Remember Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose? I recently found out that one of his ex-wives is named Erin Invicta Everly. Invicta is a form of invictus, Latin for “unconquered.”
What’s the story behind Invicta?
Erin was born in 1965 to musician Don Everly and actress Venetia Stevenson, full name Joanna Venetia Invicta Stevenson. Venetia was born in 1938 to director Robert Stevenson and actress Anna Lee (best known for portraying Lila Quartermaine on General Hospital).
Anna Lee is the one who came up with Invicta. Here’s what she says in her memoir:
Venetia’s middle name, Invicta, meaning “invincible,” came from a childhood memory. I used to watch the street being repaired, and I loved the smell of the thick, black tar as it was poured over the gravel and then flattened and smoothed by a giant steamroller. It was the huge, formidable steamroller that fascinated me. On the front of this piece of machinery was a brass plaque of a horse, rearing up, with the word “Invicta” beneath it.
Interesting, isn’t it? Certainly one of the most vivid baby name stories I’ve seen in a while.
The steamroller would have been an Aveling-Barford steamroller. The company, established in the 1860s as Aveling and Porter, was based in Kent, which is where Anna Lee was born. It used Kent’s motto, Invicta, and the rearing horse from Kent’s coat of arms on its steamrollers and other equipment.
Lee’s memoir also mentions that Venetia’s first name was inspired by a portrait of Venetia Stanley (1600-1633) that Anna had seen at Sherborne Castle.
Source: Lee, Anna and Barbara Roisman. Anna Lee: Memoir of a Career on General Hospital and in Film. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.
Image: Adapted from 1871 Aveling and Porter traction engine 04 by Oxyman under CC BY 2.5.