Wheelock Origins and Alternative Definitions

We arrived at the 5th Blog and we discuss the origins of the name:

The accepted definition of the origins of the Wheelock name by all bodies including the College of Arms is:

The Name of the village is first recorded as Hoileck, and Hoiloch in the Domesday book then Changed in 1316 to Quelock and again in 1382 to Whelock, in 1384 to Welock, finally in 1390 it seems to have settled, and recorded as Wheelock as it is known today. The main reason for changes stem from people spelling as they sound it.

The word come from the word Chevel-og meaning winding, twisting, turning and the conclusions seem to be the river with its many twists and turns until they reach the central body of the river outside the village. Sketch of the locks: (History of Sandbach and District”, Cyril Massey, Published 1982).

Wheelock Village

The word come from the word Chevel-og meaning winding, twisting, turning and the conclusions seem to be the river with its many twists and turns until they reach the central body of the river outside the village. Sketch of the locks: (History of Sandbach and District”, Cyril Massey, Published 1982).

Mr. Massey did not identify the language for “cheval-og” nor did he cite the source of this information.

When a Welsh-English dictionary was consulted, neither “cheval-og” nor “cheval” could be found.

However, the following was found

“Cheval” in French means “horse”

“og” in Norwegian means “and”

“òg” in Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic means “young”

Further research has revealed A more obscure definition of the name is as follows:

The development of Wellock via Wailock, Wallock from walok in 1379. This is the form which requires investigation and the evidence suggests that it was a diminutive of a personal or Christian name “Wal” in Yorkshire This may have been meaningless when used in the 1300s, but etymologically it is probably the Old High German word “walh” meaning Romance Speaker (Roman Empire) to Old English welisċwælisċwilisċ, (Meaning Romano-British)

The following examples, whilst not being directly connected with the Wellock family in Linton ,illustrate the use of such a personal name

1297 Walkoc in the Wra    )

Monkton.  Subsidy Roll

Alienora Walkoc      )

1305 Peter, son of Walcok,(Long Preston) Yorkshire Inquisition

1313 Emma Walhoc (Stanley, nr Wakefield) Court Roll.

1323 Thomas Wallesone (Horton) Bowland Deeds.

The suffixes ‘cock’ and ‘ock’ were interchangeable as diminutives.

©RRRA, 2018

According to the Oxford Dictionary there is also an obscure definition coming out of Surrey the origins are unknown but is acknowledged as  14th cent. Whelok [lack of suff. early forms makes this unique name difficult to elucidate: prob. the second element is Old English loc(a, enclosure, stronghold, and the first for Old English hwít, white]

The problem with the accepted definitions is the locations of some of the original Wheelock’s across the United Kingdom and the phonetic use of Chevel-og.

In 1970 J. McN. Dodgson (John McNeal ) correctly identified the Old Welsh word chwyl-og to be what the Welsh used for the proper noun of “Whelock” and “Wheelock.” Chwyl-og translates to “winding river” and is based on the Old Welsh word chwyl, part of which means “a turn, a rotation, a course,” with an adjective suffix of og.  Unlike “cheval-og,” chwyl can be found in the Welsh-English dictionary. In addition, the pronunciation of chwyl-og is similar to “Wheelock.”

The Welsh pronounce ch as in the Scottish loch or German bach, wy is usually “oo-ee” and l-og would sound like “log” in English. Chwyl-og would be pronounced as “ka oo-ee log”. If said fast enough, it starts to sound like “ka-wheelog.”

However, a more obscure comment from the author alludes at a possible connection to the old English word suilaco which means turn, rotate and thus the winding river.

The Towns close to the English-Welsh border frequently have both English and Welsh names, and the dominance of one name over the other reflects the cultural tensions between the two entities. probably Leominster (Llanllieni), the English name seems to have derived from the Welsh name. In other cases, such as Llwydlo (Ludlow) and Henffordd (Hereford), the Welsh name derived from the English name of the settlement.”

The village of Wheelock was no exception, and the Welsh used their word chwyl-og to pronounce, as best as they could, the Norman name of this English village. In addition, the use of the Welsh ch with its hard consonant pronunciation in chwyl-og could explain why the village changed its spelling from “Whelock” to “Quelok” and “Qwelok” during the 1300s.

While J. McN. Dodgson for identifying the possible correct Welsh word, I disagree with any notion that the phonetically-spelled word “cheval-og” or the Old Welch word chwyl-og was anglicized into “Whelock” and became the name for the family, the village and the river Wheelock. There are two opposing questions in this debate: First question did “Wheelock” derive from the Welsh adjective chwyl-og? Since these surnames appear throughout England, are all of these surnames connected? And how?

Professor Melville Richards says that the word is chwil (beetles))and then and adjective of Chwilog (abounding with beetles), assuming the English form represents OWelsh  then OEnglish to Middle English, He also states that the adjective chwelog is not to be found in the University of Wales Welsh Dictionary, But he finds the stream of Chwilogen. This is a lost name in Llanystumdwy, Caernarvonshire, but the name of a village Chwilog remains.

Here the professor is on surer ground. Welsh chwil means “beetle, chafer”, and the adjectival compound chwilog “abounding with beetles”. This then is our Cheshire Wheelock, with the -ee representing the long Welsh /. Chwilogen is a diminutive in en from chwilog. Chwil and its compounds is very common in Welsh place names, and is often found with an anglicised spelling wheel, particularly in South Wales where chw- in dialects becomes wh-.

However the flaw in this argument is the progression of Wheelock, using the Richards argument we end up in Whylock (Wailok) instead of Wheelock (Wi:lok)

Finally Dodgson identifies the use of Weloc in France in 1260 but cannot find the source of attribution

For next Blog on the subject:

Second Question: Did the Norman surname “Willoch” or “Willock” become anglicized into “Whelock” and then “Wheelock”? is Wheelock a Norman name and not Welsh?

To answer this question, one must consider the origins of all surnames similar to Wheelock (including “Wheelocke,” “Wheeloc,” “Whelock,” “Whilock,” “Whillock,” “Willock,” etc.). Since these surnames appear throughout England, are all of these surnames connected? And how? What is the connection.

Bibliography:

1.- A Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames – George Redmonds – 1935

2.- The Place-Names of Cheshire by J.McN Dodgson – 1970

3.- Cheshire Place Names by Anthony Poulton Smith – 2012

4.- The National Archives, Domesday Book

5.- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walhaz

6.- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Wheelock

7.- http://roadsofromanbritain.org/gazetteer/yorkshire/historical_background.html 

 

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