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Unusual British Baby Names: Rare and Refined

Unusual British Baby Names: Rare and Refined

Unusual British baby names are famed for their eccentricity as well as for their sophisticated style. It’s a winning combination for adventurous parents and name lovers alike!

If you have a whole afternoon to spare (don’t say we didn’t warn you!) browsing through the latest birth announcements from the London-based Telegraph newspaper is a brilliant way to get unique baby name inspiration with a distinctly British flair.

But if you don’t have a whole afternoon, never fear! We’ve analyzed the announcements from the past year to identify the stylish British names making a splash across the pond right now.

Sophisticated British Girl Names

To give you an example of how these names differ from the main England & Wales popularity list, the top 5 first names for girls include two choices outside of the official Top 100: Ottilie (#142 nationally) and Flora (#291). Both were used five times in a population of only 272 baby girls.

And a little further down the list, there are many more names that appear multiple times in the Telegraph announcements, but don’t even make the official Top 1000. Antigone, Araminta, Cosima, Hester, Loveday, Maud and Xenia, to name but a few.

The unusual British girl names in this list all rank below the Top 100 nationally – and below the Top 500 in the US – but were used multiple times by Telegraph parents.

  1. Antigone

  2. Antonia

  3. Araminta

  4. Aurelia

  5. Beatrix

  6. Bluebell

  7. Cecily

  8. Clementine

  9. Coco

  10. Constance

  11. Cosima

  12. Dorothy

  13. Flora

  14. Henrietta

  15. Hester

  16. Honor

  17. Ida

  18. Jemima

  19. Kitty

  20. Loveday

  21. Marina

  22. Maud

  23. Olympia

  24. Ottilie

  25. Rosanna

  26. Sybil

  27. Tabitha

  28. Xenia

Distinguished British Boy Names

Timeless traditional names top the Telegraph list for boys: Henry, Arthur, Oscar and William were all used ten or more times in the first-name slot.

But some of the other unusual British boy names might surprise you! Wilfred (the name of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s baby son) was used six times as a first name and once as a middle. And Maximilian, Barnaby, Edmund, Guy and Rupert all appeared at least three times in a population of 303 baby boys.

The uncommon British boy names in this list all rank below the Top 100 nationally – and below the Top 500 in the US – but were used multiple times by Telegraph parents.

  1. Balthazar

  2. Barnaby

  3. Bertie

  4. Cosmo

  5. Digby

  6. Edmund

  7. Ernest

  8. Fergus

  9. Fraser

  10. Guy

  11. Horatio

  12. Hugh

  13. Kit

  14. Laurence

  15. Leopold

  16. Ludo

  17. Lysander

  18. Maximilian

  19. Otis

  20. Percival

  21. Percy

  22. Rafe

  23. Rafferty

  24. Rex

  25. Roland

  26. Rupert

  27. Wilfred

  28. Ziggy

Unique British Girl Names

And then there are the unique British baby names that only appeared once in the Telegraph announcements – and don’t feature at all in the Top 1000 baby names in the US.

Stylish British girl name trends include long yet lively names of Italian and Greek origin, like Allegra, Elettra, Leonora and Nephele. Sweetly clunky vintage girl names are also in style, like Christabel, Georgiana, Prudence and Winifred. And, of course, nickname names are always beloved by the Brits – the quirkier the better! Milou, Posy, Suki and Tiggy are some of our favorite examples in this category.

Girl names hailing from the British Isles, like Eirlys (Welsh for “snowdrop”) and Tamsin (a Cornish feminine form of Thomas), are also in regular use. And, if unique baby names are your thing, they have the added benefit of being virtually unheard of outside the UK.

  1. Allegra

  2. Auriol

  3. Balfour

  4. Christabel

  5. Cicely

  6. Cressida

  7. Decima

  8. Delphine

  9. Eirlys

  10. Elettra

  11. Elspeth

  12. Fleur

  13. Gaia

  14. Georgiana

  15. Honora

  16. Leonora

  17. Lupita

  18. Milou

  19. Nephele

  20. Pear

  21. Posy

  22. Prudence

  23. Saskia

  24. Storm

  25. Suki

  26. Tallulah

  27. Tamsin

  28. Tiggy

  29. Vesper

  30. Winifred

  31. Zadie

Unique British Boy Names

The unique British boy names here range from cool micro names like Ivo and Zeno to weighty Anglo-Saxon names like Hereward and Wyndham. Family surnames as middle names are also very popular, giving rise to some impressive full name combinations, like Archibald William Lovelace and Orlando Dare Fiteni.

Native British boy names like Welsh Carew, Scottish Hamish and English Kenelm are perfect for those seeking unusual baby names with a British flavor. As are quirky choices with a jaunty rhythm, like Jolyon, Peregrine and Zebedee.

The boy names below only appeared once in the Telegraph announcements, and don’t feature at all in the US Top 1000.

  1. Anatole

  2. Archibald

  3. Bartholomew

  4. Bertram

  5. Basil

  6. Carew

  7. Casimir

  8. Constantine

  9. Deverell

  10. Evelio

  11. Finch

  12. Fitzjames

  13. Hamish

  14. Hereward

  15. Inigo

  16. Ivo

  17. Jolyon

  18. Kelso

  19. Kenelm

  20. Laszlo

  21. Lovelace

  22. Machabee

  23. Merlin

  24. Montague

  25. Olivier

  26. Peregrine

  27. Redvers

  28. Sinclair

  29. Tassilo

  30. Torquhil

  31. Tudor

  32. Valentine

  33. Wilbur

  34. Wyndham

  35. Zebedee

  36. Zeno

Which are your favorite unusual British baby names? What would you name a boy and girl from these lists?

For the full stats and some amazing name combos and sibling sets from this year’s Telegraph birth announcements, head over to our forums to join the conversation!

About the Author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.