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Medieval Names

What were the most popular names?

How did your parents decide on your name? If you have children, how did you choose their names? Popular names come and go, and medieval names often came from the king, queen or nobility. My first name, Ann, came from Princess Ann, who was born shortly before me.

Princess Anne with her family, Oct 1957

Princess Anne with her family, Oct 1957

Beth Hartland, one of the Research Fellows at the Henry III Fine Rolls Project compiled a list of personal names from the Fine Rolls, a set of documents kept by the English Chancellory during the Middle Ages. Many of the names are still popular today.

Top Ten Male Names

1. William
2. John
3. Richard
4. Robert
5. Henry
6. Ralph
7. Thomas
8. Walter
9. Roger
10. Hugh

Top Ten Female Names

1. Alice
2. Matilda
3. Agnes
4. Margaret
5. Joan
6. Isabella
7. Emma
8. Beatrice
9. Mabel
10. Cecilia

I often feel like the medieval period was completely alien to today, but when you look into it, so much was similar. Medieval names is one of those things that is familiar.

Head shot Ann Marie ThomasAnn Marie Thomas is the author of five medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel, Intruders, Alien Secrets & Crisis of Conscience are out now Follow her at