Prepared to be thrilled, because a St. Mungo does actually exist in the so-called ‘real’ world. Also known as St. Kentigern in England&Wales, he was the founder of Glasgow and remains the patron saint of the Scottish city. Mungo was a pet name of the saint, and is the name he’s most often known by in Scotland and parts of northern England. The name Mungo means my love/ beloved.
According to legend, St. Mungo performed four religious miracles in Glasgow, which are all represented in the city’s coat of arms. They were:
- Restored life to a pet robin
- Restarted a fire in a monastery that went out whilst he was in charge of it
- Brought a bell to the city from Rome
- Helped a Queen clear her name by using the fish of a canal to find her lost ring
As such, the bird, tree, bell and fish are all in the coat of arms. To this day, St. Mungo had a major shrine in Glasgow Cathedral, and his feast day is observed on the 13th January. Glasgow’s current motto is Let Glasgow Flourish by the preaching of Your word, and the praising of Your name, is inspired by the words of St. Mungo himself:
“Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word”
reading around about the name, I’ve found myself being led to believe that Mungo is a name of relative popularity in Scotland, however it appears only one boy born in Scotland last year was blessed with the name. Checking back a few years to 2005, Mungo was again given to only one lad.
Things are a little more erratic in England&Wales as in 2011 he did not rank, but he did in 2009 when three boys were given the name. The name peaked in 2000 and 2002 when in both years he was given to 6 boys, but in 2001? Didn’t rank, after being given to less than 3 boys.
It could be that more prefer to stick Mungo in the middle name spot, or indeed that Mungo experienced a boom in Scotland prior to the first name data being released.
To be honest, since I’ve never spent an extended period of time in Scotland, I’m not as au fait with the names as I am with those here in England. Which makes sense, really.
One shouldn’t mix up Mungo with Mingus, but it does give me the opportunity to mention one of my favourite obscure names: Menzies. There was a high-ranking member of the Liberal Democrats at one point called Sir Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell, with Menzies following that great old English tradition of being pronounced nowhere near how you’d think (it’s said the same as Mingus). The name is of Scottish origins and means to abide by.