Unusual But Meaningful Female Anglo Saxon Names

Unusual But Meaningful Female Anglo Saxon Names –

Why create a list of female Anglo Saxon names? Great Britain has a long and wondrous history, full of conquest, separatists, nationalists, and even colonization and occupation. It can be challenging to determine exactly who populated the British Isles first.

There is some evidence and argument that there are people who are indigenous to the isles. Despite the indigenous peoples, the history of Great Britain is full of invasion, conquest, and colonization. Before the Roman invasion and conquest of England, there were older “Celtic” tribes and communities spread around the British Isles, including the Celts, Gaelic people, the Welsh, and others.

The ancient communities of Britannia had established trade routes with the Romans sometime around fifty years BCE. Back in those days, these people were known collectively as Britons or Bretons. This would include the Welsh, Irish, Scottish, and other communities and tribes.

The Celtic people were named from the ancient Greek word Keltoi meaning savages, largely due to their warring nature with outsiders. The name itself would not be “gifted” to the Celts until some time later.

In 43 BCE, under the command of Emperor Claudius, the Roman Invasion of Britannia would begin. This would be the first of three very meaningful cultural and linguistic conquests of the British Isles. It would be followed after the retreat of the Romans by the Anglo Saxons in the Middle Ages.

During the Anglo-Saxon occupation, the language would evolve into Middle English due to the linguistic evolution occurring because of the Anglo Saxon conquest. It would not be until the Norman Conquest of 1066 that the next major linguistic evolution would occur.

At this time, the forced introduction or linguistic conquest of the Norman French, would merge into what would become Olde English. But that is a history reserved for other articles.

Who Were The Anglo-Saxons

Oddly perhaps, though maybe unsurprising in some ways, the Vikings were largely responsible for both the second and third major conquests of Britannia. Duke Rollo, portrayed inaccurately as the brother of Ragnar Lothbrok in the History Channel series Vikings, would take over what is now Normandy.

His grandson Duke William of Normandy, would lead the last great conquest of Britannia in 1066. In between, the Anglo-Saxon people from the Northern parts of Germany and other areas of Scandinavia would take over as the Romans retreated.

The modern word English comes from the original Angles or Anglo people. (Old English: Ængle, Engle; Latin: Angli) The Angles were a Germanic people who would begin immigrating even during the Roman occupation. After the time of the Romans the Angles would begin forming larger communities, often in cooperation with their neighbors from the North, the Saxons.

Like the Angles, the Saxons would also begin peacefully immigrating even during the time of the ancient times, or the days leading up to the “Dark Ages” or early Middle Ages according to some modern scholars. Together, the Anglo-Saxons would begin building up the regions of what is now England. Collectively, the Anglo-Saxons would create five unique and independent kingdoms, each effectively functioning as an independent nation.

East Anglia, Kent, Mercia, Northumbria, and Wessex were the kingdoms, and the Anglo-Saxon invasion would continue from somewhere around 450 CE until 1066 when Duke William of Normandy would lead a successful invasion, becoming known first as William the Conqueror, and then as King William I.

The primary reason the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England was so successful, was because many of the “invaders” or “occupiers” had already been fighting throughout Britannia as part of the now collapsing Roman Empire. They merely took advantage of the events, and effectively united Britain.

The Origins Of Olde English Female Anglo-Saxon Names

During the Dark Ages, or the Anglo-Saxon occupation, the majority of people would only have first names. The Gaelic, Welsh, Irish, and other communities had their own idiosyncrasies for names, often indicating family lineage in the Roman Latin tradition.

The Celts, Picts, and Gaelic people would commonly use names reflecting parentage. Mac, O’ or Ua, and Mhic were commonly used prefixes to indicate the son of someone in particular. These names would ultimately be extended into clans among the more prevalent leaders in the North.

In Britain proper, and the five Kingdoms, the use of the first names would generally be sufficient for most commoners. When William I introduced government record-keeping and the Domesday Tomes, he would demand last names or surnames in order to differentiate between the commoners.

Thus, it would not become common practice to have surnames until the introduction of the age of Middle English and the Norman French. For better or for worse however, these days you will ultimately need to give your children both a first and a last name, and likely will give them a middle name as well.

Given the Germanic and Danish influence on the female Anglo Saxon names, there are many names that may also appear in other lists of names on BabyNamesPedia. These female Anglo-Saxon names will be duly marked where possible to give you even more ideas for the perfect name for a baby girl.

BabyNamesPedia hopes to continue its tradition of offering you many unique and meaningful baby names that you may not otherwise have encountered. While there remain plenty of more common names within the BabyNamesPedia database of baby names, the hope is to give you something new and exciting to consider for decisions that will quite literally last a lifetime.

20 Unusual But Meaningful Female Anglo Saxon Names

Aelfwyne – The elves play a part in ancient Norse and German mythology. This female Anglo-Saxon name means someone who is a friend of the elves. The elves were often considered responsible for the good and bad as would happen in life. The disposition of the person with this name may depend on whether they were friends with the Dark Elves or the Light Elves from the ancient Mythologies.

