Posts Tagged ‘Philip’

On our holiday last week we stayed at historic Gurney Manor — sometimes called Gurney Street Manor — in Cannington, Somerset.

It is a very special place.

Rescued by the Landmark Trust in the 1980s, much of the fabric dates to before 1400, with substantial additions in the mid-to-late fifteenth century.

Because it largely came down in the world after the seventeenth century, many of its ancient features, including the fifteenth century covered passage across the inner courtyard linking the old kitchen to the hall, have survived.

Unsurprisingly, it proved quite a good hunting ground for names, which are almost text-book examples of the typical names through the centuries, demonstrating fluctuations in fashion both generally, and across the social spectrum.

The original owners — and the family who gave their name to the manor — were a branch of the baronial family of Gurney, the founder of which came to England with William the Conqueror. Only a few names are known from this earliest period, emerging from the fog of remote history; a RICHARD de Gurney, flourished in 1243, when he put in a claim on the mill, then in possession of his “kinsman” WILLIAM, son of PHILIP.

Richard had a son called ROBERT.

By the end of the thirteenth century, the property appears to have been owned by JOHN de Gurney, who was alive in 1327.

The last of the line at Gurney Manor, and probably the one responsible for much of the parts of the hall dating to the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, was HUGH, who succeeded to the estate in 1358. Either he, or a son of the same name, was there in 1401, with a wife called BEATRICE.

He had no son, and so the manor passed to his daughter JANE — an unusual name at the time, when the usually feminine form of John was Joan. She married ROGER Dodesham.

Responsible for most of the fifteenth century additions was their son, another WILLIAM, who was a lawyer as well as a landowner.

William had sisters called JOAN and ELEANOR, and on his death in 1480, the Gurney Street Manor passed in trust to Joan’s daughter, AGNES, wife of WALTER Michell, who died in 1487. Agnes and Walter had three sons, who each succeeded in turn, WILLIAM, JOHN, and THOMAS.

Thomas, whose wife was called MARGARET, died in 1503, when the manor passed to his son, another THOMAS. He also had a daughter called ISABEL.

Thomas made a number of improvements and refinements to the house, adding fine windows and new chimneys — but it all came to an abrupt end on December 13, 1539, when he murdered his wife JOAN and sister-in-law ELEANOR, seemingly at Gurney Manor, before killing himself.

He had two known children, another JANE, and another RICHARD.

Richard, who married an ELIZABETH, died in 1563, leaving the manor to his son, TRISTRAM.

Tristram, meanwhile, died in 1574, when the manor passed to his brother, Sir BARTHOLOMEW.

On Bartholomew’s death in 1616, his lands were split between his daughters, JANE and FRANCES. Gurney passed to Jane, wife of WILLIAM Hockmore.

William had considerable property elsewhere, and Gurney’s owners no longer lived there; the house and its acres was let to tenants, so that by the late nineteenth century, it was regarded as just a (large) farmhouse.

The names of most of these tenants is lost, but we still know the names of the house’s owners, and their families.

Jane and William Hockmore, for instance, had six children, SUSANNAH, GREGORY, CHARLES, WILLIAM, FRANCES and RICHARD, not all of whom lived to adulthood.

Gregory, married to MARY, inherited in 1626, dying in 1653, when the estate passed to his son, also called GREGORY (he also had a daughter called JANE).

Gregory II, married to HONOR, also had two children, a son WILLIAM, and, quelle surprise, yet another JANE.

William, who inherted sometime between 1676 and 1680, married another MARY, and had three daughters, MARY, JANE and HONORA; only Honora survived to adulthood, becoming William’s heiress on his death in 1707-08.

She married DAVIDGE Gould (his mother’s maiden name was Davidge) around 1713, and had five children who survived to adulthood: Sir HENRY (d.1794), RICHARD (d.1793), HONORA (d.1802), WILLIAM (d.1799) and THOMAS (d.1808).

