Saturday, 23 June 2012

Antique Finds

What I like most about names is that there seems to be a never ending supply of them. Just dig out a book from a hidden corner of your library, or randomly search Wikipedia, and you'll find an individual or character with a name you've never heard of before. They're just sitting there, gathering dust, waiting for someone to come across them. Many, admittedly, don't appeal to modern tastes or seem compatible to modern times, but they show that unusual names have been around for centuries. And that's the beauty of forgotten names. Below are a few of those lost treasures - some are fantastic, others are, um, best left where they were found.

Mountstuart - It has the same feel as Montgomery, with its stuffy English upper-class sound. The Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone was born in 1779, the youngest son of a Scottish Peer.

Gruffudd - A Welsh name that is, perhaps, just a touch unappealing. The Anglicised version, Griffith, has a better chance of sticking. Look through medieval Welsh histories and you'll encounter a Gruffudd here and there. The Gruffudd I came across was the son of Sir David Hamner, a 14th century knight, and his wonderfully named wife, Angharad, whose name means 'more love' in Welsh.

Ingelram - With siblings named Margaret, Henry, Maud and Thomas, one wonders if Ingelram felt left out. He was a sixteenth century gentleman, the second son of the 4th Earl of Northumberland. His name likely stems from a family surname, but it is also a Germanic foreman. 

Wriothesley - It looks like a mouthful, doesn't it? But it has a simple pronunciation. Of course, it depends on which pronunciation you settle on. There is Rottisli (which appears to me to be the correct form), or Riz'li, but my favourite is archaic Risley, which seems like a nice twist on Riley. But I digress. Wriothesley was the name of two Dukes of Bedford in the early 18th century. How it became used as a first name in the Russell family is no mystery: It was the surname of the mother of the 2nd Duke of Bedford.

Delaval - It's a name with a lot of history for Sir Delaval Loftus Astley, born in 1825 and the son of the 16th Baron Hastings. It first entered his family as a given name (as far as I can see) with the birth of his brother, John Delaval, and has continued to the present day, with the current holder of the title, Delaval Thomas Harold, still carrying the name. It may come as no surprise that the family's seat is Seaton Delaval Hall.

Stamp - This has celebrity written all over it. If someone can name their child Rocket or Pilot, I see no reason why Stamp isn't a possibility. For the Brooksbanks it was a family name stretching back to 1694 with the birth of Stamp Brooksbank, the son of one Mary Stamp. 

Albemarle - The Earl of Albemarle (pronounced something like Alb-er-mal) was a title created in 1697. It comes from the Latin Alba Marla, meaning white fertile soil. Albemarle Alexander Rawlinson, a Victorian major born in 1853, does not seem to have any connection to the Earls. I like the nickname possibilities that come with Albemarle, such as Albie and Marley.

Clotworthy - Clotworthy Upton was the 1st Baron of Templetown. Thankfully, there doesn't seem to have been any other Clotworthys named after him. 

Image: Earth Could Not Answer by Adelaide Hanscom