This contains references for English-language names and English armory. Books on names in languages other than English spoken in England (such as Cornish and Manx) are in the Other Celtic Cultures section. There are separate entries for Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Names in Old English can be found in the entry for Old English/Old Germanic Names.


Ackerman, Robert W. An Index of Arthurian Names in Middle English. AMS Press: New York, 1867.

An index of Middle English names of people, places, giants, and things. Some of it is useful, but it needs care in using. Recommended for the completist only. (JA)

Barber, Rev. Henry. British Family Names. Elliot Stock: London, 1903.

Alphabetical listings of both first names and surnames used in Britain from Scandinavian, Frisian, Anglo-Saxon and Norman sources. While not every name included here is from our period, most are. This book is not as useful as many of the other books available. Still, if this is what you have access to, do not hesitate to use it. Recommended if nothing better (such as Reaney's Dictionary of British Surnames) is available. (JA)

Bardsley, Charles, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1980.

Not as thorough as Reaney's dictinoary (see below), but still an excellent reference, which includes many dated references. Mistress Andreanna Innes has compiled an index to given names appearing in this book, which is for sale. She can be contacted at Kim Anne Innes, USACCE Box 49, APO, NY 09710. This useful book lists names by categories instead of alphabetically. It does have a complete index in the back. The only problem with it is that not all names are dated, although many are. Not as useful as Reaney's Dictionary of British Surnames, but still useful. Recommended. (AN)

Cameron, Kenneth. English Place Names. B.T. Batsford, Ltd: London, 1961.

An excellent book, which contains dates, for anyone wanting an English locative name. Recommended. (JA)

Carlsson, Stig. Studies on Middle English Local Bynames in East Anglia. Lund Studies in English #79, Lund University Press: Sweden, 1989.

Most of what can be found in this book can be found elsewhere. However, for anyone interested in onomastics, this book can be a lot of fun. Of limited use to most SCA heralds, but recommended. (JA)

Dolan, J.R. English Ancestral Names. Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.: New York, 1972.

This book groups last names by occupation. For instance, under the heading "Spinners" the names Spinester, Spinster, Spinner, Spynner, Twiner & Winder are listed. There are 189 different categories of occupational surnames. The only problem with this book is that no dates are given. However, a name could be selected from this book, and then dated through Reaney's Dictionary of British Surnames. Recommended. (JA)

Ekwall, Eilert. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1989.

The most comprehensive and authoritative book on the etymology of English place names. Contains many early forms. Highly recommended. (JA)

Ekwall, Eilert. Early London Personal Names. Lund: 1947.

A survey of names used in London for about two centuries after the conquest. Most names contained in this book can be found elsewhere. It is extremely authoritative, and useful for people who want to learn more about British onomastics. (JA)

Ewen, C. L'Estrange. A History of Surnames of the British Isles. Kegan Paul, Trench: London, 1931.

Since this is a history and not a dictionary, it is not as useful as other books on this list for people looking to find a name list or information on a specific name. However, there is a lot of useful information available in this book. Recommended. (JA)

Forssner, Thorvald, Continental-Germanic Personal Names in England in Old and Middle English Times, K.W. Appelbergs Boktryckeri, Uppsala, 1916.

A wonderful work, being a dictionary of Germanic names, including ample citations, and every form the author could lay his hands on. Everything in it is a period name, and because Germanic names are found in French, Italian, and Spanish, it is a remarkably versatile source for unusual period names. (AN)

Fransson, Gustav. Middle English Surnames of Occupation 1100-1350. Lund.

The title tells it all. (JA)

Hitching, F.K. & S. References to English Surnames 1601.

A listing of English surnames dated from the year 1601 in English records. There have been occasions when this was the only source to document a variant spelling. Recommended if nothing better is available. (JA)

Hutson, Arthur. British Personal Names in the Historia Regum Britanniae. University of California: Berkeley, 1940.

A discussion of names used in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae. Very interesting, but there are many other books around that discuss these names and others. Of limited use. (JA)

Jànsjà, Jan. Middle English Nicknames: I. Compounds. Lund Studies in English 55: Sweden, 1979.

