Search This Blog

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Top 50 Female Names by the century pre-conquest to 1600

Top Female Names by the century pre-conquest to 1600 
This research came from a mix of the Suffolk Domesday Book, the Paston letters, the Boldon Book and the Oxford Dictionary of Surnames, [on the principle that a name needed to be fairly common to become a surname; and examples of the original first name and the source are cited within it].  I do not claim 100% accuracy but it should give a fair idea.
I shall give the top 50 names of each period. I’ll give the most common variants.  Where a shared place low down the table carries the numbers over 50 so be it.
In the earliest period  stretching beyond 20 names is difficult, this does not mean that these were the only names used, merely that I have not got evidence of others.  Generally speaking those Saxon/Viking names from 1067-1199 would probably also have been in use. 
Bear in mind that in early times there were a number of variants on names and that the use name might not be much like the name in the parish register. Also the changing of pronunciation with the Normans and in different parts of the country caused name changes. See ‘The Mutability of Names with regard to pronunciation’

Pre
conquest
1067-
1199
1200-
1299
1300-
1399
1400-
1499
1500-
1535
1536-
1600

Wulfhild
Alice
Alice
Alice
Agnes
Jane
Margaret
Elizabeth

Sigrith
Mathilda
Mathilda
Agnes
Alice
Jane

Alfleta
Alviva
Bricteva
Ediva
Edith
Emeline
Godusa
Mawa
Agnes
Agnes
Mathilda
Joan/Jane
Alice
Ann etc

Edith
Emma
Amice
Isabel
Isabel
Elizabeth
Marjorie
Agnes
Alice

Julian
Margaret
Margaret

Amice
Lettice
Mary
Emma
Marjorie
Joan
Catherine
Agnes
Ellen

Margaret
Elizabeth
Ann etc
Margaret
Mary

Christina
Amice
Ann etc
Marjorie
Catherine

Richenda
Hilda
Genevieve
Marjorie
Julian
Emma
Ellen
Catherine

Mary
Sibilla
Isabel
Marjorie

Aldreda
Angrebod
Earngith
Godiva
Golde
Gudrun
Gunnilda
Gunnora
Ingrid
Leofe
Livitha
Loveday
Milda
Mildred
Mildburgh
Saelova
Seberga
Torilda
Werthiva
Whyburgh
Ysopa

Isabel
Christiana
Beatrix
Ellen
Mathilde
Mary
Frances

Cecilia
Goditha
Iva/Ivette
Isabel
Joy
Odelina
Stanilde
Cecily
Elena
Dorothy
Frances
Margaret
Cecily

Edith
Cecily
Isabel

Joan
Dyonisia
Amice
Christiana
Cecily
Dyonisia
Eve etc
Mary
Rose etc
Sarra
Dorothy

Elena
Edith
Cassandra
Cecily
Crystobell
Emma
Euphemia
Godlefe
Griselda
Julian etc
Nicola
Rose
Scientia
Thomasine
Mathilda
Susan[nah]

Avice
Petronille
Sibilla
Catherine

Beatrice
Thomazin
Grace
Barbara

Sarra

Basilia
Bettrys
Bothild
Clarissa
Engelise
Helewis
Iseult
Julian
Love
Magisend
Muriel
Pavia
Rimilde
Sarra
Sabine
Sephare
Sybil
Wakerilda
Ismenia
Mary
Sibilla

Bettrys
Christina
Emma
Hannah
Joyce[lin]
Martha
Petronelle
Rosamund
Sarah

Lettice
Eve
Lettice
Lucy

Eve

Gunnora
Catherine
Felicia

Petronella
Rose
Emma
Frances
Isolde
Jenefer
Joyce[lin]
Lettice
Nicola
Olivia
Tiffany
Thomasin
Truda
Wenthelen
Wilamin

Lucy
Millicent
Rose
Avice
Agatha
Isolde
Hawisia
Elisabeth
Tiffany




Ingaret
Beatrix
Blanche
Bridget
Clementia
Audrey
Jenefer
Kynburgh
Patience
Philippa
Protasia

Albreda
Isolde
Ida
Idonea
Hawisia
Sabine
Sarra







Ann etc
Clarissa
Enota
Felicia
Goditha
Idonea
Ismenia
Nota












Acelina
Adeline
Basilia
Godith
Grace
Helewis
Iva/Ivette
Olivia
Orabella
Pavia




Ailith
Acelina
Aliva
Barbara
Christina
Cwenhild
Ediva
Egidia/Gilot
Eve
Fleur
Golde
Ismay
Leofe
Lina
Lucy
Petronille
Saegifu
Stanburgh
Tiecia
Theda
Turgiva
Tovilda
Werthiva
Whyburgh














