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.
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.
Lowen (LOW-an) – Derived from the Cornish word for ‘joy,’ a fitting meaning for a little boy bouncing with energy.
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on June 9th, 2015 at 11:21 pm
I’ve been waiting for this post! I love Demelza, Kerenza, and Jago. 😀
on June 10th, 2015 at 3:47 am
Thanks Simone! Demelza and Kerenza are on my list too. We honeymooned in Cornwall so the area has a lot of significance for us.
on June 10th, 2015 at 9:31 am
great list! our fourth, due in october, is morwenna. a name we’ve only ever heard watching BBC 🙂
on June 10th, 2015 at 11:22 am
I’m 8% Cornish, my grandmother’s side of the family were born and raised in Cornwall.
However, I’m not totally fond of Cornish names, but I do like Tamsyn.
on June 10th, 2015 at 11:33 am
Love Lowen for a girl, but then I realized how similar it is to another favorite, Rowan.
on June 10th, 2015 at 2:46 pm
I absolutely adore Demelza, and I’m not ashamed to say that I was mainly drawn to it initially by Poldark. But it really is a gorgeous name with a lot of imagery and personality, in my opinion anyway :). I can’t quite get into Kerenza despite the similarities in sound, but I think there’s a very vague and distant association that’s holding me back somehow. Jago sounds pretty cool too, and I just can’t get enough of -enna names; I already have Morwenna, Lowenna, and Sowenna on my list. And I also love some other Cornish beauties, Caja, Elowen, Meliora, and Lamorna.
on June 10th, 2015 at 5:49 pm
This is a gorgeous list. These names are all so different but still have a classic, historical feel. Very exciting. 🙂
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