"bum-court" at the OED; also "bishopping"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Nov 21 16:32:44 UTC 2009

The OED (1989) says of "bum-court", "Apparently, a vulgar nick-name
for the Ecclesiastical Court," with citations from 1544 to 1583.  One
would think that by now they would be more certain.

In any case, Martin Ingram's _Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in
England, 1570--1640_ (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987) might be a source
leading to some later quotations (see p. 18, n. 37)

As well as scattered slang relating to sexual practices.  On page 240
it has [re sexual horseplay in 1639]:

"at a nocturnal dancing match at a mill ... when the door was locked,
the candles put out, and a certain Catherine Sangar set on her head
and 'bishopped'."  [Source citations given.]

(Any relucidation of the candles would be relished.)


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