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The 100 Poshest Names in Britain

March 26, 2017 Eleanor Nickerson

Here is the first of two posts examining “posh names” in Britain. This first one looks at the names rarely used outside of the upper classes ; the second to follow will examine the most common names.

Posh. It’s a term I dread, and try to avoid whenever I can. You see, it’s a very tetchy and subjective word that brings up all sorts of connotations. To call something “posh” can equally be a compliment of elegance and refinement as much as it can be a derogatory slur of aloofness and pomposity.

But, if I avoid the word to avoid offence, I’m in the minority. “Posh” is so bandied around in Britain, it can mean anything from “pertaining exclusively to the aristocracy” to “a little bit fancy.” Though ironically, the aristocracy to which it usually refers don’t actually use the word.

The fact is, Britain has an upper class, a social elite, who have their own set of habits, preferences and even names. Some names are so indicative, that you may assume as person is aristocratic just from their names. I didn’t need to know anything about fashion editor Pandora Sykes, to guess that she was upper class (sure enough, she is the granddaughter of Lord Buxton of Alsa) because Pandora is one of those delightfully eccentric names from classical mythology that has been used by the aristocracy for centuries

Almost legendary in recent years are the likes of twins Biggles George Fittleworth and Posie Betsy Winifred and their big sister Tuppence; Wulfstan Wallace and his sisters Dorothy, Cleopatra and Elektra; sisters Mimi Magenta Poodle and Ruby Rhapsody Panda; Samuel Badger, who goes by Badger ….  I could go on and on, they’re so delightfully eccentric.

The following 100 names are the names most indicative of the upper class in Britain over the last thirty years based on peerage birth announcements compared with national statistics.
In other words, these names are uncommon choices in Britain except for among the upper class where they are well used.

Girl Names

  1. Allegra
  2. Anoushka
  3. Antonia
  4. Atalanta
  5. Arabella
  6. Araminta
  7. Artemis
  8. Augusta
  9. Calypso
  10. Camilla
  11. Candida
  12. Cecily
  13. Claudia
  14. Clarissa
  15. Coco
  16. Cordelia
  17. Cosima
  18. Flora
  19. Hebe
  20. Henrietta
  21. Hero
  22. India
  23. Iona
  24. Jemima
  25. Kinvara
  26. Kitty
  27. Leonora
  28. Lettice
  29. Loveday
  30. Lucinda
  31. Marina
  32. Maud
  33. Miranda
  34. Octavia
  35. Oenone
  36. Olympia
  37. Ophelia
  38. Ottilie
  39. Pandora
  40. Perdita/Purdy
  41. Primrose
  42. Romilly
  43. Rosalind
  44. Rosamund
  45. Tabitha
  46. Tatiana
  47. Theodora
  48. Venetia
  49. Verity
  50. Xanthe

Boy Names

  1. Algernon/Algy
  2. Archibald
  3. Aubrey
  4. Augustus
  5. Barnaby
  6. Benedict
  7. Bertram
  8. Casper
  9. Caspian
  10. Cosmo
  11. Digby
  12. Fabian
  13. Felix
  14. Fergus
  15. Giles
  16. Guy
  17. Hector
  18. Horatio
  19. Hugo
  20. Humphrey
  21. Inigo
  22. Ivo
  23. Jago
  24. Jocelyn
  25. Jonty
  26. Kit
  27. Leopold
  28. Ludovic/Ludo
  29. Lysander
  30. Magnus
  31. Marmaduke
  32. Montague
  33. Montgomery
  34. Mungo
  35. Orlando
  36. Otto
  37. Ralph/Rafe
  38. Rollo
  39. Rufus
  40. Rupert
  41. Tarquin
  42. Tobias
  43. Torquil
  44. Tristan
  45. Tristram
  46. Sholto
  47. St John
  48. Wilbur
  49. Wilfred
  50. Willoughby

Disclaimer: These names aren’t exclusively used by the British upper classes, and the upper classes don’t only use these names. However, these names have been statistically more common among the peerage compared with nationally in the last thirty years.

About the author

Elea

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to Nameberry message board visitors as Elea, is a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the blog British Baby Names.

View all of Elea's articles

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