Eccentric British Baby Names

Real-life choices that are distinctive and unique

British baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Every few months, we love to peruse the birth announcements in the London Telegraph in search of new trends in British baby names.  The most recent listings included a bumper crop of unique, eccentric choices.  Does this mean that parents in England, like those in the US, are becoming more attracted to unusual names?  Though the British birth announcements still include plenty of expected names like Amelia and Beatrice, Henry and Alexander, we’re also seeing more distinctive, even edgy names.

In English style, this usually means names that have traditional roots and are not invented or drawn from places or things the way they might be in the US.  But we are also seeing more baby names drawn from far-flung cultures, cross-gender choices, and revivals of long-dormant names. In the middle, there are more surname names along with animal names such as Bunny and Bear.

Here, 50+ real baby names from the recent British birth announcements that evidence the new heightened taste for the unique….or is it just traditional English eccentricity?

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27 Responses to “Eccentric British Baby Names”

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SimoneKadele Says:

September 28th, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Ptarmigan? Wow.

sarahmezz Says:

September 28th, 2015 at 11:47 pm

“Eccentric British” is my favourite genre of baby names! My favourites…

Hermione Rosalind Audrey
Iona Elizabeth Edith
Lavinia Esme Mary
Myrtle Primrose
Ottilie Florence Rose

Basil Randolph Alexander
Bruno Willoughby Henry
Fergus William Richard
Macaulay Lucas Matthew
Rafferty Rocket

Alba Rosie seems a little bit redundant (as alba means rose in Spanish).

lesliemarion Says:

September 28th, 2015 at 11:56 pm

I would love to live in a country with such names.

My favorites: Clemency, Dilys, Iona, Esme, Primrose, Ottilie, Jemima, Polly, Thomasina, Carlotta, Vesta, and the new to me Tassia.

And for the males I fancy: Basil, Bruno, Caspian, Otto, Constantine, Richard, Wilmot, Herbie, Dudley, Peregrine, and Reginald.

Rule Britannia, Queen of the Namers.

Nooshi Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 12:38 am

There are a lot of great names- I love the British style in general. These are my favourites:


Alba Rosie
Bonham Arlandria
Clemency Lily Lawrence
Ephra Alice
Ines Mahrokh
Lavinia Esme Mary
Thomasina Carlotta

Basil Randolph Alexander
Bruno Willoughby Henry
Caspar Cem Raff
Fergus William Richard
Otto Johnny Peregrine
Reginald Ludo Seaburne

nativoyoung Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 1:20 am

Love them all!!

Bobcat108 Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 1:32 am

Alba Rosie means “white rose.”

Lanternlight Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 2:31 am

One of my favourite genres too. So many interesting, fabulous names and combinations – I love that they so often have history. I especially love Tassia!

Eu Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 5:08 am

Alba means “dawn” in Spanish, not “rose.”

I lovvvvve Ptarmigan. I saw it listed elsewhere and thought it was amazing. And then tried to suggest to my boyfriend that we use it as a middle name. He thought I was crazy, and he’s usually pretty open-minded, so I guess that’s out. Still working on Ottilie though. 🙂

Maple10 Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 5:12 am

Be still my heart!

I love Ottilie, Lavinia, Primrose, Jemima, Ines, Iona, Carlotta, Caspar, Caspian, Rafferty,

I wish Jemima was more usable in the U.S., but my mil refers to syrup as “aunt Jemima” so that does it for me. I think it would take just one celebrity baby…

Liberty_Bell Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 6:24 am

Myrtle Primrose is my favourite combination.

ashbee Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 7:42 am

This is what I’m talking about! British eccentric is also my favorite naming style. I love too many of these to list, but. . .Iona, Esme, Lavinia, Ines, Alba, Thomasina Carlotta, Mary, Ottilie. Hugo, Fergus, Bruno, Griff, Basil. Just lovely.

ashbee Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 7:45 am

Mafalda, Hermione, Florence, Hera… basically just all of them. And Evelyn on a girl.

ashbee Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 7:46 am

****Ack! I meant I was happy to see Evelyn on a boy. Pretty unusable for a boy in US.

indiefendi2 Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 9:51 am

I look at the Telegraph Birth Announcements every week or so. I love it! These parents go all out.


I LOVE these

Astrid Lily Aliette Mary

Blaise Mae

Bonham Arlandria

Clemency Lily Lawrence

Ottilie Florence Rose

Ruby-Red (a bit redundant but…)

Suki Jemima

Evelyn Ralph Constantine (kinda handsome to me)

Ludo Maximilien Thomas Gaston

Macaulay Lucas Matthew

peach25 Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 9:52 am

veddy British. So many of them sound like characters in a satirical novel, or a 1930s mystery by Agatha Christie or Josephine Tey. I’ve never encountered a Ludo in real life, or a Mafalda.

