables, sheds, etc, where fish are landed and processed for salting and drying, and supplies are stored.
A person responsible for stowing fish in a ship's hold.
Subdued landscape refers to the local relief. Ice Sheets tend to erode and remove hills and knolls so that the landscape is flatter and more subdued once it has been glaciated. Valley glaciers tend to over-deepen troughs and fiords, thereby enlarging the local relief.
Also referred to as posting a bond. Refers to a security for good behavior, which is a bond or recognizance that a magistrate exacts from a defendant brought before him on a charge of disorderly conduct or threatening violence. This bond is conditional upon the defendant's good behavior and keeping the peace, for a prescribed period of time, toward all people in general and the complaintant in particular.
The person, usually an officer, on a merchant ship who is responsible for buying and selling the ship's cargo.
Literally, a deputy or substitute. In 18th and 19th Newfoundland, naval officers and others with temporary commissions as justices of the peace were known as surrogate magistrates, and their courts as surrogates courts.
The predominantly coniferous forest located south of the tundra in northern continents.
A duty on a particular class of imports or exports. Also a list of duties or customs to be paid.
The delayed heating and cooling of the oceans relative to the land.
A non-sorted or poorly sorted sediment containing a wide range of particle sizes deposited by glacier ice. There are several kinds of till, determined by the mode of deposition.
A temporary shelter. Usually a small hut built of vertically-placed logs.
A harpoon with a detachable head which, when driven into an animal, twists, or "toggles", in order to secure the prey. The harpoon head is attached to a line held by the hunter.
Oil obtained from a sea animal, especially a whale.
The belief of Roman Catholics that during the Mass, the substance of the bread and wine are transformed and that Christ physically becomes present in the bread and wine following the recitation of the words "this is my body", "this is my blood" by the priest.
A stream draining into a larger stream.
Tryworks (or try works)
Iron pots, set in brick, which were used to boil the oil out of whale blubber. This process was known as 'trying out' the oil. They were normally found on with the deck of a whaling vessel out at sea or in a suitable position along the shore.
A Japanese term which has been universally adopted to describe a large seismically generated sea wave which is capable of considerable destruction in certain coastal areas, especially where underwater earthquakes occur. Although in the open ocean the wave height may be less than 1 m, it steepens to heights of 15 m or more on entering shallow water. They have been incorrectly referred to as tidal waves.
The tendency for European Roman Catholic clergy to try to insulate the Church from political control or influence by looking over the Alps to the papacy in Rome for teaching, doctrine, leadership, and cultural models. In Ireland and Newfoundland, this meant attempting to limit the influence the British government had on priests and bishops.
A semi-circular "woman's knife", used by the Inuit and their ancestors, commonly made from slate in the prehistoric period, and iron in the historic period.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
'UNESCO' stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a cultural or natural site which meets the global criteria for preservation and recognition as established by the World Heritage Committee.
In English law, the fact of possession indicates a presumption of the right of property in the thing possessed.
Any sea-going boat.
Court with admiralty jurisdiction in British colonies - that is, the power to deal with maritime disputes and offences.
Specially prepared food for use aboard a vessel.
A person who supplied victuals, or a ship carrying stores for other ships.
Wetland Bog, fen, marsh; an area of poor drainage where poorly decomposed plant material accumulates to form peat.
Whelped Whitecoats Newly-born harp seals.
Whelping Patches Concentration of harp or hood seals on the icefloes for purposes of giving birth.
Wrigglin A woven fence made out of small, young spruce or fir trunks.