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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Guest blogging about the Saucy Seventh!

I have been invited to guest blog for Catherine Curzon on her excellent blogsite, 'A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life', and you can find it Here


Sunday, 6 December 2015

More Regency female names....

I had to share this link to a lady with, I suspect, more names than most... HERE

Now, I admit that most of these are traditional old German names, but there's some scope for imagination here [I really AM influenced by Anne of Green Gables], though I really do not recommend a heroine called Nepomucena. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Renaissance art and murder

Book 9 of the Felicia and Robin mysteries, 'The Colour of Murder' is now live on kindle and should be available in paperback any time soon; kindle available HERE

Renaissance Artists

Being an artist in the Renaissance was a precarious business, and not just because one had to find a patron in order to earn by painting!  Fresco painting was the most common form of employment, but paid only a ducat a foot, four shillings and eight pence, which for the time preparing the wall and the nervous business of working onto wet plaster was low pay for an artisan for the time spent in preparation.  And an artist was an artisan; there was no sense that an artist was in any way loftier than a weaver, a tawyer or a smith.  The fortunate, and skilled, could make as much in a year as a wealthy clothier, and in Florence and East Anglia that was usually by painting wealthy clothiers....

The apprenticeship could be a nervous business, since the preparation of pigments formed a part of it.  Colours did not come conveniently in tubes as they do today, but had to be ground and mixed with oils.  Many of them were costly, like the best blue which was ground from lapis lazuli imported from what is now Afghanistan, and which had to be mixed with walnut oil so as not to become yellowed.  Cheaper blues tended to become grey with time.  The mix of the correct pigment with the correct oil, in the right quantities was something that must be learned.  And as many of the pigments were also poisonous, there was much risk in the preparation!  White lead was used, in great quantities, which could be poisonous if any should get onto a cut or lesion, and the brightest red came from cinnabar, red mercury, which was potentially poisonous through absorption through the skin itself.
 Painting was not performed in the same way as it is nowadays, when colour is laid on pretty much as you want it to be; thin layers of paint from dark to light were built up, each one modifying the colour of the layers above it. Achieving a vibrant and colourful finish could be challenging, and it was easy to end up with something muddy.
 The knowledge of how to use the colour layers to affect each other was vital, and some artists kept notebooks of how certain colours interacted, including the effects of the various oils with which they were mixed, as an aide memoire if they had no instinct for colour mixing.  Odd as it seems, there are people who are competent draughtsmen who cannot look at a colour in life and reproduce it precisely in paint, even without taking into account the effect of building up layers.  In such a book, an artist would also make notes about his own recipes for such things as varnishes.  Leonardo da Vinci himself did so, since when asked to paint the Pope, the first thing he did was to invent a new varnish...
Of course if the client was not satisfied, the artist might not be paid, or he might be sent on his way with blows for insolence if the sitter did not find the painting sufficiently flattering!

Add to this the reputation artists had for being a quarrelsome lot, and fond of duels, and it may be seen that a Renaissance artist could lead an exciting life even without involvement with murder and politics.


 


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A maid's revenge...

The Bluestocking Belles have been kind enough to post a guest blog of mine revolving around my Brandon Scandals series; please find it HERE

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

telling fairy tales is not limited by period...

The earliest recognisable fairy tales I've been able to track down are 12th century, a version of Little Red Riding Hood [the girl with the red cloak] being the oldest.  But stories of the fabulous have been told since time immemorial, whether the famous werewolf tale of Ancient Rome anyone who studied Latin at school has read, or the fables of Aesop, which gave their name [fabulae] to tales about talking beasts whose telling made a moral of the tale.
Which being so I am unashamedly promoting 'Fae Tales' a book co-authored with my friend and fellow Regency author, Giselle Marks, which is a collection of stories of faery tales, legends and myths set in a modern setting, and a few poems thrown in for good measure.  I posted part of one of them here earlier, about the Suffolk dragon, Here

 And now Fae Tales is live on Amazon as a paperback HERE or kindle HERE 
As well as on local Amazon stores

Monday, 9 November 2015

Lovely review on Death of a Fop, Austen spinoff

Francine Howarth, a most accomplished Regency author, has been kind enough to review 'Death of a Fop' on the Regency Reviews Magazine blog [well worth a visit anyway!] HERE.   I felt very pleased and proud, and wanted to share it.

