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The Meaning of Liverpool!

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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Meaning of Liverpool!
    Posted: 31-May-2010 at 12:36
A long time ago, I wrote the following letter;

Letter to the Editor

ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine

Title: LIVERPOOL, the origin of the word!

In the Nov/Dec, 2003 issue of ARCHAEOLOGY, I found an article entitled ASSAULT ON TRADITION, by David Keys. In this article Mr. Keys wrote; By the end of the seventeenth century, Liverpool was already Britain’s third largest port, and its hundred ships, manned by 1,100 seamen, played a major role in the sugar, rum, and tobacco trades. The original tidal inlet, the “pool” from which the city gets its name (liferpol is the Anglo-Saxon word for “muddy water creek”),...   (It should be noted that Liverpool is located in/on the estuary of the Mersey River.)

I tend to dispute this assertion that Liverpool got its name from an old “Anglo-Saxon word for ‘muddy water creek’ since this would hardly be a descriptive word for the port and the tidal water therein. Because I am not an expert in extinct Anglo-Saxon words, I cannot argue that “liferpol” does not exist nor that it means “muddy water creek.” And, I do not know from what sources the author gathered his information that was used to explain the relation of “liferpol’ to Liverpool.

I can however argue that it was probably not from this “extinct?” word, that the city derived its name. It seems much more reasonable to ascertain its origin from words more common to the industries that made Liverpool a top rank port city in Britain. The city’s name is much more likely to have far more modern origins. Let me explain; get any good dictionary and look up the first word of Liver-pool. My source is Webster’s, New World Dictionary of the English Language, second edition.

“Liver, a noun [from Middle English livere from Old English lifer, akin to Greek liber from ? Intermediate English base leip-, to smear with fat, whence Greek liparos, fat]”. You can plainly see that the Old English word lifer (which I can assume is of Anglo-Saxon origin) appears to mean “smear with fat” which I can translate into a more common form which is “GREASE”, since we all know that wheels were greased for many years with animal fat. Taking this to its point, the word liferpol (I assume in the eye and words of Mr. Keys), is a compound word with lifer meaning “muddy watered” and “pol” (short for pool) meaning creek. The dictionary, on the other hand, implies that lifer means “grease” and it is agreed that grease mixed with water would look “muddy” so maybe there is some connection! I assume that pol may have another meaning also. Perhaps I am wrong in this assumption, but prima facie, this appears to be a far cry from what the author says is the Anglo-Saxon meaning of lifer-pol. My apologies if my thinking is outside of current thought on the subject.

But back to the Dictionary. Further down the list of words we find liveried, which means wearing a livery! And what pray tell is a livery you ask? Here is the crux of my argument, the word livery! Again from my dictionary;

“Livery, a noun, [Middle English, allowance of food, gift of clothes to a servant, then delivered, from Old French, livree, the past participle of livrer, to deliver, from Latin liberare, to LIBERATE.]

1. An identifying uniform such as was formerly worn by feudal retainers or is now worn by servants or those in some particular group, trade, etc.

2. The people wearing such uniforms.

3. Characteristic dress or appearance.

4.a) the keeping and feeding of horses for a fixed charge.....

4.b.) The keeping of horses, vehicles, or both, for hire.

4.c. Same as LIVERY STABLE.

5. A place where boats can be had for hire.
6. Law the legal delivery of property, esp. landed property, into the hands of the new owner.”

Well!, you may say, so what? It is my opinion that Livery, and the meanings numbered; 1., 2., 3., 4., 5., and 6., above fit into my scheme of things concerning Liverpool. This scheme will become clearer when you read the next entry of my dictionary.

“Livery company, any of the London city companies that grew out of earlier trade guilds, characterized by distinctive ceremonial dress.”

Thus we should be able to see some relationship between the “business” of Liverpool, England and the definitions above. The ‘business” of Liverpool was shipping and the delivery of goods, as well as the export of other goods. The unlading, lading and movement of these goods may have involved all of the six meanings, Uniforms with a distinctive style, the use of horses to move the cargo, places were boats are for charter or hire, and the legal delivery of the landed goods with the proper paperwork to satisfy the Royal Majesties Customs and Excise officers, etc.

Mr. Keys, made a particular mention that Liverpool “ played a major role in the sugar, rum, and tobacco trades.” This mention points out that the trade was at that time, more geared to the products imported into Britain than the goods exported back to the New World. Thus it would seem that the workers in Liverpool and in other port cities in Britain were more involved in the transportation of and the handling of imported rum, tobacco, and sugar than in exporting finished goods to the colonies. But of course the truth is, the exchange went both ways. Thus large amounts of manufactured British goods were exported from these same ports. Profits existed on both sides both in the importation of goods and in the export of goods but I am getting off topic. So now the next word in my dictionary.

