Monday, 28 November 2011

Name in the Spotlight: Fenton


I must confess that I chose today's Spotlight name not based on anything that would be considered important. No, I chose it because it makes me burst out laughing. I'll explain why later, although some of you may already know the reason. 

It's surprising that Fenton hasn't risen in popularity recently. It has the trendy -on ending, like Mason, Jackson and Landon, all which can be found in the top 50 in the US charts. And arguably has a similar feel as Finley and Finnegan. Its possible nickname, Fen, can even go along with the increasingly popular Finn.

Although it is not a common name, Fenton has charted on both sides of the pond. In the US, it first appeared in 1883 at number 948, peaking in 1895 at number 759, and disappearing from the charts in 1907. In England and Wales, Fenton was given to 28 boys in 2010, giving it the number 996 spot. Also, the BMD records show that at least one Fenton was born every year from 1838 to 1910.

The name has English origins. 'Fen' was Old English for 'marsh', and 'ton' (or 'tun') meant an enclosure, now usually interpreted to be a small village or town. Its meaning therefore is believed to be 'marsh town'. However, it is also possible that Fenton came with the Normans to England in 1066.

More often, it is found as a surname, like with Leonard Fenton, British actor. But perhaps most will recognise it as the name of a character, Fenton Hardy, in the Hardy Boys novels.

And now to what brought the name to my attention. It may be silly, but it really is funny (at least I think so). I hope you get a few chuckles out of it, too.