Concerning the Name "Eilonwy"
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Concerning the Name "Eilonwy"

by Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn
(Heather Rose Jones,
©1997 by Heather Rose Jones. All rights reserved
Last updated 29 May 1997

The name "Eilonwy" is found as the given name of a female character in a modern juvenile fantasy series by Lloyd Alexander, very loosely based on medieval Welsh literature [1]. Many of Alexander's character names are actually found in period Welsh literature, but although "Eilonwy" is composed of elements that can be found in historic Welsh names, it appears that Alexander invented this name. No example of "Eilonwy" has been found in period sources.

"Eilonwy" could be postulated as a constructed given name, based on period names such as "Eilfyw" (m), "Eiludd" (m), etc. and "Euronwy" (f), "Goronwy" (m), "Llifonwy" (m), "Tegonwy" (m) [2]. Alexander may have used these names as his starting-point in inventing "Eilonwy". As the above examples show, the ending "-onwy" appears in both masculine and (one) feminine names, so the name "Eilonwy" could reasonably be either masculine or feminine.

This remains, however, a hypothetical construction. While it is known that not all names used in medieval Wales were recorded in contemporary writings, there is currently no known evidence that "Eilonwy" was actually used anytime before the late 20th century.


[1] Alexander, Lloyd, The Book of Three; The Black Cauldron; The Castle of Llyr; Taran Wanderer; The High King (New York: Dell Publ. Co., 1969).

[2] Bartrum, P. C., Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts (Cardiff: Univ. of Wales Press, 1966).