Posts Tagged With: Daisy

Downton Abbey of Names Pt. II

Sceneshot from Downton Abbey, from guim.co.uk

Yesterday we talked about the family of the Earl of Grantham from the surprise hit show Downton Abbey. We’re continuing in a similar thread by today looking at the staff of the household. For those wondering, there will be a part III, which I’ll put off until next week to allow you time to recover; that post in question will be looking at the recurring cast of the show.

However, first, we introduced Pt.I with a mention of the creator of the show, Julian Fellowes. It seems fair, therefore to start this post by talking about Shelagh Stevenson who is one of the main writers for the show. Shelagh is likely to be a variant spelling of the name Sheila. The name Sheila herself derives from the Irish name Síle, which is the Irish form of the name Celia; follow that further and you get to Cecilia, which derives from Latin and means blind.

But now, let’s begin with the gentlemen, and the first one to mention is Charles Carson, who is played by Jim Carter. What’s interesting about both men is that their surnames have seen use as first names.

Charles is usually taken as being the English and French form of the German name Karl, which means man. On the other hand, the name Carson is likely of Irish origins, but his exact meaning remains unclear. In 2010, Charles ranked at #62 for boys in England&Wales, whilst Carson ranked at #503.

The name Jim is usually a short form of James – a name which means supplanter. The surname Carter alludes to one who uses a cart. Whilst James ranked at #10 in 2010, Jim ranked at #1620 with just 14 born; he was outranked by both Jimmy (#307) and Jimi (#942).

The actor Jim Carter is married to the rather delightful Imelda Staunton who played Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films. Imelda’s middle names are Mary, Philomena and Bernadette.

Starting at the start of her name and working through in order, we first have Imelda which is both the Spanish and Italian form of the German name Irmhilde, which is derived from the Germanic elements:

  • ermen, meaning whole
  • hilta, meaning battle
We spoke in depth about Mary yesterday, and Philomena is derived from Greek and means friend of strength or loved. As an aside, the word filomena was once used in Italian and Spanish medieval poetry whereon it took the meaning of nightingale. Finally, the name Bernadette is the French feminine form of Bernard, which can be taken to mean brave bear.
In terms of ranking, both Imelda and Philomena failed to achieve a place in the England&Wales data, thus less than 3 were born in 2010. The name Mary ranked at #213, whilst Bernadette was way down at #2235 – with just 11 of ’em born.

What’s more, together the couple have a daughter named Bessie, which is one of the many offshoots of Elizabeth, another name we discussed yesterday.

Moving on we have the character John Bates, who is played by actor Brendan Coyle. The name John means Yahweh is gracious, whilst Brendan could derive from the Welsh brenin, which means king.

We then have the character of Thomas Barrow, who is played by actor Robert James-Collier. The name Thomas is another popular choice – he currently ranks at #6 –  but no doubt many will be unaware that he means twin. Once more, we mentioned Robert yesterday – but in a nutshell the name Robert means bright fame.

The last male staff member we should mention in this post is William Mason. He is played by Thomas Howes. The name William derives from two Germanic elements:

  • vilja, meaning will
  • helm, meaning helmet
The name Mason is simply a word name, in terms of a builder, although many refer to the Freemasons as simply Masons as well.

Moving on to the female members of the staff, we start with Elsie Hughes, played by actress Phyllis Margaret Logan. The name Elsie is the second name we’ve come across in this post alone which derives as a short form of Elizabeth. The name Phyllis we very recently mentioned in a post on old people names, and if you missed it, the name means leaf/leaves/foliage. I’m pretty sure we mentioned Margaret as well in Pt.II, although I will tell you that she means pearl.

Moving slightly away from the Yorkshire home of Downton Abbey, the actress Phyllis Logan was born in Paisley which I’ve recently seen considered for/given to girls. As well as being a place name, it is also the name for a pattern which derived from the town of the same name; Paisley is closely associated with Scotland. The origins of the name Paisley likely lie in the Irish word baslec, which means church. And as for Logan, it heralds from Ireland and means hollow.

Our second female member of staff is Sarah O’Brien, who is played by Siobhan Finneran. The name Sarah is well known to mean princess in Hebrew, whilst Siobhan is the Irish Gaelic form of the name Jane/Joan, both of which derive from the name John we we’ve already mentioned above.

The actress Siobhan is married to one Mark Jordan and together they have two children: Joseph and Poppy – two more names we’ve mentioned recently, but in two different posts. Joseph came up yesterday, whilst Poppy came up last week. The meaning of Poppy is clear, and she ranks at #16. The name Joseph means he will add, and the name ranks at a pretty similar #15.

