Unusual Cornish Baby Names

Why Not Choose a Cornish Name for Your Baby?

Source

Choosing the Right Name For Your Baby

Forget choosing the right obstetrician, the right diet, the right pain relief. What perplexed my husband and me during my pregnancy was the right name for the baby. I know the importance of a name; I very much dislike mine and don't really know what my parents were thinking. So, I was determined that my baby would get the right name. Fortunately, as she has grown up, she seems happy with it.

Our criteria for the name was that it should be recognisable as a traditional name, should be easy to pronounce, wouldn't embarrass our child and had some cultural and personal significance to us. It also needed to be relatively uncommon, but not plain weird. We seem to have got it right.

If you have a connection with Cornwall, whether through your heritage or fond holiday memories, you have an advantage in choosing a name. Many of these Cornish names are recognisable, have a great cultural feel to them and manage to be unusual without being outlandish. Here are a few of my top ideas.

Demelza: A Beautiful Cornish Name

A modern Demelza - Demelza Reveley, Australian model
A modern Demelza - Demelza Reveley, Australian model

The Cornish Language

  • is an ancient Celtic language, like Welsh and Breton.
  • it was a common community language until the 18th Century and spoken in homes up to the late 19th Century.
  • a revival movement started in the early 20th Century
  • is a recognised minority language in the United Kingdom.

The Cornish Name Lamorna

Source

Cornish Names for Baby Girls

Caja

Is your baby girl a little flower? This is the ideal name, meaning "daisy".

Demelza

Demelza is a village on the outskirts of Bodmin. The name is instantly recognisable as Cornish thanks to the Winston Graham Poldark novels. The heroine of the novels is Demelza Carne, later Poldark, played by the beautiful Angarhad Rees in the BBC television series.

Ebrel

Perfect for spring babies, Ebrel means "April" in Cornish.

Elowen

I think this is a beautiful name; it means "elm".

Jenifer

The Cornish spelling of the popular name.

Jenna

A pretty Cornish version of Jane.

Kerensa/Kerenza/Karensa/Karenza

This is literally a lovely name - it means "love" or the "beloved one". It has become quite a popular name in Cornwall.

Lamorna

A beautiful name, named after a beautiful place. Lamorna Cove is in West Cornwall and has proved the inspiration for many artists. It was popular with the artists of the Newlyn School, is immortalised in a popular folk song, a poem and a couple of novels.

Loveday

Although Loveday is a medieval English name, its use appears to have become confined to Cornwall in later centuries.

Lowenna

A name for happy baby girls! Lowenna means "joyful".

Mellyn

For blonde babies - Mellyn means "yellow-haired".

Morwen/Morwenna

This is an ancient Cornish saint's name. St Morwenna was a Welsh princess who travelled to Cornwall, settling at Morwenstow. The name Morwenna is Cornish for sea (Mor) maiden/white (wenna).

Rosen

The Cornish version of Rose - pronounce it ROZZ-en.

Tamsin/Tamzin/Tamsyn

Not strictly a Cornish name, but has definitely been associated with the County. It is a shortened form of the Thomasina.

Tegen

Tegen (THE Cornish for "pretty thing".

Kenwyn: A Cornish Name for a Boy

The River Kenwyn at Truro
The River Kenwyn at Truro | Source

Tristan and Isolde

The famed lovers, Tristan and Isolde
The famed lovers, Tristan and Isolde | Source

Cornish Names for Baby Boys

Conan/Kenan

Not just a barbarian, but a legendary King of Cornwall and a bishop of Truro. Derived from the Celtic "great" or "high".

Denzil/Denzel

Although this name is used in the US, meaning "wild one", it has a long usage in the UK where its origin is different. Here it is derived from a Cornish place name.

Jago

Often a surname, but also a forename. It is the Cornish version of Jacob.

Jowan

The Cornish version of John.

Kenwyn

Kenwyn is a village on the outskirts of Truro, as well as the river that flows through it. The name itself means "splendid chief".

Kevern

Kevern was a Cornish saint. The village of St Keverne is located on the Lizard peninsula in the far west of the County.

Kitto

This is a Cornish nickname for Christopher.

Pasco

Good for Easter babies - it means "easter". A fairly common surname (Pascoe), which was popular as a forename up until the mid 18th Century. Due for a revival?

Perran/Piran

St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall. He was an Irishman who travelled to Cornwall on a millstone. Unusual, but not unheard of, in Cornwall.

Ruan/Rewan

An early Cornish bishop and saint - St Rewan of Ruan Lanihorne.

Talan

This name derives from the Cornish for "forehead".

Tremain/Tremayne

Taken from the name of a village in East Cornwall. Also found as a surname.

Tristan/Trystan

Famed for the legend of Tristan and Eseld (Isolde), Tristan was the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall. A popular name in Cornwall.

