About Leicester

Leicester has been a member since April 22nd 2012, and has created 17 posts from scratch.

Leicester's Bio

Leicester's Websites

This Author's Website is http://alandremembered.com

Leicester's Recent Articles

14 Tips To Have A Magical Visit To The Central Coast Renaissance Festival

The Central Coast Renaissance Festival will turn San Luis Obispo’s Laguna Lake Park into a Renaissance village on July 15 & 16, 2017. This isn’t like any other summer festival, so here’s some advice on what to expect and how to get the most enjoyment out of this unique experience.

From the moment you arrive, you’ll see folks dressed quite a bit differently from today’s styles. From peasants to middle class to nobility, the over 500 costumed participants populating the village represent every level of society from the late 1500s in England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Spain and the Far East.

Four stages of entertainment offer everything from music, singing, and dance of the period to comedy shows, ribald juggling shows, magic, acrobatics, storytelling, Shakespeare, buffoonery and much more.
Here’s some advice to get the most from your visit:

1. Get there early to beat the crowds. You can purchase tickets ahead of time at http://ccrenfaire.com/get-tickets/.  Of course, you can get tickets when you get there but this saves standing in line.

2. Wear good walking shoes, wear sunscreen and bring a hat. You’ll probably spend many hours outdoors and we want you to be comfortable.

3. Take photos!  These characters have spent countless hours and dollars to get their costumes. No matter how regal they may appear, they are more than happy to pose for a photo. Don’t forget to take photos of yourself, your friends and family too. There are so many wonderful photo opportunities!

4. Watch a show. There are over 25 acts on four stages. All of them repeat at least once so you have a chance to see everything. Look for the posted stage schedules and pick up a program when you enter.

5. Take time to shop. There are over 60 vendors selling period items you will not find anywhere else. From leather goods to pottery, drinking vessels, hats, masks, perfumes, swords, jewelry and full costumes, there is something for everyone.

6. Enjoy the food. By all means try a barbecued turkey leg, the staple of Renaissance Festival food. There are meat pies, bangers, pulled pork sandwiches, tri-tip, ribs, fruit tarts, Thai food, Italian pie (pizza), ice cream and much more. You can wash it down with freshly squeezed lemonade, tea, beer, ale, honey mead and fine local wines. There’s even Hawaiian Shave Ice (it isn’t period, but what the heck!) to cool you down.

7. Bring the kids. This is a family event. There’s a costume contest at 1:30 on both days for kids. Everyone gets a prize. There are games, face painting, storytelling and a magic show they can participate in.
Sunday is Pirate Day and kids can climb aboard a 25-foot pirate ship and enter Buccaneer Boot Camp, where they’ll learn swashbuckling with balloon swords and learn to talk like a pirate. Arrrrr. There’s also a free pirate’s treasure hunt on Sunday. Kid’s get a booty bag to go about the village collecting treasures from the vendors and guilds.

8. Try the language. When someone greets you with “Good Day My Lord (or Lady),” just say it back. You’ll quickly learn a few phrases that make you feel part of the fantasy.

9. Learn to juggle. The juggling school will have you juggling three balls in 10 minutes. It’s free, fun and good for your brain. Wander around. There are twisting trails throughout the forested village. You’ll encounter something enchanting at every turn, whether that’s a roving minstrel, a madrigal group, musicians or a group of fascinating characters.

11. Visit the Royal Court. Queen Elizabeth and her nobles are every bit as impressive as anything you’ve seen in movies and yes, they’ll pose for photos. You’ll see them dancing, entertaining Her Majesty, having a royal feast for lunch, and parading throughout the village.

Oh, my. The Spanish Armada is sailing to take over England. What will we do? At 3:00 the Queen will address the adoring crowd at the Glorianna Stage to reassure them. You don’t want to miss that.

12. Try something you’ve never tried before. Ever tasted honey mead? We have it. How about handmade root beer and cream sodas, just like in the old days? Yep, we have those too, and they are delightful. Handmade fruit tarts, yes, and have those with some ice cream. It’s heavenly!

13. Get your hair braided. Add some dried flowers. Oh, so pretty. How about a henna tattoo?

14. Really get into the spirit and buy a Renaissance shirt or blouse, a bodice or jerkin, maybe a hat, some leggings, boots… we have it all and are happy to get you properly dressed for the time period.

This is a quick sample of the wide range of things to do, see, eat and enjoy at the festival.

Hours are 10 AM to 6 PM both days. Carpool with your friends and come for the time of your life. Please leave your pets at home.

You can purchase tickets ahead of time at http://ccrenfaire.com/get-tickets/ and skip the ticket lines.

