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Manx First Names (1)

by Bernadette Weyde

At a recent gathering of the World Manx Association, held at the Nunnery, the Attorney-General (Mr. Ramsey B. Moore), in his address, remarked upon the growing habit of Manx parents giving their children inappropriate and foreign Christian names; and he suggested that if some one would compile a list of genuine old Manx baptismal names, which would act as a guide in such cases, an excellent service would be rendered to the community.

The suggestion of the AttorneyGeneral seems to me to be a timely one, and I have, as the result of considerable research among the most ancient of our records, been able to prepare what I believe to be a very comprehensive, as well as an interesting and useful. list of font names.

The list is compiled from the following original sources:

(1) The Chronicon Manniæ et Insularum.
(2) The Liber Assedationis.
(3) The Liber Monasterii.
(4) The Liber Episcopi.
(5) Oliver’s Monumenta, and other sources.

If the field in Mann for the study of names is not large, the materials are available in great measure. The names which have been used among. the Manx people go back to that period when all men seem to have been. poets. When we consider the beauty of the oldest of these names, their picturesque connection with gods and heroes, with battles and nature, and compare them with the common-place names of England, and many of those of Wales and Scotland, we rejoice that. there was once a golden Celtic age, and an equally glorious, but more brief, Norse period, from which we have drawn our earliest personal names.


