Someone who comes from Nantwich is often referred to as a Dabber. It’s someone who was born within the towns boundaries (Nantwich Town football club’s stadium is ever referred to as the Dabber Dome). But where does the term Dabber come from? I found these explanations in Nantwich library:
- Name – Given to a person born and bred in Nantwich.
- Bargain – When a verbal agreement has been made sealed by the proposer spitting on his hand and dabbing it down on the palm of the other hand (or shaking hands).
- Betting – One who puts down stakes for a bet (Nantwich had a racecourse in 1729).
- Birds – One who dabbed lime on trees and bushes in order to catch wild birds for caging.
- Birds (again) – When chaffinch snaring a Nantwich boy would have said ‘Dab thi yed down, feyther’ implying be smart kept out of sight – thence, adept.
- Cookery – One who used currants for the outside of a currant loaf when only a few currants were stuck, pressed or dabbed into the dough.
- Expert – ‘A dab hand’ an expert in some line, e.g. No. 2 above or a champion sheep shearer.
- Pay up – One who pays his dues, rents, rates, promptly.
- Prize-fighting – One who puts up his fists or ‘dabs’ ready for a fight
- Builder – May be derived from ‘dauber’, one who in the days of timber framed houses, put in the wattle and daub between the timbers. The last one died in 1706.
- Tanning – One who ‘dabbed’ the hides into tannic acid.
There’s even more explanations on John Brough’s excellent site A Dabber’s Nantwich.