Aki is a masculine name which evidently originated in the Danish islands as a diminutive (Insley 1994: 4, correcting Fellows Jensen 1968: 5). There is no certain example of its use in England before the time of the Danish kings in the eleventh century (Aki 2 = Aki 4): what has been cited as an earlier instance rests on the slender evidence of a possible interpretation of a corrupt and difficult passage in a will of the mid tenth century (Aki 1; S 1526; Whitelock 1930: no. 1).
The place-name evidence can be read as reinforcing the idea that the name was not known in England until quite late in the Anglo-Saxon period, since its only occurrences in major names are in Achebi in Richmondshire (Yorks. 6N:120; Fellows Jensen 1968: 3–5), the Derbyshire hamlet of Oakthorpe (Derb. 14:10; Insley 1994: 4), and the small coastal Suffolk vill of Akethorpe (Suff. 1:56; Insley 1994: 4). All three were low status and conceivably late-founded vills, the first a berewick which did not survive, and the last two with very low assessments in 1086 (6 bovates and 80 acres respectively); none of the three was a vill in 1334 or a parish at any time.
Once introduced, the name may have caught on quickly, since there were probably four TRE landowners, and several dozen persons bearing the name are recorded in twelfth- and early-thirteenth century Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and Norfolk (Fellows Jensen 1968: 3–5; Insley 1994: 2–4).
Fellows Jensen 1968: Gillian Fellows Jensen, Scandinavian Personal Names in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire (Copenhagen: I Kommission hos Akademisk Forlag, 1968)
Insley 1994: John Insley, Scandinavian Personal Names in Norfolk: A Survey based on Medieval Records and Place-Names, Acta Academiae Regiae Gustavi Adolphi 62 (Uppsala, 1994)
S: P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 8 (London, 1968), revised by S. Kelly, R. Rushforth et al., The Electronic Sawyer: Online Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Charters, published online through Kemble: The Anglo-Saxon Charters Website, currently at http://www.esawyer.org.uk/about/index.html
Whitelock 1930: Anglo-Saxon Wills, ed. and trans. Dorothy Whitelock (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1930)
Spellings in Domesday Book: Achi(us); Achil, Aki(us), Anschillus, Aschil
Spellings in ICC: Achillus
Forms in modern scholarship:
von Feilitzen head forms: Aki, Ake
Phillimore edition: Aki
Alecto edition: Aki
Note: The spellings Anschillus and Aschil are erroneous forms when they stand for Achi, as they normally represent the name Eskil.