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.
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)
Spellings in Domesday Book: Bedling, Bellinc
Forms in modern scholarship:
von Feilitzen head forms: Bædling
Phillimore edition: Belling
Alecto edition: Bædling
|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|