ABBAN, a Manx saint.
ADAUE, Adam (Heb.), red earth.
AEDAN, AE, little fire (has developed into the Manx surname Kaye, Quaye; and Kee in the north).
ALBYN (Scotland), (Colvin).
ALDYN, wild.
ALEYN, ALAND (S.), famed ruler (Callin).
ALISTER (Gr.), defending men (Callister).
ALLOWE, probably the Irish Ailbhe, Alvy.
ALTAR, WALTAR, diminutive Watt (Qualtrough and Watterson).
ANDREAYS (Gr.), a man (Anderson).
ANGHUS, Angus, unique choice.
ART, ARTHURE, a king.
ASKETIL (S.), holy vessel (Gaskell’ and Castell).
ASLAC (S.), lacking of the gods.
ASMUND (S.), gift of the gods (Casement).
ASPALLAN (S.), steps of the gods.
AUSTEYN (Lat.), venerable.
BARAN (S.), a baron (Barron).
BERTRAM (S.), bright raven.
BIORN (S.), a wolf.
BRENDAN, dark person.
BRETNACH, BRETAN a Briton (Cretney).
BRIW, BROWN, a judge or deemster (Brew and Brown).
CAIRBRE, virtuous love. The saint to whom Kirk Arbory was anciently dedicated.
CALCOT, a place name (Colquit).
CANE, CIAN, one who weeps.
CARMAC, CARMICK, CORMAC, a charioteer.
CAROLY (Manx, Chalse) (S.), noblespirited.
CASHIN, love (Cashen).
COLBY, a place name.
COLLA, highest.
COLUM, a dove. The saint to whom Kirk Arbory is now dedicated.
COLYN, a whelp.
CONNAGHYN, prosperity. The saint to whom Kirk Conchan was dedicated.
COOBRAGH, known famously; a saint’s name. Eng., Cuthbert.
COOIL, courageous (Coole).
CRISTEN (S.), belonging to Christ.
CRISTAL, CUSTAL, same meaning as Cristen.
CROSSE, a cross. A Patrick name now obsolete. [Known to be of Lancashire origin]
DERMOT, GERMOT, DIARMID, God reverencing (Kermode).
DIONISIUS (Gy.), belonging to Dionvsos or Bacchus. Eng., Denis.
DOFNALD. See Donald.
DOGAN, little dark man. A Malew personal name (Duggan).
GORMAND (S.), spearman.
HANE, aspiration of Shane. Irish, Seaghann, John.
HAROLD (S.), Herald.
HUGH, HUGO, HUGEN, HUCHON studious (Hudgeon).
ILLIAM S.), defending men (Quilliam).
INRY (S.), a rich lord. Eng., Henry.
IVAR (S.), famous warrior. Developed into Manx family name MacCure, now obsolete.
JAMYS, YAMYS, HAMISH, beguiling. Eng., James. (Comaish).
JOCELIN, an Abbot of Rushen.
KEIRD, a smith (Garrett).
KENNAGH, fire sprung (Kennaugh).
KIERAN, grey; saint’s name (Karran, Carine, Caren).
LAGMAN (S.), Lawman. Developed into MacClement in Arbory, now obsolete (possibly Lawson).
LAVRYS, Lawrence (Lat.), crowned with laurel.
LEAR, the sea.
LIAG, a doctor. It is suggested that the surname Clague is derived from this word.
LOGHLAN, LOLAN, LOCHLIN (S.), a Scandinavian.
LONAN, tonsured. The saint to whom Kirk Lonan is dedicated.
LUCAS (Gr.), a grove (Clucas).
MAGNUS, MANUS (Lat.), great.
MALMORE, Miles, Myles. Mary’s tonsured servant.
MALOONEY, servant of the Church.
MANNANAN, god of the sea. The traditional first king of Mann.
MARKYS (Lat.), a hammer (Quark).
MARTYN (Lat.), martial, a. saint (Martin).
MINN, good. The Saint Matthew.
MICHEL, MIALL, MAYL (Heb.), like God (Quayle).
MOLD (S.), earth born.
MOLEYN, tonsored one.
MONIER, a mountain. From Mac Emere, a Jurby name now obsolete.
MORE, illustrious (Moore).
MORIS, MAURICE (Lat.), dark coloured.
MURCHAD, sea warrior (Curphey).
MURDAGH, variant of Murghad.
NELE, NIAL, NEL, a champion (Kneale and Nelson).
NELLYN, little champion. Glen Helen was named after this ancient Kirk German family.[on record that the English owner of Glen Helen named it after his daughter]
NEVYN, a saint. A Lezayre name(Kneen).
NICHOLAS, NICHOL, NIGEL (Gr.), conquering people (Nichol).
ODO. Of Norman derivation; one bearing this name was Vicar of Santon in 1291. The name possibly developed into the family name of Oates.
OKERFAIR, our fair one.
OLAF, OLAVE (S.), of the gods. A royal name in Mann. (See Awley). (Cowley)..
OLYN, a whelp, a Rushen name (Quelen).
OSSIAN, OSHIN, little fawn.
OTTAR OTER, ODAIRR (S.), twilight sword. A royal name in. Mann. (Cottier, and, in some cases, Watterson and Oates).
PADEEN, little Patrick. A Lonan name (Cojeen).
PARLANE, one from Spain. Derivation doubtful. Irish., Partholan ; Enr1., Bartholomew.
PATON, little Patrick.
PATRICK, PARIC, PATRYK (Lat.), a patrician, the chief clan name in Patrick. Suggest Quirk has developed).
PATTOONE, variant of Paton (q.v.)
PEDDYR (Gr.), a rock.
PIERS (N.), one from Normandy. Eng., Percy.
QUISTEN, QUISTAGHYN, solicitude. A Patrick name (Cosnahan).
RAMSEY, place name.
REGINALD, REYNOLD (S.), great counsellor. A royal name in Mann. (Crennell and Crellin).
RIGARD (S.), powerful. Eng., Richard. (Crigard, now obsolete).
ROBYN, little Robert. A Rushen name. (Crebbin).
RODY, RORY, RODDY (in placename, Aryrody). Red king.
RONAN (S.), God-ruler.
RORY, RUARI, ROY, RODERICK, famed ruler. Eng. Roger (Rogers).
RUMUND, Raymond (Sc.), wise protection.
SANDULF, sand wolf.
SEER, a freeman. (Teare, which name also comes from SEYIR, carpenter).
SHARRY, God’s peace. Irish, Jeffrey. An Arbory name now obsolete).
SHYMYN (Heb.), obedient. (Shimmin).
SIGURD (S.), victorious one.
SIGVALD (S.), peace ruler.
SILVESTER, a grove dweller.
SOMERLED (S.), summer sailor.
STANDISH, a place name. A Lezayrepersonal name now obsolete.
STEEN, STEAOIN (Gr.), a crown. (Stephen and Stephenson).
STIURT (S.), a steersman (Scot, Stewart).
STOILL, with a will (Stowell).
TEIGE, a poet (Keig).
THOMASE (Heb.), a twin (Comish).
THOMLYN, little Thomas.
THORFIN, THORRYN (S.), Thor’s finder. A royal name (Corrin).
THORKELL, THORGIL (S.), Thor’s holy vessel. A Maughold family (Corkill).
THORLEOT (S.), Thor’s people. A Ballaugh clan name (Corlett).
THORLIEF (S.), left by Thor.
THORMAN (S.), Thor’s man or hero, originally a Lezayre Abbey Land name (Taubman) [Tubman is very likely derived from an English and possibly originally German mining family].
THORMOD, THORMOT (S.), Thor’s wrath. A Bride family name (Cormode).
THORSTEIN, THURSTAN (S.), Thor’s stone (Costain).
THORULF, Thor’s wolf.
URMEN, HEREMON, HERMAN (S.), a warrior.
VAUNDIE, a bond. A Jurby family name (Vondy).
VAUSE, noble. Vausetown mentioned in 1511 in Castletown.
VIKING (S.), a sea rover.
YSAIG, Isaac (Heb. ), he laugheth.
YVAR, YVOR, YVENO, IVANHOE (S.), same as Ivar. Mentioned in records in 1417.
YVON, John. (See Eoin).


Most of the female names which have been used in Mann, although not large in number compared with those of the other sex, are very beautiful in their meaning and in their sound. All of them have been taken from ancient documents.

