Yuletide and Wassailing

The 8th century Anglo-Saxon historian Bede wrote that in pre-Christian England ‘The first month, which the Latins call January, is [called] Giuli’; February is called Solmonath; March Hrethmonath; April, Eosturmonath; May, Thrimilchi; June, Litha; July, also Litha; August, Weodmonath; September, Halegmonath; October, Winter┬ólleth; November, Blodmo- nath; December, Giuli, the same name by which January is…

The sign of the cross: an oddity in 13th century England?

Making the sign of the cross in the British Isles might not be as pervasive and as old as previously imagined. The 13th century English chronicle known by the name of “Barnwell” (central to my ongoing doctoral thesis) has an intriguing testimony under the year 1221 AD: “Petrus de Roches Wintoniensis (i.e Winchester) episcopus, quadam…