Cornish Baby Names


By Aimee Gedge

Cornwall, a beautiful county and popular tourist destination in the southwest of England, has its own unique culture and even language, although it is spoken by fewer and fewer people. It is the legendary birthplace of King Arthur and many writers such as Daphne du Maurier have been inspired by the rugged coastlines and stunning beaches.

Here in Britain, Cornish names have gained notoriety lately as a result of the very successful TV drama Poldark, based on the book series of the same name and set in Cornwall during the late eighteenth century. With the news that a second series has been commissioned, here are a few traditional Cornish names for you to peruse.


Beryan (BER-yan)In Cornish legend, Beryan was a princess who could heal the sick. There is also a Cornish village on the coast called Veryan.

Chesten (CHES-ten) – The Cornish form of Christine, which sounds very modern and unisex.

Conwenna (con-WEN-ah) Supposedly the Queen Consort to the Cornish King Malmutius, although as with many Cornish legends, telling the fact from the fiction is difficult. Morwenna is a similar Cornish name but a little more well known.

Demelza (duh-MEL-zah) – The heroine of the Poldark novels and TV show whose name derives from a town in Cornwall. I have fallen head over heels for this name and if I had a baby tomorrow this would definitely be her first name.

Endellion (en-DEL-i-on or en-DEL-yon)– A Cornish saint whose name was used by Prime Minister David Cameron as a middle name for his daughter Florence Rose Endellion Cameron, who was born in Cornwall in 2010.

Kerenza (kuh-REN-zah) Similar in sound to Demelza, this name is derived from the Cornish word for love.

Tamsyn (TAM-zin) – A female form of Thomas and a more traditional spelling of Tamsin, but it may look a bit ‘kreative’.


Austell (OSS-tel)A Cornish saint who has a town named after him – St Austell, one of the main towns in the county.

Brennus (BREY-nus) The legendary son of the aforementioned Conwenna who inherited the northern part of his father’s land while the southern part went to his brother Belinus (beh-LIE-nus). Their statues now stand on either side of St John‘s Gate in Bristol.

Jago (JAY-go) – The Cornish form of Jacob and an interesting alternative to a timeless classic. You might also consider the Cornish names Jowan (JOH-wan, a form of John) and Jory (JOH-ree, derived from George) for similar reasons. It’s worth mentioning that the latter now has Game of Thrones connotations thanks to Winterfell captain Jory Cassel, although admittedly only hardcore fans would pick up on the reference.

Leir – A Cornish king whose legend inspired Shakepeare to write King Lear, he supposedly had a daughter named Cordelia who was crowned queen after his death.

Lowen (LOW-an) Derived from the Cornish word for ‘joy,’ a fitting meaning for a little boy bouncing with energy.

Pasco (PAZ-ko) – From the Cornish name for Easter, this name fits the fashion for short o-ending names for boys such as Milo, Arlo and Leo.

Piran (PEER-an) – The patron saint of Cornwall whose name comes from the same etymology as the Irish Ciaran/Kieran.

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