wulfhēafod-trēow, n.n: literally “wolf’s head-tree”, whatever that is. (“woolf-heh-ah-vod-treh-oh”)

This puzzling term appears in the Exeter Book’s Riddle 55. See the riddle in Old English with Franziska Wenzel’s translation and commentary on the Riddle Ages blog. Wenzel draws attention to Craig Williamson’s theory in Feast of Creatures that the wolf’s head tree is a kind of gallows, saying, “if outlaws are metaphorically called wolves, they would hang on a wolf’s head tree when they meet their deaths”.

But really, no one knows what the wulfhēafod-trēow is for certain.


Wēod-mōnaþ, m.n: August; literally “weed-month”. (“weh-ohd-mon-ath”)

                                        And ϸæs symle scriϸ

ymb seofon niht ϸæs   sumere gebrihted

Weodmonað on tun,   welhwær bringeð

Agustus   yrmenϸeodum

hlafmæssan dæg.

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 136b-40a

And then after seven nights, the summer-glorified Weodmonað always comes to town; everywhere August brings to mighty people Lammas Day. (trans. by K. Karasawa)

The Old English Martyrology says that August is called Weodmonað “because [weeds] most greatly grow in this month”.*

*Kazutomo Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), p. 111.


A calendar page for August in the Isabella Breviary. British Library, Additional 18851, fol. 5. See British Library post here.