Aethelfled – This name may also be spelled Aethelflaed in the Anglo Saxon Olde English names for girls and means someone who is born of nobility and is exceptionally beautiful in the physical sense. The modern English name for girls Ethel is an abbreviated and anglicized version of this name.

Balthild – This name likely comes from the Danish and Nordic influence on the female Anglo-Saxon names as it means literally a bright battle. In the Germanic traditions there may have been such a thing, but in Ancient Danish, Scandinavian, and Viking mythologies, the term refers to a specific god wielding a flaming sword.

Bronwyn – This is the modern version of the original name Beornwyn and means someone with raven-black hair or who may otherwise be considered to be a dark beauty or dark-haired beauty. Over the course of the years the name has been most prominently used in Wales as a Welsh name for baby girls, though it can still be found across the United Kingdom in rarer form.

Cwenburh – This name is also included in the list of babygirl names that mean queen or are otherwise related to royalty. The name literally translates as the fortress of the queen or battlements in some cases in the old world. The castles as they are currently known did not becoming frequent until the latter part of the eleventh century.

Eadaion – This is one of many female Anglo-Saxon names that begins with Ae or Ea, as both were common in the German and Danish languages of the time. The name means someone who is a loyal friend. The baby girl’s name Eadan or the modern English name Eden are both variants of this ancient name from Olde English.

Eadgifu – This Anglo Saxon name means very simply, a wealthy gift. It may be an exceptionally meaningful name, especially for anyone who may have encountered challenges in conceiving their child. At the time of its origins, it may have had a more direct relation to the customs and traditions among the Anglo Saxon people of the day.

Eadignes – This entry is an exceptionally beautiful and meaningful name for females and means someone who is blissful or at peace with themselves. The name may also imply someone who is able to retain their calm even under immense pressure.

Eadlin – This entry into the best female Anglo Saxon names means someone who is born into royalty. The name remains fairly uncommon even across the modern United Kingdom. Despite this, it is an excellent choice and maybe even the perfect name for any newborn princess and daddy’s girl.

Edilberga – This pick for the best female Anglo Saxon names was originally spelled as Oedilburga and means someone who is a noble protector of others. While the female warriors were not as common among the Anglo Saxons, including the Danish, as they were with their brethren from the North or Norse, they did exist. Mind, the maternal instinct and the very act of maternity also indicate an equally strong desire to protect and to nurture.

Elfreda – This name may have also been commonly spelled as Elfleda in the Old English language names for girls. The name literally translates as the strength of an elf, though it may have different connotations depending on the role of the namesake in society. This could indicate a woman who was especially strong, and capable even in battle. It may also have reflected someone who was seen to possess extraordinary spiritual gifts or insight.

Godgifu – Even if you do not immediately recognize the name, you probably already know the story behind this historical figure. The wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, is more well known in the modern English as Lady Godiva, the modern variant of this Anglo-Saxon name for girls.

Leoarrie – Given the number of the Anglo Saxons who had served in the Roman legions, it should not be surprising that the Roman Latin was a part of their lexicon. The lion has long been an icon of strength and ability, and the root Latin for lion is part of many of the more popular female Anglo Saxon names. This one means a woman who is brave and hardy like a lion.

Leocricia – Just as the lion is king of the jungle, this female Anglo Saxon name means one who judges her village well. Ideally she would not be a king, but that should say nothing as to her capacity to rule. After all, who could forget Boudicca and the ancient Romans and the troubles they had breaking her reign?

Leopoldine – The boy’s name Leopold has been popularized by the Royal Bonaparte family as well as King Leopold II of Belgium. The name Leopoldine is a variant of the same name for females and means someone who is of a bold and fearless people.

Milburga – This name was originally used as an indicator of the origins of a woman and means a pleasant city. It was common during the height of the Roman empire for soldiers or legionnaires and commoners alike to use their location of origin in place of a surname. The more elite Roman citizens conversely, would often have numerous surnames to indicate their status or rank in society, even if not formally.

Osyth – In the modern Romance languages, most notably as a Spanish name for babygirls this is a rare but meaningful name. The name itself is derived from the Roman Latin and among the Anglo Saxons when the name remained popular, was spelled Osgyth. The name itself means one who is possessed with a divine strength, strong in moral character and willing to back it up physically if necessary.

Tate – If you were looking for a more simple variant of the female Anglo Saxon names this may be the best name on the list, or at least the easiest. The name was likely introduced from the Danish side of the Anglo-Saxon colonizers. The name is a derivative of the Scandinavian or Old Norse word teitr which means someone who is bright and cheerful and always happy.

Winne – In the modern age this is primarily used in the list of Celtic names for girls but it originated from the linguistic contributions of the Germanic members during the Anglo-Saxon settlement of England. The name literally meant the ability to create peace and to inspire reconciliation whether between individuals or factions.

Wulfilde – We close out the list of the best female Anglo Saxon names with some fighting words. This name for girls from the old German language means someone who fights with the wolves. It is also included in the BabyNamesPedia list of girls names related to swords and fighting.