Cornish (and Other) Personal Names from the 10th Century Bodmin Manumissions

by Heather Rose Jones
(Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn,

© 1999, 2001 by Heather Rose Jones; all rights reserved.

The Names: Given Names

Old English (and other Germanic) Names

There are a total of 144 names identifiable as of Old English or other Germanic origin. I include here a few that are probably actually of Norse origin, but would have entered the region with the same population. Also included are names that appear to be from continental Germanic, rather than Old English.

These names are fairly easy to identify as to gender, even when none is clearly mentioned in the text itself, due to the amount of comparative material available, and the association of particular name elemnents or grammatical endings with a specific gender. For this reason, I have only mentioned the evidence for gender when the form of the name makes it questionable. The names fall into two general classes: those composed on a "dithematic" pattern, and "uncompounded" names. The first type is composed by a "one from column A, one from column B" formula from a set of possible first elements (protothemes) and possible second elements (deuterothemes). The deuterothemes are normally specific to a particular gender. The uncompounded names are usually based on a prototheme (often with the last consonant doubled), with some sort of vowel suffixed. The type of vowel usually identifies the gender of the name fairly clearly.

The names are listed under a standardized form, after which I give the actually spellings that occur in the documents (with codes for the language of the entry and for what role the bearer had) and the entry numbers in which that spelling occured. Keep in mind that, particularly in the case of the witnesses, the same person may be occur multiple times. For this reason, I haven't done an analysis of the relative frequency of the names. For reference I have noted the page in Searle where the name can be found.

