How Popular are ‘British’ Names?

It doesn’t take much searching of the internet to pull together a list of names considered quintessentially British. But how popular are these names actually in England&Wales?

Two names that don’t rank at all (there needs to be three births and more to rank) that I see often cited at quintessentially British are Lettice and Crispin.

Below 100     Below 250    
  Rank Births   Rank Births
Alfie 4 5478 Arabella 228 218
Alice 43 1441 Barnaby 224 214
Amelia 5 4227 Clara 201 256
Arthur 82 786 Connie 144 382
Callum 40 2044 Eloise 109 527
Charles 62 1152 Felix 122 511
Florence 54 1177 Jasper 152 389
Frederick 95 688 Jemima 188 267
George 9 4542 Kitty 199 258
Harriet 86 702 Milo 164 338
Harry 3 6862 Rufus 238 198
Henry 34 2239 Tabitha 183 281
Jude 86 757 Victoria 118 489
Martha 85 714 Violet 123 466
Matilda 53 1273      
Oscar 19 3035      
Reuben 71 931      
Sebastian 58 1242      
Stanley 88 737      
Toby 54 1330      
Below 500    
  Rank Births
Beatrix 365 124
Benedict 449 84
Bonnie 263 191
Bryony 386 67
Casper 364 112
Clementine 458 90
Constance 281 176
Douglas 402 98
Fergus 491 72
Hamish 481 74
Hector 386 103
Hugh 364 112
Lawrence 355 117
Monty 337 127
Penelope 272 181
Philip 296 152
Philippa 394 113
Rafferty 466 96
Ralph 258 181
Rupert 360 115
Simon 275 166
Tess 499 81
Wilfred 358 116

And then we have the less popular names:

Below 1000     Below 5000    
  Rank Births   Rank Births
Adele 683 54 Ambrose 1483 16
Alastair 792 37 Araminta 3533 6
Alec 574 59 Balthazar 4678 3
Barney 536 64 Cecil 3865 4
Bruno 660 48 Clarissa 1150 28
Caroline 683 54 Cordelia 1013 33
Chester 543 63 Cornelius 2941 6
Duncan 970 29 Cosima 2589 9
Edgar 758 39 Eugenie 3533 6
Edmund 721 42 Humphrey 1171 22
Ernest 574 59 Ivor 1029 27
Gideon 758 39 Leonora 2843 8
Gregory 574 59 Percy 1407 17
Margot 840 42 Primrose 1180 27
Ned 518 68 Tarquin 4678 3
Romilly 862 41      
Rosalie 664 56      
Vivienne 674 55      
Walter 758 39      
Winston 996 28      

This is, by no means, a complete list of all names that have been labelled as quintessentially British since that would just overload you all with information. This is meant to give you all an idea that not all the children in England&Wales are destined to become a Leonora or Ned. This data comes from the brand-spanking new list of popular names in England&Wales in 2010, fresh off the press yesterday.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “How Popular are ‘British’ Names?

  1. It’s also interesting to compare these so-called ‘British’ names to how well (or not) they’re doing in the US. So while some are unquestionably far more popular in the UK, it’s not always the case! Charles, for instance, is only ranked one place lower in the US than in the UK, while Victoria is actually far more popular in the US now, where it ranks 32nd!

    I also think Arabella is potentially about to go stellar in the US; it doesn’t seem to have that whiff of pretention State-side that it has in Britain, and which has always limited it to a certain social bracket here. Destined to be the next Isabella over there, I think!

    Felix too seems to be buzzing a lot on US name forums.

    Not to mention Philippa…

    Will they still be dubbed quintessentially British though? ;).

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  2. I think people tend to think of “English” names, not necessarily as contemporary names in England, but coming from the England of the past.

    Having said that, although many of these names aren’t popular in England, they do seem to get used, which isn’t the case elsewhere.

    You may not have many Balthazars, Cecils or Corneliuses, but I doubt we had even ONE baby with any of those names last year. I guess the fact they are still in use, although infrequent, still qualifies them as “English names”.

    Some of those names are more popular here – Rafferty and Hamish, for eg, are quite trendy here, and higher in the popularity charts than in the UK.

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  3. Is Hermione considered quintessentially British? There aren’t many in the Telegraph but there are some!

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