The Lost Words of Epsom

The Lost Words of Epsom

Art & poetry competition for children and young people 2018

In celebration of the 400-year anniversary of the discovery of Epsom Salts (1618), MGSO4 Epsom & Ewell Arts Festival has launched a creative competition for children and young people.

We have been inspired by beautiful book ‘ The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, which pairs illustrations of nature words that have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, with short spell-style acrostic poems about them.

But in Epsom & Ewell, we have lost some of our own words too. Bourne Hall Museum curator Jeremy Harte has looked back into history, and uncovered eight ‘lost words’ from the seventeenth century, used at the height of Epsom’s popularity as a spa town. They describe the creatures and activities of Epsom Common where the original well was sited.

Children can submit an illustration (portrait format), poem or both, for one or more words, entering through participating schools or individually. The winning entries will be published in a special book. Winners will receive a copy of the book featuring their work and be invited to a prize-giving event at the festival, on Saturday 7th July at Bourne Hall. Poems and illustrations of winners and selected entries will be exhibited at the festival.

The competition is being sponsored by Epsom Civic Society and The Arts Society Epsom

Take a look at the Lost Words of Epsom below, and view full competition details and tips on how to create a fantastic poem or illustration. Entries can be emailed or dropped-off at Bourne Hall Museum or Epsom Library.


8 Lost Words


1.Beeskep, a hive or home for bees made from straw rope twisted and coiled into a dome.


2.Flittermouse, the Surrey dialect word for a bat.


3.Furzechat/Fuzzchat, a small heathland bird; also the local nickname for someone living on Epsom Common (Stamford Green).


4.Haycock, a small pile of hay raised after mowing to dry out before stacking.


5.Hedgepig, the Surrey dialect word for a hedgehog.


6.Kissing-gate, a swing-gate moving between the two arms of a curved fence.


7.Riphook, a tool with curved blade for cutting grass and sedge, similar to a sickle.


8.Plashing, the weaving of slashed tree branches between upright branches to create a hedge.