“Liveryman, noun, 1. Formerly, a liveried retainer or servant. 2. A member of a livery company. 3. A person who owns or works in a livery stable.” It should be of no surprise that the next word in my dictionary is;

“livery stable, a stable where horsed are and carriages can be had for hire, or where horses are kept for a fixed charge.”

With the above definitions in your mind you may well figure out that I have taken the word “liver” and expanded it a little to the word “livery” and its derivatives. A related term to “livery” would be “dray”and its derivative “drayage”, and “drayman”, which I leave to the readers to look up for themselves.

Now, since you know the direction in which this letter is going, we have to look at the second part of the compound word “Liver-pool”, thus from the same dictionary;

“pool, a noun [French poule, pool, stakes, originally hen, from Lower Latin, pulla, hen, the feminine of Latin pullus (see POULTRY) associated in E. with prec.]”

I will skip the first two definitions and get right to the one that suits my argument, meaning;

“3. A combination of resources, funds, etc. for some common purpose; specific., a)........ b) the combined investments of a group of persons or corporations undertaking, and sharing responsibility for, a joint enterprise. c) a common fund of stockholders, for speculation, manipulation of prices, etc. d) the persons or parties forming any such combination. 4. A combination of business firms for creating a monopoly in a particular market; trust. 5. A supply of equipment, trained personnel, etc. the use of which is shared by a group.”

So what do I have here? It is this! I conjecture, based upon the definitions given above that the city we now refer to as Liverpool, gained its name from the combination of the words/terms Livery, as in;

A. “Liver, a noun [from Middle English livere from Old English lifer.

B.   Livery, 1. An identifying uniform such as was formerly worn by feudal retainers or is now worn by servants or those in some particular group, trade, etc. 2. The people wearing such uniforms. 3. Characteristic dress or appearance. 4.a) the keeping and feeding of horses for a fixed charge.....b.) The keeping of horses, vehicles, or both, for hire. C. Same as LIVERY STABLE. 5. A place where boats can be had for hire. 6. Law the legal delivery of property, esp. landed property, into the hands of the new owner.”

C. “Livery company, any of the London city companies that grew out of earlier trade guilds, characterized by distinctive ceremonial dress.” Thus we should be able to see some relationship between the “business” of Liverpool, England and the definitions above. The ‘business” of Liverpool was shipping and the delivery of goods, as well as the export of other goods.

D. “Liveryman, noun, 1. Formerly, a liveried retainer or servant. 2. A member of a livery company. 3. A person who owns or woks in a livery stable.”

E. “pool, 3. A combination of resources, funds, etc. for some common purpose; specific., a)........ b) the combined investments of a group of persons or corporations undertaking, and sharing responsibility for, a joint enterprise. c) a common fund of stockholders, for speculation, manipulation of prices, etc. d) the persons or parties forming any such combination. 4. A combination of business firms for creating a monopoly in a particular market; trust. 5. A supply of equipment, trained personnel, etc. the use of which is shared by a group.”

Thus, I conjecture that it is far more probable that the city received its name from the combination of the important features necessary in a port during the seventeenth century. That is, to make sure your products reached the warehouses, the wholesalers, and the retailers, in those days you had to have horses, and stables, and wagons, and drivers, etc. The net effect would be a city that ended up under the control of those persons who managed the concerns of horses, wagons and the people and facilities to insure the goods were unloaded and moved to their ultimate destination. So the original name of the area was the “LIVERY POOL”, a term that described the occupations and the dress of those involved in the business, which of course was (eventually) shortened to LIVERPOOL.

Sincerely,

Ronald L. Hughes

Post script (2009);

I could also make a good case for the “muddy water” or “greasy water” that was used by Mr. Keys in his article. Since I also believe that the men involved in the moving and shaking of the world in those days were also some what experts in word play, etc., that they might well have noticed that “bilge” water, which may have been, then, as it is today, pumped or bucketed from the holds of ships and the dumped into the estuary might well have “muddied” the water! Certainly the bilge of a sailing ship would tend to contain a lot of contaminated material, such as wax / tallow, oils from goods, oils from cooking, oil from lamps, etc., (and if not thrown overboard some of these “clouding water” materials) would make their way into the bilge water and later deposited in the docking areas of Liver-pool!

Do any of you have any views?

