1) A name given to cows.

1530 to my cosyng ij oxen ... and ij kye named Meridew and Strange, Felixkirk. The meaning poses a problem but it invites comparison with Merridew as a by-name and surname: 1379 Johannes Meridewe. This has usually been linked with Welsh Meredith but that seems an unlikely explanation for a Yorkshire surname in 1379 and it raises the possibility that merry-dew should be taken at face value. In fact it could quite easily be a development like that of merry-weather which was formerly an idiomatic phrase for pleasure or delight. Similarly Chaucer’s contemporary Gower described the sun as ‘merry’ in 1390 so it is not impossible that the dew glistening on the grass at sun-up was also seen as a happy augury. The strong associations around 1300 between ‘merry’ and favourable aspects of the weather, the climate, and even atmospheric conditions seem to make that possible.

places Felixkirk
dates 1379 1530

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