Henry, married ELIZABETH, and had two daughters, another ELIZABETH, and HONORA MARGARETTA. Elizabeth married TEMPLE Luttrell; Honora Margaretta, who died in 1813, married General RICHARD Lambart, 7th Earl of Cavan.

And Gurney passed through her to the Earls of Cavan.

(Temple Luttrell was an interesting character; an MP, he was reputedly also a smuggler, and built a folly, called Luttrell’s Tower, at Eaglehurst near Southampton. On his death in Paris in 1803, Luttrell’s Tower passed to the Earl of Cavan too. By pure coincidence, Luttrell’s Tower is also now owned by the Landmark Trust.)

Richard and Honora Margaretta had five children:

  • SOPHIA AUGUSTA (1787-98)
  • RICHARD HENRY (b. and d. 1788)

George, who died before his father, married the simply named SARAH, and had five children:

  • ALICIA (d.1913)
  • JULIA (d.1897)
  • OLIVER GEORGE (1822-98)

Frederick John William’s wife was CAROLINE AUGUSTA, and they also had five children:

  • MARY HYACINTHE (d.1933)
  • SARAH SOPHIA (d.1914)
  • OCTAVIUS HENRY (1855-1919)
  • ARTHUR (1858-1937)

Frederick Edward Gould’s wife was MARY SNEADE (Sneade was her middle name — her surname was Olive), and their children:

  • FREDERICK RUDOLPH (1865-1946)
  • ELLEN OLIVE (1867-1945)
  • MAUD EDITH GUNDREDA (1869-1940)
  • LIONEL JOHN OLIVE (1873-1940)

Frederick Rudolph had no children by his first wife CAROLINE INEZ; by his second wife, HESTER JOAN, he had two daughters; the first, ELIZABETH MARY was born in 1924.

The following year, Gurney was sold to its tenants of more than thirty years, the Bucknells, and with it an unbroken line of descent, if not of inhabitation, of at least eight hundred years, was finally severed.

The Bucknells were a thoroughly English Victorian middle class family; the father, a classic “gentleman farmer” was a solid and respectable JAMES, his wife an equally establishment MARY ANN. One daughter was ELIZA HARRIS, the other, OLIVE MARY (possibly named in honor of the Countess of Cavan), and they also had a son, BENJAMIN JOHN.

In 1901, there were also three servants living with them at the manor: FRANK, EMILY and MABEL.

Gurney’s time once more owned by its inhabitants was short-lived; the Bucknells sold in 1934, and by the 1940s it had been subdivided into flats. By the 1980s, it was in a sorry, neglected state, with most of the flats empty, but then the Landmark Trust bought it, and the rest is (more!) history…

No-one lives there for more than three weeks at a time anymore, but it has been fully restored to its medieval glory and I think the place rather likes the variety of ever changing faces coming and going, and basks in their rapt admiration.

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Rad is the fifth letter of the Runic Alphabet. As with others, its name varies depending on which Runic Alphabet is being used:

Rad is quite unusual in the Runic alphabet, in that they all agree that it means “ride” and “journey.”

Similarly, the emphasis in the poems is all pretty much in agreement, focusing  on the hard work of horses, which makes traveling for their riders so much easier.

Modern rune-users interpret Rad as signifying journeys, both physical and spiritual, and either such journey with a specific goal — a quest, or a pilgrammage. And as journeys inevitably take us from one place or state of being to another, it also stands for change and growth.

A journey also involves a certain level of control over one’s destiny; it is a pro-active, not a passive state of being.

As a name Rad could work — although it has a distinct “short-for-something” air about it which some dislike. There are some interesting long form options though:

For boys, there’s Caradoc, Conrad, Nostradamus, Radagast, Radamisto, Radomil, Radoslav, Radulf and Rhadamanthus.

For girls, how about Angharad, Aradia, Paradise, Rada, Radegund, Radiance, Radiant, Radmila, Radoslava, and Sharada.

