The name Agmondesham: “Altogether appalling”

Here’s something interesting I spotted in a newspaper from early 1911:

The present Lord Desart is now one of the British members of the International court of arbitration at The Hague, and was for many years public prosecutor. He rejoices in the altogether appalling Christian name of Agmondisham [sic], which was borne by the father of the first Lord Desart, and also by the latter’s maternal grandfather, Col. Agmondisham [sic] Muschamp of Cromwell’s Roundhead army, through whom he inherited a considerable amount of property.

Col. Agmondesham Muschamp — that’s quite a combination, isn’t it? — lived from 1564 to 1642.

He was knighted in 1620 by King James I — the guy Guy Fawkes tried to kill — and, apparently, his name did not impress the monarch:

Mrs. Muschamp, then a widow, held her first court at East Horsley in 1620 (7th James L); and on her death, July the 20th, the same year, the estate descended to her son, Admondesham Muschamp. That gentleman was knighted by James the First, who finding some difficulty in pronouncing the name of the new knight, coarsely exclaimed, “By —, the Devil must have been his Godfather.”

So where did the devilishly appalling appellation “Agmondesham” come from?

It was simply Agmondesham Muschamp’s mother’s maiden name. Ultimately, it comes from a location: the town of Agmondesham, nowadays spelled Amersham, which is 27 miles north-west of London.


  • Cunliffe-Owen, Marguerite [as La Marquise de Fontenoy]. “Loses Last Member of Home Rule Party.” Times Dispatch [Richmond, VA]. 3 Mar. 1911: 4.
  • Brayley, Edward Wedlake. A Topographical History of Surrey. Vol. 2. London: G. Willis, 1850.

P.S. This name reminds me of several other unwieldy A-names: Aldaberontophoscophornia, Armageddon, Annexation.

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