Visit http://CCRenFaire.com for more information.

$3,625 For a Shirt

(From the book Stuffocation: Why We’ve Had Enough Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever)

Think we have inflated prices today? A shirt, before the Industrial Revolution, would have been worth around $3,625 in today’s money!

Take a standard medieval man’s shirt, long sleeves, yoke, some smocking, band collar, hemmed, wrists, etc. Estimate it takes 7 hours to sew a shirt like that by hand – cutting the fabric, sewing, finishing inside and out, etc. Now, you have to have the cloth to sew. This would have been relatively fine, dense cloth. A historical reconstruction site (National Geographic) figured a good weaver could produce 2 inches an hour. It would have taken at least 4 yards of fabric, but you can’t just have the 4 yards on the loom. It takes at least 1-2 feet at each end for a warp, and so 4 X 3 = 12 feet plus 3 feet at the end = 15 feet, 15 X 12 = 180 inches, divide by 2 = 90 hour. And you have to produce the thread/yarn to weave with. There would have been 15-20 threads per inch, we’ll say he’s poor and only gets coarse cloth, 15 threads. The fabric would have been a yard wide, so that would be 15 X 36 = 540 threads, each 15 feet long, just for the warp, a little less for the weft, but we’ll just double it, so 1,080 X 5 yards = 5,400 yards of thread. This would have taken about 400 hours to weave.

So 7 + 90 + = 497, or round to 500 hours of hand labor to make one shirt. Multiply that by today’s Federal* minimum wage of $7.25 = $3,625 for a shirt. Just one shirt. No wonder fabric was never, ever thrown out, but worn to pieces, and then cut down for the kids, and then turned into diapers, rages, etc. Also this is why peasants had one set of work clothes, and a set of “best” clothes (Sundays, holidays, etc.) Because that of course is just the shirt – you’d still need breeches/stockings, vest and jerkin for a man; skirt, bodice for a woman. And a cloak would be nice.

The great thing is buying a nice shirt to wear at the Renaissance Festival doesn’t have to set you back thousands of dollars or take 500 hours to make. We have wonderful clothing vendors that will fit you up. Or check out our costume page to make your own or buy one already made.

*As of May, 1, 2009, it is $7.25 in the U.S. However 29 states have an even higher minimum wage (District of Columbia is at $11.50!), making these shirts even hundreds if not thousands of dollars more!

Food and Your Life Style

In general, people eat two meals a day:

Dinner, at midday say 11:00 or 12:00
Supper, in the evening, about 6:00.
Husbandmen and others whose work is never done may have their supper as late as 9:00.

It is best to refer to having dinner instead of lunch or even luncheon. Invite people to dine with you, or ask “Where shall we dine today?”

 

Gentlemen Dining
Schoolboys, working people, and housewives get up around 5 or 6 am, or even earlier. These people do not wait till 11:00 to eat.

Breakfast is simply a matter of breaking one’s fast on arising, and is not considered a formal meal. It is also not considered to be “the most important meal of the day.”

At Court, depending on the day’s activities, or last night’s, you probably arise somewhat later, and have a little bread and ale while being fussed over by your servants as they get you dressed and barbered, made-up and perfumed, and so on.

Of course, if (like a personal servant or a Lady of the Bedchamber) you are in charge of getting someone else dressed, you get up before they do. And your servants get up even earlier. Which may be one reason why the kitchens at Court never close.

A gentleman often has his dinner “out”, either eating at an ordinary or buying food at a cook shop and taking it home. An ordinary is both the tavern that serves a daily fixed-price meal—plate of stew, loaf of bread, pot of ale—and the meal itself.

A gentleman who can’t cadge a dinner invitation may say he is “dining with Duke Humphrey tonight.”

In town, many houses have no proper kitchen. You may cook over the hearth, or prepare food and take it to a cook shop, and pick it up later, ready to eat. Few homes have their own oven, so you may make up your own bread but take it to a baker who, for a fee, will bake it for you.

Since we do not yet have tea, we do not yet have Tea Time.

 

From: A Compendium of Common Knowledge: 1558-1603

The Shakespeare Book

The ShThe Shakespeare Book - primary imageakespeare Book brings the work of William Shakespeare to life with full-color photography, images, idea webs, timelines, and quotes that help you understand the context of Shakespeare’s plays and poems.

From Shakespeare’s most-famous plays, such as Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar, to less-frequently performed works such as King John and Henry VIII, every play of the Shakespearean canon is collected in this comprehensive guide, along with his major poems and best-loved sonnets.

In The Shakespeare Book each play includes an at-a-glance guide to story chronology, so you can easily get back on track if you get lost in Shakespeare’s language. Character guides provide a handy reference for casual readers and an invaluable resource for playgoers, and students writing reports on Shakespeare.