While this book is esoteric, and not needed in most situations, it can be a lot of fun for anyone interested in onomastics. Recommended and a lot of fun. (AN)

Kinney, Arthur F. Titled Elizabethans. Archon Books, 1973.

Names and information about a number of titled Elizabethans, who are by definition all in our period. Recommended for the completist only. (JA)

Kristensson, Gillis. Studies on Middle English Topographical Terms. Lund, 1970.

A book on Middle English place names and place name elements. Recommended. (JA)

Làfvenberg, Mattias T. Studies on Middle English Local Surnames. Kraus Reprint: Nedeln/Liechtenstein, 1968.

An interesting study on Middle English local surnames. Good explanations as to how they are formed as well as dated references. Recommended. (JA)

Matthews, C.M. English Surnames. Charles Scribner's Sons: New York, 1967.

The names in this book are grouped by classification, not alphabetically. There is an index in the back. While exact dates are not always given, when and how they were used is. If you cannot get Reaney's A Dictionary of British Surnames, this book is a good one to have. Recommended. (JA)

Reaney & Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames, Oxford University Press, 1995.

Reaney, P.H., A Dictionary of British Surnames, 2nd ed., Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976.

Two editions of the best English surname dictionary, and probably the best dictionary anywhere--SCA heralds should make this one of their first purchases. It contains only names used in England, but this includes a number of British and French names as well. Every reference and spelling variant is dated. The introduction is a good quick explanation of surname formation that can be applied to any language. (AF)

--, The Origin of English Place Names, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.

--, The Origin of English Surnames, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

This pair of books are thorough essays on the formation of surnames and place names in England. Most examples cited can be found in the Dictionary (above), but these works discuss the how and why. Many names which cannot be explicitly documented can be justified by reference to Reaney's discussions. (AN)

Room, Adrian. Dictionary of Place-Names in the British Isles. Bloomsbury: London, 1988.

A good book with variant spellings and dates. While Ekwall or Smith is better, this is not a bad book, and it is in print in paperback (as of Spring 1994). Recommended. (JA)

Smith, A.H. English Place-Name Elements (Volumes I & II). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1956

. A fascinating book on how English place names are formed. Recommended only for specialists. (JA)

Stokes, H. G. English Place Names. B. T. Batsford, Ltd.: New York, 1948.

An excellent book, which contains dates, for anyone wanting an English locative name. Recommended. (JA)

Thuresson, Bertil. Middle English Occupational Terms. Lund: Sweden, 1968.

Most of the names found in this book can be found elsewhere. However, this book is a lot of fun for anyone interested in onomastics. (JA)

Withycombe, E.G., The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press.

The Bible of SCA naming. Despite the title, it includes many names which are neither English nor Christian. This work is the first place to look to document any name. Every member of the College of Arms owns it, and it is often available in bookstores. They can certainly order it for you. Virtually every library has a copy. Each entry gives dated citations, variant forms, and origins of the name. The introduction is a fine discussion of the development of given names in England. Mistress Andreanna Innes has compiled an index to given names appearing in this book, which is for sale. She can be contacted at Kim Anne Innes, USACCE Box 49, APO, NY 09710. (AN)


Fellows Jensen, Gillian. Scandinavian Personal Names in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Copenhagen, 1968.

-- Scandinavian Settlement Names in Yorkshire. Copenhagen, 1972.

Interesting books on place names from a limited subsection of the Middle Ages. (JA)

Kneen, J.J. Personal Names from the Isle of Man. Oxford University Press: London, 1937.

An excellent book, complete with dates, for both given names and surnames. Of course, not many people want a name from the Isle of Man, but it contains many names that are just considered "English". Recommended. (JA)

McKinley, Richard. Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames in the Middle Ages. Phillimore: London, 1975.

-- The Surnames of Lancaster. Leopard's Head Press, Ltd.: London, 1981.

-- The Surnames of Oxfordshire. Leopard's Head Press, Ltd.: London, 1977.

