In preparing thisA to Z of NAMES use has been made of many sources.  The following lists some of the authors.  Those prior to our own immediate period and nearer Shakespeare’s own life are given brief descriptions.  



AUBREY, John (1626-97).  His Brief Lives was complied towards the end of the seventeenth century and its tone is pretty gossipy but he was a formidable antiquarian.  The work includes a life of Shakespeare written in 1679/80 when it was still possible to have access to people who had just about known the playwright or could relate first-hand stories about him.  A born enthusiast and archaeologist, he put the Avebury stone circle on the map and had stones at Stonehenge named after him.


BARET, John.  Published his Alvearie [Beehive}, or Triple Dictionarie in English, Latin, and French in, it seems, 1574.  He wouldn’t have known Shakespeare as playwright, indeed he was dead by 1580.  It’s been argued since the mid-20thC that this work was the standard dictionary used in Grammar schools. Now it’s argued that a particular copy of the book, bought on e-Bay in 2008, was actually owned byShakespeare himself.  Right or wrong the dictionary gives a useful insight into contemporary meanings and was pretty clearly consulted by Shakespeare.


BATE, Jonathan, Soul of the Age, 2009 and other works


BOYCE, Charles, Shakespeare A-Z, 1990.  


CAMDEN, William.   Remains, 1605.  He was Ben Jonson’s headmaster at Westminster School and became a mentor to him, but was also one of the most celebrated antiquarians, passionate about Britain’s past.  This wasn’t a dusty academic pursuit but involved him in miles of travel.   He produced a county by county survey of Great Britain and Ireland and published a companion to it called Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine, which title gets abbreviated as Remains.  It includes a section on names and surnames and his views on them.  Some of these are somewhat fanciful, and may or may not have been shared by contemporaries.


COTGRAVE, RandleA Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, 1611.  He was secretary to William Cecil, Lord Burghley to whom he dedicated the work.  It has its share of – to our eyes – errors but was a pioneering work, still referenced by philologists.  It took a broader view of language, being more than the usual parade of synonyms by including phrases and proverbs.


DAVIS, J. Madison and FRANFORTER, A. Daniel, The Shakespeare Name Dictionary, Routledge, 2004


FLORIO, JohnQueen Anna's New World of Words, or Dictionarie of the Italian and English tongues 1611.  He was a friend of Jonson and quite possibly of Shakespeare who certainly knew his version of Montaigne’s Essays.  His father was Tuscan but fled the Inquisition, arrived in England where he married an Englishwoman.  John was well-connected at Court, becoming tutor to James I’s son, Prince Henry, and indeed the latter’s mother, Queen Anne – the ‘Anna’ referred to in the title.  It is mildly ironic that a work purporting to illuminate Italian sheds light on the English of his time.  


FORD DAVIES, Oliver.  Performing Shakespeare, Nick Hern Books, 2007


GOODWYN, Julian (Janell K. Lovelace), English Names from Pre-1600 Brass Inscriptions.


GOUGE, WilliamOf Domestical Duties, 1622.  A clergyman, he wrote this book discussing contemporary family life.  He had 13 children.  Although he asserted that the husband was “king in his owne household” he unusually condemned adultery in both sexes and proposed marrying for love.  


GRIGSON, Geoffrey, The Englishman’s Flora, Phoenix House, 1958


HALLIDAY, FE, A Shakespeare Companion, Penguin, 1964


HARRISON, William.  He was a vicar in Essex and ended his days as a canon at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.  He wrote a Description of England which was published as part of Holinshed’s Chronicles in 1577.  It makes relatively easy reading and its careful research (Harrison was friends many scholars, including Camden above) makes it a valuable take on life and society in Elizabeth’s reign.


HEY, David, The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History, OUP, 1998


LEVITH, Murray J, “What’s In Shakespeare’s Names?” Allen Unwin 1978 


LYFORD, Edward, True Interpretation and Etymologie of Christian Names, 1655.  Writing in the Commonwealth, Lyford was a pious chap advocating biblical names, including Hebrew ones – which language he taught himself in six weeks.  With an axe to grind, he is nevertheless helpful re the use of names half a century before his own time.


MAGUIRE, Laurie, Shakespeare’s Names, OUP, 2007


MORTIMER, Ian, Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England, 2009


NICHOLL, Charles The Lodger: Shakespeare in Silver Street (Allen Lane, 2007)


PENKETHMAN, John, Onomatophylacium, or The Christian Names of Men and Women, 1626.  He was a legal book-keeper (in the sense of an accountant) whose principal published work was later to be an authoritative tome on the price of bread.  May be just the sort of mind to ferret into names.  


REDMONDS, George Names and History, Hambledon & London, 2004.


SMITH-BANNISTER, Scott, Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538-1700, Clarendon Press, 1997  The book is based on samples rather than a complete national survey.  The tables of common names and their popularity are derived from evidence from forty English parishes.  


STOKES, FG, Who’s Who in Shakespeare, 2011


THOMAS, Keith Religion and the Decline of Magic, Penguin, 1991


WRIGHTSON, Keith, English Society 1580-1680, Hutchinson, 1982 and Earthly Necessities 1470-1750, Penguin, 2002