Packed with infographics and explanations of plots and including an introduction to Shakespeare’s life and times, The Shakespeare Book is the ultimate guide to understanding the work of William Shakespeare.

Reviews:

“Generous helpings of illustrations, time lines, plot diagrams, and character guides ensure that even readers in their ‘salad days’ will enjoy every dish at the Shakespearean feast.” – Booklist

Order here.

Faire Names For English Folk

From: From: Chris Laning claning@econet.org
Date: July 1999
Subject: (NEW!!) Faire Names for English Folk

NEW RESOURCE!!

Are you tired of people named “Chastity Sweetlips” or “Obadiah Cockswinger”? Do you want a source of REAL names for Elizabethan England?

Here it is! Based on new studies of Elizabethan naming practices, Faire Names for English Folk is the most complete easy-to-use guide to choosing a historical Elizabethan name for your Faire character.

Read it, use it, and pass it on! (Please read the copyright notice at the end.)

FAIRE NAMES FOR ENGLISH FOLK

 

INTRODUCTION

There are not many easy sources for people wishing to choose a character name specifically for Elizabethan England. Here is an attempt to provide one. This article contains a list of solidly documented names from 16th century England, along with some insights into how names were chosen and used.

WHERE BABIES’ NAMES COME FROM

If you were born in Elizabethan England, you would be named by your parents when you were baptized. Usually this was just a few days after your birth It was not, however, your parents who actually presented you at the church; it was your godparents: ideally, two women and a man if you were a girl, two men and a woman if you were a boy. It was very common for parents to try to get godparents who were higher in social status than themselves, such as local nobles or prominent people in town. Many parents also asked the baby’s grandparents, aunts or uncles to serve as godparents.

One reason the choice of godparents was important is that you would most likely be named after one of them. According to Scott Smith-Bannister’s recent study (see Sources section for references) about 75% to 85% of children were given the name of a godparent, in the cases where we know both the children’s and the godparents’ names.

His data also show that if you were not named for a godparent, you would probably be named after a parent or another close relative. You were especially likely to get the name of a particular godparent or relative if they had a lot of money or status. You and the person you were named after were referred to as “namesakes.” Thus, parents clearly did choose a child’s name with care, but usually only a few names were possible, or considered, for any one child.

 

FIRST NAMES

Your first name, the one given to you at baptism, was your “Christian name” or “given name.” It remained the same all your life, though you might, of course, go by a nickname (Molly for Mary, Tom for Thomas).

An Elizabethan character would NOT use what we now call a “middle name,” which is essentially an extra given name (as in Katherine Anne Cox or John Francis Ferrer). Double given names were slowly spreading on the Continent, but the custom had not yet reached England, and in fact did not become really common in English-speaking countries until much later, as late as the 19th century in places. We know of literally only a couple of dozen cases in all of Elizabethan England (before 1600), and most of them are among the nobles or people who were born abroad, such as Jane Sybilla Grey, who was born in France.

 

LAST NAMES

As for last names, the most common type was the kind we use now, a surname or family name inherited from your father; if he was Edward Langley, you would be Mary Langley.

Interestingly, your last name was not quite as fixed as your first name. For instance, occasionally a family name might change. (As with many naming customs, money or status was often involved.) The family of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was originally named Sutton; when they acquired the Dudley lands and title, most family members began using Dudley as their surname. The change was not quite complete in Robert’s generation, and he was sometimes referred to as “Robert Duddeley alias Sutton”.

You might also be better known, especially in your local village, by a “byname” than by an inherited surname. A baker named Jeremy Staple might be known as Jeremy Baker or Master Baker rather than Master Staple. In some cases this might be passed on to his children and become the new family surname. Or if there were several Jeremys in the area and one was especially tall, short, red-haired, disabled, etc., or came originally from elsewhere, he might be called Jeremy Little, Lame Jeremy, or Jeremy Bristol.

 

SWIMMING IN THE NAME POOL

In the twentieth century we draw given names from an unusually large “name pool.” A name pool is a list or concept of what members of the culture feel are appropriate things to name people. For instance, we would probably accept that Alisha or Devin or Jothan or LaShalla are “names.” But while “moon” and “unit” are perfectly okay English words, Moon Unit Zappa doesn’t seem like a person’s name to us; these words are not in our name pool.

The Elizabethan pool of given names was MUCH smaller than ours. There were only about 30 to 40 common names in circulation for each gender, with perhaps another 100 or so that you would run across from time to time. According to Janell Lovelace’s statistics, eventy percent of all women were named Elizabeth, Joan, Margaret, Anne, Alice, Agnes, Mary, Jane or Katherine. More than one out of every four men was named John, and 70% of all men were named John, Thomas, William, Richard, or Robert.

