Saturday, 14 December 2013

An alphabetical advent calendar of Elvis . . . 

N is for Norse

Old Norse is the language which gave us the word ‘Elvis’ — meaning ‘all wise’. Well, maybe. 

The first actual Elvis was Irish. The name is an anglicised version of Ailbe, a 6th century bishop and saint. St Ailbe is still a big name in the Irish Catholic world. He is one of the four men who brought Christ to Ireland — and so one of those responsible for turning the place into the land of saints and scholars. His feast day is September 12.

There is a Welsh connection, too. St Ailbe (Elvis) baptised David, founder of the Welsh church. Which is why, in Pembrokeshire — about as far west as you can go in Wales without actually being in America — there is a tiny village called Saint Elvis, with a church in ruins. 

There is also a St Elvis farm and a shrine to St Elvis. At least, it is said there is  but I've not been able to find an image of it. Nor have I ever been to St Elvis but I have found it on the map . . .

Tomorrow O is for the King's dying words


Lo Jardinier said...

At last the Welsh (not Norse) connection! And I see that St Elvis (which I didn't know) is right by Solva, home of the great Meic Stevens. He recorded the 'Outlander' album, and many other wonderful songs in Welsh, of which this
is one of my favourites.

Peter Silverton said...

I thank you, Mr 'I speak the language with the funny yes' Gardener. Nice to find an artist for whom the tag 'Big in Brittany' could well have been invented. Probably was.

If St Elvis weren't so far, I'd have a little pilgrimage there myself. (It's 254 miles with an estimated journey time in current traffic of 4 hours 44 minutes.)

But I have now, by chance, found an Elvis far closer to home. There is an Elvis Rd round the back of Willesden Green tube station. So next time I'm that way . . . which is not as rarely as you might think - it's on the way to my mother-in-law's. It links up with both Lennon Rd and Marley Walk. Not to mention being most handy for Brent central mosque.

Nor is that far from a pub which was once the King's Head but the gag was that the monarch was not an actual royal but Elvis.