What's in a Name?

Old English names!

A little history: 
Old English, also called Anglo-Saxon, was a Germanic language spoken in England from about the 7th century to the 12th century.

After the Norman conquest in 1066, the Anglo-Norman language (a dialect of Old French) displaced Old English as the tongue of the nobility.  Naturally, many Old English given names were replaced by Norman-French ones.  Names like Leofwine, Sigeberht, and Æðelflæd fell out of use.

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Old English
Pronunciation:  ED-wǝrd (English), ED-varht (Polish)

Meaning & History
Means "rich guard," derived from the Old English elements ead "rich, blessed" and weard "guard."  A known bearer of this name was Saint Edward the Confessor, a king of England shortly before the Norman conquest.  He is remembered as a just ruler, and because of his popularity this name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced with Norman ones.  The 13th-century king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven other kings of England also bore the name.  This is one of the few Old English names to be used throughout Europe, in various spellings. 

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Swedish, Finnish, Slovak
Pronunciation:  me-TIL- (English)

Meaning & History
From the Germanic Mahthildis, meaning "strength in battle."  Saint Matilda was the wife of 10th-century German king Henry I the Fowler.  The name was introduced to England by the Normans, borne by the wife of William the Conqueror.  Popular until the 15th century in England, it later took its vernacular form of Maud.  Both forms were revived in the 19th century.  This name appears in the Australian folk song, "Waltzing Matilda" (1895).  

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  [Old] English, French, German, Czech, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Pronunciation:  RICH-ǝrd (English), ree-SHAHR (French), RIKH-ahrt (German)

Meaning & History
Means "brave power."  It is derived from the Germanic elements ric "power, rule" and hard "brave, hardy."  Introduced to Britain by the Normans, it has retained its popularity since.  It was borne by three kings of England, among them Richard I the Lionheart, leader of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.  Other famous bearers include two German opera composers, the British explorer Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), and American musician Little Richard (1920-). 

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  [Old] English
Pronunciation:  KEN-drǝ

Meaning & History
Feminine form of Ken, which is ultimately derived from a Scottish given name meaning "handsome" or an Irish name meaning "born of fire."  Could also be taken from Kendrick, an English surname of various origins--possibly meaning "royal/bold power," or from a Welsh name meaning "chief hero."

Names & Old English history from behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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  1. Sarah-
    I finally saw Frozen yesterday! Loved it!!! The animation was so beautiful and the story was so sweet.
    I love the songs Do you Wanna Build A Snowman? and For the First Time in Forever.
    Olaf....he was one of my favorites and that plot twist- I wasn't really expecting it.

  2. I am obsessed with names and their meanings!

    You may find this funny, but I'm named Elizabeth Sara! I've always wanted to go by Sara Elizabeth, though.

    I'm a new follower, and I love you blog. If you have time, could you check mine out? :)

  3. Elizabeth Sara: that is awesome! I have never met or heard of anyone with Sara(h) as a middle name. So lovely! Thanks for following! I will definitely check out your blog. =D


To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.