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Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?

DigiTrad:
ON ILKLA MOOR BAHT HAT


Related threads:
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While Shepherds Watched/Ilkley Moor (60)
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The curse of Ilkley Moor (21)
Ilkley moor - other songs about it? (15)
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On Ilkla Moor Bah T'at - hymn? (20)


EBarnacle1 29 Oct 02 - 11:47 AM
dick greenhaus 29 Oct 02 - 11:51 AM
fogie 29 Oct 02 - 11:58 AM
IanC 29 Oct 02 - 12:03 PM
Barbara 29 Oct 02 - 12:10 PM
EBarnacle1 29 Oct 02 - 12:32 PM
Jeanie 29 Oct 02 - 01:43 PM
lady penelope 29 Oct 02 - 01:49 PM
Catherine Jayne 29 Oct 02 - 02:41 PM
Geoff the Duck 29 Oct 02 - 03:02 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Oct 02 - 07:14 PM
Bill D 29 Oct 02 - 07:56 PM
Folkie 30 Oct 02 - 08:22 AM
Geoff the Duck 31 Oct 02 - 09:32 AM
IanC 31 Oct 02 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Ian B at work 31 Oct 02 - 12:19 PM
Don Firth 31 Oct 02 - 06:09 PM
Deckman 31 Oct 02 - 09:42 PM
Mr Happy 01 Nov 02 - 09:36 PM
Penny S. 03 Nov 02 - 02:32 PM
Bert 03 Nov 02 - 07:55 PM
Dave Bryant 04 Nov 02 - 10:49 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Dec 10 - 12:05 PM
greg stephens 11 Dec 10 - 12:28 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 11 Dec 10 - 01:01 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Dec 10 - 06:17 PM
Suegorgeous 11 Dec 10 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,SteveT 12 Dec 10 - 07:12 AM
mikesamwild 12 Dec 10 - 07:21 AM
IanC 13 Dec 10 - 06:26 AM
Dave Hanson 13 Dec 10 - 06:39 AM
Rob Naylor 13 Dec 10 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Ebor.Fiddler 13 Dec 10 - 06:44 PM
Tootler 13 Dec 10 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,HelenJ 14 Dec 10 - 02:59 AM
Dave Hanson 14 Dec 10 - 03:10 AM
DG&D Dave 14 Dec 10 - 09:37 AM
Tootler 14 Dec 10 - 04:01 PM
mikesamwild 15 Dec 10 - 09:50 AM
Dave Ruch 16 Jan 11 - 09:23 PM
Nigel Parsons 16 Jan 11 - 09:34 PM
Dave Hanson 17 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Jan 11 - 04:38 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 11 - 04:54 AM
Geoff the Duck 17 Jan 11 - 09:24 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 11 - 09:37 AM
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Subject: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:47 AM

At several Mystic Sea Music Festivals, the above incomprehensible (to me) song has been sung. Other than knowing it has something to do with being out on the Moor without a hat, it seems to make no sense. Could someone please elucidate?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:51 AM

Stripping away the accent and dialect, it means On Ilkley Moor without a hat.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: fogie
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:58 AM

I dont know the origins of it, but it was to us kids in Leeds just a funny song. Bar t' at means without the hat, as in everything bar the kitchen sink, We used to like its rather gruesome inevitability.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: IanC
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 12:03 PM

Some useful information in this thread.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Barbara
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 12:10 PM

I thought it was "baht 'at"; "baht" being Yorkshire for "without" and "'at" was "hat". Possibly it's "bah=bar", "'t=the" and "'at=hat"; which would make "bah't 'at=bar the hat".
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 12:32 PM

IanC, thank you. It all makes some sense now. I wonder whether the couple actually got married after all that attention. If they did, did they tell their children that they were the cause of the song? Hmm, I wonder.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Jeanie
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:43 PM

What I would like to know is what is meant by the extra bit that I've heard tagged on to the end of the chorus: "Where the ducks play football" ? The massed Yorkshire boozers in the union bar when I was at university were so fearsome, I never liked to enquire.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: lady penelope
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:49 PM

The tag we always had was "without tha trousers on".

E.g. " Tha's been acourting Mary Jane,
          tha's been acourting Mary Jane,
                ..........Without tha trousers on
          On Ilkley Moor baht at............etc."

Rather civilised rugby club you go to, I must say Jeanie!

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 02:41 PM

There was also the tag of " where the ducks play football!" The tag normally changes per verse!!!

It is a song that most girl guides and boy scouts in yorkshire learn....thats where I learnt the alternative verses!!!

