Poole, Jacob (1774–1827), philologist and antiquarian, who was descended from an old-established quaker family, was born 11 February 1774 in Growtown, Co. Wexford, son of Josiah Poole and his wife Sarah, daughter of Jacob Martin of Aghfad, Co. Wexford. The Pooles, originally from Northamptonshire, settled in Ireland in the 1650s. Jacob took over the family estate at Growtown in the parish of Taghmon in 1800. Taghmon is situated on the border of the barony of Bargy, one of the two baronies (the other being Forth) in which the English language had survived continuously since the Norman invasion of Ireland in the late twelfth century. Jacob was an amateur philologist, with an interest in local dialects of English, especially in their roots in medieval English. During the last five years of his life he collected words and phrases from tenants and farm labourers in his area and wrote them up in a glossary, which is preserved in the library of the Society of Friends, Dublin, as MS Y.M. [Yearly Meeting] Historical Collection, 4.N.2. The glossary also contains a list of local surnames, with non-standard spellings, indicating pronunciation, and standard spellings, provided by Poole. Some years later, at the instigation of a relative of the family, Richard Day Webb, the glossary was published in 1867 in London by the poet William Barnes (qv), who shared Poole's interest in recording local dialects, especially from farm labourers. The biographer Alfred Webb (qv) described it as ‘the only medium through which an effective record of that ancient speech . . . has been preserved’. Poole married (13 May 1813) Mary Sparrow, also from Wexford; they had three daughters and three sons. He died on 20 November 1827, and was buried in the graveyard of the Society of Friends at Forest, Co. Wexford.
Webb; DNB; T. P. Dolan, ‘The manuscript of Jacob Poole's glossary of the dialect of Forth and Bargy’, Eighteenth-Century Ireland, ii (1987), 203–7; T. P. Dolan and Diarmaid Ó Muirithe, The dialect of Forth and Bargy, Co. Wexford, Ireland (1996); Richard S. Harrison, Biographical dictionary of Irish quakers (1997)