Old English and other Germanic Masculine Names

Ælfgar (Searle p.7ff) m.
    Ælger (E 281 witness)
Ælfnoþ (Searle p.14f) m.
Ælfnoð (L 389 witness)
Ælfric (Searle p.16ff) m.
Ælfric (E 232 owner)
Ælfsige (Searle p.19f) m.
Æilsige (E 193 witness)
Æilsig (E 189, 202 owner, witness)
Ælfsie (L 38, 49, 248, 386 owner, witness)
Ælfweald (Searle p.24f) m.
Ælwold (E 279 owner)
Ælfweard (Searle p.25f) m.
Ælfwerd (L 140 witness)
Elwerdus (L 221 witness)
Ælfwine (Searle p.27ff) m.
Ælfwines (genitive) (E 232, 235 owner, witness)
Æþelbeorht (Searle p.34f) m.
Aþalberþ (L 112 witness)
Adaberd (L 128 witness)
Æþelgeard (Searle p.38) m.
The various transcribers have different levels of confidence as to the transcription.
    Æðelgeard (E 172 owner)
Æþelræd (Searle p.46ff) m.
Æþelræd (L 101 owner)
Æþelstan (Searle p.51ff) m.
Æþælstan (L 136 witness) -- two of the transcribers have omitted the "l".
Æþelweard (Searle p.56ff) m.
Æþelwærd (L 148 owner) -- Thorpe reads the "e" as"æ" instead.
Æþelwerd (L 102 witness)
Æþelwine (Searle p.58ff) m.
Æþælwine (L 141 witness)
Adalgisus? (Morlet vol. I p.16) m.
I cannot identify this name as Old English, however some of the continental forms of Adalgisus are similar in appearance (e.g. Adalcis).
    Adelces (L 175 witness)
Beorhthelm (Searle p.89f) m.
Byrchtylym (L 271 slave)
Beorhtlaf (Searle p.91) m.
Beorlaf (E 206 witness)
Beorhtsige (Searle p.94f) m.
Byrehtsige (L 166 witness)
Byrhisiys [genitive] (E 55 witness)
Byrhsiys [genitive] (E 371 witness)
Byrhsie (L, E 18, 52, 76, 90, 322 owner, witness)
Byrhsige (L, E 32, 362 witness)
Byrhtsie (L 42, 253, 390 witness)
Bryhsige (L 147 witness)
Beorhtstan (Searle p.95) m.
Byhstan (E 53 slave)
Beorhtweald (Searle p.95ff) m.
Buruhwold (L 149 witness)
Boia (Searle p.110) m.
Boia (E, L 131, 145, 212, 234, 265 witness)
Brun (Searle p.117) m.
Brun (L 125 owner)
Budda (Searle p.119) m.
Budda (L 5, 113, 130 witness)
Coenhelm (Searle p.139) m.
Kynilm (E 205 witness)
Kinilm (E 245 witness)
Cynsige (Searle p.157) m.
Cynsie (E 60 witness)
Derling? (Searle p.165) m.
Dirling (E 207 witness)
Dolo (Searle p.168) m?
Searle lists Dola and the vowel alternation is found in other uncompounded names.
    Dolo (L 2 slave)
Dunstan (Searle p.173) m.
Dunstan (L 138 witness)
Eadgar (Searle p.178) m.
Eadgar (L 162 owner)
Eadmund (Searle p.183f) m.
Eadmund (L 68 owner)
Eadmunt (L 63 owner)
Eadred (Searle p.185f) m.
Eadryde (E 171 owner)
Eadric (Searle p.186ff) m.
Edricus (L 219 witness) -- Two transcriptions have Eadricus.
Eadsige (Searle p.188) m.
Eadsige (L 143 witness)
Ealdred (Searle p.198ff) m.
Ealdred (L 142 witness)
Ealhhun? (Searle p.204) m?
Searle has a citation of Alchun under this heading. I can find nothing more similar.
    Æulcen (L 346 ?)
Ælchon (L 338 ?)
Ealhwine (Searle p.207) m.
At a later date, these forms might represent an original Ælfwine or Æþelwine, but at this period it seems unlikely.
    Elwinus (L 220 witness)
Elwine (L 218 witness)
Goda (Searle p.260) m.
Goda (L 139 witness)
Godric (Searle p.263) m.
Godric (E 239, 246, 282 witness)
Godricus (L 217 witness)
Gedricus (L 213 witness)
Huna (Searle p.305) m.
Húna (L 1 slave)
Irmen (Searle p.320) m.
Searle has examples of this as a prototheme, but not as an uncompounded name. In the book of Llandav, there is a reference to Ermint & Catharuc filios Cremic, but the cultural context of these three names in not obvious.
    Ermen (L 118, 312 owner)
Leof (Searle p.326) m
Searle does list this, but has even more examples of Leofa. It may also be a short form of the following, given that they share the same occupational byname and are both witnesses.
    Leof (L 395 witness)
Leofric (Searle p.330f) m.
Leofric (L 4, 126 witness)
Leofstan (Searle p.332) m.
Leofstan (L 17 slave)
Lucco (Searle p.340) m.
What Searle lists is Luca, but this would be a regular masculine formation from the same stem.
    Lucco (L 351 ?)
Maccos (Searle p.344) m.
What Searle lists are Macco, Macca, Maccus, and Macus. It seems most likely that the name here is related to, if not a variant of, one of these.
    Maccos (E 203 witness)
Maccosse (E 194 witness)
Maccosi [genitive] (L 211 owner)
Ordgar (Searle p.367f) m.
Ordgar (L 95 owner)
Ordulf (Searle p.369f) m.
Ordulf (L 48, 125 owner)
Osfrith (Searle p.373) m.
Searle's citations include the spellings Osferth, Offerdus.
    Osferd (L 318 owner) -- Kemble transcribes the last letter as "ð".
Osulf (Searle p.380f) m.
Osulf (L 103 witness)
Othgaer (Searle p.382) m.
One of Searle's citations is for Odgerus.
    Otcer (L 183, 329 witness)
Sæwine (Searle p.408) m.
Sewinus (L 214 witness)
Sæwulf (Searle p.408) m.
Sewulf (E 238 witness)
Sihtric (Searle p.425) m.
Originally a Norse name, Sigtrygr.
    Sictricus (L 222 witness) -- Several of the transciptions have Sicteicus but this is unlikely.
Thiothard? (Morlet vol. I p.68) m.
Variants listed in Morlet include Tetardus, Tiddardus, Thiathart. Searle p.444 lists a Theodardus but the individual is from the continent.
    Tithert (L 51, 67, 278, 292 witness)
Tittherd (L 111, 129, 151 witness)
Tidherd (L 256 witness)
Ulfræd (Searle p.514f) m.
Ullfrit (L 81 owner) -- Kemble transcribes it as Ullfric, which would be a possible, but different, name.
Unweald? (Searle p.469) m?
Searle lists a number of names with the prototheme "Un-", but not this particular combination. Perhaps instead Hunweald (Searle p.308).
    Unwalt (E 356 slave)
Wallath? (Searle p.477) m?
Searle lists Wallath, but it doesn't actually look like an Old English name.
    Walloð (E 283 witness)
Waso (Searle p.478) m.
The appearance of uncompounded names in doublets with and without doubling of the second consonant is common.
    Waso (L 223 witness)
Wasso (L 116 witness)
Wine (Searle p.499f) m.
Wine (L 137 witness)
Wulfgar (Searle p.507f) m.
Wulfger (E 198, 247 witness)
Wulgarus (L 216 witness)
Wulfsige (Searle p.517f) m.
Wulfsie (L 71, 85, 293 owner, witness)
Wulfsige (L, E 30, 96, 146, 152, 163, 311, 353, 370 owner, witness)
Wulsige (L 22 owner)
Wunsie (E 58, 375 witness, owner) -- Förster transcribes one of these as Wulfsie.
Uulfsie (L 15 owner)
Wulfstan? (Searle p.518f) m.
Wunstan (? 178 ?)
Wulfweard (Searle p.520f) m.
Wulwerdus (L 224 witness)
Wulfwerd (E 242 witness)
Þurcild (Searle p.447 as Thurcytel) m.
A Norse name in origin.
    Þurcilde (E 192 owner)

