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Bede explains it as allusive to the sun's return, and we may therefore suppose derives it from the AngloSaxon GEHWEOL, a wheel, as Gebelin has done. 'Iol," says the latter writer, "pronounced Hiol, Iol, Jul, Giul, Hweol, Wheel, Wiel, Vol, &c. is a primitive word carrying with it the idea of revolution or of a wheel."* Dr. Pettingal † derives it from the ancient British, Saxon, or Celtic, or by whatever name we choose to designate that early language, which was used by the inhabitants of this country in common with Gaul, Spain, and Illyricum, before they were over-run by the Romans. It appears by the old tongue still in use amongst the Welsh that a holyday is called by them Wyl; or, to strengthen the sound, Gwyl; thus in the rubrick of the Welsh liturgy every Saint's Day is the Wyl, or Gwyl of such a saint; and in common conversation the Day of St. John is called Gwyl Ievan; and of St. Andrew, Gwyl Andreas; and the first of August, Gwyl Aust. The mere difference of letters, however they may stagger those inexperienced in such matters, present not the slightest difficulty to the etymologist; in the Old English, or British, language, the Y, W, and G, were used interchangeably for each other, and thus Yule, Wyl, and Gwyl, are but one and the same word, and signify the same thing-i.e. a feast-though differently written.§ If this be a correct view of the matter, the Gule of August means
ALLEGORIES ORIENTALES, Monde Primitif, p. 193.
+ See Archæologia, vol. ii. p. 3.
These languages appear to have been so nearly alike, that we may fairly call them dialects of the same tongue. It is moreover allowed by Camden, Spelman, and other received authorities, that a considerable part of the present language is to be derived from the OLD ONE, above alluded to.
§ Thus in our old writers it is common to find YAVE for gave, YEVEN for given; while in ward and guard we see instances of the same sort of change, for the two words are identical.
no more than the feast or holyday of August, which was held as such originally, when the English during the papal supremacy paid their Peter Pence to Rome. Following up this notion I should be inclined to think with Pettingal that when the Saxons became Christian they called the month of December, Giuli, or the month of the great Gule, or Nativity, by way of eminence
The meaning, here attributed to the word, is completely borne out by Hickes, although he gives it a somewhat different derivation, telling us that I-OL, Cimbric— written by the Anglo-Saxons GEOL, and Dan. Sax. IUL -the o being readily changed into u by the intensive. prefixes i and ge,—make el, ol, a "symposium," a "feast," and more emphatically the feasts at Christmas.*
There is, however, one objection to Pettingal's theory, or at least to a part of it. If Gebelin's assumption be correct that the Egyptians used Gule to designate the great festival at the commencement of their year, we have a case
See F. Junii ETYMOLOGICUM ANGLICANUM-sub voce Yeol. I should observe too some have maintained that the word being Gothic it could not possibly have a Celtic derivation, the languages being so different. It may be so; but, as we have just seen, even that would not affect the interpretation given by Pettingal; Gothic or Celtic, it would equally mean, 66 a feast;" and this after all is the principal point. I have already remarked that ale, as we find it in the compounds, Church-ale, Bride-ale, &c., is but another form of Yule, Gule, or Ule, for even this last mode of writing the word is not uncommon; thus according to Brand, who quotes from Blount, "in Yorkshire and our other northern parts they have an old custom, after sermon or service on Christmas Day, the people will, even in the churches cry, Ule, ule, ule, as a token of rejoicing; and the common sorts run about the streets singing,
Ule, ule, ule!
Three puddings in a pule;
So also in RAY'S PROVERBS-"It is good to cry Ule at other men's costs."
of priority established against the claims of either Celt or Saxon; they could only have been borrowers. It will be in vain to object that the Welsh applied the term, not to any particular feast, but to feasts in general; the meaning of words naturally widens and extends in the course of time, and nothing is more common than the transition from a special, to a general, application of them.
Lammas Day.-This was another name for the first of August, which by some has been supposed to signify a Lamb-Mass, because on that day the tenants, who held lands of the Cathedral Church in York, which is dedicated to St. Peter ad Vincula, were bound by their tenure to bring a live lamb into the church at high mass. Others give the same derivation, but explain it by saying that "lambs were not then fit to eat, they were grown too big." Others again have imagined that it came from the Anglo-Saxon Hlafmaesse, i.e. Loaf-Mass," because on that day the English made an offering of bread made with new wheat."*
On this day also became payable the so-called PeterPence, a tax levied to the amount of a penny upon every bearth or chimney throughout England, and which was likewise called Rome-feogh, Heard-Penny, or Rome-scot. The origin of this tax, or alms, is a matter of much doubt, having been attributed to various times and individuals. According to Mathew of Westminster, somewhere about the year 727, Ina, King of Wessex, leaving his kingdom to his relative, Æthelhard, set forth on a pilgrimage to Rome, where, with the consent of Pope Gregory, he established the Schola Anglorum, (the School of the Angles),†
* Blount's Law Dictionary-sub voce Lammas.
