Thursday, March 11, 2010
Where is the Pemberton's Huff sign?
Tony Bostock, perhaps the best local history authority in Cheshire, says this:
"A possible answer is that during the 18th century parts of the wastelands around the city of Chester were divided into lots and fenced off for the benefit citizens of the City. An area of the waste was known as 'the Hough' and the Pemberton family had land here near Windmill Hill. Despite the chronology, in all probability this is what is being referred too as it is likely that such allocations were established during the 17th century and then later formalised."
This infers to me, that this was a gratuitous act of some secular authority. If this was "ordered" by the King, or under the recommendation of the King, it is easy to see the origin of a family story about the King's involvement and the "circumstance that took place between the king and himself" was simply that George was a citizen and the King was a king. This story, after all, is one that once told, will never be forgotten by any Pemberton.
Jane Houghton, in her email says this about the sounds of "huff" and "hough": "Hough as in a hill and also the surname of that ilk is pronounced Huff in Chesire and Lancashire as in 'he went off in a huff'."
We must not ignore the possibility that whoever "penned" the couplet may have used "huff" on a sign beside Pemberton's Hough so as to make a pun.