20 A Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect.
Book. The Bible is almost always spoken of by old people as the Book. Not many years ago the family Bible was the only book to be found in the cottages of the poor; now the frequent visits of the book-hawker have introduced a taste for reading into the remotest districts of the county, but still the Bible retains its title of the Book; and I was glad to hear a rough-looking carter boy say the other day, "I always read a bit of my Book before I goos to bed."
Boot-legs, m. Short gaiters, not reaching to the knee.
Boss. To throw.
Bostal, or Borstal. A pathway up a hill, generally a very steep one, and on the northern escarpment of the Downs; as the White Bostal near Alciston, the Ditchling Bostal, &c.
With respect to the derivation of this much-disputed word, Professor Bosworth has kindly given me the following:óBurg-stal,-stol, es; m [burg, beorg, beorh,ahill, stal a place, seat, dwelling.] A hill-seat, dwelling on a hill; sedes super collem vel clivum, Cot. 209. The name of places built on a hill, as Burstall in Suffolk, Borstall in Kent and Oxfordshire, &c.
Mr. Kemble (Sussex Archaeological Collection, vol. ii., p. 292) takes " the first word of the compound to be the Saxon word beorh, a hill or mountain, the passing of which into bor, is neither unusual nor surprising. The second word is not so easily determined. Were the word ever written borstill, Mr. K. should suggest the Saxon stigel, a stile or rising path; and beorh-stigel would be the hill-path or mountain-path. He does not know whether, in that branch of the West Saxon which prevailed in Sussex, 'steal' did signify a road or way; but it is not without pro≠bability that some of the Anglo-Saxon dialects might have justified that use of the term; for 'stealian' or 'stellan' does sometimes seem to be applied in the sense of 'going or leaping.'"
Bottom, m. A valley in the Downs.
Bottom, w. A reel of cotton.
Bouge, m. [Bouge, French.] A water cask. The round swelling part of a cask.
Bough-house, m. A private house allowed to be open at fairs for the sale of liquor.
An old person describing the glories of Selmeston fair, which has now been discontinued many years, said "There was all manner of booths and bough-houses."