This is a recurring series by Mistress Alys Mackyntoich on whether certain names currently can be documented to period based on existing evidence.. There are a lot of names that people think are medieval, but actually aren’t, and others which people think are modern, but in fact are found in the SCA’s period. If you would like to suggest a name, send an email to the Gazette.
Today’s name is Wendy.
For a very long time, it was believed that Wendy was a name invented in the 19th century by the author of Peter Pan, and therefore was thoroughly modern. Recently, however, a very large new database of English names extracted from parish records of weddings and christenings became available. Searching that database, I found “Wendy” appearing as a male name in England in 1615 and 1635. For the purposes of the heralds, evidence of a name in documents prior to 1650 is sufficient to allow it to be registered. So yes, “Wendy” is a period name, although not at all in the way we expected. In all likelihood, “Wendy” was a surname used as a given name, much in the same way that names like Leslie and Douglas were first used as surnames and then became given names.