None of these names are related etymologically to Rad, but they all shorten nicely to it.

Meanwhile, I think Raido and Reith make great names on their own, both have very contemporary vibes.

But there are also plenty of other names to choose from inspired by Rad. Here are just a few:

  • Christopher — Greek: khristophoros “bearing Christ.” The famous patron saint of travelers.
  • Eachann — Old Irish: each “horse” + donn “brown.”
  • Éowyn — Old English: eoh “horse” + wynn “joy.” The name of a princess of Rohan in Lord of the Rings; the Rohirrim (“Riders of Rohan”) are famed horsemen.
  • Epona — Common Celtic: *ekwo- “horse.” The name of a Gaulish Goddess of horses, and probably also of sovereignty.
  • Euodia — Greek: euodia “good journey.” Ancient name (crops up in the New Testament).
  • Faramond — Old German: fara “journey” + munda “protection.”
  • Farilda — Old German: fara “journey” + hildi “battle.”Ferdinand — Germanic: fart “journey” + nanþ- “courage.”
  • Garnet — a stone long used as a protective talisman for travelers.
  • Geoffrey — one source of this name is the Old German valha “traveler” + frithu “peace.”
  • Hermes — one of Hermes’s roles was to protect travelers.
  • Hippolyta — Greek: hippos “horse” + luô “to set free.” Hippolyta was an Amazon queen, and the mother of Hippolytus.
  • Ingrid — Old Norse; one interpretation of the name is Ing (the God) + rida “ride,” referring to the symbolic first ploughing of the year by Ing on a golden boar.
  • Isra — Arabic: “night journey.”
  • Journey — self-explanatory!
  • Llywarch — Welsh: llyw “leader” + march “horse.”
  • Marcán — Old Irish: marc “horse” + diminutive suffix –án.
  • Marshall — Old French: mareschal; used originally of someone who looked after horses.
  • Peregrine — Latin: peregrinus “traveler,” “stranger.” Often shortened to Perry, or, in the case of Tolkien’s character, Peregrin Took, to Pippin.
  • Philip — Greek: philos “friend” + hippos “horse.” Not forgetting its feminine form Philippa, popularly shortened to Pippa.
  • Pilgrim — the word “pilgrim” derives from the same source as Peregrine.
  • Pushan — Sanskrit: “cause to thrive.” The name of a Hindu God of journeys, who protects travelers from bandits and wild animals.
  • Rhiannon — Common Celtic: *r-gan- “queen.” In mythology, Rhiannon is an otherworldy woman closely associated with horses. It is quite likely she represents the survival of the Goddess Epona.
  • Rider — English surname meaning simply “a rider.” Also spelled Ryder.
  • Rosalind — Old German: (h)ros “horse” + linde “serpent” or lindi “gentle” and “soft.”
  • Rosamund — Old German: (h)ros “horse” + mund “protection.”
  • Rose — Old German: (h)ros “horse.”
  • Séadna — Old Irish séadna “traveler.”
  • Steed — Old English stēda “stud-horse.”
  • Xanthippe — Greek: xanthos “yellow” + hippos “horse.”

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British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall caused a bit of a bruhaha last week over eating puppies (or rather, not eating them).

In a nutshell, he highlighted the hypocrisy rampant in society, which finds it acceptable to raise some animals for meat, but not others, stating that eating puppies is, theoretically, “no worse than pork.”

Naturally, some sections of the press twisted his words to increase their sensationalism — ironically drawing attention to the hypocrisy still further.

Personally, I agree with him.

I’m not saying that people who eat meat should eat all animals — including puppies — but they should at least acknowledge that the distinction made between animals raised for meat and other animals is actually largely an arbitrary and socio-cultural construct.

After all, dogs and cats are bred for meat in parts of China, just like cows, pigs and sheep are in the West.

The whole business highlighted the dichotomy between society’s supposed “love of animals” and the contempt so frequently shown to them — often unwittingly — and not just for those animals destined for the table.