The name pool for surnames was much larger. This booklet lists over 1,000 surnames and is by no means comprehensive. One reason is that while given names traditionally came mainly from a limited number of popular European saints, surnames come from a much greater variety of sources: place names (Nottingham, Boston), occupations (Chandler, Osteller), a father’s or ancestor’s given name (Philips, Johnson), or other bynames (Cristemas, Prowd, White).

 

THOSE WILD AND WACKY PURITANS

People sometimes get the impression that Biblical and “virtue” names were common in England at this time, especially among Puritans. This is only partly true. Smith-Bannister’s study shows that a few names from the Bible, like Mary, John, Elizabeth and Thomas, were indeed common, and had been so for generations. And Charity and Grace do make it into his top 50 women’s names. But the more exotic names, like Bathsheba or Ezra, and most of the “virtue” names like Prudence or Reformation, were not much thought of until the 1630s and 1640s — two generations after Queen Elizabeth. And Smith-Bannister’s studies of individual counties show that even in the most heavily Puritan districts, only about one out of six children was given either of these types of names.

 

MEN’S GIVEN NAMES

The list of the most common men’s given names in England stayed pretty nearly constant from the 1530s through 1700, especially the top four or five names, though the exact order changed a bit. It’s notable how dominant the top few names are; the top five names account for 70% of all men studied. The figures from Janell Lovelace are:

  • John . . . 29%
  • Thomas . . .14%
  • William . . .14%
  • Richard . . . 7%
  • Robert . . . 6%
  • Henry . . . 3%
  • Nicholas . . . 3%
  • Edward . . . 2%
  • Walter . . . 2%

The top 50 men’s names listed by Scott Smith-Bannister for the 1560s and 1570s (a larger sample, with a more specific date ocus) follow this trend fairly well. Reading down from the first column, in order from most common to least, they are:

JohnNicholasLeonardSamuelArthur
ThomasRalphMartinAllenDavid
WilliamChristopherSimonCharlesFulke
RobertAnthonyPeterAlexanderLuke
RichardMatthewPhilipGregoryMathias
HenryEdmundStephenNathanielTobias
GeorgeWalterLawrenceAbrahamIsaac
EdwardHughRogerBarnabyJerome
JamesAndrewDanielGeoffreyJoseph
FrancisHumphreyMichaelReynoldRowland

Some additional, slightly less popular names are:

AdamBartholomewGerardLancelotOswyn
AdrianBenedictGilbertMarkPiers
AmbroseBernardGilesMilesSolomon
AveryCuthbertJulianOliverValentine

 

WOMEN’S GIVEN NAMES

The top five to ten women’s given names are somewhat more variable from decade to decade, and not quite so dominant. It takes nine names rather than five to account for 70% of all women studied, and Elizabeth, the most common women’s name, is only about half as common as John is for men. The figures from Janell Lovelace are:

  • Elizabeth . . . 15%
  • Joan . . . 12%
  • Margaret . . . 11%
  • Anne . . . 9%
  • Alice . . . 8%
  • Agnes . . . 6%
  • Isabel . . . 4%
  • Katherine . . . 3%
  • Mary . . . 3%
  • Jane . . . 3%
  • Margery . . . 2%

The top 50 women’s names listed by Scott Smith-Bannister for the 1560s and 1570s follow this trend fairly well. In approximate order from most common to least, they are:

ElizabethIsabelChristianBarbaraJulian
JoanDorothyEdithRachelPhilippa
MargaretMargeryEmmaCharityAudrey
AgnesSusannaLucyMabelHelen
AliceEllenMarthaMillicentJanet
AnneSarahMarionRoseSybil
MaryClemenceCecilyThomasinUrsula
JaneFrancesFrideswideFortuneAvis
CatherineJoyceGraceGillianBeatrice
ElinorBridgetAmyJudithBlanche

Some additional, slightly less common names are:

RuthConstanceFlorenceMariaParnell
WilmotDeniseJosianMaudRebecca
ChristinaEllenLetticeMildredWinifred

 

SOME PRE-1600 ENGLISH SURNAMES

I have edited Janell Lovelace’s list of surnames with an eye towards Faire. Some of the spellings have been modernized so the names are recognizable, and so that it’s clear how to pronounce them, since names at Faire are more often spoken than written. I’ve removed duplicates, and a few names have been dropped because they have very strong associations with one or more famous people from Elizabeth’s reign — a theatrical decision, not a historical one. There are still over 1,000 to choose from:    (or you can skip this long table.)

