Monday, 21 November 2011

Name in the Spotlight: Vere


Vere is a unisex name, pronounced VEER. For a girl, it is a variant of the Russian name Vera, meaning 'faith'. The records show Vere being used as a girl name in the UK as early as 1861. It appears as a first name alongside distinctive feminine middle names like Matilda, Ada, Philippa, Clara and Katherine. But the saintly Verena appears more often, especially after the 1930s, when Vere, for both boys and girls, practically disappears.

I propose that Vere really belongs on the blue team, making a dashing name for any little boy.

Its meaning is generally believed to be 'alder', but it is also a Norman surname derived from a French place name,Vir. Alberic De Vere came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066, and since then English history has been littered with aristocratic Veres, most notably Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Some believe that many of Shakespeare's plays were De Vere's work. Parallels between events in his life and many scenes in the plays have led many to assert that he was the real Shakespeare. Most academics, however, see the Earl as a dedicated patron of the arts and nothing more.

Vere also has aristocratic connections as a first name. 3 Earls of Westmorland went by it, so did the 9th Earl of Bessborough and the 3rd Viscount Rothermere, founder of the newspaper Mail on Sunday. There was even a Baron Vere.
Whatever lofty associations it may have, the name does not rank in the UK. In 1888, however, it made an appearance in the US charts at  number 912.

Vere is a hidden gem that wasn't all that hidden not too long ago. Could it be used as first name today, or would it get stuck in the middle spot?