Medieval Girls that Rock Today!

There are girls names that have been used since medieval times yet still sound pretty and feel usable even today. here’s a small sampling of the ones I like enough to put somewhere on *my* lists:

Cecily – is my #1 name atm.
Matilda – prefer the Swedish (and English) variant Mathilda. It just looks better to me.
Alice – was what my Mom wanted to name me.
Clotilde – so light, clo-TEELD. Lovely sound!
Elvira – I say El-veer-ah. Doesn’t that sound prettier?
Agnes – I love Agnes. I think she’s so soft & sweet.
Agatha – Another love. She’s a bit stern looking but her sound is lovely.
Elinor – She figures in a lot of working combos because his favorite girl cousin is an Elinor.
Amabel –  Softer than Mabel yet just as sweet.
Anne – I love simple Anne enough to have used it, it’s Josie’s second middle.
Annora – I just love looking at her. There’s something so peaceful about Annora.
Beatrice/Beatrix – Beatrix is a favorite. I like Bea, really, but I am far happier with Beatrix and her possible Trixie.  Old Trixie Belden fan here.  Beatrix is my #3 name.
Clara/Clarice (Funnily, I’m not as fond of Claire) – Clarice has been a favorite since I was 4. She’s Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’s girlfriend!  *sigh*
Edith – Rounds out my top 10. I love her starched crisp feel.
Euphemia – number 9. I love her look, so strong, so capable but her sound is fluffy cake.
Mirabel – she means “wonderful, for Latin mirabilis. And she reminds me of plums.
Philomena – I just like her look.
Florence – was my mother’s second oldest sister. (Josephine, Florence, Helen, Valeria/Violet & Francesca/Frances they were). I’m fond of her sound but must admit, F is not my favorite letter.
Helen – I like the simple, serene Helen best of all the related names.
Sibyll – although I’d spell it the “modern” way: Sibyl
Ida/Idamay – just fun to say!
Isolde  – How do YOU say this? I say ee-SOL-də.
Jemma – She’s on my lists as a possible nickname for Jemima, along with Mimi.
Thomasina – I’m a sucker for femininsed boys names.
Kateline/Katherine/Katerina/Kathrine – I like quite a few Kath- names.
Lettice/Leticia/Letitia – I’ve love Lettice a long time. I used to name my baby dolls Lettice before I blew their heads off with firecrackers. I think I’m gonna have to name the next cat Lettice!
Lucia/Lucy – Lucy was the alternate “Mom” choice for me. Lucia gives me fits over pronunciation but I still think she looks pretty!
Margaret/Margery – I adore Margery but feel she’s a bit nicknamey. Margaret’s a bit too stern even for me… but Margery works as a nickname possibility that may last until adulthood.
Marion –  Makes me associate with Maid Marian. the two spelling seem interchangeable now but Marion was a G. Aunt of his and remains the preferred spelling for me. 
 Maud/Maude –  Maud is my #4 name. I love her look and her soft sound. Maude makes me think of Bea Arthur. 


So, what medieval names do you think would still work today? Which of those would you use or like to see used? I’d love to hear!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Emmy Jo
    Dec 09, 2008 @ 20:25:38

    Medieval names are awesome! I have a lot of these on my list as well. The ones I’d really consider for a daughter are Clara, Cecily, Marion, Katherine, and Margaret. I also like Lucy, Helen, Johanna, Isolde (pronounced the same as you), Mirabel, Elinor, Amalia, Matilda, Amabel, and Beatrice.

    Two medieval names I love that are not on your list are Rosamund and Rowena. I really want to pronounce the latter as ro-WEN-uh, though all the name websites say it should be ro-WEEN-uh. Do you think I could get away with ro-WEN-uh? (My husband and I fell in love while reading Ivanhoe together.)


  2. Lola
    Dec 09, 2008 @ 23:23:12

    Aww, no, I have them but not on the Medieval lists, they’re on the collected favorites. I sometimes remember Rowena is but always remember Rosamund. Fair Rosamund gets my sympathy and the story is the reason I won’t use the Eleanor spelling if I end up using it. I just forgot to copy them over. Cat talked about Rose names awhile ago on her blog and I mentioned my like for her there, I’m fairly certain.

    I think you could try to push it. It does make sense of you look at Rowena as a feminising attempt on Rowan but it bothers me. ro-EEN-ah doesn’t bother me in the slightest, pronunciation wise and would cause her less trouble than “no, row-WEN-ah” (which may also make some people say rowen-ah, like helen-ah). It sounds attractive but I wouldn’t try, myself. Seems too much trouble, you know?


  3. Katharine
    Dec 10, 2008 @ 13:52:11

    Great list Lola, Alice, Agnes, Beatrice and Florence are all favourites of mine and I rather like the idea of Cecily, Loveday, Amalia, Philomena and Maude too. The only one I really can’t appreciate is Clothilde, its to do with the sound I think! 🙂 I have no idea how you pronouce Isolde, alhtough I like the way it looks – I-SOL-da?


    • Lola
      Dec 10, 2008 @ 15:29:26

      I say ee-SOL-dah but have no clue if that’s correct or not. Upon checking, BtN says i-ZOL-də , I heartily dislike that initial I sound. No one’s ever told me ee-SOL-dah was wrong, though so I’m going to continue saying Isolde that way!

      Aww, I like Clotilde. clo-TEELD, very similar to Mathilde. Well, I know she’s not to everyone’s taste, just leave her for me, then. 🙂


  4. eliza claire photography
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 11:27:58

    My daughter is Ysella (ee-ZELL-ah) which is old Cornish, meaning unpretentious.
    I also love the name Miranda – not sure if it’s medieval but certainly pre-Shakespearian.


    • Lola
      Jan 27, 2009 @ 12:20:30

      Ysella’s lovely! 🙂 Miranda is one I always though was invented by Shakespeare. BtN backs me up there. If that’s wrong, I’d like to know.


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