Next we have Anna Smith who is played by Joanne Froggatt. The name Anna is usually taken as being derived from Ann, whilst Ann herself is usually taken to come from Hannah – which would therefore mean that the name means grace. Joanne is a variant of Joan, mentioned above.

Still with me? Gwen Dawson is one of the household’s housemaids along with Ethel Parks. Gwen is a delightful Welsh name and female form of Gwyn – but she is often seen as a nickname for Gwendolen or even Guinevere. The name Gwyn means white, pure, blessed. Then we have Ethel, which appeared in the same post as the aforementioned Phyllis. The name Ethel derives from Old English and means noble.

As for the actresses, Gwen is played by Rose Eleanor Leslie and Ethel is played by Amy Nuttall. When it comes to the former, both her first and middle names are in the England&Wales Top 100: Rose at #90 and Eleanor at #61. The name Leslie started off life as a Scottish surname, and thus probably derives from Scottish gaelic and means garden holly. Once upon a time, the name Leslie was all-boy. It’s worth noting however that in 2010, there were only 8 girls called Lesley born – and not enough girls named Leslie for that particular spelling to rank. However, on the other side of the fence, 10 male Leslies were born in England&Wales.

One of our last characters to mention is Beryl Patmore, who is played by Lesley Nicol. The name Beryl coincides with the name of a precious gem and just 6 girls were given the name in 2010.

And last, but by no means least, we have Daisy Robinson, played by actress Sophie McShera. Both names are quite popular these days in England&Wales: Daisy ranks at #15 and Sophie ranks at #2. The name Sophie comes from Greek and means wisdom.

 

Categories: Names from the Box | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Straining Bookshelfs

The Thief Lord cover, from amazon.com

One of the best places to root around for names inspirations is books. The fictional world is where anything goes really – I once read a book named Storm’s Child where the main characters were called Rail (male) and Moa (female). Whilst I never got into Garth Nix’s main successes, I did love his book Shade’s Children – where the main characters were called Drum (male), Gold-Eye (male), Ninde (female) and Ella. Eoin Colfer once wrote a book called Supernaturalist, with characters Cosmo, Stefan and Mona. I digress, I read too much as a mid-teen and now my bookshelfs strain under the weight of all the books I own.

Since both Abby and Elea have both covered names of fictional characters this week in their own ways, I’m instead going to bring you inspiration from the names of the author’s which I read back when every waking moment of my life curled up with a book, along with the name of one of my favourite titles by them and some names from said title:

Benjamin Zephaniah (Teacher DeadJackson)

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is his full name, and I’m in awe of the mix of styles he’s been bestowed. I’ve met two young Zeph’s recently – one was a Zephyr and twin of Asher, whilst the other was a Zephaniah.TV’s Julia Bradbury welcomed a son named Zephyr earlier on this year in August.

The name Benjamin is of Hebrew origins and means son of the south/right hand, whilst Zephaniah is also of Hebrew origins and means Yahweh has hidden. For the sake of completion, Zephyr means west wind, whilst Asher means happy or blessed.

And a quick breakdown of each name’s popularity in 2010 in England&Wales:

Benjamin Zephaniah Zephyr Asher
Rank 22 1407 3332 364
Births 3005 17 5 112

Blue Balliett (Chasing VermeerPetra and Calder)

Balliett purposefully chose unusually names, believing that’s exactly what would appeal to her readers. When I initially read Chasing Vermeer about 3 years ago I didn’t like the name Petra all that much, but she’s grown on me. She’s the female form of Peter, which means rock, although the character was named with reference to the ancient city of Petra and as part of family naming tradition.

Now, for some hard data from the 2010 data for England&Wales. Blue doesn’t rank for girls (the author is female), but does for the boys:

Blue Calder Petra
Rank 1801 n/a 1472
Births 12 n/a 20

Cornelia Funke (The Thief LordProsper, Boniface ‘Bo’, Scipio, Esther and Ida)

I adore the name Prosper, and it’s from this book that my love for him was first sparked. I acknowledge that Funke’s other work, the Inkheart trilogy, is better known, but this one has a special place in my heart.

