I recently posted on Facebook asking for suggestions for a first name for my current hero. He's an earl, so I know his title, Lord Kynaston, and because he has a sister I knew his surname. She's Lady Phyllis Delacorte. But first name? It had never come up. However, I'm sure that soon there'll be a scene with Phyllis and I assume she'll use his first name, so I need to know.
I do have a page on my web-site for period names, but I compiled it decades ago, simply taking names as I came across them in primary sources. There are so many more, but it'll give you an idea.
I had so many suggestions! Many were excellent, and some surprised me because to me they didn't seem "heroic" names. It might seem limiting to think that way, but names, and titles, have power in a story and even a simple sentence can be powerfully affected. Consider these.
Rafe entered the room.
Cecil entered the room.
Lord Ravenscar was watching her from across the room.
Lord Puslock was watching her from across the room.
So it matters, but one person's heroic name is another's turn-off. Though Rafe works above, to me a Rafe will always be a raffish, sneering, shallow sort of fellow. An ideal villain name.
Also, a name needs to suit the time and place. Some of the names suggested on Facebook were Scots or Irish. It's not very likely that an English nobleman in the Regency would be christened with such a name, because there was prejudice against both. I could come up with a reason, such as it being a family name on the mother's side, but that would be an unnecessary distraction in this case.
The same goes for most Old Testament names. We find names like Samuel, Seth, Abraham etc in lower class families, but rarely in the upper classes.
So what would be your top pick for a first name for an English nobleman in the Regency?
I'm particularly interested in hearing from British people on this, so there's a prize. If there are more than five suggestions from people living in the UK, I'll draw a name and one will win a copy of the new anthology The Last Chance Christmas Ball. So please say in your comment if you qualify.
We're in the Thanksgiving weekend in the US, so I hope any American readers here are enjoying family and friends and not overdoing the eating or shopping. And for the rest, it's always good to take time to count our blessings. I hope you have many,
My web page.