How popular is the baby name Tostig in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Tostig.

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Popularity of the baby name Tostig

Posts that mention the name Tostig

English baby names after the Norman Conquest

William the Conqueror depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry
William (“Willelm”) the Conqueror

I recently came across a BBC article that described how the Norman Conquest drastically changed naming practices in England. Anglo-Saxon names like Aethelred, Eadric, and Leofric were soon replaced by Norman names like William, Robert, and Henry following the 11th-century invasion, which was led by William the Conqueror.

Here’s a quote from the article by English historian Robert Bartlett:

The ruling elite set the fashion and soon William was the most common male name in England, even among peasants. A lot of people changed their names because they wanted to pass in polite society – they didn’t want to be mistaken for a peasant, marked out with an Anglo-Saxon name.

And here are some more details regarding the names, from a later article in The Telegraph:

In Peter Ackroyd’s Foundation, the author notes that on an English farm in 1114 the workers were listed as being called Soen, Rainald, Ailwin, Lemar, Godwin, Ordric, Alric, Saroi, Ulviet and Ulfac. By the end of the century all these names had disappeared.

Because the Normans had conquered England half a century earlier, all these men were easily identifiable as Anglo-Saxons just by their names.


Of the old English names, only Alfred, Edmund, Edwin and Edgar survived, while Edward thrived, largely thanks to the cult of Edward the Confessor.

The author also mentioned that, per Ackroyd, “a boy from Whitby was recorded as changing his name from Tostig to William because he was being bullied” at the beginning of the 12th century.

And, in case you were wondering about female names, here’s a quote by English historian David Hey:

After the Norman Conquest the personal names that had been popular with the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings fell out of favour. Some of the names favoured by the Normans were female equivalents of male names, e.g. Joan, Jane, Janet from John, or Patricia, Petra, and Paula from Patrick, Peter, and Paul. Others were biblical names or the names of saints. Joan and Agnes were first recorded in England in 1189, Catherine in 1196, Mary in 1203, Elizabeth in 1205, and Anne in 1218.

Two more female names favored by the Normans were Alice and Matilda.


Image: Bayeux Tapestry