Charlie is my name of choice

BONNIE Prince Charlie was a favourite son of Scotland in the 18th century but led the doomed Jacobite Rebellion that ended in heavy defeat by the English on the desolate Culloden Moor in 1746.

BONNIE Prince Charlie was a favourite son of Scotland in the 18th century but led the doomed Jacobite Rebellion that ended in heavy defeat by the English on the desolate Culloden Moor in 1746. His escape - “over the sea to Skye”, disguised as Flora MacDonald's maid - and life story have become part of Scottish legend, and the song Charlie is my Darling was penned about him.

Certainly Charlie is the darling for seven sets of parents in the Great Yarmouth area, according to my annual survey of names culled from the births column in the Mercury every week. But who, I wonder, is the 2009 Charlie who has inspired those parents to bestow the name on their new-born sons?

I can think of no newly-arrived hit recording artist, film star, Premiership footballer, television “soap” character or celebrity whose sudden popularity has led to Charlie topping the Peggotty chart of favourite names. Surely I have not missed a renaissance of the late pianist Charlie Kunz (signature tune: Clap Hands: Here Comes Charlie!) whose wireless and record medleys made this dapper musician the housewives' choice before and during the war...

The name Charlie, hitherto the friendly version of Charles (used only once, and that as a middle name), pushed the 2008 list leader, Jack, down to runner-up. It did not feature in my 2008 list but was joint fourth the previous year. To confuse the issue, one baby girl was Charlie-Sue!

Although it is supposition, I am confident that actor Keith Allen's songstress daughter Lily was the inspiration for her name leading the girls' list, rising from 2008's third place to retain the top spot it shared with four others the previous year. The 2008 leader Grace/Gracie was well off the pace in 2009 although with Rose it shared first position when all names - first and following - were added together.

Similarly, overall James was way ahead of its nearest baby boy rivals but only one child born in 2009 will be addressed as James because just one family picked it as a first name compared with the 16 who put it second.

Most Read

There appeared to be a trend towards old-fashioned traditional names, although there were still plenty of surprises - ones that were certainly inventive and different.

If schoolteacher readers of the Mercury are like their counterparts across the nation, they will scrutinise our weekly “births” column to see if they can foretell the characters of children starting their education in four or five years' time...and what problems or favourable prospects they might present. For a national newspaper has claimed that teachers often can identify both potentially difficult and bright pupils by looking at their names on the school registers!

Callum, Connor, Jack, Jake, Kyle and Liam, and Alisha, Casey, Chardonnay, Chelsea, Courtney and Crystal, were singled out in that report as causing concern at first glance. On the other hand, teachers' hearts could be warmed by seeing the names of Adam, Alexander, Benjamin and Christopher, and Charlotte, Hannah, Elisabeth and Emma - all might be marked out as having good prospects.

I am sure, however, that it is a pretty inexact science, and plenty of teachers have been confounded by finding a Callum and Chardonnay heading for Cambridge or Oxford honours while Benjamin and Emma are regularly slothful bullies disrupting classes.

Our Mercury announcements included three sets of twins: Oliver and Lily, Myron and Tyler Mae, and Oliver and Abigail.

And in one Mercury, in mid-June, there was the unusual occurrence of a baby boy being named Darcy...and, in another family, a girl who was called Darcey!

Please bear in mind that the names in the Mercury announcements that I am examining in this column are but a percentage of those formally recorded by the official registrar of births, marriages and deaths.

Among the names in 2009 Mercury births columns I noted the following that were a combination of a name from yesteryear being revived, an unusual combination or spelling, a new one being coined, foreign, or whatever.

Boys: Alby, Archie, Bailey, Benjamin, Billy-J, Brian, Caleb Laine Patrick, Camden, Carson Trafford, Christian Tony, Cohen, Colin, Darcy, Dexter, Digby, Dylan, Ebizo, Ethan, Fairfax, Graham, Henlee, Henry Lennon, Leo, Leon, Leslie Marjoram, Maddox, Matteo, Maxx, Monty, Nathan, Nico, Noah, Ollie, Oscar, Ralph, Riley, Rocky Ray, Roy, Samuel, Sebastian, Stanley, Taylor, Travis, Tyler-Jay, Vito, Willem, Woody.

Girls: Aliya, Annais, Asheigh, Bella Joan, Cerys Ann Amber, Charlie-Sue, Connie, Daisy, Dakota, Darcy, Eliza, Elle, Eloise, Emelia, Ezmae Rosina, Georgiana Delyth, Ines, Ivy, Jasmine Hope, Kacey, Katie, Lexi, Louisa, Lulah-Mimi, Matilda, Mia Heather, Molly, Nia Patricia, Precious, Rosalind, Seren, Sienna, Skyla, Sydnee Violet, Tamzin Audrey, Tilly Lesley, Xanthe Catherine Dianna.



First names

1 Charlie (7 listings)

2 Jack (6)

3=Alfie, Callum/Kallum, Joe(y)/Joseph, Josh(ua), Max(x), Oliver (5)

4=Oscar, William/Willem (4)

5=Finley, Harry, Henry, Lewis, Lucas, Thomas (3)

Middle names

1 James (16)

2 Michael (8)

3 Ray (6)

4=David, William (5)

5=George, Paul (4)

6=Andrew, Edward, Jo(h)n, Mark (3)

All names

1 James (17)

2=Charlie/Charles, Jack, Michael, William/Willem (8)

3 Oliver (7)

4=George, Joe(y)/Joseph, Josh(ua), Ray (6)

5=Callum/Kallum, David, Harry, Max(x) (5)

6=Aston, Finley, Lucas, Oscar, Paul, Thomas (4)


First names

1 Lily (5)

2 Isabel/Isabelle/Isabella/Isobel (4)

3=Chloe, Lexi, Mia, Olivia, Summer (3)

4=Connie, Freya, Georgina/Georgiana, Grace, Hannah, Lucy, Maisie, Matilda, Phoebe, Poppy, Rachel, Ruby, Sienna (2)

Middle names

1=May/Mai/Mae, Rose (8)

2=Grace, Louise/Louisa (7)

3 Ja(y)ne (6)

4 Ann(e)/Anna (5)

5=Elizabeth, Jade (4)

6=Lil(l)y,Marie (3)

All names

1=Grace, Rose (9)

2=Lil(l)y, May/Mai/Mae (8)

3 Louise/Louisa (7)

4=Ann(e)/Anna, Ja(y)ne (6)

5 Olivia (5)

6=Elizabeth, Imogen, Isabel/Isabelle/Isabella/Isobel, Jade (4)



First names

1 Jack (10 listings)

2 Harry (9)

3=Alfie, Daniel/Danny, Lewis (6)

4=Alexander, Callum, Jayden/Jaiden (5)

5=George, Joshua, Oliver, Sonny (4)

Middle names

1 James (12)

2=George, Thomas (11)

3 William (9)

4 David (8)

5=Edward, Lewis, Robert (4)

All names

1 George (15)

2=Jack, James, Thomas (13)

3 William (12)

4 Lewis (10)

5 Harry (9)


First names

1 Grace/Gracie (9)

2 Evie (8)

3 Lily/Lillie/Lilly (5)

4=Ella, Mia, Olivia, Scarlet (4)

5=Daisy, Erin, Lucy/Lucie, Maisie, Summer (3)

Middle names

1 May/Mae/Mai (12)

2 Rose (10)

3 Grace (7)

4 Louise (6)

5 Marie (5)

All names

1 Grace/Gracie (16)

2 Mai/Mae/May (13)

3=Lily/Lillie/Lilly, Rose (10)

4 Olivia (7)

5 Ella (6)