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The 100 Poshest Names in Britain

Algernon to Xanthe

posted by: Elea View all posts by this author

By Eleanor Nickerson, British Baby Names

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.

Allegra Candida Hero Marina Primrose
Anoushka Cecily India Maud Romilly
Antonia Claudia Iona Miranda Rosalind
Atalanta Clarissa Jemima Octavia Rosamund
Arabella Coco Kinvara Oenone Tabitha
Araminta Cordelia Kitty Olympia Tatiana
Artemis Cosima Leonora Ophelia Theodora
Augusta Flora Lettice Ottilie Venetia
Calypso Hebe Loveday Pandora Verity
Camilla Henrietta Lucinda Perdita/Purdy Xanthe

 

Algernon/Algy Digby Inigo Marmaduke Tarquin
Archibald Fabian Ivo Montague Tobias
Aubrey Felix Jago Montgomery Torquil
Augustus Fergus Jocelyn Mungo Tristan
Barnaby Giles Jonty Orlando Tristram
Benedict Guy Kit Otto Sholto
Bertram Hector Leopold Ralph/Rafe St John
Casper Horatio Ludovic/Ludo Rollo Wilbur
Caspian Hugo Lysander Rufus Wilfred
Cosmo Humphrey Magnus Rupert 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.

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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.
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