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- n. Plural form of hoveller.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The very same men who work the galley punts I have just described are the 'hovellers' in the great luggers when the tempest drives the smaller boats ashore, and they also are the same men who, in times of greater and extremer need, answer so nobly to the summons of the lifeboat bell.
In that crowd, as I am credibly informed, were gathered -- but none could distinguish them -- gentle and simple, maiden ladies with their servants or housekeepers, side by side with longshoremen, hovellers, giglet maids, and urchins; all alike magnetised and drawn thither by the Man and the Hour.
But with the progress of civilisation the hovellers have come to reside in cottages, and only regard the hovels as their places of business.
Not many years ago the hovellers were notorious smugglers.
We were quite alone there, except that a few hovellers’ (the Kentish name for ‘long-shore boatmen like his companions) ‘were hanging about their lugs, waiting while the tide made, as hovellers will.’
We didn’t in the least know what it was, and judge of our surprise when we saw the hovellers, to a man, leap into the boats and tear about to hoist sail and get off, as if they had every one of ’em gone, in a moment, raving mad!