According to Sir James Frazer, that renowned authority on pagan customs, the burning of the Yule Log during the twelve days of Christmas is of ancient origin. By now this should be no surprise. Quoting the antiquary John Brand, he writes:
"'Our ancestors were wont to light up candles of an uncommon size, called Christmas Candles, and lay a log of wood upon the fire, called a Yule-clog or Christmas Block, to illuminate the house, and, as it were, to turn night into day.' The old custom was to light the Yule log with a fragment of its predecessor, which had been kept throughout the year for the purpose; where it was so kept, the fiend could do no mischief. The remains of the log were also supposed to guard the house against fire and lightning."