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Wondrous Words Wednesday

An image for the weekly meme Wondrous Words Wednesday… Is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading.It is hosted by Kathy, over at ‘BermudaOnion’s Weblog’.You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well, so that we can visit and share your words of the week!

My word selection this week, comes once again from a recently completed book, which has so much great material for this meme, that I really didn’t know where to start! –  ‘St Bartholomew’s Man’ by Mary Delorme, is an obvious choice for my ‘favourites shelf’ at Goodreads, with a fully justified 5 star rating


Henry’s doctors had warned him not to eat lampreys, but he had taken no notice. Kings were different from ordinary men, and if they fancied a meal of lampreys, that was what they ordered, even though they died a few days afterwards.

Image Of A LampreyLAMPREYS – Cephalaspidomorphi – Lampreys are a very ancient and primitive group of jawless vertebrates. Rare fossil remains from over 300 million years ago strongly suggest that today’s lampreys have changed little over this time. Most species of lamprey are parasites and have long, eel-like bodies that lack scales. They use their jawless mouths to attach to a host fish by suction before sucking out the living tissues. There are nearly 50 species of lamprey, most of whom spend their lives out at sea and return to freshwater only to spawn.

Lampreys have long been used as food for humans. They were highly appreciated by ancient Romans. During the Middle Ages, they were widely eaten by the upper classes throughout Europe, especially during fasting periods, since their taste is much meatier than that of most other fish. King Henry I of England is said to have died from eating “a surfeit of lampreys.”

On 4 March 1953, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation pie was made by the Royal Air Force using lampreys.

Especially in southwestern Europe (Portugal, Spain, and France), and in the northern half in Finland, larger lampreys are still a highly prized delicacy. Lampreys are also consumed in Sweden, Finland, Russia, New Zealand, the Baltic countries, Japan, and South Korea.

The mucus and serum of several lamprey species, including the Caspian lamprey (Caspiomyzon wagneri), river lampreys (Lampetra fluviatilis and L. planeri), and sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), are known to be toxic, and require thorough cleaning before cooking and consumption.

In Britain, lampreys are commonly used as bait, normally as dead bait. Northern pike, perch, and chub all can be caught on lampreys. Frozen lampreys can be bought from most bait and tackle shops.


Cedric and Gilbert completed the hospital roof just three days after the foundation ceremony – only, they declared, because Rahere had done the yelming for them.

An Image Of A Bundle Of Yelm For Roofing


YELM – A bundle of reeds or straw used as thatching material for a roof.



We were not in its path, but it took a fair number of corbels off the church, and a barn roof

Image Of A CorbelCORBELS – In architecture a corbel or console is a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent weight, a type of bracket. A corbel is a solid piece of material in the wall, whereas a console is a piece applied to the structure. A piece of timber projecting in the same way was called a “tassel” or a “bragger” in the UK. The technique of corbelling, where rows of corbels deeply keyed inside a wall support a projecting wall or parapet, has been used since Neolithic, or New Stone Age, times. It is common in Medieval architecture and in the Scottish baronial style as well as in the Classical architectural vocabulary, such as the modillions of a Corinthian cornice and in ancient Chinese architecture.

The word “corbel” comes from Old French and derives from the Latin corbellus, a diminutive of corvus (a raven) which refers to the beak-like appearance. similarly, the French refer to a bracket-corbel, usually a load-bearing internal feature, as a corbeau (a crow).

That’s all from me. What new words have you discovered this time? … I can’t wait to stop by and check them out!

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Yelm (yelming) was the new one for me of these three and seeing the definition has had me off researching. The first word that came to mind was “fag”, which, of course, never gets usage anymore due to its derogatory slang definition. However, I remembered learning as a child that the word meant a bundle of sticks or straw (along about the time I learned the word “gleaning”). I also remember it being slang for a cigarette. Anyway…my research reminded me that the bundle of sticks was actually called a “faggot”, just as derogatory, therefore still not a word for popular usage. When I play the popular “Words with Friends” (similar to Scrabble) game on my phone, it won’t allow the word “fag”. It’s a shame PCness has taken over to the point that words with other definitions are excluded because of one derogatory meaning.

    Sorry….. all that just because of the word “Yelm”. 🙂

    • Hi Kelly,

      Your comment set me away thinking, which is why I have taken so long to reply, as I wanted to be sure of my facts before I did so!

      A faggot is indeed a bundle of twigs or sticks, although it is one which is specifically meant for use on a fire, to burn.

      Over here in the UK a faggot, is also an item of food …

      .. and indeed the same derogatory word as it is in the US, so you have to be really careful in which context you use it!

      A ‘fag’ on the other hand, which can also have the same derogatory meaning as it does in the US, is generally, both here in the UK and in Australia used as a colloquialism for a cigarette, although many people these days use ciggie to avoid the issue.

      If you check out this article on thatching though, you will see that it specifically says that “The straw is bundled into ‘yelms’ before it is taken up to the roof and then is attached using staples, known as ‘spars’, made from twisted hazel sticks.”

      I really enjoyed that little exercise, all that from one little word 🙂

    • Hi Kathy,

      I had a vague notion that lampreys were food of some description, but had no idea exactly what it was. Hubbie used to be something of an amatuer fisherman, so perhaps this is where I have heard it used!

      I can’t see the point of deliberately eating something which might be highly toxic to the human system if it hasn’t been treated properly. I know we can get potentially lethal food poisoning from just about everything we consume, but the lamprey seems to carry an inherently high risk level – Not for me I fear!

      Thanks for hosting WWW and taking the time to stop by.

    • Hi Julia,

      ‘St Bartholomew’s Man’ was certainly a challenging book for new to me words, albeit that many of them had religious connotations, so I guess that a religious person may have been a little more ‘au fait’ with the words.

      Thank you for your kind words and comments, I truly appreciate them 🙂

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      ‘St Bartholomew’s Man’ was definitely not only a good book for amateur historians, but also for any erstwhile wordsmith’s out there. I found myself stopping to check out words and phrases every few minutes, not wanting to simply read on, after probably having taken words completely out of context. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment, it has been good chatiing with you.

  • Hi Yvonne, I remember St Bartholomew’s Man from seeing it at your blog. Interesting new words. Those lampreys really look like something out of a nightmare. Scary teeth!

    • Hi Naida,

      Welcome Back! You have been missed by so many people.

      I rated ‘St Bartholomew’s Man’ as a 5star read and one for my Goodreads favourite shelf, although to my shame, I have yet to post the review. (As you can tell, I still haven’t managed to get myself sorted out and my reviews up to date)

      I have to say that I much prefer the British way of dealing with a lamprey – dead and being used as bait on the end of a fishing rod! They certainly aren’t something I can ever see me having the urge to eat, not when a monarch of the realm was one of the casualties of their poisonous venom!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and have a good week 🙂

Written by Yvonne