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Author Topic: Kent expressions  (Read 4942 times)

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Offline mikeb

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2016, 18:52:25 »
Well, thank you all once again, I think we have it.
Just to "back fill" the story, my paternal G.Mother was born 1897 in South Queensferry Scotland due to her father being a Royal Marine & him being stationed there. By 1901 the family were back in Chatham and she never really left the Towns thereafter. What is interesting from the Black Dog story is that her mother, my Gt G.Mother, came from a long standing family of woodcutters in the Walderslade / Boxley / Tunbury area, areas that figure in the explanations / links quoted by conan. It seems likely therefore that this expression may have been handed down through a family with close links with the area's directly quoted. Fascinating!

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2016, 01:30:16 »
Googling specifically for "black dog on your back", there's not much, but perhaps two traditions, one from nurseries and one for adults. The nursery tradition fits mikeb's grandmother's use. Scolding a child with "You've got the black dog on your back" would mean you were grumpy and bad-tempered. Winston Churchill (1874-1965) apparently said it frequently about himself when grumpy, and he'd picked it up from his nanny born in the 1830s (that's a nurse nanny, not a granny). The expression was used by Walter Scott (1771-1832) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). It found its way into dictionaries by the end of the 19th century, but then fell into disuse. That time frame fits mikeb's grandmother saying it in the 1950s, if she was born before 1900.

The adult tradition says it refers to melancholy or depression.

Just "black dog" referred to the devil in the middle ages. If you want to frighten a child to obedience, that might be more effective than the chimney sweep.

Parish & Shaw's (1888) Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect doesn't have anything about black dogs.

Offline mikeb

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2016, 22:39:06 »
Thanks Conan. That may well explain the origins of Granma's  expression. As I recall it (it was 65+ years ago now) it would be either something like "the black will get you if you don't behave" or perhaps " the black dog must be on your back". Which ever, it worked!

Offline conan

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To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline mikeb

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2016, 10:44:26 »
I don't know if this is a "Kent" expression or not, but I have never heard it elsewhere though.
I recall my Grandmother would say to me, or my cousin, or indeed both, that if we were being particularly naughty / tiresome to her that we "Had the Black Dog on our backs!"
A fearful expression which did instill some order as she was an imposing lady of whom we held in awe.

Offline Rochester-bred

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2016, 09:15:29 »
I also remember saying that in the playground too .

When anyone had to go to chatham to claim their 'Dole' money they would say they have to go down the 'Chat' which was another local word.
***I am still the child within***

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2016, 11:17:22 »
"Fainites" (and several other spellings) is a schoolchild's plea for a truce, found throughout the SE. Not used in adult speech. It derives ultimately from Old French, via Anglo-Norman. The regular English word "feign" has the same origin.

Offline yeoman

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2016, 12:28:41 »
I remember "faintes (fay-nights) to plead immunity during playground games at primary school.  This changed to "pax" at grammar school when the kids from prep school arrived  :)

Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2016, 09:23:02 »
Another Kent expression I recall was an occasion in a pub on Romney Marsh when discussing local matters (on which I must have seemed knowledgeable) the question was asked "Are you a Marshman?" to which I quickly replied in the negative and that I was born "Above the Knoll`, ie, Aldington Knoll that marks the boundary of the Marsh.

Now, the inhabitants of Romney Marsh are, one supposes, technically `Men of Kent` rather than `Kentishmen` but I rather suspect Marshmen don`t regard themselves as either!

Offline Signals99

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2016, 04:44:34 »
Thank you all for a very diverse set of opinions., It appears to me the question of  'men of kent' and 'ke,ntish men' is a case of "you pays your money, you takes your choice" .Anyway, thanks once again for all the replies.

Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2016, 16:08:03 »
The key to mixing and being accepted anywhere is to make yourself aware of local customs and nuances, particularly the rivalries with the neighbouring areas. As a `Man` born and bred I was imbued with those concerning the `Men` from an early age and have noted during the  path of life numerous similar cases. Although my distant forbears were Devon folk, I learned to forget that once across the Tamar into the kingdom of Kernow and to use Cornish expressions. Once at work in rural Carmarthenshire some one called across (in Welsh) what I took to be `is that tight enough now` and I at once replied `ydy, tighter than a Cardi`s (an inhabitant of Cardiganshire) purse strings` to all round laughter that I should appreciate that view of the natives of the adjoining county.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2016, 12:48:49 »
Don't know why there is always a discussion (or argument) as to whether it's right or not. I think that the vast majority of us from Kent have always accepted East & West of the Medway - end of! Incidently, who was C.H.Fielding who was able to " define" us as being something else?

