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Unusual Cornish Baby Names for Girls and Boys

Judi has explored Cornwall's most popular destinations and best-kept secrets. She enjoys sharing her experience with others through writing.

If you're seeking a baby name that's traditional yet still unusual, consider one of these Cornish names. This article includes ideas for girls' names, boys' names and unisex names.

If you're seeking a baby name that's traditional yet still unusual, consider one of these Cornish names. This article includes ideas for girls' names, boys' names and unisex names.

Choosing the Right Name for Your Baby

Forget choosing the right obstetrician, the right diet or the right pain relief. What perplexed my husband and me during my pregnancy was the right name for the baby. I know the importance of a name; I very much dislike mine and don't really know what my parents were thinking. So, I was determined that my baby would get the right name. Fortunately, as she has grown up, she seems happy with it.

Our criteria for the name was that it should be recognisable as a traditional name, should be easy to pronounce, wouldn't embarrass our child and had some cultural and personal significance to us. It also needed to be relatively uncommon but not plain weird. We seem to have got it right.

Why Not Choose a Cornish Name?

If you have a connection with Cornwall, whether through your heritage or fond holiday memories, you have an advantage in choosing a name. Many of these Cornish names are recognisable, have a great cultural feel to them and manage to be unusual without being outlandish. Here are a few of my top ideas.

Cornish Names for Baby Girls

  • Caja: Is your baby girl a little flower? This is the ideal name, meaning "daisy".
  • Demelza: Demelza is a village on the outskirts of Bodmin. The name is instantly recognisable as Cornish thanks to the Winston Graham Poldark novels. The heroine of the novels is Demelza Carne, later Poldark, played by the beautiful Angarhad Rees in the BBC television series.
  • Ebrel: Perfect for spring babies, Ebrel means "April" in Cornish.
  • Elowen: I think this is a beautiful name; it means "elm".
  • Jenifer: This is the Cornish spelling of the popular name.
  • Jenna: Jenna is a pretty Cornish version of Jane.
  • Kerensa/Kerenza/Karensa/Karenza: This is literally a lovely name—it means "love" or the "beloved one". It has become quite a popular name in Cornwall.
  • Lamorna: This is a beautiful name that reflects a beautiful place. Lamorna Cove is in West Cornwall and has proved to be an inspiration for many artists. It was popular with the artists of the Newlyn School and is immortalised in a popular folk song, a poem and a couple of novels.
  • Loveday: Although Loveday is a medieval English name, its use appears to have become confined to Cornwall in later centuries.
  • Lowenna: Here's a name for happy baby girls! Lowenna means "joyful".
  • Mellyn: For blonde babies, Mellyn means "yellow-haired".
  • Morwen/Morwenna: This is an ancient Cornish saint's name. St Morwenna was a Welsh princess who travelled to Cornwall, settling at Morwenstow. The name Morwenna is Cornish for sea (Mor) maiden/white (wenna).
  • Rosen: This is the Cornish version of Rose—pronounce it ROZZ-en.
  • Tamsin/Tamzin/Tamsyn: Tamsin is not strictly a Cornish name, but it has definitely been associated with the County. It is a shortened form of the name Thomasina.
  • Tegen: Tegen (THE-gen) is Cornish for "pretty thing".
The name Lamorna reflects the beauty of Lamorna Cove.

The name Lamorna reflects the beauty of Lamorna Cove.

Facts About the Cornish Language

Did you know . . .

  • Cornish is an ancient Celtic language, like Welsh and Breton.
  • It was a common community language until the 18th century and spoken in homes up to the late 19th century.
  • A revival movement started in the early 20th century.
  • Cornish is a recognised minority language in the United Kingdom.

