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Hele

The curious word in the OB which is pronounced to rhyme with fail and which appears to be contradictive of the pledge of which it is a part has been in continuous use in England since the early Middle Ages. In his comments on "Notes on Some Trade Guilds at Ludlow," in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. XXXII., 1919, page 149 (page 14 in reprint) Canon Horsley writes: " The old Saxon word Helyer is still in use. I asked my church warden who thatched his ricks. 'A helyer from Bearsted ' (the next village), he said. The helyer heles or covers the rick. A gardener heles the potato plants he earths up, and so Hell in the Apostles' Creed is the covered place, the unseen world, the ancient conception of the world being that of a flat place with the river of ocean running round it, while above there was a hemisphere heaved up and hence called heaven, and correspondingly beneath there was the heled or covered place. Men could look up and understand something of the star-spangled arch of blue, but the reversed arch or crypt beneath was to the eyes of flesh 'heled, concealed, and never revealed,' or, as some would I suppose say, 'hailed, concealed, and never reviled '."

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