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
The Peterborough Chronicle and its continuations are of primary importance within the realms of written English language history. As a descendent of the Anglo-saxon Chronicle it survived the Norman Conquest in its original form but was destroyed by fire in the 1116 blaze at Peterborough Monastery.
A copy of the Chronicle was later borrowed from the South, and from 1121-1132 another record was established, followed by the final edition in 1154.
One of the few first-hand accounts of English history from the period 1070-1154, the Peterborough Chronicle is written from an unofficial, non-courtly point of view which, in turn gives an insight into the early formation of Middle English and life during these times.
See below: an excerpt and Modern English translation:
The Peterborough Chronicles- Part 4. A.D. 1135 :
Millesimo cxxxv. On þis gære for se king Henri ouer sæ æt te Lammase (i). (2) And Ðat oþer dei þa he lai an slep in scip, þa þestrede þe dæi ouer al landes and uuard þe sunne suilc als it uuare thre niht ald mone, an sterres abuten him at middæi. (3) Wurþen men suiðe ofuundred and ofdred, and sæden ðat micel þing sculde cumen herefter: sua dide, for þat ilc gær warth þe king ded ðat oþer dæi efter Sancte Andreas massedæi on Normandi. (4) Þa þestreden sona þas landes, for æuric man sone ræuede oþer þe mihte. (5) Þa namen his sune and his frend and brohten his lic to Engleland and bibirieden in Redinge. (6) God man he was and micel æie wes of him: durste nan man misdon wið oðer on his time. (7) Pais he makede men and dær. (8) Wua sua bare his byrthen gold and sylure, durste nan man sei to him naht bute god. (9) Enmang þis was his nefe cumen to Engleland, Stephne de Blais (ii); and com to Lundene; and te Lundenisce folc him underfeng and senden æfter þe ærcebiscop Willelm Curbuil; and halechede him to kinge on Midwintre Dæi.
1135. In this year, the king Henry went over sea at Lammas (i). And the second day when he lay asleep on (his) ship, then the day darkened over all lands and the sun became such as if it were a three-nights’ old moon, and stars about it at midday. Men were greatly astonished and afraid, and said that a great matter ought to follow hereafter: so it did, for that same year the king died the second day after Saint Andrew’s mass-day in Normandy. Then at once these lands darkened, for every man who could at once ravaged another. Then his son and his relatives took and brought his body to England and buried (it) at Reading. He was a god man, and there was much fear of him: no man dared do evilly with another in his time. He made peace for men and beasts. Whosoever carried a gold and silver burden, no man dared say to him anything except good. At this time his nephew, Stephen of Blois (ii), had come to England; and (he) came to London; and the people of London received him and sent for the archbishop Wiliam Cubeil; and (he) sanctified him as king on midwinter’s day.
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