Albreda
Alviva
Constance
Helewis
Lavinia
Laura
Leveda Masota
Olivia
Scholastica Thomasin






























Bricteva
Eulalia
Hilda
Laura
Love
Lovechild
Muriel
Pleasance
Preciosa
Ragenhild
Regina
Sedehana
Scholastica
Susan

























17 comments:

  1. I really like this! Just what I needed to answer a question. I am not understanding the significance of the blocks? Some with one name, some with a list? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Anonymous! where there is more than one name, it means those names appeared with equal regularity in the sample I took. For instance in 1300-1399 Joan and Marjorie were equal 6th, which means the next name, Amice, was 8th. I've often ended up with a tail of names that take the top 20 to more than 20 because I couldn't separate them. Be aware that the names here also show the most popular form, and encompass the pet names as well. Joan was the most common form of what later became almost exclusively Jane; one might have found Jean,Jehanne, Joanne, Johanna, Jennet etc

    ReplyDelete
  3. What I find interesting is many names from previous eras have made it to our day, while others have sort of disappeared. There are names that were so common in that era that I have never heard. Very interesting !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, Lilac! yes, it's interesting which ones have staying power, and that we are familiar with names like Matilda and Hilda which are close on 2000 years old even though they aren't exactly up in the popularity stakes... and then of course there were fads, even then, like the Diamanda/Argentina type ones, even as today there's a fad for calling girls after places, like Erin, Shannon, Brooklyn, Kimberley, Chelsea and probably sooner or later Battersea or possibly with the celebrity habit of the place of conception, Thebackofdadscortina or Cortina for short.
    Of course with the Medieval habit of giving pet names, sometimes one of many pet names or forms has been revived or continued. We don't use Amice, but may still find Amy and Amanda; equally Helewis lurks now in Louise. The move from Bettrys to Beatrice as the most common form may be noted on the table. It should also be noted that most people whose names have been recorded in early documents were the upper class; and I strongly suspect that many of the peasantry were still using Saxon names almost through to Tudor times.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for gathering and making this list available.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can anyone tell me more about Masota?

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Masota is probably a diminutive as -ot was a diminutive and often with a girl [though not always] was -ota. I left it in because I was unable to trace back a clear etymological path. It MAY be a variant of Mazelina which can be [1] a female version of the diminutive Mazelin for the Norman given name Mazo or [2] a diminutive for Mathilda [Oxford Dic. of Surnames: surname, Maslin]. Considering the number of ways Machtilde [the original form] was mangled up to and including Maud, it wouldn't surprise me. But I decided to play safe... if it was a form of Mathilda, it might have swapped the placings of Mathilda and Agnes in second and third, but there weren't enough Masotas to make a significant statistical difference

    ReplyDelete
  9. Basilia and Pavia...gorgeous! I wish I was having another daughter! But alas, I'm having a son. So is there a post for boy names?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yup, here's the top 50 names from each century from the conquest to 1600: http://sarahs-history-place.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/top-50-male-names-by-century-pre.html
    and literary names from the Arthurian cycle etc: http://sarahs-history-place.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/medieval%20names
    the hypochoristics of names [table of male names at end]: http://sarahs-history-place.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/medieval-nicknames-pet-names-and-use.html
    And some of the more unusual names used by officers in the Peninsular War: http://sarahs-history-place.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/regency-names-male-used-by-officers-at.html
    So, when you hear of someone named Lancelin Artleberte Geryon Ebenezer you can blame me...

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is useful for a children's story I'm writing. It gives me somewhere to select names for my characters. It's funny how so many of these names have survived - names we often think of as quite modern. Thank you. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. that's splendid! it really is a tool intended for authors, so I'm glad it's useful. Let me know how it goes! and yes, there are some very surprising ones in there. Some of them passed out of use and were revived latterly of course.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, who knew there were Tiffanys and Jennifers even way back then! Thank u for producing such a comprehensive list. Even by researchingjust a few names, I'm already learning so much history ��

    ReplyDelete
  14. Glad you enjoyed, you sound like me, someone who looks up something particular and gets distracted by other things... a historian's equivalent of a kitten and "Ooo butterflies!".... Theophania is an awful name to inflict on a little girl, I'm glad it became Tiffany very quickly! Jenefer was the oldest form of Jennifer once it moved from Guinevere and was found in Cornwall much earlier than it appeared in the rest of the country. What surprised me was that the odd Kyneburgh and Godlefa survived as late as they did.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Names of 1565 help

    ReplyDelete