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Folklore: What is a hackler?

GUEST,JTT 29 Jul 04 - 08:20 AM
mooman 29 Jul 04 - 08:26 AM
The Shambles 29 Jul 04 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,JTT 29 Jul 04 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jul 04 - 10:45 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Jul 04 - 10:47 AM
Jim McLean 29 Jul 04 - 10:49 AM
The Shambles 29 Jul 04 - 01:24 PM
open mike 29 Jul 04 - 02:07 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 04 - 02:19 PM
John MacKenzie 29 Jul 04 - 02:38 PM
Seamus Kennedy 29 Jul 04 - 04:28 PM
Betsy 29 Jul 04 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,JTT 29 Jul 04 - 04:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jul 04 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,JTT 29 Jul 04 - 05:58 PM
open mike 29 Jul 04 - 08:44 PM
Big Mick 29 Jul 04 - 09:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Jul 04 - 09:18 PM
Deckman 29 Jul 04 - 09:31 PM
Seamus Kennedy 30 Jul 04 - 12:37 AM
Gurney 30 Jul 04 - 04:17 AM
The Fooles Troupe 31 Jul 04 - 02:12 AM
The Fooles Troupe 31 Jul 04 - 02:17 AM
JennyO 31 Jul 04 - 02:37 AM
The Shambles 31 Jul 04 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,JTT 10 Aug 04 - 12:04 PM
harmonic miner 29 Mar 11 - 07:35 AM
MartinRyan 29 Mar 11 - 11:39 AM
MartinRyan 29 Mar 11 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,SteveG 29 Mar 11 - 04:37 PM
harmonic miner 30 Mar 11 - 06:10 PM
Darowyn 31 Mar 11 - 03:24 AM
GUEST 11 Apr 11 - 10:07 AM
MartinRyan 11 Apr 11 - 10:16 AM
Mr Red 12 Apr 11 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,David Murray 24 Apr 13 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,David Murray 24 Apr 13 - 06:06 PM
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Subject: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 08:20 AM

I'm reading a book called An Haicléara Mánas, a 19th-century text. The writer was a hackler, and the actual story (which I haven't got to yet) concerns his trip to hire a bunch of other hacklers in Clifden.

But what's a hackler?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: mooman
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 08:26 AM

I think it was a person who combed flax but I might be wrong.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 08:29 AM

"The most unhealthy places to work were the flax preparing departments, especially in areas known as 'roughing' and 'hackling'. Here, work was carried out 'in a continual cloud of dust composed of large and small particles of fibre'....... in 1872, the average working life of an employee was only 16.8 years, and around 30% of the workforce could expect to die from .. lung diseases".

The above from the following site http://www.merriottfamiliesgenealogy.net/industry.htm

From this it would appear to be a term connected with weaving.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 08:48 AM

Ah! Thanks! (Must take a look in my O'Neill-Lane English-Irish dictionary, which has all kinds of obscure words; it was here that I discovered that a fripper was a dealer in secondhand clothes, and a dildurn was the English for a bodhrán.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 10:45 AM

I don't want to type it all out, but my unabridged dictionary says that Hackle is a variant of Hatchel, and a hatchel is a board with iron teeth set into it. The comb is used to separate the fine fibers of flax or hemp from the coarse, prepatory to making the final product.

It gives hackler as a person who uses a hackel, or hatchel.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 10:47 AM

Any good English dictionary would serve; the Irish word in this case derives from the English term.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 10:49 AM

There's a poem by Robert Burns which begins 'Oh, merry ha'e I been teethin' a heckle...'. It is an instrument with sharp teeth for combing out flax or wool and is the same word as hackle. The word 'heckler' comes from this, a person who interrupts and worries a public speaker.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 01:24 PM

The word 'heckler' comes from this, a person who interrupts and worries a public speaker.

Oh you mean like a folk club MC?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: open mike
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 02:07 PM

at first i thought it was a cross between a heckler and a hacker...
as for the reference to the tool and the action of preparing fibers i do not believe the tool mentioned would be used for animal fibers such as wool-there are other combing and carding tools with teeth used for straightening out these hairs. The Hackling is a chopping process designed to seperate the vegetable fiber...usually linen ( the plant is called flax, the seeds are called linseed and the fiber contained in the stem is called linen) the parts of the plant that are not to be spun need to be removed from the ling fibers--the "bark" and other parts.here is a page with info & pictures from ancient egyptian flax production.http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/timelines/topics/flax.htm
here you can find out about the processes of (removing seeds) rippling, (soaking in water to remove some plant material by rotting)retting and to find out what Boon" is... http://www.nps.gov/colo/Jthanout/FlaxProd.html
and in case it is not yet too much information look also here:
http://www.octavia.net/9thclife/Flax.htm
and here is a link to a swedish site:
http://www.klassbols-linne.se/ny/eng/linskotseleng.asp
ok so i was (and apparantly still am) obsessed with spinning
and weaving at one time!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 02:19 PM

the hackle was used to seperate the tow fibers from the finer linen fibers after scrutching (also referred to as breaking) and before spinning. The fine fibers might then be combed again as well before spinning.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 02:38 PM

