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Cornish farm fork

Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:32 am
by KingMark
When I worked at home on the farm we never used 'forks' for cleaning out houses, always an 'evil' or possibly an 'eval'. Can anyone tell me which (if either) is the right word?

Also interested in the word is it dialect or from old Cornish language?


Re: Cornish farm fork

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:35 am
by Marhak
Evall (heave-all).

Re: Cornish farm fork

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:58 pm
by Ben
I don't mean to disagree with Marhak, I actually don't know the word at all so can't offer a personal opinion. However, for what it's worth, looking through the few reference books on my small bookshelf I find an alternative derivation...

K.C. Phillips in his 'Westcountry Words & Ways' (David & Charles 1976) writes that a long handled four-pronged dung-fork is called an 'evil', not connected to the devil's pitch fork but derived from the old English word 'eaful' meaning fork. He goes on to say that a hay-fork in East Cornwall is normally called a 'pike' (Now, that word I do know).

Re: Cornish farm fork

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:36 pm
by KingMark
Thanks both. I have now found reference on Cornish dialect sites to Evil, Hevval and Yvel - but no reference in my Cornish dictioanary. We used to use two pronged Pikes or more usually pitch forks for 'pitching' sheaves (later bales) up onto a load - this in West Cornwall too.