Posts Tagged With: Wenlock

Weekend Post: Mandeville & Wenlock

Snapped by me at UDAC, on the TV was the rowing which won us our first gold medal of Super Saturday

The names of the mascots are fascinating, and both with ties to the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Wenlock’s name is inspired by the town of Much Wenlock, who first held Olympian Games in 1850, and this is considered to have been the inspiration for Pierre du Coubertin to start up the modern Olympic movement in 1890 when he established the International Olympic Committee.

The design of Wenlock is quite thoughtful (he’s the one with the orange detail in the picture), when one analyses it. He has on his wrists 5 friendship bracelets, which each take a colour of an Olympic ring. The three points protruding at the top of his head apparently symbolise the three places on the podium, and apparently they’re also a nod to the architecture of the Olympic Stadium. The orange oval with a W in it is a nod to London Taxis.

A clearer picture of Wenlock, snapped by me in Leicester Square.

The name Wenlock most probably derives from Old English, and like Whitlock before it, the second element of the name likely means enclosure/stronghold.

The second part is interesting because Wenna is the name of an obscure 5th century Cornish saint (are there any other kinds of Cornish saints?) with the name, which is a cognate of Gwen, a name that means white, pure, blessed.

Mandeville is for a hospital called Stoke Mandeville Hospital which organised the Stoke Mandeville Games for injured soldiers, and is considered a forerunner to the Paralympic Games.

Stoke Mandeville is a town, originally known simply as Stoke or Stoc in the Doomsday Book. The addition of Mandeville came with the Norman de Mandeville family settling in the area.

Ville is a common place suffix, think Bournville, which comes from French and means town. The first part of the name likely derives from the Germanic manno, which means man.

NB: Shortly after I posted this, Mo Farah grabbed his second gold medal in the 5000m and twitter was alight with people joking that Mo should name his twin girls Wenlock&Mandeville when they arrive in the next few weeks. 

Categories: Olympics | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Name Spot of the Week: Marks&Sparks

Father Ted logo, from

Marks&Spencers have re-opened an outlet in France this week, which makes my standard M&S chocolate box gift to any French friend feel somewhat threatened. The store is also colloquially named Marks and Sparks, and was predictably founded by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer. Marks originally came from the area now known as Belarus and Spencer married a lady named Agnes. The last time I was in M&S was over the summer, when I was served as the till by a lovely lady named Hettie.

There are several models which M&S use on a regular basis for promotion; the one with my favourite name is also French. Her name? Noémie Lenoir, who has a son named Kelyan Makélélé.

I’m sure you’re all probably aware by now that the mascots for London 2012 are called Wenlock and Mandeville, but another recent sporting find of mine is that one of the leaders of the failed Qatar bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championships was called Aphrodite. Speaking of sporting events, how is this for patriotic? A guy in my littlest sister’s maths class is called Churchill.

In what a former teacher of mine called ‘webby-land’, I somehow ended up looking at Yahoo’s article on Where do the best baby names come from?. Whilst most of the comments weren’t perhaps the best examples of how to wield the English language, there were several fascinating names brought up by a few of the commenters:

  • Britannia
  • Brook-James
  • Bryn
  • Cashel
  • Christy
  • Elyon
  • Hebe
  • Kailua
  • Lilac
  • Maeve
  • Rosalind
  • Rudi
  • Sorrel
  • Talia
  • Ted

Speaking of Ted, I watched an episode of Father Ted quite by chance the other day, in which Dougal spelt his name sans g. The character of Dougal is played by a man named Ardal, who has also appeared in the comedy series My Hero, in which he was the father of Apollo ‘Ollie’ and Cassandra ‘Cassie’. The name of some of the backing characters from the Father Ted series are notable, however:

  • Assumpta
  • Concepta
  • Cyril
  • Danita
  • Fintan
  • Imelda
  • Ned
  • Noel
  • Polly
  • Romeo

Another religion-based sitcom in the UK is called Vicar of Dibley, for which script contributions were made by a man named Kit Hesketh-Harvey – but Kit is short for Christopher. The lead character in Vicar of Dibley is a female vicar called Geraldine.

Categories: Name Spot of the Wek | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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