Compiling the Latin dictionary has also given glimpses of life in the medieval era.
In establishing the Latin word for "muzzle", there was a record from 1252 showing that a muzzle had to be made for a polar bear, kept in the Tower of London, which had to be restrained when it was brought to fish in the river Thames.
The word for chimney - "caminus" - was sourced from a description of an earthquake which hit England in the 1340s which toppled chimneys.
There were also strange tales from coroner's courts, such as an account of a cat chasing a mouse down a well and then a woman drowning when she tried to rescue the cat.
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Time went by, the boat was on water, in close under the cliffs. Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank, sand churned in surf, warriors loaded a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear in the vessel’s hold, then heaved out, away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf and his men setting sail:
On went the hours: on ocean afloat under cliff was their craft. Now climb blithely brave man aboard; breakers pounding ground the shingle. Gleaming harness they hove to the bosom of the bark, armour with cunning forged then cast her forth to voyage triumphant, valiant-timbered fleet foam twisted.