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In The Story of Hereford’s Hospitals (Charles Renton, Logaston Press, 1999) p 104, it says of the Bromyard Cottage Hospital in 1885:

<Dr. Horton, a subscriber, was in favour of building anew and commented strongly on the smell arising from the adjacent St. Peter’s churchyard. This contained an enormous cesspool, and was used for ‘gruntage’ by the townsmen, resulting in a very unsatisfactory atmosphere in the wards.>

None of us at the Bromyard & District Local History Society can trace this presumably local dialect word gruntage, although from the context it would seem to mean ‘dumping rubbish’.

Can ANYONE help?


  • Hello @chipgc,

    This is a really interesting question! It's not a word that we have recorded in our dictionaries. We've run a quick search of our various databases and can’t find any clues to what it might mean in this context. It’s a very rare word that only seems to be used a few times elsewhere to mean ‘grunting’ or ‘grunt work’.

    I wonder if it could be a misspelling or a variant form of 'garbage', but that is just speculation on my part!

    Hopefully another person will have come across it and be able to help here.

    Best wishes,


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