This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Word To Use Today: loriner/lorimer.

Loriner is a lovely word. I discovered it on a visit to Capel Manor College and Gardens, which is just inside the northernmost stretch of the M25 motorway which circles London.

There is a plaque in the entrance there to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the Worshipful Company of Loriners. 750th! And yet I didn't even know what a loriner was.

It turns out that a loriner is someone who makes the metal bits of a horse's tackle: that is, basically, the metal parts of its saddle and bridle.

The Loriner Company first came together officially in 1261, and part of the idea of the company was to lay down rules for conditions of work, and to stipulate the taxes to be paid to the City of London, and also to charity.

Now, the Saddlers had a company, too, and the Saddlers' Company hated the Loriners. They hated the Painters and the Fusters (or joiners), too, and on Ascension Day in 1327 there was a huge bust-up in the streets of London between all these companies in which several people were killed.

Everyone was duly summoned to appear before the Mayor and Sheriffs (in fact, so many men turned up on the first day that they had to abandon the sitting) but although the Saddlers protested that all the other trades had agreed to go on strike if any one of them had a dispute with the Saddlers (a wheeze which continued to be legal for nearly all of the last 750 years), in the end the judges decreed that the Saddlers must promise to conspire no more against the other trades - and must pay ten tuns of wine to the Commonalty of London.

It's a lovely story, but how to use the beautiful word loriner today I do not know. I can only suggest you tell someone the story of the court case and discuss how much wine might atone for some other sins. 

Such as failing to return a library book on time, perhaps.

Word To Use Today: loriner/lorimer. The Old French word lorain means harness strap, and comes from the Latin lōrum, strap. The form of the word lorimer seems to be basically a very long-standing mistake.

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