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Pronounced /ˈlɒrɪn(ə)ri/Help with pronunciation

Lorinery, meaning the craft of making the various metal parts of a horse’s harness, is rare enough that there’s no entry for it in the Oxford English Dictionary; it seems to be relatively recent and not at all common in print, though it is found quite a lot online. The oldest example I know is this:

Mr. Chavasse, in returning thanks, made some interesting remarks upon the history of lorinery, and pointed out that the “rozettes,” which it was formerly the loriner’s business to make, were still represented as emblems on the company’s coat-of-arms.

St James’s Gazette (London), 29 Oct. 1891.

Lorinery is carried out by loriners; the Worshipful Company of Loriners, one of the livery companies of the City of London, says: “A loriner makes and sells bits, bridles, spurs, stirrups and the minor metal items of a horse’s harness, together with the saddle tree.” There aren’t any loriners in the City of London nowadays, the centre of the British craft being in Walsall, which is perhaps why the Company no longer has a London headquarters (a hall, in the jargon).

Samuel Pepys noted in his Diary for 14 May 1668: “Thence with Lord Brouncker to Loriners’-hall, by Mooregate, a hall I never heard of before.” He wasn’t alone, it transpires: though loriner and the Worshipful Company are both medieval in date, this is the first reference to their hall anywhere.

The older form of the word is lorimer, the source of the family name; both derive from the Old French word lorenier, which is from Latin lorum, a strap or bridle.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 17 Dec. 2005

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Last modified: 17 December 2005.