Regards,
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2010 at 15:55
I tend to dispute this assertion that Liverpool got its name from an old “Anglo-Saxon word for ‘muddy water creek’ since this would hardly be a descriptive word for the port and the tidal water therein. Because I am not an expert in extinct Anglo-Saxon words, I cannot argue that “liferpol” does not exist nor that it means “muddy water creek.” And, I do not know from what sources the author gathered his information that was used to explain the relation of “liferpol’ to Liverpool.



Enough said really.

To be honest the argument you put forward is nonsense. Liverpool existed in the anglo-saxon period, it had a name, then. Terms such as Livery and Poule/pool come into the english language later on. They come in after liverpool already exists. The industry associated wiht liverpool later on exists after this period as well. Therefore the anglo saxon is the most likely and the most sensible.


Also dont use Websters. Use the OED.


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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2010 at 19:53
"Oh foolish race of Man, How overwhelming is thy ignorance!"

Well, just what can I say? You, have overwhelmed all of my information in a mere "glance!"

But, for all of your education, as well as your "post graduate!" edcucation, you still would rather impugne my information, rather than consider it?

You must remember it, is the relative, "time lines" that keep us apart?

And, unless you have any "new" information that could dispute my claims, then, perhaps you should have become, "Mute?!"

My regards to you for your post, is great! However!

I would however, respectfully ask you to again review my words, VS the contempary view, whilst not conforming to current tradition?

Regards,

Edited by opuslola - 31-May-2010 at 20:01
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jun-2010 at 06:25
I weighed and measured it and found it severely wanting.
 
 
Anglo Saxon Argument for the win.
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2010 at 15:31
The entire enterprise, was designed to move ancient history closer to our time!

Thus, if the correct time setback or setforward, if you please, is used then the times of Liferpools greatness, is moved much closer to our times than our consensual history and chronology can ever forsee!
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2010 at 15:34
By the way, just how many of you,(those reading these replys) have ever written a letter to any editor of any respected magazine, or how many of you have ever had one published?

So,come on and confess? Laugh!
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2010 at 15:37
Dear DreamWeaver, I would suggest that you look and see if there is not someone else with their finger upon the scales!
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2010 at 16:26
and who might that be?
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2010 at 06:20
Perhaps?

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=livery

"livery
c.1300, "household allowance of any kind (food, provisions, clothing) to retainers or servants," from Anglo-Fr. livere (late 13c.), O.Fr. livrée, originally "(clothes) delivered by a master to his servants," from fem. pp. of livrer "to dispense, deliver, hand over," from L. liberare (see liberate). The sense later was reduced to "servants' rations" and "provender for horses" (mid-15c.). The former led to the meaning "distinctive clothing given to servants" (early 14c.); the latter now is obsolete except in livery stable (1705). Related: Liveried."

Is 1300 CE early enough?

And; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Liverpool

"The History of Liverpool can be traced back to 1190 when the place was known as 'Liuerpul', possibly meaning a pool or creek with muddy water. Other origins of the name have been suggested, including 'elverpool', a reference to the large number of eels in the Mersey, but the definitive origin is open to debate and is probably lost to history. A likely derivation is connected with the Welsh word "Llif" meaning a flood, often used as the proper name for the Atlantic Ocean, whilst "pool" is in general in place names in England derived from the late British or Welsh "Pwll" meaing variously, a pool, an inlet or a pit."

Note that the name origin was "probably lost to history!", and any specific origin can only be described as "likely!"

Thus my derivation is in general just as "likely" as any other! It is based upon a famous group who literally ran port cities in the past!

These words from above; "..1190 when the place was known as 'Liuerpul'", only shows an obvious case whereby the Latin "v", is was was transposed into a "u", which is very common!

Thus the "finger" was upon the hand that overlooked my meaning for another one!

If a respected historian etc., had proposed my solution, it would have at least have acquired some attention, and mention! Thus, it seems most likely to me, that I might well be the first to promote such a definition, etc.?

Thus your dismissal, out of hand, was or is not very reasonable!

If the real etymology or history of this word is "lost!", then there does exist that it could be "found?"

Edited by opuslola - 09-Jun-2010 at 06:21
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  Quote DreamWeaver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2010 at 17:34
You condmen yourself to be fair.

The History of Liverpool can be traced back to 1190 when the place was known as 'Liuerpul'

Historical records for Liverpool start in 1190, but Liverpool existed prior to this. It did not grow from thin air, it existed prior to 1190, for which there is no historic record for. It had a name and the Anglo-Saxon name thoery still remains likely. Though theres always the possibility of the Welsh one. Even if an academic historian had put forward the idea I would still have disputed it upon the grounds of logic.
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2010 at 18:04
Logic is sometimes the doom of a society! One must assume that most men are therefor "logical?"

