30 June 2014

Jaggers

Jagger... No not the seventy year old thick-lipped rock and roll peacock. I'm thinking back much further than that. As a surname Jagger was first recorded in Derbyshire in 1310 though it may have begun its long history in West Yorkshire.  Of course there are many English surnames derived from occupations. A "cooper" was someone who made barrels and a "wainwright"was somebody who made wagons or carts known as "wains" and a "farmer" was...but what was a "jagger"?

Let me tell you... Long ago there were no proper roads over the hills of central England but goods still needed to be transported. A network of tracks developed. At first those who transported goods would have done so on their own backs but later horses and ponies were employed. It wasn't long before men realised that they could lead teams of horses across the country - often carrying heavy goods like lead from Derbyshire's many lead mines. In Middle English a "jag" was a "pack" or a "load" and so a "jagger" was someone who was responsible for carrying loads across the country. I blogged about this before.

In Derbyshire and West and South Yorkshire the surname Jagger has its heartland and the name is also part of our landscape. There are several tracks that still bear the name "Jaggers Lane" and yesterday I walked along one such by-way between Chesterfield and Matlock. It wasn't too hard to imagine the pack horse teams and the jaggers who would have once moved laboriously along that route - taking days to reach their destinations.

Where Jaggers Lane met Wirestone Lane, I noticed an old guide stoop set into the drystone wall. It would have been a good place for the jaggers to rest their animals a while before travelling on to Matlock, Ashbourne, Winster or Chesterfield:-

7 comments:

  1. I too love following these old ways. If you ever get to Taddington then take the road towards Flag and you will find a hidden drinking pool for sheep and cattle drovers. If you follow their old route you will pass Five Wells an ancient chambered burial mound.
    The guide stone is a beauty. Thanks.

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    1. Adrian - I have tarried by the pool you referred to but I was not aware of the Five Wells burial mound. Next time I am in that area I shall seek it out. Thanks for the tip.

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  2. After all my years in South Yorkshire and I've never heard of Jagger's! Fancy

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    1. Jagger's sounds like a seedy night club down Shalesmoor or up Spital Hill. Sure you didn't go there to dance the night away?

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  3. I've just read your older post and loved it!
    Until reading this, I did not know the meaning of "jag" and "jagger", so, thank you for letting me learn something new.
    My German maiden name comes from an occupation, too, that of a clog maker. But the word has changed so much that it is not recognizable as such unless you know it.

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    1. So it's not Miss Arian Holzschuhmacher then?

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    2. No, it was Hölscher, which is a shortened and northern German form of the word.

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