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Lath or Lathe


A division of a county. Sometimes it was an intermediate division between a hundred and a shire, as the lathes of Kent and rapes of Sussex, each of which contained three or four “hundreds” apiece. In Ireland the arrangement was different. The officer over a lath was called a lathreeve. (Anglo-Saxon læth, a canton.)


“If all that tything failed, then all that lath was charged for that tything; and if the lath failed, then all that hundred was demanded for them [i.e. turbulent fellows], and if the hundred, then the shire.—Spenser: Ireland.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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