E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A knife. (Anglo-Saxon hwytel, a knife; hwæt, sharp or keen.)
Walter de Aldeham holds land of the king in the More, in the county of Salop, by the service of paying to the king yearly at his exchequer two knives [whittles], whereof one ought to be of that value or goodness that at the first stroke it would cut asunder in the middle a hasle-rod of a years growth, and of the length of a cubit, which service ought to be on the morrow of St. Michael The said knives [whittles] to be delivered to the chamberlain to keep for the kings use.Blount: Ancient Tenures.