'Death of a Fop' is the first of a series of Regency mysteries, and is followed by:
'Jane and the Bow Street Runner' [3 novellas]
'Jane and the Opera Dancer'
'Jane and the Christmas Masquerades' [2 novellas]
'Jane and the Hidden Hoard'.

'Jane and the Burning Question' is in train, and I have a number of other plot outlines too.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Death of a Fop free for 5 days and new Jane book

I thought that I'd celebrate bringing out my latest Jane and Caleb book in the 'Jane- Bow Street Consultant' series by offering the first book, 'Death of a Fop', free, Here

Meantime, here's the kindle version of 'Jane and the Hidden Hoard'  here, 
Also available in paperback.

Here's the development of the cover:


 I used Erwarton Hall as my first port of call but I needed to make it one storey higher and add a more pretentious gatehouse.  Then I needed to colour in Caleb, who was in black and white.  I didn't do very much to Jane's!




Monday, 14 September 2015

The History of Little Fanny - the first ever dressing doll



I've used 'The History of Little Fanny' in the second of my 'Charity School' series because it was published just in time for little Lucy to be given it as a gift by her father, when he returned from war and tracked her down.
I've long been a collector of dolls, including paper dolls, and I was delighted to discover this first ever cut-out-and-dress doll as early as 1810!  It differs from later dolls in the tradition, in that the head is slotted into whole body costumes, rather than being a doll in undergarments with other clothes folded on top, but it was quite revolutionary for its time.    The history itself is terribly pi and moralising, and not especially realistic, and in 'Ophelia's Opportunity', Lucy loves the doll and decides to make up her own stories that are better than the one told.
Little Fanny is a disobedient child who runs away from her nurse and gets lost, and ends up as a street urchin because she cannot find her way home, then manages to learn to work and through her industry eventually gets a job delivering a parcel to her own home, which she does not realise at first is her own home [a singularly moronic child is Fanny] but her mother recognises her and is happy to have her back, which Fanny thought would never happen.  The clothes show her riches-to-rags and back again story, and I have to say that even dressed as an urchin, Fanny is better dressed than many of the real urchins one sees over and over on cartoons of the period.

Fanny's face, one rich and one poor costume
Fanny's rich coat and day dress
Fanny's costume at the bottom of the heap and then with enough to have shoes and stockings, plus the triangles for mounting the head. 
And here's a shot of some of the very sickly prose which is the right way up on my computer and firmly turns round when uploaded here.  Sorry about that, some of the other pics are not as I saved them either. 
Little Fanny was followed two years later by Little Henry in America; and by the 1820's sets of dressing dolls were produced in Europe quite regularly, but as they are ephemera, I have been unable as yet to glean many details.  Fanny really is the first paper doll in the sense we think of them nowadays, as a plaything for a child.  Eighteenth century France had dolls called pantins which were much like jumping jacks, and were designed to entertain adults.  One might easily hypothesise that fashion plate figures were cut out to play with, and in 'Elinor's Endowment' I have the children do just that, to use as actresses and actors on their Lilliputian Theatre, but Fanny appears to be the first custom-made doll who can change her costume.
And thank goodness that the idea stuck, despite the story!

My copy of 'The History of Little Fanny' is a British Museum facsimile. It's possible to pick them up on Ebay occasionally as they are out of print. 

Ophelia's Opportunity is out on Kindle and will shortly be in paperback HERE

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Literary names for the Regency Heroine.