For, despite all the knee-jerk howls of outrage at Hugh’s comments, most of those people decrying the very thought of eating dogs, cats and horses almost certainly use words like “dog,” “bitch,” “horse,” as terms of contempt and mockery.

So much for man’s “best friends”.

This dichotomy, I’m sad to say, is just alive and well when it comes to names.

Take Caleb, for instance, a Hebrew name meaning “dog,” and Portia, which comes from the Latin porcus “pig.”  It is clear from comments made on many a messageboard and blog that their meanings put some people off using them.

And these are names from the standard “name pool.”

Despite the growth in the use of vocabulary words, and the fact that the names of some animals and birds are in occasional, if unusual use — like Bear and Wolf — most would still not even consider (not in a million years) bestowing Dog, Horse, Cow, Pig, Boar, Sow etc as a name on their child.

Stallion is actually on the banned list in New Zealand.

But things were not always so.

In many past societies, the attitude towards animals was rather different.

Their value was such that their names were considered more than suitable for the names of people. They were worn with pride.

Among the Greeks the word for “horse” incorporated in a name was even a sign of nobility or royalty.

Philip, for instance, a name popular in the Macedonian royal house, means “horse-friend.” And to an ancient Macedonian, it really sounded like “horse-friend” too; it was not just an academic gloss.

While in Northern Europe, the esteem in which horses were held led to the words use as both a male and female name. Horsa “horse” and Hengist “stallion” (again, to the ears of those early Saxons, these would be the equivalent of “Horse” and “Stallion”) were the legendary leaders of the first Anglo-Saxon settlers.

But it was as a girl’s name that Horse became established. Not in the form “horse”, of course. The Old High German forms were hros and ros, and the name in the medieval period occurred as Roese and Rohese, Latinized as Roesia and Rohesia.

It later became Rose.

By this stage, of course, its equine roots had been forgotten, but when it was first used, to the ears of its bearers, they were called  “Horse.”

It was a name full only of respect, honor and affection.

Meanwhile, Old Welsh texts testify to the status of the pig and the boar among the Brythonic Celts. “Pig” is attested in more than one name, from the hero Culhwch “thin pig” to Banna, a name found on an inscription on a set of scale pans in Suffolk, which derives from the Common Celtic word for “little pig.”

But above all, the Celts revered the dog, and it was a common element in personal names. Although among the Welsh names, it is  sometimes unclear whether a name contains the word for “dog” or “chief”, there are examples when it is absolutely clear which is in use, such as Maelgwn, a sixth-century king of Gwynedd, whose name means “prince of dogs.”

In Ireland, it is even more unambiguous. Cú Chulainn — the “dog of Culann” is probably the most famous bearer of a “dog” name, but there are actually many others, such as Cú Roí “dog of the battlefield,” Cú Choille “dog of the wood,” Cú Dubh “black dog,” Cú Mara “dog of the sea,” and Cú Meda “mead dog.”

Meanwhile, the Gaelic Munghu “my dog” — Latinized as Mungo — seems to have been used for a time as a term of endearment, like “darling” or “my dear.”

All these are usually translated “hound” rather than “dog” — for some reason, “hound” seems to be considered less “offensive.”

Nevertheless, there is no distinction in Irish and Welsh. and ci mean “dog.”

It all demonstrates very clearly the very different attitude of our ancestors towards animals.

Our ancestors still ate them or put them to them work — they even sacrificed them (so much worse than sending them packed in trucks “like cattle” to a slaughterhouse to have a bolt through the head, wasn’t it?). But they truly respected, honored — even venerated them.

Fact is, being so much more in tune with nature, our ancestors were more ready to embrace the natural world. They truly recognized and appreciated the immense worth of animals, their innate nobility, the unique strengths of each and every one, and thus considered their names worth appellations for themselves and their children.

Really, isn’t it time we thought the same again?