As for the name of the author, first we must note that the author is German, and then note the name is the female form of the Latin name Cornelius. The name comes from the Latin element cornu, which means horn. 4 girls were named Cornelia in 2010 in England&Wales, putting it at #4688. On the flip side, 6 lads were named Cornelius last year, and thus at a ranking of #2941. And for the names of her characters I mentioned above? (The ranking for Bo is the male ranking)

Prosper Boniface Scipio
Rank n/a n/a n/a
Birth n/a n/a n/a
Esther Ida Bo
Rank 156 878 1483
Birth 334 40 16

Cressida Cowell (How To Speak DragoneseHiccup, Fishlegs and Camicazi)

I know that I’m probably too old for Cowell’s books these days, but I am still eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Hiccup franchise next month (the film adaption of the first book dissolved me into tears-the only film to ever do so). I love the name Cressida, and she’s the medieval form of another name I love: Chryseis and also means gold. In Greek legend, Chryseis was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo. Since Hiccup and friends don’t rank, but Cressida does at #4688, with 4 births – same as Cornelia.

Enid Blyton (The Mystery of the Burnt CottageFrederick ‘Fatty’, Margaret ‘Daisy’, Lawrence ‘Larry’, Philip ‘Pip’ and Elizabeth ‘Bets’)

Enid is almost synonymous nowadays with the author, and the name comes from Welsh and means either soul or life. As an author, she chose rather classic names, all of which are not as popular nowadays as they were back when the books were first published, the one mentioned above came out in 1943:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
Rank 2104 95 355
Births 12 688 117
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
Rank 296 505 49
Births 152 80 1356

Compare the rankings of 2010 with that of 1934 when  all six names were in the Top 100:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
1934 68 24 72
2010 2104 95 355
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
1934 56 1 14
2010 296 505 49

Malorie Blackman (Noughts & CrossesPersephone ‘Sephy, Jasmine and Meggie)

The Noughts&Crosses trilogy was the one which first introduced me to the name Persephone, although I wasn’t sure of the pronunciation until I watched the television show Firefly. My copy of the first book is also signed by the author, Malorie Blackman, which I won, rather than stood in a line for.

The name Malorie is a variant spelling of Mallory, a name that comes from Norman French and means unfortunate. Rather makes me think of the CBBC show Trapped, where the contestants are known as unfortunates. Persephone’s meaning is not established, although she has been linked to Greek words which means murder or to destroy, whilst Meggie is a short form of Margaret and Jasmine is a lovely botanical name. They rank, as such:

Malorie Mallory Persephone
Rank n/a 4688 3156
Births n/a 4 7
Jasmine Meggie
Rank 41 5707
Births 1466 3

Tamora Pierce (The Magic In The WeavingSandrilene ‘Sandry’, Trisana ‘Tris’, Daja, Briar (male) and Lark)

I actually took this book out of my local library by mistake more than anything, but found myself reading it anyway. Whilst a little difficult to follow to begin with, I loved it enough to read all it’s sequels. This is the first real occasion I came across the name Briar, since I was never really shown Sleeping Beauty as a child, and I actually like it. The character himself chose the name, wanting something botanical, yet masculine. I think he achieved that, since I’ve often misread the name as Bear.

As for the name of the author, Tamora, she’s a variant spelling of the name Tamara, which is a variant of the name Tamar, which means palm tree in Hebrew. Predictably, none of the names have really made an impact in the popularity data for England&Wales (the data for Briar is the female one, since there is no male ranking):

Tamora Tamara Sandry Lark
Rank n/a 458 n/a 5707
Births n/a 90 n/a 3
Trisana Daja Briar
Rank n/a n/a 5707
Births n/a n/a 3

Tom Becker (DarksideCarnegie, Vendetta and Marianne)

I listed him because of his surname, rather than his first name. Becket is a nouveau name getting some attention right now, and I think I like Becker a tad more. He’s a German surname and variant of another surname, Becke, which means baker. The Carnegie Award is given out annually to a single children’s book which has impressed, and named after Andrew Carnegie.

Out of all the names, only Marianne ranks in the England&Wales data – at #946 with 36 uses.

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Sibset of the Week: The Lowes

Pearl Lowe with eldest daughter Daisy, from media.onsugar.com

Pearl Lowe first entered the public eye in the 1990s as a vocalist for several indie bands, before going solo as simply Pearl. She then turned her attention to design, launching a range of lace curtains and cushions in 2001. This followed in 2006 with clothes.

Clearly then, this is one mama who loves design, and she’s made some pretty stylish picks for her children as well. Like Jo Whiley from two weeks ago, she’s had them over a long period, so I’ll include birth years as well:

Daisy Rebecca (1989)

Alfie (1996)

Frankie (1999)

Betty (2005)

Back in 1996, Alfie was only #119, so had yet to make the jump into the Top 100. Right now I can’t decide whether I love Betty or Betsy more.

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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