Cat


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 03:02 PM

The song "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at" (Baht = without, 'at = hat)originated as the result of a choir taking an outing on Ilkley Moor. The moor is in Yorkshire near Leeds and Bradford (and not anywhere near Hull). Ilkley Moor is part of a larger region of moorlands known as Rombalds Moor which also contains the area where the Bronte sisters lived and wrote. The moor is very similar to those described in Wuthering Heights, and pictured in many films of the same. In other words, it can be very wild and windswept in poor weather (actually, it is very pleasant on a hot sunny Summer's day).
Rombalds Moor was the home of Giant Rombald, who used to throw large stones across the moor. Some of these landed at the edge of Ilkley Moor and later became a well known landmark and a popular picnic spot for residents of Bradford and Leeds, who could travel by train to Ilkley, and then hike up the hill to the moor.
The song was inspired by two members of the choir disappearing off from the main party for a kiss and cuddle (or some such similar activity). Somebody from the choir penned the words, and fitted them to a Welsh tune previously used for the Christmas carol, "While Shepherds". The rest, as they say around here, is Geography!

The song is rarely sung by people from Yorkshire, mainly because we are sick and tired of it, and of namby-pamby Southerners attempting to break into it whenever they first discover that a Tyke (Yorkshireman or woman) has entered the building. When it is sung, somebody always insists on adding extra bits at the end of the chorus line. The one which is probably the first to have been added is "Where the ducks fly backwards", which is part of an old saying from Bradford's days as an industrial town based on woollen mills. The saying referred to the large amount of heavy black smoke from coal fired mill chimneys. People used to say that in Bradford, the ducks fly backwards to keep the muck (or soot) out of their eyes!
I suspect that ducks playing football was added by those from farther afield who didn't understand the reference to ducks flying backwards, so they replaced it with a nonsense one instead.

To address the initial posting of this thread, the story is (translated and paraphrased for an international audience):-
Where have you been since I last saw you.
I've been courting Mary Jane.
(on Ilkley Moor without a hat
& presumably without other warm protective clothing ;-) .....)
You are certain to catch your death of cold.
Then we shall have to bury thee.
Then the worms will come and eat thee up.
Then the ducks will come and eat up the worms.
Then we shall come and eat up the ducks.
Then we shall all have eaten thee!

All in all an early ecological ballad celebrating the food chain, or on the other hand something to embarrass a young courting couple who happened to get caught out!

Not, of course, that I have any personal part in this drama....
Quack!!!!!!
Geoff the (Bradford born) Duck!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 07:14 PM

The final verse I learned (back in the Dark Ages) was "Then we shall have ye back again!"

Cyclical and somehow more satisfying.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 07:56 PM

yep, Dick....I first heard it by Pete Seeger in about 1962..."have thee back again" has always seemed 'nicer' to me..


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Folkie
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 08:22 AM

Sorry Geoff the Duck, the tune is not Welsh. It was composed by Thomas Clark, a shoemaker from Canterbury, who was a prolific writer of hymn tunes in the West Gallery period. Although it has often been used as a tune for While Shepherds, it was earlier associated with a hymn called "Grace tis a charming sound".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 09:32 AM

Interesting to note that I have previously been misinformed about the Country of origin for the tune. That said, While Shepherds was definitely the song which it was used for by the choir in question. While Shepherds it is still sung to that tune along with about twenty other tunes during the South Yorkshire Carols, in the region to the West of Sheffield during weeks leading up towards Christmas.
Dick and Bill D - as somebody who is from Bradford, I do not recall ever hearing your verse about having him back again in local usage. We definitely finished with having eaten the poor sod!
Quack!!!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: IanC
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 09:48 AM

Quack!

My in-laws are from Ilkley - where they frequently sing the song (well, they do in Addingham anyway). The last verse they use is "That's t'way we get our own back".

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Ian B at work
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 12:19 PM

The very best version must be by Bill Oddie of the Goodies. He did the song to Joe Cocker's arrangement of 'Little Help From my Friends'.   An absolute classic!

- Ian B


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 06:09 PM

I always thought it was about recycling. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Deckman
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 09:42 PM

JEEEEEZE! Where is that John Dwyer when we need him! bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 09:36 PM

noone nose


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Penny S.
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 02:32 PM

Radio programme on the song

Look down the page to find the link to the radio program, which needs RealPlayer

Penny


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Bert
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 07:55 PM

The last verse seems to have many variations. Way back in the Forties we used to sing "Then we shall 'av 'ad our own back".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 10:49 AM

The tune is called "Cranbrook", after a Kentish village (with an impressive windmill) and was composed by Thomas Clark as Folkie has already said. It was also used for the hymn "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing".

Over the years the tune has been somewhat modified - by the addition of ascending repeats ("I saw thee" etc.) and also by raising a note (the "I" in the last "I saw thee") to make it easier to sing.

You can find a MIDI file of the original four part version of the melody HERE. Note that as in most music of the period the melody is held by the Tenor line not the Soprano (the word Tenor comes from the latin "To Hold").


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 12:05 PM

I'm performing next week at the annual Nelson Solstice Party, and one of the invited singers actually has never heard this song! I need an mp3 of a really rousing version, with chorus, to give her an idea.


