Ye Correcte Historie of ye Worde: Ye; Why ye never meant the

Ye olde tea shoppe,” but “come all ye faithful.” The first is completely incorrect and a misunderstanding of Anglo-Saxon texts. The confusion is that in old manuscripts the symbol ‘þ’ [called a thorn, value: th]  look almost identical to ‘y’, thus when þe (the) was read in the old manuscripts some took it as ye. Olde is a pseudo-archaic word and was not used in Old or Middle English. In the second phrase ye is used correctly, as the meaning ‘you.’  

The OED describes the interesting history of ye, meaning you:

“The history of the use of ye is complex. In the earliest period it was used only as the plural subjective form. In the 13th century it came to be used in the singular, equivalent to thou. In the 15th century, when you had become the dominant subjective form, ye came to be used as an objective singular and plural (equivalent to thee and you). Various uses survive in modern dialects.”


Oxford English Dictionary Online,