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Wiltshire Words – Dartnell and Goddard

A Glossary of Words used in the County of Wiltshire by George Edward Dartnell and the Rev. Edward Hungerford Goddard, MA, published for the English Dialect Society in 1893.

This book records dialect words used in Wiltshire in the 18th and 19th Centuries. It is a fascinating record of the richess of the local dialect and is a great source for quizzes and puzzles. It went through a number of different versions, including several published by the Socciety. Rev Goddard (later Canon Goddard) was a long-standing member of the Society and was President for many years after the First Word War.

We have used the book as the inspiration for a best-selling mug featuring some of the most amusing words. such as:-

Gander-flanking, To go. To go off larking or 'wondermenting.' Perhaps a corruption of gallivanting.—S.W. (Upton Scudamore.)

The book also features 'Specimens of Dialect - we have thought it advisable to supplement the brief examples of folk-talk found in the body of this work by a few somewhat longer specimens, which may be taken as accurately representing the speech current at the present time among the villages in North Wilts.' An extract from an inquest at Devizes Assize Court is


Counsel. What do you know about this case?

Witness. What do 'ee zaay? I be zo hard o' hirin', I caan't hire nothen, wi'out I comes handier to 'ee.

Counsel. What did you see the prisoner do?

Witness. Aw! I tell'd 'ee avore as I zeed it aal. I wurden no furder awaay vrom un then I be vrom thuck owld gent thur [the Judge]. Bill Stevens he come out an' a zaays, zaays he, 'I'll breäk thee mazzard vor the'!' an' a offer'd to hit un wi' a graft as he wur a carr'n. An' Jim he up wi' he's showl an' hut un auver th' yead wi't. An' if he hadden a hut he, he'd a hut he, an' if he'd a hut he as he hut he, he'd a killed he, 'sted o' he killin' he! That's aal as I knaws on't!

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