Episode 61: Earls and Churls

During his reign as King of England, Canute established a new class of nobles who became known as earls. The authority of the earls was second only to the king himself. The king and the nobles ruled over the common people or peasants who were known as churls. The peasants tended to the farms, and their culture and lifestyle produced many words which have survived in Modern English.  We examine the etymology of words and phrases associated with farming, livestock, bread making and knitting.


Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (louis-henwood.com)

5 thoughts on “Episode 61: Earls and Churls

    • I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with the word “hogget.” It doesn’t really exist in American English (as far as I know). According to the OED, it originally meant a young boar in the 1300s, and was later extended to mean a young sheep. So it does indeed derive from the word “hog.”

  1. I’m not a geographer, but I am a Norwegian.

    Today’s Rogaland (my home county) consists of approximately the 40% southernmost part of the region on the west coast. To my knowledge, Rogaland has never been used to refer to an eastern region of Norway, so I think this must be a little slip-up.

    • Thanks for the note. Rogaland wasn’t actually mentioned in the episode. Louis Henwood usually prepares the maps before I have completed the episode, so he often has to guess what geographical features I am going to discuss. Maybe I’ll send a Louis a note about the map, but it isn’t really essential to any of the content of the episode.

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