Sir Cloudesley Shovell (Lewis)


notes for Till We Have Faces

Clodsley Shovel is taken from the name of a famous admiral in English history. The period is late 17th and early 18th century

Sir Cloudesley Shovell was a ‘tarpaulin’, that is, someone who started as a cabin-boy or as a sailor before the mast, and then pursued the sea as his profession; such were contrasted with the ‘gentlemen’, that is, those who got to command ship by royal favor and influence, without any necessary knowledge of the sea. Some of the latter–not many, but some–became superb sailors; Robert Blake and George Monk were of this type.

Shovell (sometimes spelled Shovel) fought in the Dutch War (1665-7) and was commissioned in 1673. He spent much of the next thirteen years in the Mediterranean, primarily against the pirates of Algiers. He was second in command at the Battle of La Hogue (1692) against the French and was responsible for ‘breaking the line’. In 1702, when the War of the Spanish Succession broke out, Shovell, was second in command under George Rooke. Together, in 1704, they captured Gibraltar–a key to the Mediterranean, and a British possession since that date.

Shovell was drowned off the Scilly Islands in October 1707. There is a portrait of him at Greenwich Naval College.

Every English child would have heard of him in Lewis’s day (and mine!), and the name lent itself to humor.


Although Ungit is clearly related to the Latin ‘unguere’, to anoint, I can find no corresponding Greek word. The Sanskrit word ‘anjana’ means ointment and ‘anj’ means to rub. There is, interestingly enough, a New Irish word ‘ungadh’ and an Irish word ‘ongain’ both of which mean ointment.

The Greek word for ointment would be aleimma (noun) or aloiphe (verb, anoint or smear)

They are spelled alpha, lambda, epsilon, iota, mu, mu, alpha; and alpha, lambda, omicron,iota, phi, eta.



The Greek word ‘oruksis’ means a digging and the verb ‘orusso’ means to dig up, or dig through, especially of mines or quarries.

They are spelled: omicron, rho, upsilon, xi, iota, sigma; and omicron, rho, upsilon, sigma, sigma, omega.



This is connected with derivatives of the Greek verb ‘xraomai’ meaning to give what is needful.

Spelling chi, rho, alpha,omicron, mu, alpha, iota.

The word ‘xreo’ –want, need, hence desire or longing is probably closest; Spelling chi, rho, epsilon, omega.


I don’t know why the Greek equivalent for Orual is given as pickaxe: the usual word for that would be ‘sminue’ or ‘dikella’

It is possible that ‘cretio’ in Latin means fruitless, but my lexicon gives ‘a formal acceptance of an inheritance’ as the meaning.

‘Glomus’, in Latin, means a clue, a ball, made by winding, and ‘glomero’ means to wind into a ball, and, by extension, to collect, gather.