AbellCharlisFittonLondSaynsbery
AberyChaseGageLondonScarclyf
AcworthChatwynGaleyLongScollfyld
AdamsChaunceyGarardLongtonScot
AlardChaundelerGardynerLovellScrogs
AlbynCheberellGareLoveneyScrope
AldebourneChechesterGarneysLoverykSedley
AlfrayeCheddarGarretLoweSedlow
AlikokCheldeGascoigneLowtheSeger
AlingtonChelseyeGasperLucySelwyn
AlleineChernockeGavellLudsthorpSencler
AmcottesChesterGaynesfordLukeSentjohn
AmondeshamChetwoodeGeddyngLumbardeSerche
AndrewsCheyneGeffrayLuptonSever
AnnesleyChildGeorgeLyfeldeSeymour
AnstyChowneGerardLymseySeyntaubyn
ArcherChudderleGervilleLyndeSeys
ArdalleChurmoundGesteLyonSharman
ArderneChyltonGibbsLyrypineShawe
ArgenteinChyrcheGiffordLysleSheffeld
ArnoldClaimondGilbertLytcottSheraton
ArthurClarellGinterLyttleburyeSherbourne
AsgerClarkGlenhamLyttonSherman
AshenhurstClavellGlennonLyverycheShevington
AshtorClaybrookGloverMakepieceShingleton
AskewCleffortGoberdMalemaynsShipwash
AsplynClementGoddamMalsterShiveley
AsshebyClerkGodfreyMaltounShorditch
AsshetonCliftonGoldeMalynsShosmyth
AstleyClitherowGoldingManfieldShotbolt
AthertonCloptonGoldwellManstonShylton
AtkinsonClyffordGomersallMapiltonSibill
AtleeCobbeGomfreyMarchefordSilvester
AddicockCobhamGonsonMareysSkipwith
AttilburghCobleghGoodMarkeleySleford
AubreyCockayneGoodenouthMarshamSlyfield
AudeleyCodGoodereMartenSmith
AuldyngtonCodingtonGoodluckMasonSnayth
AumberdenCoffynGoodnestoneMassyngberdeSnell
AydeCoggeshallGoodrykeMauditSnelling
AylewardColardGoodryngtonMauntellSotton
AylmerColbyGoodwynMaycotSparrow
AynesworthColeGoringMaydestoneSpebynton
AyshecombeColkinsGorneyMayneSpeir
BabhamColmerGorsteMaynwaringSpelman
BabyngtonColtGosebourneMedeSpencer
BaconComplynGraftonMedeleySpetyll
BadbyComptonGreenwayMerdenSpicer
BaileyConquestGreneMereworthSprottle
BakerCookeGrenefeldMerstunSprunt
BalamCoorthoppGrevilleMertonStace
BaldwinCopingerGreyMetcalfStanbury
BallardCorbettGrobbamMichelgroveStandon
BallettCorbyGrofhurstMillysStanley
BamardCosworthGrostonMilsentStanwix
BarantynCossaleGroveMolandStaple
BarberCosyngtonGrymbaldeMolyngtonStaunton
BardolfCottonGuildefordeMolynsStaverton
BaretCoulthurstGyllMondeStepney
BarfootCourtenayGysborneMontacuteStevyn
BarkerCovertGyttynsMontaguStodeley
BarnesCowillHacheMooreStoke
BarreCoxHackemanMoreStokerton
BarrentyneCraneHaddockMorecoteStokes
BarstapleCranfordHaddonMorleyStokey
BartelotCrawleyHadreshamMortymerStokton
BartonCrekettHakebourneMoryetStocks
BassetCressyHaleMorysStone
BatherstCrispeHallMotesfontStoner
BattersbyCristemasHalleyMowfurthStoughton
BattylCrockerHalshanMuggeStrachleigh
BayntonCruggeHambardMullensStrader
BeauchampCryppysHammerMustonStrangewayes
BeaumontCuddonHamondMyddiltonStrelley
BeaurepaireCulpeperHampdenMylletStrete
BedellCunnynghamHancockMylnerStubbe
BedgberyCursonHansartNarbrigeStyles
BedingfeldCurteysHarbirdNashStylle
BeelDaelyngridgeHarbotleNecehamStyward
BeerDagworthHarcourtNeleSulyard
BekynghamDaleHardyNevinsonSumner
BellDalisonHarewellNewdegateSwan
BendeDamsellHargreveNewmanSwetecok
BennetDanetHarlakindenNokeSwetenham
BentheyDanversHarlestonNorburySwitte
BerdwellDarcyHarleyNordenSymeon
BerecraftDarleyHarpedenNorrysSymons
BeresfordDaubernounHarperNorthTabard
BerkheadDaunceHarrisNorthwoodeTame
BernardDaundelyonHarrysesNortonTaylor
BerneweltDauntesayHarteNorwichTedcastle
BerneyDaversHarwoodNorwoodTheobauld
BerryDavyHasardNotfeldeThomas
BerwykDawneHatteclyffNotynghamThornburgh
BestDayHaukesworthNysellThorne
BetonDeaconsHawkinsObsonThornton
BettesthorneDelabereHawtreyOkeThorp
BewforestDelamereHayeOkenThrokmorton
BewleyDelyHayesOliverThursby
BexleyDemokeHaytonOlyngwortheTibborde
BigleyDencourtHelmeOsborneTilghman
BilingfordDeneHenshaweOstelerTiploft
BischoptreeDentonHerlestonOsyllburyTopsfield
BishopDenysHeronOutlaweTorryngton
BladwellDericoteHertcombeOxenbriggTothyll
BlakeleyDeringHerwyPageTown
BlakewellDeryngtonHewesPaggeTregonwell
BlaknallDesfordHeydonPalmerTreningham
BlakwallDigbyHeywoodPanshaweTrenowyth
