I used to play Cricket with Richard Head and a friend of mine taught a Helen Highwater. Names that came into my mind whilst listening to a radio item on “Tim” after an article by Will Self damned the name .It is too close to “timid” he felt but not surprising as the words share the same root. The name Timothy means in Greek “fearful of God”. I have nothing against the name. I have a brother with the name, but why people handicap their children by giving them risible moniker perplexes me. Another friend- a social worker in the Fens- had a client who named her daughter “ Syphilis” because she liked the sound of it. Less we mock and think that such aberrations only happen in the underclass I also knew a solicitor who named his daughter “Psyche”.
Names of course are fashionable and one can guess within a few years when a Judith or a Jason were born. Names also fall out of fashion and I read somewhere that there are no Keith's registered in the UK last year. After a period in the doldrums first names can however make a comeback. When my daughter was born we picked a name that was a character in “Friends” Phoebe, but it also happened to be a name in Shakespeare “As you like it” as well in the Bible in Romans, the name of a deaconess in the early church. In short a name with deep links into the past. But Phoebe after a period between the 1930s and 50s was an unused name until its recent revival. It is now the 34th most popular babies name. The same could be said of a name like “ Martha” or for a boy “Arthur” which are also undergoing a revival. Other Victorian names will not return. I cannot see Ida, Ethel, Walter or Enoch coming back and for obvious reasons Adolf will not experience a resurgence.
As for my own name William's have been around since the Middle Ages and has never seen a dip in its fortunes. Bill is an interesting case and became popular around the 1790s. William Pitt the Prime Minister of the time was known as “Billy Pitt” by opponents, William IV was known as “Sailor Bill” and the villain Bill Sykes is created by Dickens in “Oliver Twist” early in the following century.