Q: A (or several) "housen" in 1747?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Jan 14 22:06:35 UTC 2007

>In a 1747 Boston estate inventory, there is (in a semi-cursive script):
>Stable; 1 Chair & Harness
>2 Saddles 4 Bridles & Housen [as near as I can make out this last word]
>1 Cow ... 1 White Horse
>2 Red ditto & 1 Mare
>What might "Housen" be?  (Singular or plural, although I doubt it's a
>Germanic plural of "house"!)  The capital H looks very much like the one
>in Harness; the final "n" I could be convinced otherwise about.

Probably "housen"!

Cf. "housing[s]" (sb.2, sense 2 in my poor-man's OED) referring to
something like a saddle cover or trappings for a horse. OED shows a variant
spelling "howsen".

Here are a few examples of the spelling "housen", I think probably
basically the same word, although I don't see it in the usual dictionaries
at a glance:




I suppose maybe it really is _etymologically_ an archaic plural of English

-- Doug Wilson

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