Cornish Names for Baby Boys

  • Conan/Kenan: Famous Conans include not just a barbarian, but a legendary King of Cornwall and a bishop of Truro. The name is derived from the Celtic "great" or "high".
  • Denzil/Denzel: Although this name is used in the US, meaning "wild one", it has a long usage in the UK where its origin is different. Here it is derived from a Cornish place name.
  • Jago: Jago is often a surname, but it's also a forename. It is the Cornish version of Jacob.
  • Jowan: This is the Cornish version of John.
  • Kenwyn: Kenwyn is a village on the outskirts of Truro, as well as the river that flows through it. The name itself means "splendid chief".
  • Kevern: Kevern was a Cornish saint. The village of St Keverne is located on the Lizard peninsula in the far west of the County.
  • Kitto: This is a Cornish nickname for Christopher.
  • Pasco: Good for Easter babies, this name means "easter". It's a fairly common surname (Pascoe), and it was popular as a forename up until the mid–18th century. Perhaps it's due for a revival?
  • Perran/Piran: St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall. He was an Irishman who travelled to Cornwall on a millstone. The name is unusual, but not unheard of, in Cornwall.
  • Ruan/Rewan: This name refers to an early Cornish bishop and saint: St Rewan of Ruan Lanihorne.
  • Talan: This name derives from the Cornish for "forehead".
  • Tremain/Tremayne: This boys' name is taken from the name of a village in East Cornwall. It's also found as a surname.
  • Tristan/Trystan: Famed for the legend of Tristan and Eseld (Isolde), Tristan was the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall. It's a popular name in Cornwall.
This name works for both girls and boys. It's thought to mean "little one".

This name works for both girls and boys. It's thought to mean "little one".

Cornish Names for Boys or Girls

  • Ennor: This is a place name—the ancient name for the large island that has since become the Isles of Scilly. It is a often found as a surname, too.
  • Merryn: Merryn was first a saint's name, now a place name. St Merryn is on the north Cornwall coast, near Padstow.
  • Verran/Veryan: Veryan is a parish on the Roseland peninsula. The name Verran may mean "little one".
  • Zennor: This is the name of a particularly wild and remote village in West Cornwall. There is a local legend known as the Mermaid of Zennor (see video below).

© 2011 Judi Brown

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Read More From Wehavekids

Have You Heard These Names Before? Would You Consider a Cornish Name for Your Child?

Judi Brown (author) from UK on April 01, 2014:

Thanks for commenting. It can be either

Gwilliam777 on April 01, 2014:

I was under the impression Jago (my son's name) was Cornish for James and not Jacob

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 12, 2013:

Hi Pinkchic18 - they are pretty unusual, glad you liked them and thanks for commenting :-)

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on September 11, 2013:

Very different names here, I like them!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on May 01, 2013:

Hi Kevin Peter - so glad you enjoyed this hub and thanks very much for your kind comments - much appreciated.

Kevin Peter from Global Citizen on May 01, 2013:

The names of the babies mentioned in the hub is very cute as well as attractive. The way you presented the article is wonderful. The meanings of the names are also explained in a beautiful manner. Wonderful hub.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on March 27, 2013:

Hi Sharkye11 - Karen was very popular when I was younger but it's fallen out of fashion over here. I've met a few Karensa/Carenzas . My daughter knows an Elowen and yes, it's a really beautiful name.

Many thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on March 26, 2013:

These are lovely and unique names. I particularly like "Karensa", as it is similar to Karen, which is a pretty US name, but a little overused where I live. "Elowen" is also beautiful, and elms are my favorite tree. :)

Really enjoyed reading this hub!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on March 20, 2013:

Hi vibesites - I know one Caja and she pronounces it "Kay-ja". I really like Demelza, it's my idea of a perfect Cornish name, purely because I watched the "Poldark" series on TV when I was younger. I've not met anyone yet who has Jago as their first name, but I've met lots who have it as their surname. I think Kitto is cute too.

Thanks very much for your comments, I appreciate them.

vibesites from United States on March 20, 2013:

How is "Caja" exactly pronounced? Is it like "kei-ja" or "kah-ja"? I think it's a wonderful name.

Demelza is a lovely-sounding name (my favorite), and so is Lamorna.

Ebrel sounds like the Spanish "Abril"

Jago sounds really fierce! And Kitto is cute. Now for those couples who have a kid named Christopher, they know how to address him endearingly. :)

Thanks for posting. Voted up and awesome, interesting. :)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on March 16, 2013:

Hi Clare - I'll add Ysella next time I get a chance. Thanks for the suggestion and the info, I appreciate it.

Clare Ysella on March 16, 2013:

Cornish born and bred check out my name Clare with outcome I as no I in the original Cornish language. And Ysella means calm and modest in Cornish!! :-)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 25, 2012:

Hi dreamseeker2 - I am so glad you commented - only today my daughter met her first "Elowen" - hoping to meet her soon too.

Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated.

dreamseeker2 on October 25, 2012:

This was an interesting and useful hub. I liked it! Thanks for sharing such unique names and their meanings. A must have I think for new parents-to-be. Voted up accordingly. : )

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 24, 2012:

Hi Esmeowl12 - I know a few Tristan/Tristrams and a Jenna - very nice people too!

Hi sweetie1 - names from other cultures are always fascinating, aren't they!

Hi Suzanne Angwin - I've never met a Justus - it is a good name.

Hi artdivision1 - Loveday is a very unusual name - I think I've only ever met two.

Thanks to all of you for your comments, kind of you to take the time!

artdivision1 from London on October 24, 2012:

My middle name is Loveday- it's rare that I meet anyone else with the same name.

Suzanne Angwin on October 24, 2012:

My Granddaughter is Taamzzin 1st name and Angwin middle name. Justus was used a lot years ago, I still like that name for a boy now. Maybe I'm a little out dated.

Suzanne Angwin on October 24, 2012:

My Granddaughter is Taamzzin 1st name and Angwin middle name. Justus was used a lot years ago, I still like that name for a boy now. Maybe I'm a little outdated.

sweetie1 from India on October 24, 2012:

Wow Judi you got such a nice and big collection of names. I instantly liked quite a few names as I have never heard these names before.

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on October 23, 2012:

I like Trystan for a boy and Jenna for a girl. Very interesting hub.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 22, 2012:

Hi Pinkchic 18 - glad you enjoyed reading this hub, thanks very much for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on October 22, 2012:

Very interesting! I have a friend who's daughters name is Tegen i wonder if he knows this.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 15, 2012:

Hi ElleBee - it's the same here too. Some are well-known, others have fallen into disuse - a shame because they are so beautiful.

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

ElleBee on October 15, 2012:

There are definitely some interesting and unusual names here! Strange how some of htem (Tristan, Jenna, Jenifer) have become popular here in the States, and others I have never even heard of!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 15, 2012:

Hi daisydayz - I think some of these are beautiful too. Loveday is a really unusual name, I've only met a couple of them. Aria - lovely!

Thanks so much for commenting, much appreciated.

Chantele Cross-Jones from Cardiff on October 14, 2012:

Wow some of those names are beautiful. We have a friend called Loveday its pretty unusual but she is Irish. I love the Caja, as we like the idea of daisy! so that would be cute! We're not planning to have a child soon, but when we do we think we will call a little girl Aria.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 14, 2012:

Hi Ruth - thanks for the comment and the vote - I appreciate it!

Ruth Pieterse on October 14, 2012:

Some lovely names! Voted up.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 13, 2012:

Hi Kaz - that's really interesting! If you want some family history done, PM me and I will look up your ancestors :) I don't know much Cornish at all - but I do like seeing it around on some of the street name signs etc. Yes - become Karensa and you will be proper Cornish!

Thanks so much for your comments, great to hear from you x

Karen Creftor from Kent, UK on October 13, 2012:

My surname is in fact Cornish! I decided to change it in 2007, partly to help leave my past behind and cut old ties (and partly because my previous surname caused a lot of teasing!).

'Creftor' is Kernowek for 'Artisan'. I chose it given that my anscestors settled in Cornwall from Germany and taking on the age old tradition of having a name linked to your profession.

Cute hub Judi~ I love Cornish words, they have such an earthiness about them! Maybe I should add an '~sa' to the end of my first name to be completely Cornish? :P

Voted, shared etc

~Kaz x

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 13, 2012:

Hi Susan - why do you think "Susan" was such a popular name for our generation? "Julie/Julia" and "Debbie" are two other names that come up a lot amongst my group of friends. Funny how it goes in cycles.

Hi fpherj48 - glad you these names special and I do hope you can find someone to provide you with a recipient or two!

Thanks to both of you for your comments, I really appreciate them.

Suzie from Carson City on October 13, 2012:

The only "babies" in my future will be more grandchildren or great grandchildren......for certain! But I have an interest in beautiful unique names that have special meaning...These are all very nice. I've chosen a girl's and a boy' all I need is cooperative expectant parents! Thanks...UP++=

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on October 13, 2012:

I've always disliked my name since it is quite common, but I suppose my parents liked it.

I've always liked the name Jenna but never knew it was a version of Jane. After reading all the boys names here I wish I'd have done a bit more research when I named my sons.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 13, 2012:

Hi GoodLady - I've just never warmed to my name! I do think that many of these Cornish names are beautiful, hope one of them gets on the shortlist next time around (although your granddaughter's name is perfect)!

