16 Most Popular Medieval Last Names and Their Meanings

1. Smith

One of the most popular last names in English, Smith is derived from the Old English word “smitan,” meaning “to smite or strike.” This common surname was used to denote metalworkers, such as blacksmiths and goldsmiths, who would often take on their occupational name.

Medieval Blacksmith Medieval Craftsmen

Smith is one of the oldest recorded medieval English surnames, with examples dating back to the 12th century. It is also one of the most common medieval surnames for both boys and girls, having been used by royalty and peasants alike.

Popular celebrity namesakes include actor Will Smith, who received his stage name from a medieval English ballad, and actress Maggie Smith.

If you are looking for more medieval names for boys or girls, you can use a medieval name generator for inspiration.

2. Johnson

One of the most popular last names in the United States, Johnson originates from a medieval English surname derived from John, meaning “God is gracious.” It’s widely used as both a boys and girls name today, and can be found on the list of medieval girls and boys names.

In fact, many celebrities have received their stage name from a medieval English ballad, including British singer/songwriter Adele Adkins, who received her moniker from the Middle Ages poem “Adelaide.”

If you’re looking for a unique medieval name to give your baby, there are plenty of free medieval name generators available online.

3. Williams

Williams is one of the most popular medieval last names in the United Kingdom, with a rich history. It’s believed to be a patronymic derived from the given name William, derived from the Old French Wilhelm, meaning ‘protection’ or ‘resolve’. It was popular as a first name in medieval times, as evidenced by its frequent use as a surname.

Notable people with the name Williams include actor Robin Williams and soccer star Eric Williams.

When it comes to medieval girls names and boys names, Williams could be derived from many other sources such as Williamina, Wilhelmina, Wilhelmine, Willa, Willette, Wilma and Wilson, among others.

Famous figures who received their stage name from a medieval English ballad include singer Billy Joel, whose full name is William Martin Joel.

4. Brown

Brown is a classic last name of Medieval English origin, and can be found as a first name as well. It has been associated with numerous medieval girls names such as Bryana, Bronwyn, Briony, and Bronte, as well as boys names such as Bruce, Bryant, and Brendan. It is also popular among celebrity names—the British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was given his stage name from a Medieval English ballad.

5. Jones

Jones is a popular English last name that has roots in the medieval era. It is derived from the given name John, which means “God is gracious” in Hebrew.

In the Middle Ages, this was one of the most common boys’ names in England and other parts of the British Isles. The name eventually became a surname and spread across Europe.

One celebrity who took their stage name from a medieval English ballad is singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. His real name is Steven Demetre Georgiou, but he changed it to Cat Stevens when he released his debut album in 1967.

He chose his stage name after the English ballad, “The Tales of Mary Jones”, which was popular in the 16th century.

6. Miller

Miller is a popular last name derived from the Old English and Anglo-Saxon word “mille,” meaning “one who works with a mill” or “grinder of grain.” Common medieval boys names associated with Miller include Millard, Millicent, Milo, Milon, Mylius, and Myles.

Medieval Miller Baker

An interesting fact about Miller is that the singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran’s stage name is derived from the medieval English ballad “The Ballad of Edward Sheeran.” The name “Edward” was chosen in homage to the song’s protagonist and Sheeran’s middle name.

7. Davis

Davis is a popular medieval boys name with French and English origins. The name Davis is derived from the Old French “davys” which means “beloved” or “dearly loved one”.

The name was originally a popular last name among French nobility in the Middle Ages, but it has been used as a given name since the 16th century.

The celebrity who received their stage name from a medieval English ballad is Madonna. Madonna’s stage name is a reference to the Christian saint, Mary of Egypt. The name is taken from the song “Santa Maria”, which is based on a medieval English ballad about the Virgin Mary.

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8. Garcia

Garcia is a popular Spanish and Portuguese surname, thought to have originated from a medieval English ballad. This surname is even shared by some famous celebrities, such as Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and singer Jennifer Lopez, who took her stage name from her grandmother’s maiden name, Garcia.

It can also be found in many countries around the world including Italy, Germany, France, and even India. The literal meaning of Garcia is “brave” or “strong” in Spanish, making it an ideal last name for many people looking to express their strength and courage.

9. Rodriguez

The name Rodriguez is of Spanish origin, derived from the Germanic name Roderick. This name is popular amongst celebrities, with many receiving their stage name from a medieval English ballad.

