There are very few heroes that capture the imagination like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These heroic heroes fought and died bravely. Folklore, legend and folklore have survived Medieval times to live on in popular culture today. These characters have some very iconic names, which is something we noticed. 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. Each of these handsome and strong monikers has a story. 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’s show you! Here are 25 chivalrous baby names inspired by beloved characters of Arthurian.
A welcome alternative to the ubiquitous Allen, Aleyn offers a touch of playfulness. According to legends, this name was once associated with a fisherman king. This name is similar to Alwyn in Welsh which is also the name for a river in Wales.
Arthur has Celtic origins and means “bear.” This name has been exceedingly popular in the US and UK for centuries. The name is now on the top 200. Arthur is the game’s name. This name is a tribute to the 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. Begwyr is said to have returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake in the legends. 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. Named Brandelis, Brandelis, Branor, and Brandon, the name is a diminutive. The name means “broom-covered hill.”
Arthur’s brother Cai sure had an attractive name that would be a great choice for parents today. The name is casual and cool. It’s a single-syllable. 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. They were defeated at the Battle of Bedegraine. This name is still popular, even though the character was defeated. 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. You can also spell the name 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. This name is a variation of Evalac and 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 may seem evil to you, as it belonged to 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. Garret’s Garret is more entertaining than Gareth, and Gareth has that knightly ring. 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 a wonderful name. However, we prefer Gavin, which is a slightly more modernized version of the name. 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 sometimes spelled Hywel, or Hoel. We prefer 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 variant of the Gilfaethwy in Welsh, which 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. It’s a romantic tale! Lancelot is a name with French roots that means “servant.”
Lionel was a Knight of the Round Table and cousin of Lancelot. Named after a birthmark that looked like a lion, it was lost after Lionel killed the Crowned Lion in Libya. This feat was achieved shortly after his knighthood. Lionel is a name we love and adore today. 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. Marrocke can also be spelled Merrake, Marrocke or Mewreke. The Welsh name means “power.”
Merlyn was the famous fifth-century sorcerer and mentor of King Arthur. Merlyn Merlyn is probably the most famous wizard in the West. 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 can be pronounced ohw-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. Legend has it that Rion was a pagan giant, who became a Saxon King. He famously requested Arthur’s beard before his capture. The name has French origins and means “red-head.”
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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 beautiful form of the 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.