If hosen and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane

Kathleen Jennings s368333 at student.uq.edu.au
Thu May 1 16:54:58 EDT 2003

The OED online gives flete/fleet as a place where water flows/creek/run of
water (earliest use: c893), among other definitions (re boats, machines,
fishing lines) which probably aren't the word we're looking for, but no

Flet, on the other hand, may be "the floor or ground under one's feet"
(earliest use: Beowulf), a "place, spot or field (of battle - from 1205), a
"dwelling-house or hall", the "inner part of a house."

Aha, aha - just found something more to the point. The expression "fire and
flet" (corruptly fleet") is an established expression meaning fire and
houseroom and occurs commonly in wills. (cut and paste of definition below).
The definition of sleet given therein is also interesting (in light of Deep
Secret). It doesn't occur in the Oxford Book of English verse, but it (and a
bit more about the Brig o' Dreead/Bridge of dread) occur in the Yorkshire
dialect version.

Link to Yorkshire Lyke Wake Dirge:

OED Online definition:
3. fire and flet (corruptly fleet): 'fire and house-room'; an expression
often occurring in wills, etc.
  Bp. Kennett (a1728) quotes in MS. Lansd. 1033 fol. 132 an 'old northern
song over a dead corps', containing the lines 'Fire and fleet and candle
light, And Xt receive thy sawle'. In Sir W. Scott's Minstrelsy of Scot.
Border (1802) 232 the words appear as 'Fire and sleet', and the editor
suggests that sleet 'seems to be corrupted from selt, or salt, a quantity of
which is frequently placed on the breast of a corpse'!

  1533 TRUBB in Weaver Wells Wills (1890) 129 To fynd the said wife..mete
and drink, fyer and flelt. 1539 Will of R. Morleyn (Somerset Ho.) My wife to
have..fyre & fleete in my haule & kechin. c1570 Durham Depos. (Surtees) 207,
I trobled..this house with a bedd roome and fier and fleit.


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