Monday, April 25, 2011

William, Agnes, among the most common names in medieval England

A study of personal names recorded in a major English medieval record source has revealed that ‘William’ was by far the most common name among the men listed in it. Meanwhile, ‘Alice’ and ‘Matilda’ are almost tied for most common female name.

Beth Hartland, one of the Research Fellows on the AHRC-funded Henry III Fine Rolls Project at King’s College London, has compiled lists – available on the project blog – of the personal names, both male and female, which occur in the Fine Rolls between the dates 1216-1242.

Using the individuals recorded in the Fine Rolls as the sample, these lists reveal something both of the diversity of personal names in use in England in the early thirteenth-century, and the frequency of those names.

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