Looking for a suitable medieval horse name to give your mount? Seek no further here you will find a selection of the best medieval horse names to suit the horse of any breed, origin, colour and character
Medieval knights and horse lovers could be very creative when it came to giving names to their favourite mounts. Or they could be less than original. Anyway, here are the best names I found in literature, legend and chronicle. Pick one for your horse or feel free to add to the list.
- The Welsh name of Owain’s horse from the Welsh Triads: Carn Aflawg (or grasping hoofed). If it’s not enough, try adding the epithet of ‘irrestrainable,’ (Anrheithfarch) in front of it. Quite a piece to pronounce quickly, isn’t it?
- Use the horse’s coat colour or pattern. It’s hardly a creative solution, but probably makes it easier to tell your horses apart. How about calling your bright brown bay a Bayard, the destrier John Brocas bought for Edward III in 1330? Of course, Bayard is also the name of a magical horse in the chansons de geste, and Chaucer gives this name to Troilus’s horse. By the way, Brocas brought Edward III three more destriers that year – a grey, Pomers and a dappled grey Lebryt.
- Morello of Cornwell – dignified, if a shed too local. Actually, may not be a very good choice for your horse, unless you feel adventurous. Morello of Cornwell was Edward I’s warhorse who kicked a stable boy, Alemanni, at Kirkcudbright in August 1300. The boy had 5s as recompense and 5s to for travelling home.
- Want your horse to be virtuous and pious? Name him Abbot, in honour of the breeding stallion (a small courser) that Prospero d’Osma reported as used in his Malmesbury stud in the 1550s.
- Want to be a shed more impressive than having a little Abbot at your stud? Then the name Il Superbo is the right choice. His name indicating the country of his origin, this bay courser of Naples was Abbot’s fellow at Malmesbury. Probably was not his rival, though, because D’Osme advocated the use of big on big, small on small, which means the small Abbot and the big El Superbo would have covered the more diminutive and the coarser mares, respectively. Other sires at Malmesbury whose names are preserved include the grey courser Grisone, the jennet Argentino and Il Superbo’s compatriot, a great grey courser of Naples Non Piu.
Of course, there are plenty of other exotic and more prosaic names, like Gawain’s Gringolet, Tencendur (‘strife,’ from the Song of Roland) and, in ‘Culcwch and Olwen,’ Arthur’s horse – unusually, a mare (see my earlier post on the special homosocial relation between knights and stallions) – is called Llamrei (to pronounce ‘hlamrei’)
Names taken from:
Lady Guest’s translation of the Mabinogion
Ann Hyland, The Warhorse 1250-1600