The Ballad of the Mermaid of Zennor

Cornish Names for Boys or Girls

Ennor

This a place name, the ancient name for the large island that has since become the Isles of Scilly.  It is a often found as a surname too.

Merryn

A saint's name, now a place name.  St Merryn is on the north Cornwall coast, near Padstow.

Verran/Veryan

Veryan is a parish on the Roseland peninsula.  The name Verran may mean "little one".

Zennor

A particularly wild and remote village in West Cornwall.  There is a local legend, the Mermaid of Zennor.

More by this Author


Comments 81 comments

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Wow!

I chose a couple..now I need the baby. But at least you did a good Job Judy.

Nice set up and pictures!

lord


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

I have the same problem Lord! Maybe I will change my own name to Elowen, I am really taken with it!

Thanks for your comments :-)


Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

I love learning about names and those are beautiful and romantic.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Lynn - they are romantic, aren't they. Glad you enjoyed the hub, thank you so much for your comments :-)


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

A lot of these names are unique,but most of all they're all very beautiful Judi.;)


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

Such a pity my parents were from Cornwall!! I could have been privileged with beautiful names like Demelza, Elowen or Kerenza!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Mentalist acer - they do have a lyrical quality to them, I think maybe they are all due a revival.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Sannel - I know a Demelza and a Kerenza, but I have yet to meet an Elowen. They are beautiful names.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

I love these names. What a great hub you've composed! They are so poetic.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks rebekahELLE - what a kind compliment! Glad you enjoyed the hub, thanks for commenting :-)


LadyLyell profile image

LadyLyell 5 years ago from George, South Africa

This was of interest to me as my daughter just went through the same quandry of coming up with a good boys name. She did get it right with 'Jayden'.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi LadyLyell - yes, thinking up a name is a real minefield! Glad that your daughter came up with a good one - don't know the origin of Jayden though.

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them :-)


Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

This was so interesting. I liked several of the names. I appreciate the info.


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

Hello Judi,

What a brilliant hub. I had no idea of the history of any of these names.

Well written well presented and get my attention all the way through and sparked of a whole conversation to boot.

Well done very interesting.

Voted up useful interested and shared to all my internet connections. Hope it gives it a boost.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hello Esmeowl - this hub was a pleasure to write and I am glad that you found it interesting.

Thank you so much for your comments :-)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hello Molometer - I am delighted by your comments, you are very kind! Thank you very much for sharing this :-)


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

What delightful sounding names. I enjoyed saying each one out loud! They make me want to write stories. Thanks for sharing!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi RTalloni - we are definitely on the same wavelength - my daughter and I were reading them out as I typed the hub and this evening whilst walking the dog I was pondering a Cornish novel, using these names for hero/heroine. Watch this space!

Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them :-)


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

Hi Judi, your welcome it it is an interesting hub.


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

1 it lol


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Oh what fun--I will keep a look out!


gryphin423 profile image

gryphin423 5 years ago from Florida

Interesting hub! I too am taken with Elowen, so beautiful! Enjoyed the hub, thanks!


Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

I am always looking for names because they are so useful when you are creating characters (or changing their real names). Bookmarked and voted up.


jami l. pereira 5 years ago

I actually worked with a man from tennessee , and he was wild ! and believe it or not , his name was Denzil, though wild and crazy in a funny /fun way . He was cool to work with ,don't know what his ancestry was..but cool name anyway .. I also loved the name Ebrel and Caja , i think those would be my favorites :) This was a nice Hub and i voted it up and all the way across the board , except funny , Thanks for the read ! I loved it !:)


genupher profile image

genupher 5 years ago from NorCal

I loved your criteria for choosing your child's name - particularly the cultural emphasis.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

@gryphin - good to hear from you, glad you enjoyed this.

@Arlene - very happy that you found this useful, hope you can use some of the names.

@jami - it's fantastic when people live up to their names! Pleased to hear that you enjoyed the hub.

@genupher - this way of choosing has worked for us, and my daughter seems happy too.

Thank you to all of you ladies, I appreciate your comments very much :-)


Evylyn Rose profile image

Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

Awesome hub! I love learning the background of names. I'll definitely put this list to use. ;)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Evylyn Rose (a beautiful name too!) - glad to hear that you found this hub useful.

Many thanks for your comments :-)


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 5 years ago

Enjoyed reading this thanks Judi


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hello psychicdog - happy to hear that you enjoyed this hub - thank you very much for commenting :-)


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 5 years ago from Idaho

Great names! I absolutely agree it is important to choose a name that is unique but not absurd. I didn't like my name growing up because everyone else seemed to have it.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Jennifer - I like your name, I'd happily swap! The one saving grace for my name is that it isn't widely used. When I was at school lots of my contemporaries were Julies, Debbies and Susans. You don't meet many girls under the age of 20 with those names now!