Offline Skulduggery Pleasant

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2016, 10:18:22 »
I'm not sure how Man of Kent vs Kentish man came about, but I do remember some threads on here a few years back that seemed to make the distinction cloudier than the "Medway Divide" that I always believed it to be.

The following is the text of an article on the Kent News site of 14 August 2013 (I've not posted a link as the adverts on the site take a veritable age to allow it to load and I guess most of us have better things to do with our time)

"It’s one of the recurring questions related to our county’s great history and those who live here: are you a Man of Kent or a Kentish Man?

The precise definition remains open to debate even now – and this has been one long disagreement, considering that the terms were believed to have been founded more than 1,500 years ago.

According to tradition, the first Men and Maids of Kent hailed from a Germanic tribe called the Jutes who settled in the east of the county, while the Kentish Men and Maids were of Saxon origin and had settled in the west of the county.

The standard way to tell which category you fell into has been according to which side of the River Medway you were born.

If you originated from the south and east of the river, you were a Man of Kent. Those who believe they are of that lineage tell tales to set themselves apart from their counterparts on the other side of the Medway.

In 1067, it is told, the Men of Kent showed their fighting spirit by warding off William the Conqueror and winning a peace settlement from the new king allowing them certain traditional rights.

Meanwhile, the Kentish Men were said to have simply surrendered.

The story still holds sway today, although a monument in the churchyard of Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s Church in Swanscombe tells a slightly different version, suggesting it was men from both sides of the Medway who fought off William, who also carried the title of Duke of Normandy.

It is claimed the county motto Invicta originated from this tale.

The plaque reads: “Near this spot in 1067, by tradition the Men of Kent and the Kentish Men, carrying boughs on their shoulders and swords in their hands, met the invader William Duke of Normandy.

“They offered peace if he would grant their ancient rights and liberties, otherwise war and that most deadly.

“Their request was granted, and from that day the motto of Kent has been ‘Invicta’, meaning unconquered.”

Other less popular theories behind the Kentish divide include that of the 19th century author Charles Henry Fielding, who is said to have defined a Man of Kent as someone born between the River Stour in Canterbury and the sea, with all others being Kentish Men.

Other explanations include the suggestion that a Kentish Man was born in Kent but not of Kentish parents, but a Man of Kent was born in Kent to Kentish parents.

Alternatively, put forward in the 1907 book Highways And Byways In Kent, by Walter Jerrold, is the theory that the terms have a more religious meaning. According to Jerrold, the Men of Kent are supposedly those born within the limits of the Diocese of Canterbury, while Kentish Men are those born within the limits of the Diocese of Rochester.

The more you look into the background of the two county sides, the more interpretations there seem to be, which muddies the waters yet more.

With the true definition of where the two Kentish factions originated perhaps still not entirely clear, the search for the truth continues, proving the county’s ancient foundations are still a popular topic.

So, whether you believe you are a Man or Maid of Kent, or a Kentish Man or Maid, the debate will no doubt rage over pints of Kentish ale – or should that be ale of Kent?


Digging around on here, you'll find a couple of discussions about it too.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of "barmy", my late wife was a psychiatrist and always maintained that the only difference between the "loonies" (her words, not mine) was who had the keys  :)
I'd love to supply you with information about me, but I am an enigma.

Offline Signals99

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2016, 23:26:35 »
I think most of us are familiar with the expression "man/maid of Kent"my understanding of this depends on witch side of the Medway you were born on."Kentish maid "or "maid of Kent". Any ideas as to how or why this came about?,Over the years, several explanations have been put forward. Interested in other opinions, any one care to enlighten me?

Offline Rochester-bred

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Re: Kent expressions
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2016, 09:59:28 »
I was born in All Saints Hospital, Chatham but lived in Rochester and, as Chatham always had a bad reputation when people asked me where I was born, like many others from Rochester I knew, I would say pronounce it 'Chaitham' as if it was a posh place :)
***I am still the child within***

 

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