(I don't think I want to tell you how we are going to butcher this song...)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 12:28 PM

Here are the Penkhull Mystery Singers doing the Cranbrook(Ilkley Moor) setting of While Shepherds Watched . It starts 2.00 mins into the video(rather strangely edited!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 01:01 PM

Oh, good, Now if I can just get her to watch a video (she likes to listen to cds in her car, is very computer-inept)- thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 06:17 PM

Then of course you can always buy the book. (By the late Arnold Kellett). I think it preceded the video.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 11 Dec 10 - 07:35 PM

Goodness me! I'm gobsmacked! I was always sooo certain that "on Ilkley Moor baht 'at" meant "on Ilkley Moor about eight" (o'clock that is).

Well, you live n learn!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 07:12 AM

Used to use this song to teach food webs and bioaccumulation - it's very versatile.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: mikesamwild
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 07:21 AM

We've song 'While Shepherds' to Cranbrook and been told not to be sacrilegous or facetious! Until we explained the Ilkley Moor song was a parody of the Hymn/Carol.


Great as a carol. As well as to 'Ghost riders in the Sky' memphis Tennessee etc etc


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: IanC
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 06:26 AM

Properly spelt "bar t'at" I suppose. The English preposition "bar" is fairly old but still in common usage. T'at for "the hat" is not particularly common South of Doncaster.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 06:39 AM

It's not " bar t'at " it's Yorkshire dialect FFS, it's " baht 'at "

baht = without, 'at = hat.

How many times do you need it explaining.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:26 AM

Ianc...definitely "baht".


When we sang it as kids each verse ended with a little coda:

"baht she't, baht boyts, baht owt"

(without a shirt, without boots, without anything...ie naked)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Ebor.Fiddler
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 06:44 PM

I remember the first line as "Weer was ta bahn when Ah saw thee?" - anglice "Where were you agoing to when I espied you?" I got it from an article in The Dalesman in the fifties, I think the writer had had a lot to do with the original choir trip!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:14 PM

Animaterra, here is a You Tube clip of Ilkley Moor baht 'at sung by a choir from West Yorkshire (my wife's home territory)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4RcqO9Sgdw&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,HelenJ
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 02:59 AM

On Ilkley Moor minus my chapeau.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 03:10 AM

Tootler, that's a very poor rendition, words buggered about and several verses missing.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: DG&D Dave
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 09:37 AM

Ebor F,
I have first line as:
"Weer 'ast a bin since Ah saw thee?" - anglice "Where have you been since I last espied you?"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:01 PM

Dave Hanson,

I was aware of its shortcomings, but it was the best I could find after about a half hour's search on You Tube which was about all the time I felt I wanted to give as it was well after midnight at the time and I was ready for bed. Everything else I looked at was much worse. It's not so much that verses are missing but they have combined verses together to compress the song, presumably to meet the constraints of recording studio availability. It still lasts nearly four minutes.

It may not be perfect, but it's better than nothing and for someone who is not familiar with the song, it at least gives them an idea. If you have a link to a better version, then how about posting it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: mikesamwild
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 09:50 AM

I also used it to teach ecological principles along with Brian Patten's lovely poem about dreaming worms for a bird that came to his window.

The kids also liked to sing 'Where will we be in a hundred years from now'. More fun than Biology on a Friday afternoon. But they all passed! I still get reminded by old pupils 50 years on.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 09:23 PM

I had a fun introduction to this song while playing a concert in Halifax a year or so ago. Video and story here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 09:34 PM

Properly spelt "bar t'at" I suppose. The English preposition "bar" is fairly old but still in common usage. T'at for "the hat" is not particularly common South of Doncaster.
"Bar" meaning "all excepting" as in racing odds for all horses on 'long' odds. Horse 1 @ 6 to 5 on, horse 2 @ 2 to 1, horse 3 @ 3 to 1, horse 4 @ 6 to 1. "20 to 1 Bar" ( i.e.the horses not previously given specific odds are all at 20;1)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM

It's not ' bar ' it's ' bhat ' meaning without, ie' bhat 'at, I'm a Yorkshireman, I've known and sung this song for more than fifty years.

Why do you find it so difficult to understand a Yorkshire dialect ? just a guess but you are not from Yorkshire ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:38 AM

That should be ' baht ' of course.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:54 AM

And surely this "baht" is a dialect form of "but", in the (obs according to Chambers) sense of "without"?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 09:24 AM

"But" as "Without" seems to mean Outside rather than the usage of "Not Having". In use in Scotland as "But and Ben" - a small cottage consisting of two rooms, the "Ben" - inside/living room (within) and the "But" - kitchen/outside room (without).
I don't see any connection between that particular usage and "without a hat" which would justify "baht" as deriving from "but" in the within/without usage.
B'aht is a shortening of (with)'(out) which in modern "town" Yorkshire would be more likely pronounced "wi'aht".
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 09:37 AM

According to the Chambers definition, GtD, 'but', with the 'obsolete' label, means 'without' in the simple sense of 'lacking', as well as in the 'but & ben' sense.

This is, in fact, given as the 2nd element in the long definition ~~

but (but) prep except; without (obs)...

~Michael~


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