English is a stew
English is a stew of words from everywhere, past and present, near and far. It got way out of control even before the Oxford English Dictionary was produced. It is still running free, letting in words from all over the place. The OED team decided to spell words to show their origins. Until then a word could be spelt in a variety of ways, whichever way suited the way you said it. Now there is just one way to spell each word. People think there are no rules to English spelling, or just a few, or that there are so many exceptions to rules that it is not worth finding out about the rules. There are actually fewer rules than listed for a game of cricket and the exceptions all have their own interesting excuses.