From John o' Groat's house to the Land's End. From Dan to
Beersheba, from one end of Great Britain to the other. John o' Groat
was a Dutchman, who settled in the most northerly point of Scotland in
the reign of James IV., and immortalised himself by the way he settled
a dispute respecting precedency. (See John O' Groat.)
Blood without groats is nothing
(north of England), meaning “family without fortune is worthless.”
The allusion is to black-pudding, which consists chiefly of blood and
groats formed into a sausage.
Not worth a groat.
Of no value. A groat is a silver fourpence. The Dutch had a coin
called a grote, a contraction of grote-schware (great
schware), so called because it was equal in value to five little
schware. So the coin of Edward III. was the groat or great silver
penny, equal to four penny pieces. The modern groat was first issued in
1835, and were withdrawn from circulation in 1887. (French, gros,
great.) Groats are no longer in circulation.
“He that spends a groat a day idly, spends idly above six pounds a
year.” —Franklin: Necessary Hints, p. 131.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894