THE Star had barely hit the streets on Thursday morning when people got in touch over ‘Yickers’.

Local historian Kevin Henegan had this to say: “Dear Chris. Let me put you out of your misery.

“In the days when barges plied the Sankey Canal, carrying copper to Stanley and coal down to the Mersey, many bargees employed a youth who was strong in the arm but weak in the head to do such heavy work as moving the big beams on lock gates.

“He was known as the ‘yicker’.

“The residents of Parr swiftly applied this derogatory term to the people of Haydock. That’s how it started.

“Haydock, by the way, is probably a Welsh name for barley-place or corn farm.”

I had a couple of phone calls with similar canal connections, that it was the name given to the pole the colliers used like a punt to steer the rafts and boats near the landing stages.

Danny remembered that as a young lad, his dad had showed him some old maps with “Yicksville” clearly marked. Clearly a joke by the local mapmaker.

Kevin had more to add about my feature: “As for Orme de Hedoc, he did not marry the King’s daughter.

“In 1167, Henry 11’s daughter Matilda was betrothed to Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, and married him at Minden Cathedral on 1 February 1168.

The king called on Orme and other landholders to contribute 10 marks towards the marriage costs, but Orme could only manage two marks – or so he said.

“Part of his land was therefore ‘eclipsed’ – taken back by the king – until he should pay the difference, which he did a couple of years later.

“Hence the name Clipsley Lane, formed from eclipse +ley (arable land), which is unique in all England.

“You also mention that the Hospitallers held land “now called Leafog or LAFFOG” which they granted to Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and William his son.

“We know it today as Laffak (Old English ‘law oak’) where Anglo-Saxons settled disputes over such rights as pannage (the right to feed pigs), turbary (the right to cut peat), and pasturage.

“Broad Oak was a similar place. It was at Laffak Hall, later farmer George Moncrieff’s barn, that Katharine Parr would have stayed on her trips from Kendal to London before she married King Henry VIII.

“The great pity is that the barn was ever demolished because, from a description given to me by Miss Ruth Moncrieff, it was clearly a medieval hall, later converted into a barn when a more modern farmhouse was built.”