Looking for an authentic name for your new persona, or perhaps for a character from another ethnic group? To help you we've put together a large (but not exhaustive) list of names from the period. We have Saxon (Ænglisc), Viking (Norse), Norman and Welsh names for you to choose from.
Saxons only had given names. If someone wanted to distinguish between two people with the same name they would add the person's occupation, home village or, for married women, the husband's name. For example 'Wulfstan the Smith', as opposed to 'Wulfstan of Brycgstow' or 'Æthelburg, Wulfstan's wife'. After the time of Cnut some Saxons adopted the Danish system of using their father's name with a '-son' suffix.
Many Saxon names are actually compound words made from two common elements. Some of these are only used by one gender, others are unisex. The following list gives first and second elements for both sexes so you can 'custom build' your own authentic name. Female examples are here.Male Saxon Name Elements First Element
as in Mode
'a' as in 'hat'
'a' as in 'father'
before 'e' or 'i' pronounced 'ch', otherwise pronounced 'k'
before 'e' or 'i' at beginning of word pronounced as a 'y', between vowels pronounced as a 'w', otherwise pronounced like modern 'g'
initial 'ge' is usually voiceless
'z' in middle of word, 's' at beginning or end of word
'v' in middle of word, 'f' at beginning or end of word
at beginning of word, as 'h' in hound, otherwise like 'ch/sh'
Vikings had only given names. Their "last name" was usually their father's name plus 'sson' for a man or 'dotter' for a woman. If the person's mother was a prominent widow, her children might be known by her name instead plus 'rson' for a man or 'dotter' for a woman. Often families altemated the name of the eldest so that Arn Gunnarsson might be the father and son of Gunnar Arnsson and the grandfather and grandson of Arn Gunnarsson.Nicknames
Giving a nickname was like naming a newborn baby; it created a special tie between the name-giver and the name-taker. The newly named person could claim a gift from the name-giver, either a present or a favour, even if the name was derogatory.
Nicknames sometimes went by contraries: a man with swarthy skin might be called 'the fair'; an unusually tall man might be nicknamed 'the short'.
Few Viking women had nicknames; most described the woman's wisdom, beauty, wealth or speech habits.Male Viking Names
This is just a small selection to give you an idea of the sort of nicknames given.
Wise, Fox, Fool, Grey Cloak, Hairy Britches, Flat Nose, Hog-head, Broad-paunch, Short, Stout, Fair, Dark, Halftroll, Forkbeard, Hairy-cheek, Bald, Beardless, Tangle-hair, Trout, Seal, Blood-axe, War Tooth, Long Reach, Iron Sword, Skull-splitter, Hot-head, Trunk-back, Ironside, Anvil-head, Fearless, Gold bearer, Ring Giver, Grim, Silent, Smooth-tongued, Word-master, Adder-tongue, Braggart, Crow, Eagle, Healer, Trollwise, Strong-minded, Deep-minded, Boneless.
We have fewer Norman names but we do have a handful of both male and Female ones.Male Names
Fortunately those peoples living in the principality we now call Wales liked writing almost as much as the Saxons and we have a number of Welsh names.Male Names