So it's not someone like me, making silly remarks from the floor, and getting peoples hackles up?
Or is it?
Giok


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 04:28 PM

Just seconding what Guest above said. According to Betty Messenger's excellent book Picking up the Linen Threads, hackling consisted of drawing handfuls of previously scutched flax fibers through a series of hackles, i.e. tools consisting of rows of sharp, pointed pins set into a board, with the goal of cleaning and squaring up the pieces and splitting the fibers into finer filaments of an even size ready for further processing.
In informal mill parlance its practitioners were known as hacklers, flax dressers or sorters.
They had their own songs, e.g. The Hackler from Grouse Hall or:
Hi ho, the hacklers-o,
Hi ho, the hacklers-o.
Hi ho, the hacklers-o.
On a Monday morning.

There they go,
with their long-tailed coats,
Silken hats and dandy cuffs,
Their aprons shine like powder puffs
All on a Monday morning.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Betsy
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 04:43 PM

A hackler or a hockler was a word we used in our heavily industrialised area in the N.E. of England.
Without wishing to disgust you dear readers, it referred to a large portion of phlegm which was
coughed up from ones chest or lungs and promptly ejected to a safe place.
I'd wondered about the root of word - I thought it was slang or perhaps one of those working class or
onomatopoeic words which drifted into the language - now I believe I know.

p.s.Yes ! - I went to the dictionary for that long word


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 04:46 PM

Mind you, it seems highly unlikely that this Clifden lad would have been looking for anyone skilled in the linen trade locally - or am I wrong? I wouldn't have thought of Clifden as a linen making centre.

Hmm. But O'Neill Lane gives: Hackle, n.: implement for dressing flax: sisteal, also sistéal, m. and siostal, -ail, m; taisteal, -til, m.' seiseal, -cil, m. Hackle, v.t., to separate the coarse part of flax from the fine, (1) sistealaim, -lacht; 92) seiclim, -leadh. Hackler, n., one who works a hackle, (1) sistealóir, -óra, -rí, m.; (w) fear an taistil.

You live and learn, as the cider ad says, you live and learn.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 05:14 PM

From the note in Colm O Lochlann's 1938 collection "Irish Street Ballads" accompanying the words of "The Hackler from Grouse Hall" and its sequel "The Sergeant's Lamentation" - "words and notes supplied by John Smith, Stravicnabo, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan:

"In the days of this ballad a lot of flax was grown in Co Cavan. The people prepared their own flax, and made it into thread for use on the spinning wheels. The last operation prior to the flax being made ready for spinning was "hackling". It was a process of fining down the flax in preparation for the spinning wheel. Hackling was a trade and hacklers went from house to house hackling the flax in each house..." (There's more there about the song, but that's all there is about the hackling.)

The two songs in O Lochlann's book aren't the same as the one mentioned by JTT - they're about an episode in which some heavy handed police activity in the days of the Land League needed up with a senior police officer getting killed. Here's a link to the first, and here's a link to the second


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 05:58 PM

Well, you live and learn. A roving hackler at the age of eighty-four? Hardy man.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: open mike
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 08:44 PM

this is not music--plz move to below the line


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 09:00 PM

Wrong, mike. Everything that is related to the music is fair game here. The term hackler appears in a fair amount of music, and an awful lot of music is based on folklore. It belongs right where it is at.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 09:18 PM

Although the folklore and tech categories are frequently abused here, I'm with Mick on this one. It's legitimately song-related.

Frank Kidson printed a fragment of The Roving Heckler Lad in 1891, incidentally; it used to be popular in the clothing districts around Leeds. He also included a useful short description of the trade. I suspect that much of the work was done at that time in well-ventilated areas, and that it was only later, with industrialisation of the process and its concentration into sweatshops and factories, that lung disease became a serious problem.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 09:31 PM

I actually own one of these very old combs It's a sight to behold, knowing it's history. Bob


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 12:37 AM

OK, openmike, I'll throw in a couple more bits of hackling songs to make sure it stays a music thread.
According to Betty Messenger's book, skilled traveling hacklers would find work in the hackling shops of the large mills in Belfast and elsewhere, bringing with them songs of the trade to amuse their co-workers.