BlakwellDixtonHeyworthPapleyTrevet
BlenerhaysetDoddleHicchecokParkerTrumpington
BlexhamDogmersfieldHigateParretTubney
BlodwellDonnetHigdenParrisTurner
BlomeDorewardHilleParsonsTwarby
BlondellDormerHoarePastonTweedye
BlountDoveHobartPattesleyTyndall
BlundellDowHobertPayneTyrell
BoddinhamDownerHodgesonPeacokUfford
BohanDraperHolbrookPeckeUnderhill
BooteDrawHolcotPeckhamUnton
BootheDraytonHolesPeeleUpton
BorellDrilandHollandPekhamUrswic
BorrowDrydenHolseyPeletootVass
BosbyDunchHoltPeltieVaughan
BostDuncombeHoltonPembertonVawdrey
BostockDunhamHoptonPenVeldon
BostonDuredentHormanPenhallickVerney
BotelerDustebyHorneboltPennebryggVernon
BothyDyeHornleyPerchehayVinter
BouldreDygenysHorseyPerotWade
BourneDyneleyHorthallPerryvalleWadham
BovilleDynhamHortonPethamWake
BowcerEchynghamHostelerPetleyWaldegrave
BowettEdgarHothamPettitWaldeley
BownellEdgcombHowardPettwoodeWalden
BowtheEdgerleyHuchensonPeytonWalford
BowyarEdwardsHuddlestonPhelipWalkden
BradbridgeEgertonHugefordPhilipsWalker
BradshaweEggerleyHundenPlaytersWallace
BradstaneEglisfeldeHungatePlessiWalley
BradstonEldysleyHunstonPlymmyswoodeWalrond
BramfieldElmebriggeHurstPoffeWalsch
BramptonElyotHusseyPoleWaltham
BrancheElysHydePolstedWalton
BranwhaitEmersonHyensonPoltonWanteley
BrassieEngehamHylderleyPorterWappelode
BraunstoneEnglefordHyllPortyngtonWarbulton
BrayEnglyscheInwoodPotterWarde
BraylesEpworthIsleyPouletWardeby
BrecknockErewakerJackmannPownderWardrieu
BredhamErmynJacksonPrattWardyworth
BrentErthamJamesPrayWarner
BretEsmundJannerPrelatteWarren
BrewseEstburyJarmanPropheteWayte
BrewsterEstneyJayProwdWebb
BrewysEstoneJendringPurllesWeekes
BridgemanEttonJenneyPursgloveWelbek
BriggsEverardJohnsonPurvocheWelby
BrinckhurstEverdonJordanPygottWellins
BrodewayEvrendenJoslynePyletWenman
BrodnaxEvyngarJoulonPynnokeWensley
BrokhillEyerJowchetPyntyWest
BrocksbyEystonKekilpennyQuintinWestbrook
BromeFabyanKellettRadleyWestlake
BrookFaldoKellyRampstonWeston
BroughamFaneKempRamseyWetherden
BroughtonFaryndonKentRatcliffWexcombe
BrounckerFaylareKeriellRawlynWhalley
BrownfletFaynemanKestevenRawsonWhite
BrownyngFelbriggKeyRaynsfordWhitewood
BrowetFeldKidwellyRedeWhowood
BrownFentonKilligrewRedmanWhytton
BrudenellFerrerKingeReeveWhytyng
BryanFevershamKnevyntonReynesWightman
BrynFfrewyllKnightonReynesfordWilkins
BrystoweFienleyKnodyRichemanWillardsey
BulkeleyFinchKnoyllRikhillWilliams
BulstrodeFitzgeffreyKnyvetRisleyWillmer
BurgessFitzherbertKottowRobertsWillys
BurghFitzlewisKydwellyRobertsonWilson
BurghehyllFitzralphKyllyngworthRobinsWindham
BurgoynFitzwarymKyrkebyRobynsonWingfield
BurltonFitzwilliyamKytsonRochesterWiseman
BurnellFleetla BarreRochforthWoodbrygge
BurtonFlemingla HaleRolandWoode
BuryngtonFletewoodela PenneRollestonWoodeward
BusheFlexneyLacyRondelWolrond
BuslingthorpeFlowerLakenRontWolstonton
BushburyFoddeLamberRoperWorsley
ButlerFoggLambtonRotheleyWotton
ByfieldFoliotLangetonRousWreke
ByllyngFoljambeLanghamRowdonWrenne
BynghamFollywolleLangstoneRoweWright
ByrdeFolonLappageRowlattWulvedon
ByschoppesonFolshamLathamRowleyWyard
CaleyFordeLattonRudhallWyatt
CallthorpFortescueLaunceleynRuffordWyddowsoun
CampedenForteyLaveRuggenaleWyghtham
CanonFowlerLawnderRuggeweynWylcotes
CanteysFoxle BoneRuscheWylde
CantilupeFranceyLeecheRussellWylmot
CarbonallFrankeleynLeedsRyallWymer
CardiffFrauncesLehenardRykeworthWyncall
CarewFreerLeighRyngerWynston
CarlyllFrevilleLeighlinRyppringhamWynstryngham
CarterFrilendeLemanSacheverellWynter
CaryFrilleckLentonSackvilleWythinghall
CaseberdeFrogenhallLestrangeSadlerWyvil
CassyFromondLetterfordSalfordYate
CastellFrosteLeventhorpeSalleYaxley
CastletownFrowseloureLevererSalterYden
CatesbyFryeLevesonSaltonstallYelverton
CavellFrythLewysSampsonYerde
CaxatonFulburneLeynhamSamuellYork
CelyFulmerLeynthallSanburneYornold
ChamburleynFunteynLichefieldSandesYoung
ChampneysFurnaceLiveseySaunders
ChancelerFynderneLloydSaunterton
ChanceyFyneuxLocktonSavill
ChapmanFysherLodyngtonSayer

