The historical side of profanity

Scholars of schatology, rejoice!

Historians claim to have uncovered the first use of the word f*** in a court document dating from 1310.

Dr Paul Booth, who was a lecturer in medieval history before retiring, spotted the name ‘Roger ****ebythenavele’ in the Chester county court plea rolls from December 8, 1310.

The man was being named as part of a process to be outlawed – meaning he could be executed on sight.

Dr Booth told the find was entirely accidental.

‘One of my current projects is looking at records of Edward 2nd, a time of great turmoil.

‘I’ve been going through these magnificent records, and I came across this by accident –  it really does shout out at you.’

At first, he assumed it was simply a joke made by a court clerk. 

However, then he discovered it was written three times.

‘I thought it might be a clerk’s joke, but I think this is actually someone who have been given this nickname.

‘It’s written clearly, and three times, and I think that shows its not a joke.’

There’s more at the link, including a description of what the name might have meant in its historical context.

I don’t think there’s a Nobel prize for that sort of scholarly research . . . although it might fall into a special historical category of the AVN’s!



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