Pebbles320 Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 10:47 am

As a Brit, can I just point out that these are unusual even by our standards! The Telegraph tends to be a newspaper for the more affluent and eccentric English gentlemen and ladies 😉
I’ve met an Ottilie and a Clemency but the rest are names you’d rarely hear in school playgrounds in most of the UK. They are amazing though, and make you realise how much you can really get away with – when people on the forums worry about using their ‘guilty pleasure’ names on a child, we can point to this blog and show that almost anything is usable!

Sjkopsa Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Very Cute very British

Ottilie Florence Rose- I thought I discovered a great unique almost nonexistent name when I found Ottilie the other day now its everywhere I look! funny how things work out that way.

augusta_lee Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Some of these are definitely over the top — Ruby-Red? really? — but I think most are lovely.

From the girls list, I’m enchanted by Bonham Arlandria, Clemency Lily Lawrence, Ephra Alice, Mafalda Beatrix Maria, Ophelia Sylvianne Fortune, Tassia Polly Katie, and Vesta Lee.

There’s even more to love on the boys list. Albie James (LOVE Albie!), Awbrey John Wulfram, Bruno Willoughby Henry, Caspar Cem Raff, Caspian John Aglionby, Evelyn Ralph Constantine, Humphrey Prakash Sen Wykeham (not a fan of any one name individually, but what a combination), Ludo Maximilien Thomas Gaston, Nico James Cospatrick, Rupin Sindaram Munro…too cool.

rainpoppy Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Quite pleased to see Caspar and Caspian on the list, two of my gp names. Seeing a fair bit of inspiration here… does that make me eccentric 😛

Alba is the Scottish Gaelic word for Scotland. I suspect that’s the more likely reference than Spanish.

I also want to point out (this is a slight pet peeve of mine) the newspaper is not the London Telegraph as it’s a national, not a local, paper. It’s either the Daily or the Sunday Telegraph – not sure which one the birth announcements appear in.

MozzGoggs Says:

September 29th, 2015 at 1:49 pm

BTW Evelyn has been a boy’s name in England for years and years (think Evelyn Waugh, the author) and is pronounced Eave-a-lin. I guess it’s like the name Ashley in the U.S. which began as a boy’s name (Gone With the Wind) and suddenly took off as a girl’s name in the eighties. The name Evelyn never made the switch from boy’s to girl’s in the U.K. and looks trendy to us. Who knows, perhaps it’ll jump the pond and switch to a boy’s name over here, the way Ashley did (and Joyce, for that matter.) 😉

Chloe14 Says:

September 30th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

As I’m British I can tell you those names are not some you’d here very often over here.

Macaulay Lucas Matthew…. Wow, that is absolutely amazing. What a fantastic name!

Essa Says:

September 30th, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Being English myself, I love that so many berries express a love of the eccentric British style. I would like to back up a comment from above that these names are not common in Britain and that names in the Telegraph tend to be of the babies from the upper class and very eccentric, they’re definitely not your average names. Obviously, they do seem a lot more common here than in America but I know if I was to name my child one of these names (not all, but most) then they would definitely stand out where I’m from. I do, however, love a lot of these names, my favourites are (I’ve put a * next to the names that I think would fit in nicely to British culture):

*Alba Rosie – Unsusual but not too out there, I think this name could actually fit in nicely. I do prefer Alba Rose though.
Ephra Alice – Amazing combination, love how they sound together, unsure of Ephra by itself though.
*Iona Elizabeth Edith
Mafalda Beatrix Maria – I’ve never heard of Mafalda before, I think it could just fit in because of it’s similarity to Matilda. I do love it with Beatrix.
*Ottilie Florence Rose – Perfect! I LOVE this name.
Ptarmigan Rose – Ptarmigan may be very unusual but I definitely think it works here.
*Tillia Clementine Mary

*Albie James – I wouldn’t say this was very eccentric, it’s been quite high up my list for a long time.
Bruno Willoughby Henry
Evelyn Ralph Constantine
*Griff James Wilmot
Ludo Maximilien Thomas Gaston
Nico James Cospatrick
*Otto Johnny Peregrine – Love this name.
Wilfred Finbarre Stanford-Tuck – Stnaford-Tuck sounds like a surname to me but I really like Wilfred Finbarre.

mermuse Says:

September 30th, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I recently met a woman (here in America) named Aliette, but that is one and only time I’d seen it until here

vito208 Says:

October 1st, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Love Ines

Eu Says:

October 2nd, 2015 at 4:04 am

@Essa: I agree these have an upper class/excentric sound to them for the most part. Ptarmigan just sounds like the parents are bird and nature lovers though. 🙂

Mafalda is an Argentine comic book character… a very bright and precocious little girl. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with the naming or not…

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

October 4th, 2015 at 6:15 pm

I adore Basil, Bruno and Otto! Every time I mention loving any of those three names, people give me the strangest looks. “You like what name?!”

I’ve also loved Alba ever since I first read The Time Traveler’s Wife. But it’s another name that gets me strange looks.

OhSamantha Says:

April 15th, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Tilia is the genus for the linden tree (also: basswood or limeflower tree). It’s a favourite of mine; I use it in a lot of herbal infusions and it’s a lovely tree, visually.

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