Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Bit Corny Really

Just a quick note.
I love odd or descriptive medieval names - not that they'd seem odd to their owners at the time. A few years ago a friend turned up a Matilda Wimplewasher in the course of her studies. I came across a Richard Midnyte in the records of Medieval Coventry - great name for a hero! Then there's a Geoffrey Gildenballocks who appears in another record and a lady with a surname unprintable here, but referring to the size of her reproductive equipment.
You just never know what the research is going to turn up. I've just started reading a thesis on the activities of the Bigod family between 1066 and 1306 as background for the work in progress. It's interesting to me because it's informing me about my characters, but to be honest it'd be fairly dry stuff otherwise. However, I've just laughed aloud at a reference to my hero (Roger II earl of Norfolk) being sold a serjeantry by one Hubert Corn de Boeuf. It's not a typo. It's a genuine name. I am now on the lookout for a Sire de Spam!

5 comments:

Carla said...

Isn't there a character called Front de Boeuf in Ivanhoe? I always thought Walter Scott had made that up, but maybe he found it in a similar record!

I hope you can get Hubert into the novel somehow; that's a name that's too good to miss! Did 'Corn' mean anything in particular at the time, e.g. is it some sort of descriptive nickname (scurrilous or otherwise)?

Gabriele C. said...

Carla,
yes, his name was Front de Boeuf. But I think it's a real one. There's a Swedish family Oxenstierna (the chancellor of Gustav Adolf II, among others), and the name means the same as Front de Boeuf.

lagarvelho said...

"Corn de Bouef"(sp?)???? When I read that, I laughed so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks. Who ever thought people in medieval times didn't have a sense of humor?
Anne G

Kemberlee said...

I'm with Anne on this one. I about spit my cola all over the screen! Keep 'em coming! =-)
~ Kemberlee

Jane Henry said...

Oh the golden balls one is brilliant, Elizabeth. An ancestor of our former England captain perhaps?

Does history recall whether this chap was good at football?!!!