READING: Old King Cole

August 19, 2019

Nursery Rhymes and Family Ties

First, I have to tell you I absolutely love old books! I’m not sure what the allure is, but when I see an old book, well, it’s hard not to stop and take a look at it!

This book is the 1973 edition. Not sure exactly what that means, but there were apparently more editions.

Why did I pick Old King Cole? Keep reading and you will find out!!

So, on to Old King Cole. Everyone knows the nursery rhyme, I’m sure. In this post, I’m not going to talk about the nursery rhyme, but about who the nursery rhyme is about, or based on. There are a few theories out there.

According to Wikipedia, there is much speculation. One theory is the Coel Hen Theory, another is the Cole-brook theory. There is also a theory that he wasn’t a king at all, but “Old Thomas Cole”, a wealthy merchant. I will try to get into all the theories, but it might take multiple posts (I don’t want to bore you to much).

The Coel Hen Theory

I’m going to try to make as much sense of this as possible. In the article by wikipedia, it is noted that the name of the legendary Welsh king Coel Hen can be translated “Old Cole” or “Old King Cole”. This often leads to the speculation that he is the model for the nursery rhyme but there is no documentation that would connect the two. According to the article there is also a dubious connection of Old King Cole to Cornwall and King Arthur, found at Tintagel Castle that there was a Cornish King or Lord Coel.

This is the theory I find interesting. Supposedly, if I made the connections right and everything is right, I am a direct descendant of “Old King Cole” or King of the Britons, Coilus (Cole) of England. Yeah, I know! Crazy!!!! How could I be related? It’s really mind blowing, but it pops up in my family tree…so, of course, I have to go with it! King Cole was born in the UK and died 0170 in Colchester, Essex, England. His parents were Marius, King of the Britons and Julia. He was married multiple times, most unknown women, but one wife was Strada Britian, who had Atheldis De Britian. He is also known as Coel of Britain, Old King Coel, Old King Coilus, Coel “Old King Coel” (Coilus) King of Britain, Coel of Siluria, King of the Britains Coilus (Coel) of England. The Ancestral File Number I have is 8HR8-M2. (Does that number help any? I don’t know.) This is going WAY BACK. I honestly don’t know how true it is. I do view it with some speculation. But I also find it very interesting!

According to Wikipedia (I have this in my family notes), “Coel (Old Welsh: Coil) or Coel Hen (“Coel the Old”) isa figure in prominent Welsh literature and legend since the Middle Ages. Early Welsh tradition knew of a Coel Hen (Coel the Old), a leader in Roman or Sub-Roman Britian and the progenitor of several kingly lines in the Hen Ogledd (“the Old North”), the Brittonic-speaking part of northern England and southern Scotland. Later Medieval legend told of a Coel, apparently derived from Coel Hen, who was the father of Saint Helena and the grandfather of Roman Emporer Constantine the Great. Other similarly named characters may be confused or conflated with the Welsh Coel. The traditional “King Coel” may be the historical basis for the popular nursery rhyme “Old King Cole“.”

The wow factor doesn’t stop there, but I will stop here. Next week, I’ll delve into the other theories. I think I’ve bored you enough!

Have a great night!

Thanks for visiting!!


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