Aitch-Bar

Two Almost Physicists With Almost Something To Say


Leave a comment

Possibly the Best Part of the Middle Ages

And you don't even need an icepick to read it.

We post the articles the Onion won’t.

Starvation, disease, persecution, outdoor toilets. There wasn’t a ton of upside to medieval Europe. Other than absurd names for stuff, of course. I’m just going to put this here, and let you worry about it. And presumably, never forget it.

Via Wikipedia, Source of All Eternal Truth:

Gropecunt Lane was a street name found in English towns and cities during the Middle Ages, believed to be a reference to the prostitution centred on those areas; it was normal practice for a medieval street name to reflect the street’s function or the economic activity taking place within it. Gropecunt, the earliest known use of which is in about 1230, appears to have been derived as a compound of the words grope and cunt. Streets with that name were often in the busiest parts of medieval towns and cities, and at least one appears to have been an important thoroughfare.

Although the name was once common throughout England, changes in attitude resulted in its replacement by more innocuous versions such as Grape Lane. Gropecunt was last recorded as a street name in 1561.

Variations include Gropecunte, Gropecountelane, Gropecontelane, Groppecountelane and Gropekuntelane. There were once many such street names in England, but all have now been bowdlerised.[1] In the city of York, for instance, Grapcunt Lane—grāp is the Old English word for grope[2]—was renamed as the more acceptable Grape Lane. […]

During the Middle Ages the word may often have been considered merely vulgar, having been in common use in its anatomical sense since at least the 13th century.[…] Gradually though the word became used more as the obscenity it is generally considered to be today. In John Garfield’s Wandring Whore II (1660) the word is applied to a woman, specifically a whore—”this is none of your pittiful Sneakesbyes and Raskalls that will offer a sturdy C— but eighteen pence or two shillings, and repent of the business afterwards”.[11][12] Francis Grose‘s A Classical Dictionary of The Vulgar Tongue (1785) lists the word as “C**t. The chonnos of the Greek, and the cunnus of the Latin dictionaries; a nasty name for a nasty thing: un con Miege.”[13]

Although some medieval street names such as Addle Street (stinking urine, or other liquid filth; mire[15]) and Fetter Lane (once Fewterer, meaning “idle and disorderly person”) have survived, others have been changed in deference to contemporary attitudes. Sherborne Lane in London was in 1272–73 known as Shitteborwelane, later Shite-burn lane and Shite-buruelane (possibly due to nearby cesspits).[16][17] Pissing Alley, one of several identically named streets whose names survived the Great Fire of London,[18] was called Little Friday Street in 1848, before being absorbed into Cannon Street in 1853–54.[19] Petticoat Lane, the meaning of which is sometimes misinterpreted as related to prostitution, was in 1830 renamed as Middlesex Street, following complaints about the street being named after an item of underwear.[20]

See also: Tickle Cock Bridge