There are very few heroes that capture the imagination like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These courageous figures fought and lived bravely and thanks to folklore and legend survived Medieval times and still live on today in pop culture. One thing we noticed about these characters is that they have some truly iconic names. Most have a Welsh origin and offer a touch of whimsy even when they’re strong-sounding.
From Bedwyr to Merlyn, we rounded up our favorite names for boys from Arthurian legend. These handsome and sturdy monikers all have a story behind them. Not only do they sound legendary, but these names have also been handed down for centuries. What names were fit for Camelot but still sound acceptable for babies today? Let us show you! Here are 25 chivalrous baby names inspired by beloved characters of Arthurian legend.
A welcome alternative to the ubiquitous Allen, Aleyn offers a touch of playfulness. This old name belonged to a fisher king in the legends. This name is related to the Welsh, Alwyn which is also the name of a river in Wales.
Arthur has Celtic origins and means “bear.” This name has been exceedingly popular in the US and UK for centuries. Today, the name makes the top 200 list. Arthur is the name of the game. Of course, this name belonged to legendary sixth century King Arthur of Britain and his Round Table of Knights.
Bedwyr might seem too exotic for you, so consider these other popular spellings: Bedivere or Bedver or Bedevere. In the legends, Begwyr returns Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. The name, like most on this list, has Welsh origins and means “birch man.”
Bran is a Celtic god of the underworld, whose symbol is the raven. In Arthurian legend, Bran is father to Caradawc. The name is a diminutive of Brandon, Brandelis, or Branor. The name means “broom-covered hill.”
Arthur’s brother Cai sure had an attractive name that would be a great choice for parents today. This single-syllable name offers a sort of casual coolness. Cai can be traced to Latin roots and means “to rejoice.”
King Clarion joined roughly a dozen fellow kings in a revolt against Arthur at the beginning of Arthur’s reign. Arthur defeated them at the battle of Bedegraine. Although the character was defeated, this name has still got it. Clarion is a lyrical name that means “song.”
Dristan was a trusted advisor to King Arthur. While the name might be a no-go because it sounds similar to Kristen, we really like this name and see potential for it today. The Celtic name means “noise.”
Ektor is the Welsh answer to Hector, a Greek name that means “holding fast.” Arthur’s father had the name and we think it would sound sophisticated today. The name can also be spelled Ector. However you do it, just be sure to drop the “H.” Its absence gives this name some edge.
Evrain is a name that evolved over time before assuming its current form. The name is a variant of Evalac or Evelake. The name transformed from the more traditional Welsh to resemble the Hebrew name Ephraim which means “fruitful.” Evrain was the name of a King.
In the legends, Arthur liberates Gaul from the Roman tribune, Frollo. Frollo might seem villainous to you because it belonged to another foe, Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In Old English, the name is so closely tied to the narrative that the name means “killed by the king.”
The name Gareth debuted in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, as the lover of Eluned, the brother of Gawain and nephew of King Arthur. Gareth is way more fun than Garret and has that knightly ring to it. The name has Welsh origins and means “gentle.”
Gawain was a nephew of King Arthur, and one of the knights of the Round Table, described in the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Gawain is wonderful, but we prefer the slightly updated form of this name, Gavin. Gavin has Celtic origins and means “white hawk.”
Howel is a Welsh name that means “land with hills.” Howel is a name with a storied past as a king, saint, and knight. Howel is often spelled Hoel or Hywel. We prefer the ease of Howel.
Knight Isdemus was one of Arthur’s knights and he had one of the best names of all. Isdemus is so closely tied to the narrative that the name is translated to mean “knight of Arthur.”
Lord of Liez, son of Idœl, and maternal relative of Arthur, Johfrit was a knight who befriended Lancelot. The name is a form of the Gilfaethwy, a Welsh name that has mythological implications. The name means “born of trees.”
Kei is a form of Kay or Cei. Kay the Strange was Knight of the Round Table who fought for Arthur at the Leverzep tournament in Malory. Kei is the lesser-used form of the name that’s Welsh by way of Latin and means “rejoice.”
In Arthurian legend, Lancelot was one of the most striking of the Knights of the Round Table who ultimately had an affair with Queen Guinevere. A very romantic story! Lancelot is a name with French roots that means “servant.”
Lionel was a Knight of the Round Table and cousin of Lancelot. He was named after a lion-shaped birthmark, which was fated to disappear once Lionel had slain the Crowned Lion of Libya, a feat he accomplished shortly after achieving knighthood. Lionel is a beloved name today and we adore it every time we hear it. The name has Latin origins and means “little lion.”
Arthur’s butler, cupbearer, or wine steward, sometimes called “Lucan the Good,” Lucan fought in Arthur’s wars against Lancelot and Mordred. Lucan is a Celtic form of Luke, a name with Greek origins that means “man from Lucania.” In some texts, you’ll find the name spelled Lukyn which is another wonderful possibility.
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Marrock was a Knight of the Round Table who participated in the Roman War and also fought in the war against Mordred’s insurrection. An interesting fact about this figure is that he was transformed into a werewolf for several years. Marrock can also be spelled Marrocke, Merrak, or Mewreke. The Welsh name means “power.”
Merlyn was the famous fifth-century sorcerer and mentor of King Arthur. Probably the greatest-known wizard in the Western world. Merlyn is such a fun name for a baby boy and means “sea fortress.”
Owain is much more unusual than its brother-name Owen, a Welsh original that belonged to one of the Knights of the Round Table as well as the last Welsh Prince of Wales. Owain is pronounced oh-wine. If you’re looking for an alternative to Owen, go with the Welsh original! It means “youthful warrior.”
The original Percival was the one perfectly pure Knight of the Round Table, a worthy hero. The name was invented in the twelfth century by a poet named Chretien de Troyes, for his ideal knight in the poem Percevale, a Knight of King Arthur. Percival is a very French-sounding name that means “one who pierces the valley.”
There are a hundred different ways this name is spelled but our two favorites are Rion and Rions. According to legend, Rion was a pagan giant who became a Saxon King and foe of Arthur. He famously requested Arthur’s beard before his capture. The name has French origins and means “red-head.”
Tristan was a dragon-slaying hero of Celtic legend, whose story was incorporated into Malory‘s Le Morte d‘Arthur, in which Tristan is one of the Knights of the Round Table, obsessed by his doomed love affair with Queen Isolde. Tristram is another popular form of this gorgeous name. It means “sorrowful.”
There you go! 25 baby names for boys inspired by Arthurian legend and some of its most colorful characters. We hope you enjoyed this list and find some of these names inspiring or even fitting for your son.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Aleyn
- 2 24. Arthur
- 3 23. Bedwyr
- 4 22. Bran
- 5 21. Cai
- 6 20. Clarion
- 7 19. Dristan
- 8 18. Ektor
- 9 17. Evrain
- 10 16. Frollo
- 11 15. Gareth
- 12 14. Gavin
- 13 13. Howel
- 14 12. Isdemus
- 15 11. Johfrit
- 16 10. Kei
- 17 9. Lancelot
- 18 8. Lionel
- 19 7. Lucan
- 20 6. Marrok
- 21 5. Merlyn
- 22 4. Owain
- 23 3. Percival
- 24 2. Rion
- 25 1. Tristan
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