...in which I share some of my favorite medieval research resources and methods for the benefit of others interested in also writing about the Middle Ages

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Medieval Names: Common vs Uncommon

I recently made an unhappy discovery on my old desktop computer: the file that contains my carefully compiled list of medieval names has become "corrupted!" Fortunately for me, I have a physical printout of the names. Unfortunately, this means laboriously typing the lists into my MacBook so I have a backup copy. (Yes, I could simply scan them in, but I want the flexibility of being able to add new names as I find them.)

My bad luck is your good fortune, since I'm feeling in a sharing kind of mood. Here is a list of "common" vs "uncommon" names in medieval England. These particular names were extracted from The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, by E.G. Withycombe. (Oh, these are all male names. I haven't retyped my list of female names yet.)

Common names:

Acelin, Acelet (common 13 C)
Ancel, Ancelin, Ancelot

Berengar, Bereniger, Benger (12-13 C)

Bernard, Barnard, Barnet (12 C)
Bevis, Beves, Bovo, Bobo (12-13 C)

Brice, Bryce, Bricot (13-14 C)
David (12 C)
Edmund, Edmond
Fulk, Fauke, Fowke, Fawke, Fulcher

Geoffrey, Geffrey, Geoffroi, Geffrei, Geffrai, Jaufre (12-15 C)

Gerard, Gairhard, Gyrerd, Garrett, Garrat, Garit, Girard

Gilbert, Gylbart, Gylbard, Gilbred
Gregory, Gregour
Robert (Rob, Hob, Dob, Nob), Robin, Robard, Robyn
Walter, Wauter, Gualter, Gwalter
William, Guillielm, Guillaume, Willelm, Wylymot, Gillet, Gillot, Gilliame, Guillot, Gilmyn

Uncommon or rare names:

Adrian (12 C on, rare)
Amyas, Amiot (12-13 C, rare)
Charles, Carle, Charlet (Norman, rare)

Dominic, Dominick (13 C, uncommon in England)

Edgar, Etgar (Old English, rare after Norman Conquest)
Edwin, Eaduin (Old English, rare after 13 C)

Egbert (Old English, rare after Norman Conquest)

Emery, Emeric, Emerick (intro by Normans, never common)

Gabriel, Gabrell, Gabryell (uncommon)
Joseph (infrequent)
Samuel (rare)

Tancred (uncommon in England)
Victor (1200s, but rare)

Vivian, Phythian, Fithian (12 C, uncommon)

Warren, Warin, Guarin (rare after 14 C)
Wilfred, Wilfrid (rare after Norman Conquest)

Enjoy! When I retype the women's names, I'll share some with you, too.


Konstanz Silverbow said...

Love it! Awesome blog post and very helpful!

Konstanz Silverbow

Meljprincess said...

Hi Joyce,
I just adopted a kitten and named him Wilfred. It's my hubby's middle name. We call our new baby Willie though. Or Wills.
Hope you're well!

Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

Joyce DiPastena said...

Hi Mel! How fun that you named your cat Wilfred. I've always liked that name.

Thanks, Konstanz! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :-)