Friday, 16 November 2012

ESAH Forum: Elm Timber

Michael asks:  

William Harrison, in his 'Description of England' of 1587, noted the special crooked quality of elm timber grown in the Dovercourt/Harwich area 'almost apt for nothing but navie timber, great ordinance and beetels.' He noted their remarkable durability of the timber, better than any other in the land, 'without cuphar, shaking or cleaving'. This last presumably refers to various types of splitting, but what exactly is 'cuphar' and what is the derivation of this odd word?

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