‘Fuckebythenavele’: Earliest use of famous Anglo-Saxon swearword unearthed by British historian
The document in question concerns a man with the unfortunate name of Roger Fuckebythenavele, which senior research fellow at Keele University Dr Paul Booth discovered accidentally while researching the reign of Edward II.
Initially Booth believed the name was a joke made up by the court clerk, he told the MailOnline, but after finding the surname Fuckebythenavele three times he changed his mind.
“I think that shows it is not a joke,” he said.
“Either it refers to an inexperienced copulator, referring to someone trying to have sex with the navel, or it’s a rather extravagant explanation for a dimwit, someone so stupid they think that this is the way to have sex,” he added.
However, even if the name was a joke, “that does not take away the significance of the use of the word ‘f*ck’ in a name,” Booth told Vice News.
“The significance is the occurrence of (possibly) the earliest known use of the word ‘f*ck’ that clearly has a sexual connotation.”
Court records show that the man in question was brought into court three times between September 1310 and May 1311. After the appearances the records show he was “outlawed,” which suggests he may have been executed.
The professor said he had informed the Oxford English Dictionary of the discovery, but said they had not yet contacted him.
Until Booth’s discovery, it was widely believed that the word “f*ck” was first used in 1538, when a monk wrote the words “O d fuckin Abbot” in the margins of a manuscript by Cicero.