Middle English First Names
Middle English is the form of English spoken from around the time of the Norman conquest of England (1066) until the end of the 15th century. However, the general scholarly opinion is that people predominantly spoke Middle English from 1150-to 1500. Examples of Middle English are the works of Chaucer and Gower.
There are three recognized dialects of Middle English: Southern, primarily used south of the River Thames; Midland, spoken in the area of Mercia; and Northern, used in Scotland and the northern highlands. However, within these larger groups, many different dialects also existed.
Middle English baby names are strongly influenced by Christianity, Anglo-Saxon roots, medieval English, Old French, and Gaelic languages like Irish and Scottish. Many familiar names used in Middle English are still used today.
So if you’re looking for a name that was just as likely used when Shakespeare was writing (yes, he was technically after Middle English but not quite modern English) as today, then check out our list of common Middle English names with meanings!
Most Common Middle English Girl Names and Meanings
- Agnes - Greek. Pure and chaste. Agnes was one of the most common Middle-English girl’s names.
- Alice - German. Noble. Possibly the number one medieval English girl’s name.
- Anne - Hebrew. It is the English form of Hannah. God has favored me.
- Aurora - Latin. Dawn.
- Beatrice - Latin/Italian. She who brings happiness.
- Burdette - A French name that means small bird.
- Cecelia - Latin. Blind. Derived from the Roman family name Caecilius.
- Elizabeth - Hebrew. God is my oath.
- Emilia - Spanish/Italian. Rival.
- Emma - German. Universal.
- Gaines - An English name that means clever or crafty. This name is now unisex.
- Isabella - Spanish/Italian. A derivative of Elizabeth.
- Joan - English. God is gracious.
- Katherine - Greek. Pure. A prevalent name among royals. Three of Henry VIII’s wives were Katherine of Aragon, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr. Also spelled Catherine.
- Lucy - English. Derived from the Latin word lux, meaning light.
- Mabel - Latin. Loveable.
- Margaret - Greek. Pearl.
- Matilda - Englis. Battle strength.
- Mercy - English. Compassion. A popular name among Puritans.
- Pegeen - Greek. Pearl.
Most Common Middle English Boy Names and Meanings
- Aidan - Celtic. Little fire. A popular name in Ireland.
- Aldwin - Old English. This name means old friend.
- Alexander - Greek. Defender of man.
- Eli - A biblical name meaning ascent, high, or elevated.
- Geoffery - Old German. Peace.
- Gregory - Greek. Vigilant or watchful.
- Henry - A Germanic name meaning ruler of the home. Very popular throughout the middle ages.
- Hugh - English. Bright mind and spirit.
- Jermaine - Latin. Brother.
- John - Hebrew. God is gracious.
- Kip - Old English. Pointed hill.
- Ladd - Middle English. Manservant or young lad.
- Nicholas - Greek. The victory of the people.
- Ralph - German. Wolf counsel.
- Richard - German. Brave ruler or powerful ruler.
- Robert - Old German. Bright fame.
- Roger - German. Famous warrior.
- Thomas - Aramaic. Twin. A biblical name.
- Walter - German. Commander of the army.
- William - German. Determined protector.
Unisex Middle English Names and Meanings
- Ceri - Welsh. A diminutive form of the name Carys which means warrior.
- Gabriel - Hebrew. God is my strength.
- Gaynor - Irish. Son of the fair-skinned one.
- Hildred - German. Counselor in battle.
- Laine - English. Path or roadway.
- Merry - English. Cheerful and happy.
- Sandy - Greek. One of the many nicknames for Alexander.
- Stella - A Latin name more commonly used for girls that means star.
- Tabby - Aramaic. A nickname for Tabitha which means bewitching.
- Tailor - English. From the profession.
Unique Medieval Names
The Medieval period in Europe was from the 5th century CE to the 15th century CE, so people used both Old English and Middle English during the time. While many of the names on the above list are still used today and remain very popular, we thought it would be fun to share some unique names that have fallen by the wayside and typically aren’t found on baby name lists.
- Bricthiua - A medieval English girl’s name meaning she is a gift.
- Burchard - A common name for boys in the medieval ages that means as strong as a castle.
- Chrysogon - A boy’s name with Greek origins that means gold born.
- Godfrey - An Old French boy’s name meaning God-peace.
- Hildeth - This girl’s name comes from the Old German Hildreth and means battle counselor.
- Lefleda - This girl’s name means healer, humanitarian, loved by others
- Leofric - A boy’s name that means beloved king.
- Luthera - This girl’s name comes from Old German and means an army of the people.
- Mawdelyn - This girl's name means a woman of Magdala.
- Purnell - A boy’s name that means captain or graceful
About L. Elizabeth Forry
L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom experience.