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Molly Cule
6240.  Thu Feb 26, 2004 7:27 am Reply with quote

"To bant" meaning to diet was in the OED until 1963. The word appeared in the vernacular thanks to William Banting a ridiculously fat Victorian funeral director (whose family firm organised the funerals of Nelson, George III, George IV, William IV and Prince Albert) who thinned down using a diet he declared "miraculous"; his diet was the same as the modern Atkins diet.

Before dieting Banting had boils on his bottom, had to walk downstairs backwards to avoid hurting his knees and had to avoid social gatherings and public transport to escape "the sneers and remarks of the cruel and injudicious". Having tried starvation, Turkish baths, walking, rowing and horse-riding which only made him hungrier he followed the diet advice of Dr William Harvey of Soho Square, to stuff his face with protein. For breakfast he ate 6 oz of beef, mutton, kidney, bacon, 9oz of tea or coffee and a biscuit. Banting published the diet in Letter on Corpulence in 1864, he sold 63,000 copies in Britain and had the work translated into French and German and sold in the US. He gave all the profits from his publications to charity.

6268.  Fri Feb 27, 2004 5:20 pm Reply with quote

If you don’t follow Banting, / You won’t much longer get about, / If you continue thus so stout, / You’ll fall a victim to the gout, / You really must try Banting.

Last lines of a popular Victorian song

Molly Cule
6399.  Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:58 am Reply with quote

‘Befuddled’… the quickest route..

Victorian boozers sometimes drunk from a fuddling cup, a vessel with three or more containers with intertwined handles and internal tubes. Each container was filled with a different alcohol so drinkers who were supposed to drain the cup dry soon became befuddled.

698333.  Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:07 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
A new word to me, culled from the documentary on Shakespeare I am watching. Shakespeare's father was a trader in illegal wool, for which the term was a brogger.

Q - What is a brogger?
Might produce some interesting answers - Japanese blogger etc.

A Brogger man was a wool merchant. They would buy the fleece still on the sheep - a sort of futures trade - and then on shearing sell the fleece on. They would fix their prices on the first of May and then buy the fleece at the price agreed later in June on shearing. Brogger-men normally made a good profit.
The shepherds did not like or trust the Broggers. The main issue that they - the sheep owners - had was proving the fleece the Brogger man was in possession of (and had not paid for) was actually one of theirs. This eventually led to the shepherds of Yorkshire fixing a dye into the fleece while still on the sheep. Each flock having its own mark. This gave the expression "Dyed in the wool". Within fifty years of this practice starting the paint brand was required on any fleece sold, with a penalty of up to one thousand Guineas for trading in unmarked fleeces.

John Shakespeare - the father of William - was a glover in Stratford. He decided to expand his business and bought the wool shop in Henley Street. He began trading in both raw and spun wool, and thus became a Brogger. He soon became a man of some substance. In a decade he rose from mere Yeoman, through Constable, Chamberlain and Bailiff to Chief Alderman and Justice of the Peace. However, he was disgraced when it was discovered in 1577 that he was doing undeclared and underhand dealings in wool. Some 200 tonnes were involved so this was no minor miscalculation.
Shakespeare (William) was an older child at this point (around 13) but the suggestion was that later his anger and disgust at his father's actions caused a rift and he left the family home town and moved to London. The rest is history. Thus Shakespeare (William) was not an impoverished youth as has been suggested recently, but from a well-to-do prosperous upper middle class family. His mother Mary Arden after all was from one of the local affluent land-owning families.

Last edited by Whatters on Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:20 am; edited 4 times in total

698478.  Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:57 am Reply with quote

QI Whatters a fascinating insight

698556.  Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:45 am Reply with quote

Thanks Whatters - that was interesting about John Shakespeare and broggers, though I'm not sure William Shakespeare's move to London was quite so solidly caused by his father's actions as your post suggests.

698842.  Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:32 am Reply with quote

Hi Jenny
Probably not - as you say there is no evidence, and I have edited the post to soften the strength of the assumption ... but William had married Anne Hathaway - eight years his senior, the illegitimate daughter of one George Whatley in November 1582. She was said to be pregnant at the time as well - (born out by Susanna (the child) being baptised on 26 May 1583 - Trinity Sunday that year), and I expect the general opprobrium caused by that wedding in the area would have caused tongues to wag.
Previously John S. had fallen from grace when his son was a child so it is possible he could have been untrusted by his neighbours. This was small-town rural and people do have long memories, especially where spite and envy are concerned, and that, along with his horizon-expanding classics education and his own stifled ambition may have been the spur to William's move. This is obviously nothing more than conjecture - but if nothing else it's the basis of a good play! "What Willie did next"
Enjoy the thought.
BTW later in life (1596) William applied for - on behalf of his father - and received the coat of arms his dad had tried and failed to get when William was about five, and so there was evidence that there was not a complete family rupture, or if there had been then it had healed over time.

Last edited by Whatters on Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:06 am; edited 2 times in total

698902.  Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:41 am Reply with quote

So Daddy was a brogger and Wille was a blogger?

699276.  Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:07 pm Reply with quote

If you visit Southwark Cathedral you can see the tomb of William Shakespeare's brother. If there was a family rift causing the movement to London it was not only Will who moved.

In those days the streets of London were believed to be paved with gold. Many young men at that time left small towns like Stratford-on-Avon to seek their fortune. Will would have been one of many.


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