 

A WORD ABOUT THE WELSH, SCOTS AND IRISH

Note that if you are from Wales, Scotland, or Ireland, the name pools you draw from may be quite different, along with the common methods of forming names. A few notes may help.

Wales had its own distinctive naming practices and a largely separate name pool. The usual form of surname was a patronymic (derived from your father’s given name). For a man, this is: [given name] ap [your father’s given name] (such as Owein ap Griffith). For women,[given name] verch [your father’s given name] (Myfanwy verch Eynon). There were also some areas of Wales that had been under English law for 100 years or more, where English names and name patterns were more common (such as Owen Tudor, King Henry VIII’s grandfather — an English-pattern name using Welsh components).

Scotland is actually divided into two rather different cultural areas. In the lowland and urban parts of Scotland, your naming practices and name pool would be very similar to the English (though with some regional differences). The common language spoken in these parts of Scotland was Scots, a version of English (or a language close to English) and not Gaelic. In fact, the Scots-speaking culture has in some ways more affinities (dress, customs, etc.) with English culture of the time than with the Gaelic culture in the Highlands.

In the Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlands, the type of “clans” we usually think of, with fixed, inherited surnames, didn’t appear until long after our period, in fact not till about the 18th century. During the reign of Elizabeth in England, by far the commonest form of surname in Gaelic-speaking areas is a patronymic. For a man, this produces a name like: [given name] mac [possessive form of your father’s given name], such as Eoin mac Donnchaidh. For a woman, [given name] inghean [possessive form of your father’s given name](Dearbhorgaill inghean Dhomhnaill). Patronymics account for the overwhelming majority of the period Gaelic surnames we know or can guess at (though unfortunately, very few Gaelic names are recorded in Gaelic in Scotland).

In Ireland, also a Gaelic-speaking country, these same patronymics were used as well, and were formed in basically the same way.

However in Ireland there was also another common alternative: the clan byname. The pattern for clan bynames for men is [given name] ó [clan ancestor’s given name] (Conmhaol ó Conchobhair). For women, [given name] inghean uí [clan ancestor’s given name] (Siobhán inghean uí Mháille). The clan ancestor referred to would be the man, usually several generations back, after whom the clan was named.

