chad etymology revisited

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Fri Dec 1 08:19:55 UTC 2000

"Douglas G. Wilson" wrote:

> An even farther-fetched etymology: from St. Chad. The OED and other sources
> give "chad-pennies" and "chad-farthings" = "[small coin] contributions for
> upkeep of St. Chad's Cathedral [Lichfield]". Where did one deposit these
> small coins? In the "chad-box" at the cathedral, I guess. The waste
> receptacle on an early teletype device might have resembled this box, and
> the contents (small discs) might have resembled the coins .... (^_^) [<--
> NB: The smiley-face indicates that I don't intend this part entirely
> seriously.]

Whoa!  Maybe it's not far-fetched at all to connect St. Chad with the
chad that has received so much notoriety since the Florida ballots.

St. Chad, the bishop of Mercia, Lichfield, England, was a seventh
century cleric whose life is summarized in the Oxford Dictionary of

The major source of information on St. Chad is the Venerable Bede's
Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation -- which I haven't
consulted. (My references suggest reading Book 3, Chaps. XXIII and
XXVIII and Book 4, Chaps. II and III.) A summmary of Bede's reports of
St. Chad appear in the Guide to the Church of St. Chad, published by the
Parish of St. Chad, Litchfield.

What's interesting is that St. Chad would be an appropriate Patron Saint
of Disputed Succession to Office.  He was installed as Bishop of
Northumbria, but there were technical problems with the legitimacy of
his investiture.  He was deposed by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury,
in 669 because of those technicalities.  Chad's virtues were so obvious,
however, that Theodore quickly reconsecrated him as Bishop of Mercia.

Now we know which saint is the one most likely to respond to our present
presidential confusion, is it too much to ask that prayers seeking the
intervention of St. Chad take the place of singing "All I want for
Christmas is a President"?

-- mike salovesh                    <salovesh at>

P.S.:  I usually resist appending smilies, but the tongue in my cheek
doesn't show up in the bare words on the screen.  So just in case
there's any question,
here's my comment on my own message:  {8-p}

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