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated :-)


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Very cool with the Cornish names Judi. Particularly like the Cornish spelling for Jennifer; along with Jenna and Tristan. Btw, Alastar means "Defender of Men."


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Alastar - they are pretty cool names, aren't they? I think that Alastar is a great name too - not commonplace, but recognisable and it has a fine meaning.

Good to hear from you :-)


Just History profile image

Just History 4 years ago from England

My girls were easy to name, Elizabeth and Victoria but the other half refused my choice of William, Henry or Charles! I like some of these names but my mum was given a fairly unusual name and like you hated it when the class was full of Pamela and Mary's. Guess what, my sister and I are Susan and Julie!! and yes, never heard of these days- but if anyone is around 50- there are loads of us!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Just History - a lot of my colleagues are around my age and it's like being at school again - five Julies and three Sues!

Great to hear from you - looking forward to reading the next of your Henry VIII's wives hubs by the way!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks

I love the name Demelza from the Poldark books!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Aya - it's a great name, sadly I've only ever met one Demelza. Loved Poldark too - haven't read the books, but enjoyed the TV series.

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it :-)


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

This is a very interesting hub. I didn't know that much about baby names other than American names. But this is definitely interesting. I din't know Jenna was the Cornish version of Jane. Great hub!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Alecia - glad you enjoyed this hub, I think the names are very beautiful. And by the way, your name is beautiful too!

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it :-)


Brainy Bunny profile image

Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Very interesting and thorough. Nice hub!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Brainy Bunny - thanks for your kind comments, great to hear from you again :-)


StellaSee profile image

StellaSee 4 years ago from California

Oooh I like the sound of Kenwyn.. how do you pronounce it though? ahaha. Just a random thought but does Cornish sound similar to Gaelic of Scotland/Ireland? :)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi StellaSee - Kenwyn is pronounced "Ken-win". I haven't heard enough Cornish, Scottish and Irish to say whether they sound alike, but I do know that the Cornish language (and to some extend culture) is related to Welsh and Breton.

Thanks for your comments, always appreciated :-)


StellaSee profile image

StellaSee 4 years ago from California

I had a feeling it was just kenwin, but then I thought maybe it sounds more Germanic where the ‘w’s sound like ‘v’s so it would be like 'kenvin/kevin’. Good to know thanks Judi!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi StellaSee - there are some odd little Cornish ways of pronouncing things, usually place names - so for instance, Fowey is "Foy", Mousehole is "Mouzle"and Launceston is "Lanson".

Thanks for stopping by, good to hear from you again :-)


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

Beg to differ on your name. It's lovely! Wish I'd stumbled on this a few weeks ago when my son and his wife were in a tizz about what to call their new baby. Your beautiful list has many names they could have chosen since they wanted names you could say both in Italian and in English- and there are quite a few in your article like Lamorna and Ebrel that would have been perfect. Next time! Pinning and voting!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi GoodLady - I've just never warmed to my name! I do think that many of these Cornish names are beautiful, hope one of them gets on the shortlist next time around (although your granddaughter's name is perfect)!

Thanks so much for your comment, much appreciated.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I've always disliked my name since it is quite common, but I suppose my parents liked it.

I've always liked the name Jenna but never knew it was a version of Jane. After reading all the boys names here I wish I'd have done a bit more research when I named my sons.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

The only "babies" in my future will be more grandchildren or great grandchildren......for certain! But I have an interest in beautiful unique names that have special meaning...These are all very nice. I've chosen a girl's and a boy's....now all I need is cooperative expectant parents! Thanks...UP++=


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Susan - why do you think "Susan" was such a popular name for our generation? "Julie/Julia" and "Debbie" are two other names that come up a lot amongst my group of friends. Funny how it goes in cycles.

Hi fpherj48 - glad you these names special and I do hope you can find someone to provide you with a recipient or two!

Thanks to both of you for your comments, I really appreciate them.


KarenCreftor profile image

KarenCreftor 4 years ago from Kent, UK

My surname is in fact Cornish! I decided to change it in 2007, partly to help leave my past behind and cut old ties (and partly because my previous surname caused a lot of teasing!).

'Creftor' is Kernowek for 'Artisan'. I chose it given that my anscestors settled in Cornwall from Germany and taking on the age old tradition of having a name linked to your profession.

Cute hub Judi~ I love Cornish words, they have such an earthiness about them! Maybe I should add an '~sa' to the end of my first name to be completely Cornish? :P

Voted, shared etc

~Kaz x


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Kaz - that's really interesting! If you want some family history done, PM me and I will look up your ancestors :) I don't know much Cornish at all - but I do like seeing it around on some of the street name signs etc. Yes - become Karensa and you will be proper Cornish!

