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User comments for Wendy
Wendy also has a Biblical meaning: Wanderer in the Footsteps of the Lord.
Excuse me, but how can a name which does not occur in the Bible have a "Biblical meaning?" Personally I'm still waiting for the evidence that Wendy was used as a female given name (as opposed to unofficial nickname) before Barrie's play.
Let me clarify the comment above: The Bible is made up of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages. Example: although the name "Candace" isn't mentioned in the Bible, it's Latin which traces back to the Bible. Wendy isn't mentioned in the Bible, but what does that matter? The names used in the Bible and what not are translated, and do derive from different names and/or usages.
The above comment doesn't make any sense. Candace is in the bible, Wendy is not.
-- Anonymous User
I haven't got any evidence of this, but logic suggests that a girl born or baptised in the parish of a church dedicated to St Wendelin (who was a male) might be given Wendy as a made-up name that was close to the church's name. That's where I would start looking for pre-JM Barrie Wendys.
There are several references to 'Wendy' as a first name on the LDS Genealogy website, The earliest being from England in 1524. The early references are almost certainly contractions of Gwendoline. There is also a village in Cambridgeshire, England with the name Wendy recorded in Domesday.
If Audrey is a form of Etheldreda, then Wendy could be (whether in actuality or in retrospect, to give it some historical legitimacy) a form if Wendreda.
Like Etheldreda, who was her sister, Wendreda was a 7th century Anglo-Saxon saint associated with the east of England.
In the village of March, Cambridgeshire, there is an ancient church dedicated to St Wendreda.
Wen is a Celtic word meaning "white" that is still present in some English place names (such as Wendover, meaning "white waters") so Wendy probably does have white as its meaning, whether we associate it with Wendreda or with Gwendoline.
As a previous poster says, there is a place called Wendy in Cambridgeshire: it means, however, "island at a river bend" in Old English and I doubt it's connected with Wendreda.
In reference to the debate above regarding Biblical names: the Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Though there are Latin names in it, no part of it was originally in Latin.
Regarding the reference to the Domesday Book: you may be right about that but it might depend on who wrote it down and who read it. Some of those names are hard to make out. It's not uncommon even today for something to be mis-spelled or mis-read, or both.
I just searched the British births, marriages and deaths register (which begins in 1837) and found three Wendys born at least forty years before 1904, when Barrie's play was first staged. So clearly it was used as a name before then, though not very often. I'm also inclined to think it's a contraction of Gwendolen - though possibly it's from Anglo-Saxon wendan, 'to make one's way'.
I don't think James Barrie invented the name per se, I think he just popularised it.
In many first name books, the name Wendy is thought to mean "motherly" or "caring", because in the story of Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, the character Wendy Darling is referred to by the Lost Boys as "Mother", rather than "Wendy", because she is seen by them as the only motherly figure they have ever had. Other sources suggest the name Wendy could have originated as a diminutive of Gwendolen, which means "fair" or "white"; some sources also regard Gwendolen and Wendy to mean "white bow" or "white circle", the latter referring to the moon. Despite this, Wendy was not used as a first name officially until the beginning of the 20th Century, when J. M. Barrie's book Peter Pan was released, so it is more likely that the name was totally invented by J. M. Barrie, but with possible influences from Gwendolen, alternatively, in other sources, the name Wendy is also thought to mean "friend" or "friendly", this meaning originated from Barrie's close young friend, the 4 year-old Margaret Henley, who referred to Barrie as her "friendy-Wendy", which gave Barrie the name Wendy the idea for his main female protagonist in the book, Wendy Darling. :)
My name is Wendy also. There is a parish in Cambridgeshire called Shingay cum Wendy. The separate parishes of Shingay and Wendy amalgamated in 1957 but the parish of Wendy had 17 inhabitants in 1086. Here is a link to the history.
That gives the name much more significance and raises the level of seriousness than just the Peter Pan and Wendy connection.
I think the name explanation could be clearer. James Barrie had a literary friend WE Henley, whose four year old daughter Margaret called Barrie her 'fwendy-Wendy'. Margaret died at five and Barrie used the pet name as a memorial to her. It was after the name was used in Peter Pan that it caught on, but its earlier occasional use may have contributed to its acceptance both by Barrie and his readers. A name, or any word, may have more than one impetus leading to its acceptance. Linda is another example.
Using the Church of The Latter Day Saints records (familysearch. Org) My search has produced the following information.
The name Wendy, is usually female, but is sometimes used for males in the U.K.
The earliest entry for the name found in USA records, is Wendy Pitz born 1796 in Pennsylvania. However, in the U.K. the earliest record is for Wendy Evans born 1469 in Redenhall, Norfolk. There are records for more than 90 names by the year 1900.
(Latter years are death records where recorded.)
1469 Wendy Evans F Redenhall, Norfolk
1510 Wendy Gail Orr F England
1524 Wendy Ellsworth F Cantebury 1550
1527 Wendy Jones F Yorkshire 1585
1531 Wendy Rice F Cork, Ireland 1587
1540 Wendy Palmer F England
1541 Wendy Greeke F Lanc's
1546 Wendy Talbois F Armagh, Ireland
1555 Wendy Orr F England
1579 Wendy Womack England
1598 Wendy Taylor F Hertford, England 1661
1607 Margaret Wendy Burgoyne F Haslingfield, Camb's
1615 Wendy Oxford Harston, Camb's
1618 Wendy Howard F Witshire
1636 Wendy Zeller F England
1637 Wendy Phillips F Sussex 1708
1662 Wendy Williams Swarby, Linc's
1682 Wendy Thompson England
1684 Wende Willmut Shalbourne, Wilt's
1698 Wendy Burgoyne Wroxall, Wark's
1703 Wendy Bank F Yorkshire
1705 Hannah Wendy Crocket F Kenmare, Ireland
1709 Wendy Oxford Royston, Hert's
1711 Wendy Fuller All Saints, Camb's
1718 Wendy Victoria Fairchild F Somerset
1734 Charles Wendy Addington M Litchborough, Northants
1739 Thomas Wende Beddoe M Ludlow, Shrop's.
St. Wendelin of Trier
Born about 554; died probably in 617. His earliest biographies, two in Latin and two in German, did not appear until after 1417. Their narrative is the following: Wendelin was the son of a Scottish king; after a piously spent youth he secretly left his home on a pilgrimage to Rome. On his way back he settled as a hermit in Westricht in the Diocese of Trier. When a great landowner blamed him for his idle life he entered this lord's service as a herdsman. Later a miracle obliged this lord to allow him to return to his solitude. Wendelin then established a company of hermits from which sprang the Benedictine Abbey of Tholey. He was consecrated abbot about 597, according to the later legends. Tholey was apparently founded as a collegiate body about 630. It is difficult to say how far the later biographers are trustworthy. Wendelin was buried in his cell, and a chapel was built over the grave. The small town of St. Wendel grew up nearby. The saint's intercession was powerful in times of pestilence and contagious diseases among cattle. When in 1320 a pestilence was checked through the intercession of the saint, Archbishop Baldwin of Trier had the chapel rebuilt. Baldwin's successor, Boemund II, built the present beautiful Gothic church, dedicated in 1360 and to which the saint's relics were transferred; since 1506 they have rested in a stone sarcophagus. Wendelin is the patron saint of country people and herdsmen and is still venerated in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. He is represented in art as a youth, or as a bearded man, with a shepherd's bag and a book in one hand and a shepherd's crook in the other; about him feed lambs, cattle, and swine, while a crown and a shield are placed at his feet. St. Wendelin is not mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, but his feast is observed in the Diocese of Trier on 22 October.
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