Unusual Name

In order to find an unusual name to meet this week’s challenge, I have had to go back to the 17th Century. All my ancestors seem to have very solid Anglo-Celtic names, with many first names handed down from generation to generation according to common family naming patterns. So who did I find to meet this challenge? My 6 x great grandmother, born in Bremhill, Wiltshire in 1658 and named Frizwith Crumpe. Her mother was also named Frizwith.

Record of Baptism. Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre; Chippenham, Wiltshire, England; Wiltshire Parish Registers; Reference Number: 1154/2

Frizwith is one of the variations on the name Frideswide. It is a form of the Old English name Friðuswīþ (Frithuswith), composed of the elements frið“peace, tranquillity, security, refuge,” and swið “strong, mighty, powerful.”

Having not heard this name before it needed a little research to find that they were named after Saint Frithuswith. The name became known thanks to St Frideswide (also known as Frithuswith, Frideswith, Frevisse and Fris) who was reputed to have been the daughter of a king of Mercia in the 8th century. Fleeing from an overzealous suitor, Frideswide founded a convent in Oxford. The church later became a cathedral — which we now know as Christ Church Cathedral, She is the patron saint of Oxford.

There are a number of stories about her life and she was well regarded and revered until the time of the Reformation. With Protestants discouraging the veneration of saints, St Frideswide disappeared from popular knowledge.

Maybe I should be thankful that this was one name that was not handed down through the family regardless of how saintly she was!


3 thoughts on “Unusual Name

  1. I too am related to Frizwith or Frizwide, one of them apparently married John Mihell or Mihill (variant of Miles) abt 1656.. I’m 8th generation grandson

  2. My husband descends from this Mihell couple also. We spell it MIELL now and for several centuries. I would love to find our which cemeteries are the burial places for these early Miell and Crumpe ancestors, if you know where these are. I have to search via internet, as we live in the Seattle area. Also interested in comparing DNA results.

    • Thanks for contacting me. The Mihell/Miell surname is really unusual and it is great to hear from someone who is a direct descendant I am working on John Mihill (born abt 1660) so the records are not confirmed and a bit of a mess. His son Benjamin (b 1689 – d 1755) was my 5 x great grandfather and his daughter, Mary, married James Biggs (4 x great grandfather) from Potterne in Wiltshire, which is my direct line. The Biggs family has a long connection with Potterne over the centuries. My great grandfather immigrated to Australia in 1852 where I live and am part of the Biggs line established here.

      Most people who lived in Potterne in the 17th and 18th century attended St Mary’s Church of England in Pottern which was built around the 13th Century and still stands. I will send you a link to my tree on Ancestry so you can see the connection. If you check Benjamin Miel you will find the source details of his death and burial (St Marys) and a copy of his will.
      Kind regards
      PS: I also have my DNA results on Ancestry…Is this where your husband has tested

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