AAITE (Heb.), life. Eva.
AELID, beauty.
AILEEN, EILLEEN, ELENA, little Eva. Eng., Helen.
AIMEL (Lat.), beloved. Eng., Emily.
AINLE (Gr.), an angel. Eng., Angela.
ALISTREENA, feminine of Allister.
ANDRECA, fem. of Andrew.
AURICK, a maid from Africa. Eng., Euphemia.
BEATA, life.
BLAE, a flower. Flora.
BRETNA, a maid of Britain, feminine of Cretney.
BRIDGET, BREDA, BREESIIA, Shining. Saint’s name.
CALYBRIDE, St. Bridget’s servant.
CALYCRIST, CALYCRISTA, Christ’s servant.
CALYHONY, Saint Oney’s servant.
CALYPATRIC, St. Patrick’s servant.
CALYREE, the king’s servant.
CALYVORRA, Saint Mary’s servant.
CISSOLT, little Cecilia, Cissie (Lat.). Fem. of Cecil.
CONLA, feminine of Conal.
COSSOT, little Constance. Connie (Lat.), meaning constant.
CARA, a songster.
CAROLA, noble spirited.
CARREE, music.
CRE’NA, wise or prudent one.
CRERA, faithful.
DIORVAL, true oath.
DOONA, dark maiden.
DREMA, one who endeavours.
EALISAID (Heb), God’s oath. Eng., Elizabeth.
EALISH S.), noble. Eng., Alice.
EMELL, variant of Aimel (Lat.).
ESSA, of Jesus.
EUNYS, joy. Eng., Eunice.
FEENA, fair maiden.
FINOLA, FENELLA, fair shoulder.
FRANCAIG (S.), free. Eng., Francis.
FRITHA (S.),peace.
IBOT (Heb. ), worship.
INA, a daughter.
ISOT, of Jesus.
JINN, JOAN, JONEY, JOANNIA, (Heb. ), grace.
JOHNET, fem. of John.
JULIANA, JULIA (Lat.), of royal descent.
LORA, sufficient. Eng., Laura.
LULA, LULACH (Lat.), shining.
MALANE (Syrian), magnificent. Eng.,, Magdalene.
MANANA, Fem. of Mannanan.
MARGAID (S.), a pearl. Eng., Margarc I,.
MARIOD, little Mary.
MAWDE, contraction of Matilda or Magdalene. (See Malane.)
MEAVE, a fairy queen.
MOIRA (Moirrey)-(Heb.), bitter.
MORE, great.
MONA, the Isle of Man.
MUREAL, sea bright.
NANCY, NAN (Heb.), gracious.
NESSY, NESSA (Heb.), secret.
ONORA, NORA (Lat.), Honour.
RANHILDA (S.), God’s fight. Eng., Rachael.
PATYN, metathetic form of Ranyd. (See Ranhilda-Rachael).
REINA, Regina. A queen.
KENNY, a fern.
SORCHA, bright. Eng., Clara.
TISSOT (Gr.), a gleaner.
TOSHA, the first.
UNA, a lamb. Eng., Winifred.
URSULA, little wolf.
VORANA, great.
VORGEL, an oath, testimony.Dorothy.
YSBAL, ISBAL (Span.), fair Eliza.

In olden times the Christian name was all-important; it was, strictly speaking, the only true name of the individual, and was used many centuries before the family patronymic, or surname, came into being.

It ought to be explained that surnames did not come into general use in England until the middle of the 14th century; many English people had no surnames even in the 16th century. There is reason to believe that surnames were generally used in Mann before they were generally used in either England or Scotland. As to Wales, it was late in the 17th century before surnames became general in that country.

Most of the Norse names in the following list were originally all dithemetic, i.e., each name consisted of two elements, e. g., “Thorkytel ” (the modern name Corkill) was “Thor kettle,” the war god’s sacrificial vessel. “Thorfinn” (Corrin) was “Thor finder.” “Thorleot” (Corlett) was “Thor people,” a tribal name. “Thorman” (Taubman), “Thor man”, or “Thor’s hero”. “Asmund” (Case ment), “God protection.” “Asketil” (Castell), “holy vessel.”

The early Celtic names exemplify the same character. For instance, the name Cannell is from Donal, “world wielder “; Dugal, “black stranger”; Fingal, “fair stranger”; Donchan, “brown warrior”; Murchad (Curphey), “sea warrior” ; Otter (Cot-tier), “twilight” sword; and so on. It will be useful to note that the prefix “Gil-” in the Celtic names originally meant servant, the second element being God, Christ, Mary, etc., or a saint’s name; e.g., Giliosa (Leece) is the “servant of Jesus”; Gileoin (Lewin) is the “servant of (St.) John”; Macgilvorra (Morrison) is the “son of the servant of Mary.”

The major portion of the names in the following list were in use before the 14th century, and the balance were in use before the end of the 17th century. There is no name mentioned which was not in actual use in some form in Mann 300 years ago.

The names given are mostly Celtic, except those shown as (Lat.) Latin, (S.) Scandinavian, (N.) Norman, (Gr.) Greek, and (Heb.) Hebrew.

In giving the derivations I have consulted many recognised authorities, such as Professors Joyce, Vigfusson, and Watson, also MacBain, Wolfe, Cregeen, Kelly, A. W. Moore, and others.

I am also indebted for much information to Mr. J. J. Kneen, who is among the first living authorities on the Celtic languages and literature.

(source: Christian Names of the Isle of Man by William Cubbon (1923) http://bit.ly/12ckpqe)

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