Concerning the Name

by Heather Rose Jones
known in the SCA as Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn

©1997 by Heather Rose Jones. All rights reserved

Last updated 29 May 1997

The name Eilonwy is found as the given name of a female character in a modern juvenile fantasy series by Lloyd Alexander, very loosely based on medieval Welsh literature [1]. Many of Alexander's character names are actually found in period Welsh literature, but although Eilonwy is composed of elements that can be found in historic Welsh names, it appears that Alexander invented this name. No example of Eilonwy has been found in period sources.

Eilonwy could be postulated as a constructed given name, based on period names such as Eilfyw (m), Eiludd (m), etc. and Euronwy (f), Goronwy (m), Llifonwy (m), Tegonwy (m) [2]. Alexander may have used these names as his starting-point in inventing Eilonwy. As the above examples show, the ending -onwy appears in both masculine and (one) feminine names, so the name Eilonwy could reasonably be either masculine or feminine.

This remains, however, a hypothetical construction. While it is known that not all names used in medieval Wales were recorded in contemporary writings, there is currently no known evidence that Eilonwy was actually used anytime before the late 20th century.


[1] Alexander, Lloyd, The Book of Three; The Black Cauldron; The Castle of Llyr; Taran Wanderer; The High King (New York: Dell Publ. Co., 1969).

[2] Bartrum, P. C., Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts (Cardiff: Univ. of Wales Press, 1966).