Episode 38: Nobles, Nuptials and a Cowherd Poet

The kingdom of Northumbria emerged as a center of scholarship and learning during the 7th century. We explore the political and religious events which led to the Northumbrian Renaissance. We also explore the importance of strategic marriages and marital terms in Old English. Lastly, we look at the first known poet in the English language – a cowherd named Caedmon.


13 thoughts on “Episode 38: Nobles, Nuptials and a Cowherd Poet

    • Hi Jen,

      You might want to check out “Hild: A Novel” by Nicola Griffith. It is a history-based novel based on Hilda’s life. I haven’t actually read the novel, but several listeners recommended it to me, and I intend to read it at some point when I have the time.

      Most of my resources for these early historical figures were general histories of Anglo-Saxon England. “The Anglo-Saxon Age” by D.J.V. Fisher is particularly good.

  1. Pingback: English Marriage Words | rogerwillismills

  2. Thank you Kevin for this great series. A little self-serving question here. My daughter is named Adele, which I have vaguely known to derive from the word noble in German (Edel.) Based on what I’ve learned from the podcast, it seems that Adele and Ethel are probably cognate – can you confirm?

    • From what I understand, the -lock in warlock is cognate with lie (as opposed to truth); whereas the -lock in wedlock is cognate with -ledge (as in knowledge). In other words, warlock and wedlock just happen to appear cognate, but really they have very different etymologies.

    • As Ryan noted above, the ‘-lock’ part of “warlock” isn’t actually the ‘-lock’ suffix used in words like “wedlock.” It’s based on a different root and has a distinct meaning.

  3. I’m slowly making my way through the podcast archives and, having gotten this far, want to point out that “ale” in the sense of a gathering or a celebration survives in the Morris dance community. Since Morris dance is an English tradition, it’s no surprise that this is mostly in England, but it also happens in a few places in the US. In Massachusetts (where I live) there are several Morris sides and some regularly held ales.

  4. Most thoroly enjoying your podcast! Just one question, are you really ok with qualifying the word ‘unique’ as in ‘completely unique’? Forgive me for saying it seems an odd choice for someone who obviously loves the language. I’m aware I shud not quibble in light of such excellent work.

  5. Digression: The name Goldfinger in James Bond is taken from a real person, Erno Goldfinger, a celebrated modernist Hungarian Jewish architect based in London. Fleming wanted his arch-villain to be Marxist and Jewish, and thought the name fit the bill. The architect was unamused. The surname isn’t a common one, and is one of the many names invented by Habsburg officials in the 18th century and assigned to Jews.

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