There lies or lays, or "lius" / "Livs", the problem!

Edited by opuslola - 09-Jun-2010 at 18:06
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  Quote Welshcanadian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2010 at 22:43
The Welsh origin may not be as unlikely as you suggest.  In ancient times, parts of southern Scotland, most of northern England and most of Wales were inhabited by Brythonic tribes.  The Welsh language is derived from the ancient Brythonic language.  There are examples of place names in northern England having Brythonic origins e.g. Cumbria and Cumberland which both derived from the same origin as 'Cymru' - the Welsh name for 'Wales'.  

The links may not be obvious to you as you assume a place in England would not adopt a Welsh name, but when you consider that in ancient times there was a common language for the area which included both Wales and Liverpool then maybe it's possible.  The original name may well be Brythonic or even Welsh and was anglicised in more recent times.


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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2010 at 15:42
Why thank you Welshcanadian, I think? Sorry, I just was unable to understand whether or not you supported my theory or not?

Welcome to the site, non-the-less!

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  Quote Welshcanadian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2010 at 19:19

Maybe I should have worded my post differently but I was not supporting your theory.  It was an eloquent piece of work and I give you credit for all your research but I was, in fact, opposing your theory.  You are making the fundemental assumption that the word Liverpool derives from the English language whereas I'm saying it may stem from earlier times. 

I suppose the point I was trying to make was that you should not assume a place name in England has is origins in the English language.  Some place names pre-date the English language itself.  Some may have origins in a different language but have become anglicised over time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not expert on such matters but I was aware that northern England southern Scotland and Wales once shared a common language (Brythonic) which in turn gave rise to other languages such as Welsh.    
 
You can break up the word Liverpool and look at literal interpretations of its component parts but you may be barking up the wrong tree old fella.  I'm not anti-English by the way, after all it is my mother tongue, but I thought maybe I had a different angle for you to think about.  And talking of 'angles' maybe the origin is 'anglo-saxon'...? 
 
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  Quote Welshcanadian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2010 at 19:23
sorry about the spelling mistakes in my last post.  They have their origin in England...the West Country to be precise...
 
(Strongbow)...
 
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2010 at 21:00
No actually I did not really mistake your post as approval, but the very first paragraph of my original post says this;

"In the Nov/Dec, 2003 issue of ARCHAEOLOGY, I found an article entitled ASSAULT ON TRADITION, by David Keys. In this article Mr. Keys wrote; By the end of the seventeenth century, Liverpool was already Britain’s third largest port, and its hundred ships, manned by 1,100 seamen, played a major role in the sugar, rum, and tobacco trades. The original tidal inlet, the “pool” from which the city gets its name (liferpol is the Anglo-Saxon word for “muddy water creek”),...   (It should be noted that Liverpool is located in/on the estuary of the Mersey River.)"

So, you see I was already arguing against the Anglo-Saxon explanation! The "expert" already had the patent answer prepared for the magazine article and as you well know, it is rare when ever some one argues with an expert, especially in the pring media!

So, I merely got on the "Ferry and crossed the Mersey", with a new explanation!

You see, I was not just makeing up a new explanation, but rather challenging the very age of the city and port itself! You see, I doubt there exists any real information concerning the origin of the city's name, rather it is merely an assumption, made years ago, that has never been questioned.

What do you think now mate? Eh?

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  Quote Welshcanadian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2010 at 23:41
OK, fair enough.  Thanks for taking the time to reply
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Oct-2010 at 19:16
I just hope you understand my position? I don't think you realize that the question was accepted and printed, and the answer was, as you have supposed, very nearly exactly as yours!

And, as I mentioned earlier, and as I used the word in the above sentence, the world "supposed" or "assumed" are the key words!

Just because the "experts" assume or suppose things as being something akin to "fact" does not make it so, no matter how many years these "experts" and their followers say it is so!

As one poster repeatedly said, "the plural of ancecdote is not a fact!"

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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Sep-2012 at 21:45

The only distinguishing livery i've seen Scousers wearing are football shirts and chavvy tracksuits. They are stereotypically reluctant to work and have a fondness for pinching thingsLOL
Me Grimlock not nice Dino! Me bash brains!
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2013 at 17:23
Nick, just got my first look at your old post. It is quite good!

So, how are you?

Ron
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