The spinners and reelers of sweet Killyleagh
Are good at their jobs we all must say,
But the hacklers and roughers are the of the best class,
From old Dido Kennedy to Jimmy McMath.
(Tune: Moses Ri-tooral-I-ooral-I-ay)
or this one from the Braid Linen Mill in Ballymena:

Do you ken James McGarry
Who works on the Braid?
He's a face like a crow,
And a sorter to trade.
Sure, I ken James McGarry,
And his brother Jock twa,
It's strange that I wouldn't 'a,
When I come from Buckna.
(Same tune)

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Gurney
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 04:17 AM

It could also be someone who ties fishing flies for a living, couldn't it? Body-wrapper, Tailman, winger, hackler....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 02:12 AM

I thought a hackler was someone who gets other people's hackles up, like out good fiend Martin Gibson.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 02:17 AM

oops! typo! :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: JennyO
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 02:37 AM

Aw, what a shame! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 06:04 AM

Maybe a good Mudcat term for folk like our friend 'open mike'?

One to describe and hopefully to discourage those that make no contribution but are encouraged to post just to comment on the suitablity or otherwise of other's contributions, in order to snitch to others who also seem to have nothing better to do than be alerted and to pass final judgement on the suitabilty of threads to remain where the originator intended.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 10 Aug 04 - 12:04 PM

Thanks for all the help. By the way, I went back searching for this, and the search wouldn't bring it up using the term "hackler". Went to Google and tried "what is a hackler?" and the Mudcat discussion was one of the returns.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: harmonic miner
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 07:35 AM

I've been learning 'The Hackler from Grouse Hall'

Its a very interesting song with references to Coercion, Parnell, Balfour etc., placing it sometime in the 1880's (whether it was written then, or later is another matter). The placenames are all around Co. Cavan which, by the way is a very interesting, scenic and under-rated area.

I always thought from the context of the song that a hackler might be a poitín maker or moonshiner. The manufacturers of this beverage seem to think so too. http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=2095
Any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 11:39 AM

I always thought from the context of the song that a hackler might be a poitín maker or moonshiner. The manufacturers of this beverage seem to think so too.

Not really - just a happy consumer!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 11:42 AM

Incidentally, the placename is a single word, Grousehall, nowadays. Not sure if it was always split in the song title. Must check...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 04:37 PM

Martin Graebe sings a version of the Roving Heckler Lad collected by Baring Gould. It can be heard on the Yorkshire Garland website at www.yorkshirefolksong.net


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: harmonic miner
Date: 30 Mar 11 - 06:10 PM

@MartinRyan

Yes, probably a customer only, now that I've listened more closely! You never really hear a song till you decide to try and sing it

Do you know Cavan? Did a lovely cycle trip through there once. Must go back, maybe with instrument and/or fishing rod.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Darowyn
Date: 31 Mar 11 - 03:24 AM

According to the Census, my Grandfather was a Hackle Pin Hardener in 1911.
He worked at the only flax mill in Leeds, which had Egyptian Columns and a grass roof where sheep grazed.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 10:07 AM

I'm pretty sure that a 'hackler' is a distiller of poitín or maybe thats just what we used to call them in Cavan. The song " The Hackler from Grousehall" was based on the placement of peelers(A member of the overseas police force of Britain, the Peeler is used to represent the absurd laws enacted upon the Irish by the British)which was ordered by Lord Balfour, who resided in Dublin Castle; in the Grousehall area.It was their job was to catch the "Hackler" who supplied the local population with the then just made illegal drink of Poitín. I guess it has many meanings in different countries, but I think this is more suitable to Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 10:16 AM

It's a bit like what my old English teacher used to call a "transferred epithet" - the song has made such a strong association between the drink and the character that the character of one gets shifted to the other! A particular poitín-maker may also be a hackler (which was a seasonal trade, for that matter) but not all hacklers distilled whiskey!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 10:15 AM

Hackler?

Sounds like a heckler that bugs you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,David Murray
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 05:57 PM

A Hackler was a worker in the linen trade. After the linen was retted, and the fibre separated from the tow, a hackler graded the individual fibres by touch and look. Hacklers were highly skilled and very well paid, being able to separate fibres into a number of piles in a very short time.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What is a hackler?
From: GUEST,David Murray
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 06:06 PM

The connection to poteen, (I'm not sure of the Gaelic spelling) was the fact that, like most of the linen workers, hacklers and roughers (who also separated out the fibres, but were not as skilled as the hacklers) worked in a very dusty atmosphere, as a previous contributor said, which meant that they were always thirsty. The fact that the dust caused lung problems also tended to drive these workers to drink heavily, and several songs and poems recall the drunken antics of these workers, e.g."The Drunken Scutcher;s Son", by WF Marshall.


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