Thanks so much for your comments, great to hear from you x


Ruth Pieterse 4 years ago

Some lovely names! Voted up.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Ruth - thanks for the comment and the vote - I appreciate it!


daisydayz profile image

daisydayz 4 years ago from Cardiff

Wow some of those names are beautiful. We have a friend called Loveday its pretty unusual but she is Irish. I love the Caja, as we like the idea of daisy! so that would be cute! We're not planning to have a child soon, but when we do we think we will call a little girl Aria.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi daisydayz - I think some of these are beautiful too. Loveday is a really unusual name, I've only met a couple of them. Aria - lovely!

Thanks so much for commenting, much appreciated.


ElleBee 4 years ago

There are definitely some interesting and unusual names here! Strange how some of htem (Tristan, Jenna, Jenifer) have become popular here in the States, and others I have never even heard of!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi ElleBee - it's the same here too. Some are well-known, others have fallen into disuse - a shame because they are so beautiful.

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.


Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 4 years ago from Minnesota

Very interesting! I have a friend who's daughters name is Tegen i wonder if he knows this.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Pinkchic 18 - glad you enjoyed reading this hub, thanks very much for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.


Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 4 years ago from Sevierville, TN

I like Trystan for a boy and Jenna for a girl. Very interesting hub.


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 4 years ago from India

Wow Judi you got such a nice and big collection of names. I instantly liked quite a few names as I have never heard these names before.


Suzanne Angwin profile image

Suzanne Angwin 4 years ago from Australia

My Grand daughter is Taamzzin 1st name and Angwin middle name. Justus was used a lot years ago, I still like that name for a boy now. Maybe I'm a little outdated.


Suzanne Angwin profile image

Suzanne Angwin 4 years ago from Australia

My Granddaughter is Taamzzin 1st name and Angwin middle name. Justus was used a lot years ago, I still like that name for a boy now. Maybe I'm a little out dated.


artdivision1 profile image

artdivision1 4 years ago from London

My middle name is Loveday- it's rare that I meet anyone else with the same name.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Esmeowl12 - I know a few Tristan/Tristrams and a Jenna - very nice people too!

Hi sweetie1 - names from other cultures are always fascinating, aren't they!

Hi Suzanne Angwin - I've never met a Justus - it is a good name.

Hi artdivision1 - Loveday is a very unusual name - I think I've only ever met two.

Thanks to all of you for your comments, kind of you to take the time!


dreamseeker2 4 years ago

This was an interesting and useful hub. I liked it! Thanks for sharing such unique names and their meanings. A must have I think for new parents-to-be. Voted up accordingly. : )


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi dreamseeker2 - I am so glad you commented - only today my daughter met her first "Elowen" - hoping to meet her soon too.

Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated.


Clare Ysella 3 years ago

Cornish born and bred check out my name Clare with outcome I as no I in the original Cornish language. And Ysella means calm and modest in Cornish!! :-)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Clare - I'll add Ysella next time I get a chance. Thanks for the suggestion and the info, I appreciate it.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

How is "Caja" exactly pronounced? Is it like "kei-ja" or "kah-ja"? I think it's a wonderful name.

Demelza is a lovely-sounding name (my favorite), and so is Lamorna.

Ebrel sounds like the Spanish "Abril"

Jago sounds really fierce! And Kitto is cute. Now for those couples who have a kid named Christopher, they know how to address him endearingly. :)

Thanks for posting. Voted up and awesome, interesting. :)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi vibesites - I know one Caja and she pronounces it "Kay-ja". I really like Demelza, it's my idea of a perfect Cornish name, purely because I watched the "Poldark" series on TV when I was younger. I've not met anyone yet who has Jago as their first name, but I've met lots who have it as their surname. I think Kitto is cute too.

Thanks very much for your comments, I appreciate them.


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

These are lovely and unique names. I particularly like "Karensa", as it is similar to Karen, which is a pretty US name, but a little overused where I live. "Elowen" is also beautiful, and elms are my favorite tree. :)

Really enjoyed reading this hub!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Sharkye11 - Karen was very popular when I was younger but it's fallen out of fashion over here. I've met a few Karensa/Carenzas . My daughter knows an Elowen and yes, it's a really beautiful name.

Many thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.


Kevin Peter profile image

Kevin Peter 3 years ago from Global Citizen

The names of the babies mentioned in the hub is very cute as well as attractive. The way you presented the article is wonderful. The meanings of the names are also explained in a beautiful manner. Wonderful hub.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Kevin Peter - so glad you enjoyed this hub and thanks very much for your kind comments - much appreciated.


Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 3 years ago from Minnesota

Very different names here, I like them!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Pinkchic18 - they are pretty unusual, glad you liked them and thanks for commenting :-)


Gwilliam777 2 years ago

I was under the impression Jago (my son's name) was Cornish for James and not Jacob


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 2 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for commenting. It can be either http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jago_(name)

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