Thanks so much for your comment, much appreciated.

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on October 13, 2012:

Beg to differ on your name. It's lovely! Wish I'd stumbled on this a few weeks ago when my son and his wife were in a tizz about what to call their new baby. Your beautiful list has many names they could have chosen since they wanted names you could say both in Italian and in English- and there are quite a few in your article like Lamorna and Ebrel that would have been perfect. Next time! Pinning and voting!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on June 08, 2012:

Hi StellaSee - there are some odd little Cornish ways of pronouncing things, usually place names - so for instance, Fowey is "Foy", Mousehole is "Mouzle"and Launceston is "Lanson".

Thanks for stopping by, good to hear from you again :-)

StellaSee from California on June 08, 2012:

I had a feeling it was just kenwin, but then I thought maybe it sounds more Germanic where the ‘w’s sound like ‘v’s so it would be like 'kenvin/kevin’. Good to know thanks Judi!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on June 07, 2012:

Hi StellaSee - Kenwyn is pronounced "Ken-win". I haven't heard enough Cornish, Scottish and Irish to say whether they sound alike, but I do know that the Cornish language (and to some extend culture) is related to Welsh and Breton.

Thanks for your comments, always appreciated :-)

StellaSee from California on June 07, 2012:

Oooh I like the sound of Kenwyn.. how do you pronounce it though? ahaha. Just a random thought but does Cornish sound similar to Gaelic of Scotland/Ireland? :)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on April 19, 2012:

Hi Brainy Bunny - thanks for your kind comments, great to hear from you again :-)

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on April 18, 2012:

Very interesting and thorough. Nice hub!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 28, 2012:

Hi Alecia - glad you enjoyed this hub, I think the names are very beautiful. And by the way, your name is beautiful too!

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it :-)

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on February 27, 2012:

This is a very interesting hub. I didn't know that much about baby names other than American names. But this is definitely interesting. I din't know Jenna was the Cornish version of Jane. Great hub!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 27, 2012:

Hi Aya - it's a great name, sadly I've only ever met one Demelza. Loved Poldark too - haven't read the books, but enjoyed the TV series.

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it :-)

Aya Katz from The Ozarks on February 27, 2012:

I love the name Demelza from the Poldark books!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 09, 2011:

Hi Just History - a lot of my colleagues are around my age and it's like being at school again - five Julies and three Sues!

Great to hear from you - looking forward to reading the next of your Henry VIII's wives hubs by the way!

Just History from England on December 09, 2011:

My girls were easy to name, Elizabeth and Victoria but the other half refused my choice of William, Henry or Charles! I like some of these names but my mum was given a fairly unusual name and like you hated it when the class was full of Pamela and Mary's. Guess what, my sister and I are Susan and Julie!! and yes, never heard of these days- but if anyone is around 50- there are loads of us!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 08, 2011:

Hi Alastar - they are pretty cool names, aren't they? I think that Alastar is a great name too - not commonplace, but recognisable and it has a fine meaning.

Good to hear from you :-)

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on December 08, 2011:

Very cool with the Cornish names Judi. Particularly like the Cornish spelling for Jennifer; along with Jenna and Tristan. Btw, Alastar means "Defender of Men."

Judi Brown (author) from UK on November 28, 2011:

Hi Jennifer - I like your name, I'd happily swap! The one saving grace for my name is that it isn't widely used. When I was at school lots of my contemporaries were Julies, Debbies and Susans. You don't meet many girls under the age of 20 with those names now!

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated :-)

Jennifer Essary from Idaho on November 28, 2011:

Great names! I absolutely agree it is important to choose a name that is unique but not absurd. I didn't like my name growing up because everyone else seemed to have it.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on November 28, 2011:

Hello psychicdog - happy to hear that you enjoyed this hub - thank you very much for commenting :-) on November 28, 2011:

Enjoyed reading this thanks Judi

Judi Brown (author) from UK on November 27, 2011:

Hi Evylyn Rose (a beautiful name too!) - glad to hear that you found this hub useful.

Many thanks for your comments :-)

Evylyn Rose from Virginia, USA on November 27, 2011:

Awesome hub! I love learning the background of names. I'll definitely put this list to use. ;)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on November 27, 2011:

@gryphin - good to hear from you, glad you enjoyed this.

@Arlene - very happy that you found this useful, hope you can use some of the names.