+ I have rendered Schola Anglorum by School of the Angles, from a doubt whether the word, English, was in use so early as the reign of Ina. At all events the title of England was not applied to any part of the country until the time of Ecgberht, A.D. 800, when the mo
known afterwards under the name of Hospitale di S. Spirito in Vico de Sassia. The object of this institution was to bring up the English kings, priests, and laity, in the true Roman Catholic faith, for the schools in their own country had been so tainted with heresies, that from the time of Saint Augustine they had been interdicted by the Roman pontiffs. To defray the expence of the new establishment, as well as of some other pious freaks in which he indulged himself, Ina laid a penny-tax upon every family throughout the whole territory of the West Saxons, thus reminding one very strongly of Horace's “Quicquid delirant reges plectuntur Achivi.”
narch with the consent of his people in a parliament held at Winchester, ordered the name of his kingdom to be changed, and called England." A.D. D.C.C.C. Egbertus, rex totius Britanniæ, in parliamento apud Wintoniam, mutavit nomen regni de consensu populi sui, et jussit illud de cætero vocari Angliam."-HISTORIA FUNDATIONIS HOSPIT. S. LEONARDI, in Mon. Angl., vol. vi. p. 608.
At the same time it should be observed that the compound word, Anglo-Saxons, occurs first in Paul Warnefrid (lib. vi. c. 15)—“ Cedoaldus, rex Anglorum-Saxorum," and consequently- -as Lappenberg observes, who has also noticed this fact-before the time of Ecgberht. "Anno gratiæ 727 Ina, rex felix et potens, Æthelhardo, cognato suo, regnum suum relinquens, Romam petiit ut pro regno temporali commutaret æternum. Quò cum pervenisset, fecit in civitate domum, consensu et voluntate Gregorii, papæ, quam scholam Anglorum appellari fecit. Ad quam reges Angliæ, et genus regium, cum episcopis, presbyteris, et clericis, in doctrina et fide catholica erudiendi venirent, ne quid in ecclesia Anglicana sinistrum aut catholicæ unitati contrarium doceretur, et sic in fide stabili roborati ad propria remearent. Erant enim doctrina et scholæ Anglorum, a temporibus sancti Augustini, per Romanos pontifices interdictæ propter assiduas hæreses quæ in adventu Anglorum in Britannia emerserant, dum pagani Christianis permixti sanctæ conversationis gratiam corruperant fidei Christianæ. Fecit propterea, juxta domum præfatam, ecclesiam in honorem beatæ Virginis Mariæ fabricari, in qua Anglis Romam advenientibus divina celebrarentur misteria, et in qua possent, si quem ex Anglis Romæ mori contingeret, sepeliri. Et, hæc omnia ut perpetuæ firmitatis
But a life of Offa, king of Mercia, which has been ascribed to Mathew of Paris, gives another version of this story. This prince, having greatly to his joy got rid of his wife, Queen Quendride, resolved to lead a life of celibacy, and, growing more pious every day, in this blessed state resolved to build a monastery in honour of the protomartyr, Saint Alban. To give the greater eclat to the
robur obtinerent, statutum est generali decreto per totum regnum occidentalium Saxonum, in quo predictus Ina regnabat, ut singulis annis de singulis familiis denarius unus, qui Anglicè Romescot appellatur, beato Petro et ecclesiæ Romanæ mitteretur, ut Angli ibidem commorantes vitale subsidium inde haberent." Flores Historiarum per Matthæum Westmonasteriensem Collecti. Vol. i. p. 265, folio, Londini, 1570.
It may seem strange that a man of Lord Campbell's learning and research should have been ignorant of an historical fact like this; yet it is plain that he was so, for we find him in his Lives of the Chancellors, (vol. i. p. 30), attributing the origin of Rome-scot to St. Swithin, who was not born till the commencement of the ninth century, or about a hundred years after the time of Ina. His words are these "He (St. Swithin) was much admired by ecclesiastics of Rome, as well as in his own country, having first established in England for the benefit of the Pope the payment called Peter Pence. In consequence about fifty years after his death he was canonized." Had Lord Campbell known of very contrary statements being on the record, surely he would have noticed them. Even supposing that he chooses, as some others have done, to reject the authority of Mathew of Westminster, still there is the account of Mathew of Paris to be got over, who assigns this Peter-Pence to the invention of Offa, King of Mercia.
In regard, however, to Saint Swithin, that worthy gentleman will lose nothing with his friends by having this borrowed feather plucked from his wing, for quite enough of the same sort of merit will remain to give him a just claim to their unqualified admiration. On all occasions he showed himself a staunch friend to the Church at the expense of the people, and amongst other good deeds procured a law to be passed in the Wittenagemot for the universal and compulsory payment of tythes, as I have already mentioned; and it is probable that it was for this the monks thought proper to canonize him.