Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Early Examples of Middle Naming in England

I'm trying to get my head around when middle names were introduced to England. By a middle name, I mean a second given name chosen by the parents rather than a nickname added later or a second name that acted as an additional surname or a name that was added when the person was not an infant (such as a confirmation name).

In general, it seems that giving a child two middle names was popularised by the Hanoverians - both of George I's children had two given names (George Augustus and Sophia Dorothea) as did George I himself and his wife. Double naming seems to have been very common in the German states and is something that should be looked into to see when it started.

In the wider population, the practice does not seem to have caught on widely until the mid-nineteenth century with a few notable exceptions (Mary Anne). By the end of the nineteenth century, it was becoming uncommon to lack a middle name.

Prior to the Hanoverians, giving a middle name seems to be an unusual practice. So far, my study has been limited to the aristocracy but I will update this post when I find more examples.

The earliest example I can find is Henry Frederick Stuart, the son of James I of England and IV of Scotland, and Anne of Denmark. He was born in 1594 in Scotland - so not strictly an English example, but he was the heir to the English (and Scottish) throne until 1612.

The earliest example of a child born in England is Charles I's eldest son, Charles James, who was born in 1629 and died on the day of his birth. Two of Charles I's other children had two names: Mary Henrietta (b. 1631, the mother of the future William III) and Henrietta Anne (b. 1644). Their mother Henrietta Maria, a French princess, also had a middle name. Middle names seem to arrive in France earlier (several of Henri II's children, born in the 1540s and 1550s had middle names).

Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland (1477-1527) and his son, Henry Algernon Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland (1502-37)
Frances Anne Hastings (b. 1533) - daughter of the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, mother of the William Compton, 1st Earl of Northampton. None of her siblings had middle names.
Henry Frederick Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel (b.1608) - Anne of Denmark was his godmother, none of his siblings or his own children had middle names.
Henrietta Marie Feilding - (b. 1610s or 20s) daughter of William Feilding, 1st Earl of Denbigh. Died young.
Edmund Berry Godfrey (1621-78) - named after his two godfathers - Edmund Harrison and John Berrie.
Vere Essex Cromwell, 4th Earl of Ardglass (1625-1687)
Anne Sophia Herbert (d. 1643) - daughter of the Earl of Pembroke, wife of the 1st Earl of Carnarvon
John Thomas Woolhouse (1666-1734) - oculist
William George Richard Stanley , 9th Earl of Derby (1655-1702), his mother, Dorothea Helena Kirkhoven, was Dutch
Susannah Penelope Gibson (c.1655-1700) - daughter of miniature painter and court dwarf Richard Gibson
Henrietta Maria Wentworth (1660-1686)
Erasmus Henry Dryden (1669-1710)
Barnaby Bernard Lintot (1675-1736) - bookseller and publisher
Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore (1679-1715)
Thomas John Francis Strickland (c.1682-1740) - Bishop of Namur, his mother was James Francis Edward Stuart's under-governess
Mannock John Strickland (1683-1744) - counsellor and lawyer. His father Robert was the vice-chamberlain and chancellor to Mary of Modena.
William Richard Chetwynd, 3rd Viscount Chetwynd (1684-1770)
Mary Anne Campion (c.1687-1706) - dancer and singer, mistress of the first Duke of Devonshire
Joseph Edward Gage (c.1687-1766) - adventurer
Anna Maria Garthwaite (1688-1763) - textile designer
James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) - son of the deposed King James II, the 'Old Pretender'. His sister, born in France, was Louisa Maria Teresa.
Paul Daniel Crespin (1693/4-1770) - goldsmith, son of Huguenot Daniel Crespin
James Edward Oglethorpe (1696-1785) - founder of Georgia. His parents were prominent Jacobites, and several of his sisters had middle names: Anne Henrietta (1683-1756), Luisa Mary (b. 1693) and Frances Charlotte (b.1695).
Henrietta Louisa Fermor (1698-1761) - countess of Pomfret

I wonder if the lack of royal Tudor children in England for over fifty years had anything to do with the later arrival of middle names and the lack of opportunity to import naming customs from a continental spouse.

Anyway, I just wanted to record my research so far and set down some musings. I intend to update this post if/when I find more instances of early middle names.