Online Encyclopedia

SCAVENGER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 306 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SCAVENGER, now one who cleans the streets, removes refuse, generally a workman employed by the local public health authority (see PUBLIC HEALTH). The name is properly " scavager " or " scaveger " (the n being intrusive as in " passenger " and " messenger "), an official who was concerned with the receipt of custom duties and the inspection (scavage) of imported goods. The " scavagers " are found with such officials of the City of London as aleconners, beadles, &c., in the Liber Albus (Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis, ed. Riley). These officials seem to have been charged also with the cleaning of the streets, and the name superseded the older rakyer for those who performed this duty. Skeat takes " scavage " to be a Low French corruption of " showage," spelled variously as schewage, savage, &c., and, therefore, to be derived from " show," to exhibit for inspection. ' The view that he was consul again in Io8 is disproved by Bloch (see bibliog.). SCAVENGER'S DAUGHTER (corruption of Skevington's or Skevington's Daughter), an instrument of torture in use during the 16th century in England. It was invented by Sir W. Skevington, lieutenant of the. Tower in the reign of Henry VIII. It consisted of a wide iron hoop which by means of screws was tightened round the victim's body until the blood was forced from the nose and ears, and sometimes even from the hands and feet.
End of Article: SCAVENGER
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