NOTE that both Irish and Scottish Gaelic have a complex grammar that has major effects on how names are pronounced and spelled. Dictionaries and name books are generally not very helpful with this. It’s a very good idea to consult someone knowledgeable about the languages (and about historic naming practices in these languages), in order to get a Welsh, Scottish or Irish name right.

CHOOSING A NAME FOR RENAISSANCE FAIRE

Consider the pattern of names you would expect to find in your Elizabethan village. You would probably meet many Margarets, a few Dorothys, perhaps one Maud, and probably no one named Tamara or Chastity. As twentieth-century humans, we have a natural tendency to pick a name that is “different” in order to emphasize our individuality. But Elizabethans seem instead to have chosen names that were common in their families and communities, apparently as a way of expressing their family and community ties.

This is a very different mind-set and it is worth trying to understand it. It can also be a source of some good theatrical “bits” — Who were your godparents? Who are you named after? How many Catherines are in your guild, and how do you tell them apart? (Here’s where bynames come in handy.)

Also, before you get too attached to one particular name, try your chosen first and last names on several of your friends to see how you like them, whether they’re easy to say, and whether there are any obvious bad jokes on your name that you won’t want to live with. (For instance, William Bates might not like being addressed as Master Bates!)

MAJOR SOURCES AND HELP

The names and information in this article come from several very good statistical studies of Elizabethan names.

A good (though rather dry) recent study of given names is Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538-1700, by Scott Smith-Bannister (Oxford Historical Monographs, Clarendon Press, 1997, ISBN 0-19-820663-1).

Name lists that are not from Smith-Bannister are originally from the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology’s index to its brass rubbings collection at Oxford University. The compilation I’ve used is by Janell K. Lovelace and is available on the World Wide Web at <http://www.panix.com/~m ittle/names/arval/brasses/>.

A similar study by Brian M. Scott, titled “Late Sixteenth Century English Given Names,” is available at <http://www.panix.com/~mit tle/names/talan/eng16/>.

The Academy of S. Gabriel at <http://www.s-gabriel.org/> is an excellent name resource, although Elizabethan England falls at the end of their time period. Their focus is on the best possible historical accuracy. The Academy also offers a consulting service if you have in-depth questions about a historically accurate name (they will help you with Welsh or Gaelic names, for instance), although due to their small and completely volunteer staff, a response may take several weeks.

For Scottish and Irish names, before you do anything else please read “Scottish Names 101” and “Quick and Easy Gaelic Bynames”, both by Sharon Krossa, and available at <http://www.stanford.ed u/~skrossa/medievalscotland/> or through links from the S. Gabriel Website.

For Welsh names, Heather Rose Jones has written “A Simple guide to Constructing 16th Century Welsh Names in English Contexts,” also available through the S. Gabriel Website.

All these authors can be contacted through S. Gabriel if you have questions about names in their specific languages and cultures. I am also greatly indebted to them for helping me with this project, although any mistakes are, of course, my own.

I’m also available to field questions about Faire names in general. My focus, like St. Gabriel’s, is on historical accuracy. I can be contacted at <CLaning@igc.apc.org>.

OTHER HELPFUL BOOKS

It doesn’t have much to say about naming as such, but for a detailed and fascinating discussion of Elizabethan birth, baptism, and godparents, I recommend David Cressy’s Birth, Marriage and Death: Ritual, Religion and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England. (Oxford University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-19-820168-0)

If you are interested in a possible name that is not in this article, probably the best and most easily accessible standard name references that cover this period are the following. Most large libraries are likely to have them.

Withycombe, E.G., The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press.

Reaney & Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames, Oxford University Press, 1995. Or the earlier edition: Reaney, P.H., A Dictionary of British Surnames, 2nd ed., Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976. This will also tell you correct 16th-century spellings for names in this article’s surname list, some of which are given in their 14th- or 15th-century forms.

Ekwall, Eilert. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1989. A good source for anyone who wants an English surname taken from a place-name.

Copyright 1999 by Chris Laning. Unlimited reproduction of this article in print or electronic media for nonprofit educational purposes is permitted, provided it is reproduced in full including this copyright notice, and no money is charged beyond the cost of copying. All other rights reserved.

 

____________________________________________________________
O Chris Laning
| <CLaning@igc.apc.org>
+ “Mistress Christian Ashley,” Guild of St. George, RPFN
____________________________________________________________

This document is warehoused or archived by the SCRIBE Network in agreement with the author. Please respect the copyright arrangement the author has requested. Requested changes to the document should be sent to the author and not the SCRIBE Network.f
July 1999