Old English and other Germanic Feminine Names

Ælfgyþ (Searle p.10) f.
    Ælfgyþ (L 133 slave)
Æþelburgh (Searle p.35f) f.
Addalburg (L 25 slave)
Æþelflæd (Searle p.36f) f.
Æþælflæd (L 134 owner)
Æþelhild (Searle p.41f) f.
Æþelhide [genitive] (E 54 witness)
Adalgundis? (Morlet vol. I p.16) f.
Again, this does not appear to be an Old English name, but does have continental parallels. The text clearly identifies the bearer as female.
    Adlgun (L 62 slave)
Beorhtflæd (Searle p.88) f.
Byrhtflæd (L 3 owner)
Beorhtgifu (Searle p.88) f.
Byrhtgyuo (L 393 owner)
Godgifu (Searle p.261) f.
Codgivo (L 210 slave)
Leodhild (Searle p.326) f.
Leðelt (E 188 slave)

Old English and other Germanic Names of Unclear Gender

    Unclear. It occurs in a patronym. Perhaps the byname blund (blonde)?
    Bluntan [genitive] (E 53 slave)
Possibly a continental name, but Morlet has nothing obviously similar. The gender is not specified in the context.
    Cyngelt (L 295 slave)
Hwátú (Searle p.309) ?
What Searle lists are a number of dithematic names with this as a prototheme. According to Searle's examples, uncompounded names ending in "-u" are more often feminine than masculine, but either is possible.
    Hwátœ (E 280 slave)
Wunning (Searle p.522) ?
What Searle lists are several examples of "Wun-" as a prototheme. This specific name is not listed. Possibly a diminutive? The "-ing" ending is often used to create collective "family" names, but this is clearly the name of an individual.
    Wunning (E 197, 237 witness)

Layout, editing, and publishing by Arval Benicoeur.