Walter Edward Haigh (1856-1931)

Walter Edward Haigh was a writer, academic, and lecturer.

He was the Head of the English & History Department at Huddersfield Technical College from 1890 to 1918. Following his retirement, he became the Emeritus Lecturer in English until his death in 1931.


He was born in Honley in 1856, the son of farmer, butcher and innkeeper Walter Haigh and his wife Martha.

The 1871 Census listed him as a 14-year-old "pupil teacher".

During the 1880s and early 1890s, he worked as an elementary school teacher in Wolverley, Kidderminster.

By 1901, he had returned to Yorkshire and was residing at 2 Hanson Lane, Lockwood, where the Census recorded him sharing a house with his 34-year-old niece, Martha Ellen Haigh.

He married Ethel Hirst in 1905 and they moved 13 Wormald Street, Almondbury. The 1911 Census gave his occupation as a Head Lecturer at Huddersfield Technical College.

In 1928, he published A New Glossary of the Dialect of the Huddersfield District, which contained a foreword by Professor J.R.R. Tolkien.

In her 2007 article for Tolkien Studies, Janet Brennan Croft notes that, "Tolkien most likely met Haigh through the Yorkshire Dialect Society, which was founded in 1897 by Tolkien's Oxford mentor Joseph Wright." Croft also notes that a number of words in Tolkien's works can be traced to Haigh's glossary, including: Baggins, Bree, Brockenborings, gaffer, nowt, nosey, nuncle, and vittles.[1]

Walter Edward Haigh died on 24 January 1931, aged 74, and was buried on 27 January at St. Mary's Church, Honley.


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