Pictish Names

Initial note: 
Heather Rose Jones (Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn) has provided an excellent summary of Pictish names and naming conventions in her article   “A Consideration of Pictish Names” and while almost all of the names covered are male names, I highly recommend reading that article as well as the below.

Men’s Names

The set of definitively Pictish men’s names is fairly small, but does have several good sources. HRJ’s paper above collects most, if not all of the male names. While I am generally hesitant to cite Wikipedia, their list of the Pictish Kings can also be an good place to check, particularly if you want to get a quick summary of what little information we have attached to each king’s name. Hagiographies (such as the later portions of the Life of St Columba) are also excellent places to look for men’s names, particularly if you are willing to look at names that might have been known in Pictland, even if they were not explicitly Pictish. Also, several of the warriors mentioned in Y Gododdin may have been Pictish and it’s fun reading, even if it won’t bring many new possibilities to light.

Women’s Names

In contrast to the men’s names, women’s names are somewhat harder to come by. J.M.P. Calise’s Pictish Sourcebook (an excellent source that you should absolutely acquire if you are interested in the textual sources about the Picts) includes a glossary of Pictish names which includes several feminine names. It also provides some biographical information about people who had contact with the Picts and some of those names could reasonably be used by a female Pict. Other sources include hagiographies, annals, and even a Pictish stone – see the complete table for the historical source for each name.

Potentially Pictish Women’s Names

(See also the complete table with information about where the names are found and a fuller explanation of each name’s history.) 

Name CultureApproximate years, if knownWhy appropriateLikelihood
AlpiaPictish? Arabian?7thcPossible Pictish princessExcellent
CoblaithPictishd690Daughter of Pictish princeExcellent
DarlugdachIrishd525Irish saint who visited PictlandExcellent
Derile (Derelei, Der-Ilei)Pictishc650Close relation to Pictish kingExcellent
DomelchPictishc550Mother of a Pictish KingExcellent
DrusticcPictish6th cPictish princessExcellent
Eithne (Eithni)Pictishd778Pictish princessExcellent
Kentigerna (Caintigern, Cáintighearnd)Britishd734Saint active in PictlandExcellent
Mael MuirePictishc850-913Pictish princessExcellent
Modwenna (Monenna, Modwen)Irish7thcSaint active in PictlandExcellent
MongfindPictishlegendaryProbable Pictish princessExcellent
NadbroiccPictishlegendaryReported as PictishExcellent
ÆbbeNorthumbrianc615-683Æbbe grew up in exile in Dál Riata or PictlandGood
BrigidIrish455-524Notable saint with Pictish tiesGood
ConchennPictish/Dal Riatanc550Family members identified as (probably) PictishGood
EthneIrishc500Mother of a famous saint who was active in PictlandGood
EurgeinWelshc525The name of the Pictish King’s sisterGood
LigachPictish/Irishc875Daughter of a Pictish princess, raised in IrelandGood
Maithgemm (Gemma)Pictish/Dal Riatanc550Family members identified as (probably) PictishGood
NectudadPictishc600-800?Possible female name on a Pictish cross slab.Good
AifeScottish?legendaryLegend mentioning her likely known in Pictland.Moderate
Eanflæd (Enfleda)Kentish626-after 685Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/PictlandModerate
FeidelmDál Riatanc550Relative of multiple notable PictsModerate
FialIrishlegendaryNamed in an Irish story and the Pictish origin legendsModerate
Fína (Fín)Irishc645-?Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/PictlandModerate
FindchoemIrishlegendaryPossible legendary ancesstress of the Picts.Moderate
FotlaIrishlegendaryName shared by legendary female figure and legendary Pictish kingModerate
LoncetaPictish/IrishlegendaryLegendary ancesstress of the PictsModerate
LuanWelshc550Relative of multiple notable PictsModerate
RieinmelthBritish Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/PictlandModerate
RonnatIrishc600-?Mother of a famous saintModerate
ScáthachScottish?legendaryLegend mentioning her likely known in Pictland.Moderate
TeaIrishlegendaryName appears in the Pictish origin legendsModerate
ÆlfflædNorthumbrian654-714Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/PictlandPoor
Æthelthryth (Æthelreda, Æþelðryþe)Northumbrianc636-679Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/PictlandPoor
BanbaIrishlegendaryLegend mentioning her likely known in Pictland.Poor
DarercaBritish4th-5thcMight have been of enough note to be known in PictlandPoor
Eire (Eriu)IrishlegendaryLegend mentioning her likely known in Pictland.Poor
Eormenberg (Iuminburgh, Iurminburgh)Northumbrianc650-c700Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/PictlandPoor
Findscop (Findscuap)IrishlegendaryLegend mentioning her likely known in Pictland.Poor
LebarchamIrishlegendaryLegend mentioning her likely known in Pictland.Poor

If you are aware of or come across any potentially Pictish female names and are willing to share, please do contact me! (See the contact form below the bibliography.)

If none of the above appeal, there is also an index of feminine names in Irish annals which could be plausible, if not documentable, for a Pictish woman to have (just be sure to choose from the two earliest time periods). Reasonable arguments could also be made for Anglo-Saxon women’s names, particularly if they were Northumbrian or the name of a saint who has ancient churches and holy places in Scotland. There is also an interesting online database of Anglo-Saxon names.

Happy name hunting!


Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England:. Accessed July 15, 2016. http://www.pase.ac.uk/.

Aneurin. “Y Gododin.” Project Gutenberg. March 30, 2009. Accessed July 11, 2016. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/9842/9842-h/9842-h.htm.

Calise, J. M. P. Pictish Sourcebook: Documents of Medieval Legend and Dark Age History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Jones, Heather Rose. “A Consideration Of Pictish Names.” A Consideration of Pictish Names. Accessed July 11, 2016. http://heatherrosejones.com/names/pictish/.

Krupp, Christina. “Anglo-Saxon Women’s Names from Royal Charters.” Anglo-Saxon Women’s Names. Accessed July 15, 2016. https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/marieke/anglosaxonfem/.

O’Brien., Kathleen M. “Index of Names in Irish Annals: Feminine Names.” Index of Names in Irish Annals: Feminine Names. Accessed July 15, 2016. http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/Feminine/.

“Life of St. Columba.” Life of St. Columba. Accessed July 11, 2016. http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T201040/.

“List of Kings of the Picts.” Wikipedia. Accessed July 11, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kings_of_the_Picts.

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