Singer-songwriter David Bowie adopted the stage name of Ziggy Stardust after the legendary 12th century English knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, while country music star Johnny Cash chose the stage name of ‘the Man in Black’ after a 15th century English poem.

These are just two examples of famous people taking inspiration from Medieval English literature.

The Green Knight

10. Wilson

The last name Wilson has a long and storied history, dating back to the medieval period of England. It is believed that the last name was derived from a famous English ballad called “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, which tells the story of Sir Gawain’s quest for the legendary Green Knight.

A popular interpretation of this ballad suggests that “Wilson” is a surname derived from the phrase “son of Will”. As such, the last name Wilson has been adopted by many celebrities over the years, such as actress Wilson Cruz, rapper Lil’ Flip, and singer Robbie Williams who all received their stage names from this medieval English ballad.

11. Martinez

One of the most popular Medieval last names is Martinez, which was derived from a medieval English ballad. The ballad, called “Martyn and Gyspy,” was used by Spanish poet Francisco de Asís to create the surname.

It is believed that this name was first used by a family who lived near the village of San Martín in Galicia, Spain. The name Martinez is of Spanish origin, but it has spread throughout many different cultures, including those in Latin America, Italy, and France. Today, the name Martinez is most commonly associated with celebrities such as Carlos Santana and Demi Lovato who received their stage names from the medieval English ballad.

12. Anderson

Anderson is an old-fashioned surname derived from the medieval English ballad “Sir Andrew Barton.” The name was given to Scottish families who were descendants of Sir Andrew, a famous sea captain.

The last name Anderson has become quite popular in recent years, thanks in part to celebrities like comedian Andy Dick and actor Neil Patrick Harris, both of whom received their stage names from the song.

Anderson is also a popular choice for parents looking for a unique and unusual name for their children.

13. Taylor

The popular surname Taylor originated in medieval England, and comes from the French word “taillour,” meaning “tailor.” It was initially used as an occupational name for a tailor, and is one of the oldest recorded surnames.

In modern times, one of the most famous Taylors is undoubtedly Taylor Swift, the singer and songwriter who has sold millions of albums worldwide.

The singer adopted her stage name from a medieval English ballad called “The Taylour of Gloucestre,” which she heard while attending a school production. She has since gone on to become one of the biggest stars of this generation and one of the most recognizable names in the music industry.

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14. Thomas

The name Thomas has its roots in the medieval English ballad of Sir Thomas, a legendary knight from the 12th century. The name has been popular for centuries, with many famous people having it as their first or last name.

Celebrities such as actor Tom Hanks, singer/songwriter Tom Waits, and NBA star Tim Thomas all received their stage names from this classic ballad.

The meaning of the name Thomas is “twin”, making it a perfect name for any twins that come along. In some cultures, the name Thomas is seen as a symbol of courage and strength, making it an ideal name for those wanting to emphasize these qualities in their children.

15. Hernandez

Hernandez is a popular last name of Spanish origin, and its meaning is derived from the word “fernando”, meaning “brave journey”. One famous bearer of this surname is Elvis Presley, who received his stage name from a medieval English ballad called “The Battle of Hernandez”. It tells the story of a man named Hernando who went on a daring journey to seek out his beloved.

16. Moore

Moore is a popular English surname that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is believed to have originated from the English ballad of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, where it was used as a nickname for a “dark-haired” or “brave” knight.

Knights of Round Table
The name of King Arthur and 24 other knights are found inscribed on the Winchester Round Table and include Sir Gawain

The name is thought to have been derived from the Anglo-Norman word “moor”, meaning “dark-haired” or “brave”. Famous people with the last name Moore include actor Samuel L. Jackson, singer Mandy Moore, and basketball legend Michael Jordan, who all received their stage names from the medieval English ballad.

Here are 5 Historical Name Generators That You May Find Useful:

Fantasy Name Generators
This website offers a wide variety of name generators, including several historical ones, such as Viking names, Roman names, and medieval names.

Behind the Name
This website offers a historical name generator that allows you to select from a variety of cultures and time periods, including Ancient Greek, Medieval English, and Renaissance Italian.

Seventh Sanctum
This website offers several name generators that cater to different historical periods, including Ancient Egyptian, Medieval English, and Wild West.

Name Generator Fun
This website offers a range of name generators, including several historical ones, such as Victorian names, Old English names, and Old Norse names.

Chaotic Shiny
This website offers a medieval name generator that allows you to generate names for different roles, such as knights, peasants, and wizards. It also includes options for generating place names and heraldry.