What’s in a name? Should it have any influence on the way we think about someone? Why is it that names with connotations of a less glamorous kind give their owners less weighting in the great pecking order of life than someone with an exotic sounding title?
Take my own name for instance. When I first became a professional writer I had decided to take on my late father’s middle name ‘Egerton.’ As my dad had been a diligent wordsmith, keen diarist, crossword wizard and general source of all things ‘wordy’ , I thought it should only be right that I’d carry on his legacy in this way. .
So Egerton it was. However, I had no idea that such a simple name would cause so much relative chaos in all manners, once released in the publishing world. Initially, it was the pronunciation that seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Friends at first enquired “ where did the Egg-er-ton name come from?” . I found myself constantly explaining that it came from my dad and it was actually pronounced “Edgerton”. The next question was “why is it pronounced like that when it has no ‘d’ in the middle to make it more “edgy”( as it were)? The reason is thus:
My dad had close family connections with a branch of the Egerton family from Knutsford in Cheshire and consequently was given their surname within his Christian names. The name originates from Egerton Green in Cheshire where the first Anglo Saxon family of that title were situated. It is currently the only Anglo Saxon name to have survived in its entirety within the UK since its origination- around 1066 during Saxon invasion. Egerton, when literally translated is derived from Old English “ Egchere” and “ tun” meaning “settlement/enclosure/farmland” then “town” ; combined meaning “land belonging to Egchere”. The spelling of the name comes from this original concept, although through the ages some families took on the ‘d’ in Edgerton for personal taste interests. The ‘Egerton’ spelling is still pronounced as “Edgerton” nevertheless.
Of course, these days ‘eggs’ have mildly negative association; often the butt of schoolyard jokes and general silliness. So anyone trying to see the name as ‘Egerton’ wouldn’t necessarily think it’s much of a desirable working name.
My next dilemma was whether to change the spelling of my name to make life easier…. Should I actually become an Edgerton? After all, having spent years slaving over a hot netbook, I’d hardly want my epitaph to say “ Tess Egerton … her career sadly unrealised due to Eggy overtures”.
But so many people already see me as Egerton, not only in my own right (write!), but also within my company business. What to do?
This is why I decided to pass it back to you.. I am holding a vote… should I go ‘Edgie’..??
The choice as they say, is yours!
©Tess Egerton 2011