Words themselves, and bathhouses

This is a post I put on the Authentic_SCA list. Nobody bit, to discuss it. Typical. Words are taken for granted.
I thought some people might be skipping over the Flemish headrail topic if they didn't feel like wrapping something around Flemish style. Most people won't. I veered off into language anyway, so thought I should just start a topic for that.

Although I've been a Mistress of the Laurel for a long time, I have the unfortunate circumstance of having interests that aren't photographable, so while most Laurels can show websites full or examples of works, I've worked with words in ceremonies and on scroll texts and the forms of oaths, and with ballads and side music both of which, like words, might show on paper but they're dull there, and might sound forth wonderfully, but then they fade out of hearing and it's done.

Still, I love finding the moments when an older word comes to life again for a moment.

(and now another post from another topic, brought here for the "bathhouse" and Flemish bits)

someone had asked in that discussion:

What is the definition of headrail? Is that the word that would have been used, or are we putting a word on something we know existed, but don't know what it was called?
Probably the other way around. The term is really old, but people are trying to figure out what was meant by it.

Between the 13th and 17th centuries, by examples in the OED under "rail," rail meant to array, arrange, adorn (and lots of other things in other definitions, but to wrap things around one has its own entry).

Under "head-rail" in the OED the exact references are 19th century, but they're both about translations of the Saxon haefodes ragel>
(hædfodes rægel, which might not come through the e-mail)
or weafles

Quote from 1834, Planche "British Costume..."

The headdress of all classes is a veil or long piece of linen or silk wrapped around the head and neck.
There is no language more similar to Flemish than English. I had read that, and got a movie in Flemish to watch and there was one whole sentence that was JUST like English and lots more that were close.

I saw an Norse saga movie once in Icelandic I think that had English subtitles and when they said their word for "bathhouse" that sounded just about like our word for "bathhouse" and I got all excited, the subtitle said "sauna." NO WAY they took a perfectly good English compound medieval word and replaced it with a recent borrowing! Others cared more about the swords and buildings, and I shot bolt upright in my theater chair about an unfortunate word replacement in the subtitles.


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Ælflæd of Duckford