PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England

Domesday

[Image: Excerpt from the Domesday Book]
[Image: Durham Liber Vitae, folio 38r (extract)]

Bædling


Author: CPL
Editorial Status: unknown

Discussion of the name

The masculine name Bædling has been taken to be a nickname formed from OE bædling, the latter meaning ‘an effeminate man, a homosexual’ (von Feilitzen 1937: 193). The related nouns bædling and bæddel (‘hermaphrodite’) in fact occur only in learned contexts (glossaries and a penitential) (OED: bad, adj., n.2, adv.; badling, n.1) and look rather like words coined for the occasion, or at least a specialized application of words with other meanings in ordinary usage. Derogatory nicknames were common in Anglo-Saxon England, but the insult of effeminacy perhaps stretches credibility as a personal name used by a man of high social standing.

Bædling and bæddel are potentially both derived from an unattested OE badde, though the early history of Middle English badde, Modern English bad is a minefield of speculation (MED: badde, adj.; Coates 1988). It is perhaps worth noting that the northern English dialect word badling meant ‘a worthless person, a good-for-nothing’ (OED: badling, n.1), arguably more plausible as a nickname and personal name, and certainly in line with the earliest appearances of badde in bynames after 1200 (MED: badde, adj.).

In the present state of research, the meaning of the OE name Bædling cannot be resolved with complete satisfaction, but it clearly existed, if with only a single known usage, the TRE landowner Bædling 2.

Bibliography

Coates 1988: Richard Coates, ‘Middle English badde and related puzzles’, NOWELLE: North Western European Language Evolution, 11 (Feb. 1988), 91–104

MED: On-line Middle English Dictionary

von Feilitzen 1937: Olof von Feilitzen, The Pre-Conquest Personal Names of Domesday Book, Nomina Germanica 3 (Uppsala: Almqvist and Wiksells, 1937)

Forms of the name

Spellings in Domesday Book: Bedling, Bellinc

Forms in modern scholarship:

  von Feilitzen head forms: Bædling

  Phillimore edition: Belling

  Alecto edition: Bædling

Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

Holder 1066

Shire Phil. ref. Vill Holder 1066 DB Spelling Holder 1066 Lord 1066 Tenant-in-Chief 1086 1086 subtenant Fiscal value 1066 value 1086 value Holder 1066 ID conf. Show on map
Sussex 12,28 Perching Bellinc Bædling 'of Truleigh' Godwine, earl William de Warenne Tezelin 'of Fulking' 2.00 0.95 0.95 A Map
Sussex 13,6 Truleigh Bedling Bædling 'of Truleigh' Godwine, earl William de Briouze William 'the man of William de Briouze' 3.50 3.50 3.06 A Map
Sussex 13,6 Truleigh Bedling Bædling 'of Truleigh' Godwine, earl William de Briouze William 'the man of William de Briouze' 0.50 0.50 0.44 A Map
Total               6.00 4.95 4.45  

People of this name

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