-- The Surnames of Sussex. Leopard's Head Press, Ltd.: London, 1988.

An excellent collection of books about the evolution and use of individual and hereditary surnames surnames in various English counties. These are not likely to be sources for names that can't be found elsewhere, but they're useful for someone looking for a local name and those who are interested in onomastic history. (AF)

Quilliam, Leslie. Surnames of the Manks. Cashtal Books: Isle of Man, 1989.

A book on Manx names, with dates and variant spellings. Very little is unique to this book; most names can be found in other books of British Isles names. Still, it can be useful for someone who wants an actual Manx name. Recommended. (JA)

Selten, Bo. The Anglo-Saxon Heritage in Middle English Personal Names, Volumes 1 & 2. Royal Society of Letters at Lund: Sweden, 1979.

This two volume work deals with names in East Anglia from 1100-1399. The first volume is a general work on naming practices and name elements. The second volume is a listing of names, complete with dates. Recommended. (JA)


Humphrey-Smith, Cecil R., Anglo-Norman Armory Two, Canterbury: Institute for Heraldic and Geneaological Studies, 1984.

An ordinary of arms from medieval English rolls of arms. Most of this armory appears in Papworth. This reference is useful in that everything in it is medieval, but it is not a critical edition: It was based on a single copy of eaach roll, and textual errors have not been detected or noted.

Papworth, John W., Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials, reprinted by Five Barrows Ltd., 1977.

An ordinary of arms registered with the English College of Arms, found on some rolls of arms, recorded from monuments, etc. It is the standard source for conflict checking in the SCA, but it should be kept in mind that most of the arms listed are post-medieval, and many are incorrectly recorded. Near the front of the book is a table of rolls of arms consulted, each of which is identified by a capital letter. Entries marked with a capital letter were taken from one of these rolls, and can be assumed to be medieval. Some entries are dated.

Brault, Gerard J., Eight Thirteenth-Century Rolls of Arms in French and Anglo-Norman Blazon, University Park, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1973.

A critical edition of eight text rolls of arms.

De Walden, Howard, Some Feudal Lords and Their Seals, Clifton, Bristol: Crecy Books, 1984.

A treatise on the barons letter to Pope Boniface of 1301. It includes a fascimiles of the letter, photographs and drawings of seals, and a discussion of the lords and their seals by Joseph Foster. Originally published 1903.

Fetherston, John, ed., The Visitation of the County of Cumberland in the Year 1615, London: The Harleian Society, 1872.

A curiosity. The information in this book is mostly genealogical, but it includes the original tricked sketches made by Richard St. George, Norroy King of Arms, during his visitation. The editor has provide family trees, emblazons and blazons, full achievements, etc.

Foster, Joseph, The Dictionary of Heraldry, New York: Arch Cape Press, 1989.

The single best book available for SCA members trying to design arms. I have referred to this book as "the one book consulting table." This is a re-print, originally published as Some Feudal Coats of Arms in 1902. Its new name is deceptive; it is an armorial of medieval armory, from rolls of arms, heavily illustrated in color. Some caveats: Not every piece of armory in the book is medieval, but most are. The illustrations are apparently facsimiles from the original rolls of arms, but there are numerous errors in tincturing. However, every illustration is blazoned, usually on the same page. Many other illustrations of heraldic tomb brasses, seals, stained glass, etc. Most highly recommend.

Humphery-Smith, Cecil R., Anglo-Norman Armory, Canterbury: Family History, 1973.

Discusses origins of armory, and contains a black-and-white facsimile of The Herald's Roll, an English roll of arms, blazoned, indexed, and analyzed by the author.

Williams, Geoffrey, The Heraldry of the Cinque Ports, Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1971.

An examination of the history of the heraldry of the Cinque Ports, which presents an interesting counterpoint to the normal examination from the point-of-view of the nobility. Some useful illustrations.

This page maintained by Jim Trigg (known in the SCA as Blaise de Cormeilles), blaise@s-gabriel.org