f The Wittenberg Door: Puritans and Their Weird Names

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Puritans and Their Weird Names

I have four children. And as most parents can attest, deciding on names is a . . ., er, an adventure. My son’s name is the same as my middle and his middle is the same as my first (my middle name, and his first, also happen to be my mother’s madden name). My oldest daughter’s name is a combination of Michelle, my wife’s middle name, and Israel (don’t ask; we were young). My middle daughter’s name comes from an Italian lady with whom I used to carpool; and my youngest is named after a character in a late 90s chick flick (I have no excuse).

Unlike my choices, the Puritans looked to names with theological import (mostly). But sometimes this goal went awry. The always fun yet informative site History of Nothing provides many examples of the good, the bad, and the, well, weird. Here are a few:

12 of the Worst Puritan Names

  • Humiliation (Humiliation Hynde had two sons in the 1620s, he called them both Humiliation Hynde)

  • Fly-debate

  • No-merit (NoMerit Vynall was born in Warbleton, a haven of beautiful names)

  • Helpless

  • Reformation

  • Abstinence

  • More-triale

  • Handmaid

  • Obedience

  • Forsaken

  • Sorry-for-sin (Sorry-for-sin Coupard lived in Warbleton)

  • Lament (Lament Foxe was born in 1594)

20 Names that seriously deserve a category all of their own

  • Dancell-Dallphebo-Mark-Anthony-Gallery-Cesar (son of Dancell-Dallphebo-Mark-Anthony-Gallery-Cesar, born 1676. They were probably taking the piss of Puritans a bit)

  • Praise-God (Praise-God Barebone. Ah, the Barebones. This one was a leather-worker, member of a particularly odd Puritan group and an MP. The Barebones parliament was named after him.)

  • If-Christ-had- not-died-for- thee-thou-hadst- been-damned (Praise-God’s son, he changed his name to Nicolas)

  • Fear-God (Also a Barebone)

  • Job-raked-out-of-the-ashes

  • Has-descendents

  • Wrestling

  • Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith

  • Fly-fornication

  • Jesus-Christ-came- into-the-world- to-save (Brother of “Damned Barebone”. I can only imagine this name shortened to “Save”, which must have been odd at family gatherings)

  • Thanks

  • What-God-will

  • Continent (Continent Walker was born in 1594 in Sussex)

  • Remember

  • Fear-not (whose surname was “Helly”, born 1589)

  • Experience

  • Anger (Anger Bull died in 1680)

  • Abuse-not

  • Die-Well (a brother of farewell Sykes, who died in 1865. He was survived by their rather pessimistic parents)

  • Joy-in-sorrow (a name with a many stories of difficult births)

You can read the rest of the names, and a bit of Puritan history, here.

--The Catechizer



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, better Continent than Incontinent I suppose...

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Sergius Martin-George said...

I heard that following the Salem Witch Trials, the name "Hex-Away" enjoyed a brief vogue. And supposedly the grandson of Cotton Mather, who bore the name Increase Mather, had a son who was born during the economic downturn of the 1750s, and was given the name Stimulus Mather.

So is your daughter's name Misrael of Israchelle?

9:40 AM  

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