I spent the majority of last night wining and dining with a group of Masons and their wives, and came to be drawn into a fascinating conversation with a lovely lady named Marilyn.
The main subject of the conversation was the University of Nottingham and, predictably, the conversation turned to the illustrious Sir Jesse Boot, a key benefactor of the University of Nottingham and local hero. For those who don’t know, the University is a campus university set on grounds donated by Sir Jesse Boot himself. Indeed, Jesse’s son John went on to be their first Chancellor.
If the name sounds familiar to anyone in the UK, or indeed anyone who has happened to have taken a stroll down Oxford Street, I kindly inform thee that the pharmacy shop Boots was founded in Nottingham by one John Boot, the father of Sir Jesse Boot.
You could go as far as to say that Boots is to Nottingham what Cadbury is to Birmingham, and a good proportion of families who’ve lived in Nottingham for a handful of generations can name at least one family member who has at some point worked at the Boots factory.
Me? My step-grandfather and a handful of cousins.
As for the name Jesse, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there must be a link between Jesse and Jessica. The names aren’t linked, although they both have links to the Bible.
Jessica was of course invented by Shakespeare, who was likely inspired by the biblical name Iscah. We then have Jesse, which was the name of the father of King David in the Old Testament.
There exists a bit of fuzziness when it comes to what the name actually means, although the most popular theory suggests that the name means [God’s] gift.
The name Jesse has remained relatively popular in England&Wales since 1996, slightly dipping down to a low of #280 in 2003, and currently ranking at #189. Parents must really like the name Jesse, given that during that time Jessica has held her position in the Top 10 and seems unwilling to suddenly drop off any time soon.