hwæles ēðel

hwæles ēðel (kenning): whale’s home, i.e. the sea. (“HWÆL-ess AY-thell”)

m0003 481

Yunus (Jonah) and the whale, from Rashid al-Din’s Jami al-tawarikh (The Collection of Histories). Iran (Tabriz), c. 1314. University of Edinburgh Special Collections, MS 20, f. 23v. [collections.ed.ac.uk]

For more on medieval whales, check out my other blog, Dēor-hord, the medieval and modern bestiary!


Sutton Hoo is doing an Old English ‘Word Hoard’ event alongside their display on Anglo-Saxon travel and trade. It’s free on every Tuesday and Thursday until 10 September. Find out more on their website. Although I’m not involved in this event, I’m doing a ‘travel and trade’ theme this week. The first of these words is…

ȳþ-lida, m.n: a wave-traverser, a ship. (“UTH-LEE-dah”)


wæd, n.n: ford, shallow water, water that may be traversed; (poetic) a body of water, sea. (“wadd”)


A boy, having been pushed off London Bridge by cattle, is rescued by rivermen on the Thames. John Lydgate’s Lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund. England (Bury St Edmunds?), between 1461 and c. 1475. British Library, MS Yates Thompson 47, f. 94v. [bl.uk]