Arthur is the name of the central character in Arthurian legend, a 6th-century king of the Britons who resisted Saxon invaders. He may or may not have been based on a real person. He first appears in Welsh poems and chronicles (perhaps briefly in the 7th-century poem Y Gododdin and more definitively and extensively in the 9th-century History of the Britons by Nennius ). However, his character was not developed until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth . His tales were later taken up and expanded by French and English writers.
The name came into general use in England in the Middle Ages due to the prevalence of Arthurian romances, and it enjoyed a surge of popularity in the 19th century. Famous bearers include German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), mystery author and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), and science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008).
Due to the popularity of the saint, the name became common in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was commonly spelled Cecily - the Latinate form Cecilia came into use in the 18th century.
This name was fairly common in France, England and the United States in the early 20th century. It became quite popular in France and England at the end of the 20th century, just when it was at a low point in the United States. It quickly climbed the American charts and entered the top ten in 2014.
The popularity of the name Eleanor in England during the Middle Ages was due to the fame of Eleanor of Aquitaine, as well as two queens of the following century: Eleanor of Provence, the wife of Henry III, and Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I. More recently, it was borne by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), the wife of American president Franklin Roosevelt.
The name can also be given in reference to the city in Italy, as in the case of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). She was a nurse in British hospitals during the Crimean War and is usually considered the founder of modern nursing.
This name has been used occasionally in England since the 12th century. It was not common in the English-speaking world until the end of the 20th century.
As an English name it was not used until after the Protestant Reformation. It was utilized by George Eliot for the title character in her novel Silas Marner (1861).