Leonese Names from the First Half of the 14th Century

by Sara L. Friedemann (Aryanhwy merch Catmael)

© 2003 Sara L. Friedemann; all rights reserved


The following names are taken from documents recorded between 1318 and 1348 in Leon. The documents, as best as I can tell, are charters pertaining to both men and women who are landed farmers. I have grouped the women's names together and then the men's names. When a single person's name is recorded in different spellings, I have listed the variant spellings indented.

The language that these documents were recorded in is a fairly old dialect of Spanish, with a touch of Galician in it; many of the names still show the influence of Latin in their spellings. These documents appear to have originated near a place called Narayola; there is a Narayola in the Bierzo region (between Galicia and Leon) which is a likely candidate for the one mentioned in these documents. Other place names that are recorded in the document are names of places that are in the Bierzo region:

Carraçedo, the site of an important monastery, now known as Carracedo
Pontferrada, the modern capital of the region, now known as Ponferrada
Cacavellos, now known as Cacabelos
Magas, now known as Magaz

The following ethnic bynames also refer to places near the Bierzo region:

Asturano (of the Asturian region, directly north)
Bersiano (of the Bierzo region)
Galego ('Galician', just to the west)

Name patterns and structures

Virtually all women had patronymic bynames, i.e., bynames based on their father's given name. There are a very few exceptions: Caluela, Bona 'good', and Fous.

Men's bynames were more varied. The patronymic byname was again the most popular type, but locative bynames (indicating from where the person was originally) such as de Carraçedo and de Narayola, are not uncommon. In general, men were identified by a single byname. There rare occasions when a man was listed by more than one byname, the first was a patronymic and the second a locative, without exception.

Most Popular Names

Maria - 9
Teresa/Tereysa - 6
Marina - 5


Iohan/Johan - 29
Alfonso - 19
Pedro/Pero - 17
Fernan/Fernando/Ferrando - 13

Feminine Names

Masculine Names

Notes :

Source: de Moxó, Salvador, "Campesinos Hacendados Leoneses en el Siglo XIV" in León medieval: doce estudios: ponencias y comunicaciones presentadas al Coloquio El Reino de León en la Edad Media (León: Colegio Universitario, 197): 167-198.

Thanks to Marianne Perdomo (Leonor Martín), for providing the glosses for the locative and toponymic bynames.