BACK to binks. Mary Scarr of Bainbridge was reading The Song of Wensleydale this week and was delighted to discover the word “bink” referred to as a dales’ old dialect word for a sink. We reckon really a bink is a stone bench, usually placed by a cottage door. A sink was usually attached to it because a churn would be placed on the bink and the milk would be turned into butter or cheese.

Only five weeks ago, we featured Hazel and Michael Waldman’s garden in Worton, Wensleydale, which has a Victorian set of bee boles, which were last month’s fascination.

They live in Bink House and, yes, they have a bink – although it is a sinkless bink.

Disappointingly, they don’t have an icehouse, and nor indeed do they have a lavatorial…

“You have explored ice houses, dovecotes, binks, and other subjects,” says Charles Lilley. “Can I now mention another unusual Old English noun seldom, if ever, used today: lavatorial.

“The word applies to 'seasoned urine' – or 'lant'. Urine was stored and left to ferment for weeks, and the resultant ammonia content was then used for cleaning, particularly for laundry.

“On sheep farms, the lant was used for cleaning fleeces.”

So on many farms there may well be the remains of urine collection devices.

“High in a barn wall at Holgate at New Forest, there is a basin draining into a pit which is within a building used for degreasing and cleaning fleeces,” says Charles. “My great-great-great-grandfather, Thomas Hodgson, lived in an adjacent cottage and his eldest daughter, Catherine, was housemaid at Holgate House. Had she the unenviable chore of emptying chamber pots into the basin?”

New Forest is an area of moor near Marske, between Richmond and Reeth. It was once a hunting forest belonging to the earls of Richmond.

So does anyone else have any urine storage devices or indeed stories? Please email and, yes, this is a genuine request – we’d never dream of taking the…