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Do you think the toddler in this portrait by Richard Buckner a boy or a girl? The answer is - we simply don't know.

There’s been quite a bit of discussion about unisex names in the name-blog community recently, such as Appellation Mountain’s In Defense of Riley Anne and Evan Marie: Ten Reasons Boys’ Names on Girls Are Not a Sign of End Times and Waltzing More than Matilda’s Help! A Girl Stole My Boy Name!

As both articles point out, using a boy’s name for a girl is not a new phenomemon. It was actually common in the Middle Ages, and while Latin feminine forms were often used in formal records (Pipe Rolls, Court Rolls, etc), there is plenty of evidence to show that most, if not all, girls who appear as Alexandra, Philippa and Nicholaa, etc were in fact called Alexander, Philip and Nicholas. Nicholas is known to have survived as a girl’s name in Scotland into the Early Modern Period.

Next, the names of surname origin. Girls have been given surnames as first names since the trend first began in the 16th Century. Douglas Howard, Lady Sheffield (d.1608) is a good early example. They have been used as girls’ names ever since. Not on a par with their use for boys, perhaps, but still examples exist from every generation until the 19th, since when it has been growing. And many other names have a long history of use as unisex names – Julian and Christian, for instance, while now considered boys’ names, were both more commonly found as girls’ names in the Middle Ages.

So why shouldn’t a girl be given any name of surname origin now any less than then? And what does it matter that it first became known as a boy’s name – or a girl’s name? But the latter rarely crops us as an issue, because the anti-unisex camp have one terror and one terror alone – boy’s names used for girls. Full stop. End of. It is a terror of a name becoming considered ‘girly’ or ‘too feminine’ – not becoming ‘boyish’ or ‘too masculine’. The underlying fear being that a boy so named will himself become ‘girly’ and ‘feminine’…

At the heart of all of this lies a much deeper issue of far greater concern. The fact that, when we are supposed to be living in an age of equality between the sexes, society puts pressure upon parents to differentiate between boys and girls from birth far more intensely than ever before. A hundred years ago, women didn’t have the vote in most of the English-speaking world, and yet if you encountered a toddler in a park, you would have struggled to tell whether it was a boy or a girl without asking. They were dressed identically; little boys often had their hair in curls, little girls in bobs. It wasn’t even uncommon in past centuries for boys to be dressed in pink. And yet when one brave Canadian family decided to recreate this ‘genderlessness’ of a baby (if you missed it, here is the UK Daily Mail’s typically horror-stricken account), they are met mostly with cries of outrage and out-pourings of ridicule.

Unsurprisingly, it’s largely the anti-unisex name faction who are most likely to disapprove of little boys with long hair, little boys playing with dolls, little boys wearing pink, or dressing up in Disney princess dresses. What they don’t seem to realise is that regardless of what sex we are, we all have feminine and masculine sides – and this is nothing to do with sexual-orientation. The East acknowledges it in Yin and Yang. But here in the West, millennia of ruthless, patriarchal rule – in which half the population was essentially enslaved just because of their sex – have deeply indoctrinated society into hacking the feminine aspect out of boys from birth.

No wonder the West is in such a mess.

Attitudes such as this reveal that we are still far from achieving equality. If you’re in the anti-unisex name camp, just pause, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Why, precisely, do we need to differentiate between the sexes in a name at all? Why does it matter for you to be able to tell what sex someone is on paper? Isn’t it the person themselves, their qualities, talents, interests, expertise etc, that matter?
  • What exactly is wrong with ‘feminine’? Why is it wrong to allow a boy to connect with his feminine side, when it is a fact that a man who is in touch with his feminine side is more likely to resolve issues through discussion than through force or violence?

I’ll end with a quote from the American novelist Dorothy Allison: Class, race, sexuality, gender and all other categories by which we categorize and dismiss each other need to be excavated from the inside. Eradicating all this nonsense from names would certainly be a good place to start.

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