Literary names for your Regency Heroine

I’ve mentioned a few literary names before, but I thought I’d actually get around to a reasonably comprehensive list, with dates they are first used, since a lot of the names saddled on literary heroines grew out of the doubtless fevered brows of their creators.  After all, some of the names the writers of the late 18th and early 19th century came up with were quite as awful as modern idiocies like Chelsea, Courtney, Kasey, Janelle, Kendra. Louetta and other cruelties.
We know that Jane Austen read Richardson, most of whose characters have quite everyday names,  Charlotte Smith and Fanny Burney, and chose to name all her heroines with names from the top 50 names of the period; but sometimes there is a call for more unusual names, or for names a heroine would have liked to have been called [readers of Anne of Green Gables will recall that Anne longed to have midnight dark hair and be named Susquehannah]. And sometimes unusual names may be a literary device to show the foolishness of a parent [such as the five girls named after characters in Mrs. Williams' poems whom I feature in 'Jane and the Bow Street Runner', or a parent of scholarly but not practical turn of mind like the father of Ophelia Rackham in 'Ophelia's Opportunity' [coming soon].  A memorable name can be invaluable; Georgette Heyer's 'Frederica', 'Venetia', 'Arabella' and 'The Grand Sophy' are unforgettable books.   None of the names were in common use but none of them could be said to be too out of the ordinary, with the possible exception of Venetia.   
Venetia is probably a latinised version of the name Gwynneth, and was then name of notorious 17th century beauty, Venetia Stanley. Her middle name, incidentally, was Anastasia.  In her lover's memoirs, she too has a made up pseudonym: Stelliana.  This, being shocking, is not an appropriate name to be given to any heroine!




Racine
Cleone 1667
Herminone 1667

Jonathon Swift
Vanessa 1713

Samuel Richardson:
Pamela 1740 AMENDED: also used by Sir Philip Sidney in Arcadia end 16th century
Clarissa 1747-8 [Clarissa was an extant name, but may have revived in popularity]

Helena Maria Williams
Aciloe
Alzira
Cora
Eltreda
Euphelia
Zilia
Mrs. Williams’ sisters were called Cecilia and Persis

Mary Wollstancraft: not for literary heroines but because her sister was called Everina which is fanciful enough to include here.

Charlotte Smith
Emmeline 1788
Adelina 1788 [from Emmeline]
Ethelinde 1789
Celestina 1791

The Burney sisters were particularly active in naming heroines.

Fanny Burney
Evelina 1778
Cecilia 1782 [certainly an old name but again may have gained popularity]
Honoria [from 'Cecilia' and also an extant name]
Elgiva 1790
Elberta 1788-91
Camilla 1796

Sarah Burney
Clarentine/Clarentina 1798
Geraldine 1808 [also probably extant but more likely to be used in Scotland]
Adela 1810 [a name more used on the continent.]

Caroline Burney [probably no relative and using a pseudonym to cash in on the popularity of Fanny and Sarah]
Seraphina 1809
Lindamira 1810

Walter Scott
Rosabelle 1805
Rowena 1820 [an invented version of Reinwen or Rhonwen which was used in the late Middle Ages: also used in Ireland's hoax 'lost Shakespeare play' 'Vortigern and Rowena' 1796]

Anna Louise Germaine de Stael
Delphine 1802
Corinne 1807

Miss Owenson
Ida 1809 [an old name but popularised]

Mrs. Sykes
Margiana 1808

For older literary names:
Here is a partial list of the more exotic female names used in songs and poetry on broadsheets of the 17th century:

Amandine
Claudia
Diana
Lillia   
Philomel[a]
Amarillis
Clea
Dorinda
Lucretia
Sappho
Arminda
Cloris
Dulcina
Parthenia
Silvia
Celina
Cynthia
Flora
Phillis

Celea
Daphnis
Gillian
Phillida


                                                           
                                                           
                                                                       
                                                                       

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Time as measured in Jane Austen's time.

This is something of a rewrite of an earlier post, but I am concentrating on time for people in the late Georgian era, and have included a couple of useful charts for sunrise and sunset times in Britain through the year.  This is London and will vary slightly to north and south.  The whole of Britain only subtends a couple of degrees of arc, however, and for the purposes of the inexact time of the era will do just fine.



Time Generally

      Time by the late Georgian era was no longer measured by the Church and its offices, but they happened to coincide with the times of day most people cared about – midnight, sunrise, rising time, opening of offices and shops, noon, knocking off time or sunset, which depended on the time of year which came first, and bedtime.  Recent research suggests that people of the 18th century and before may have slept for four hours, woke and either rose for a drink or engaged in sex for a couple of hours and then went back to sleep again for four hours; this is apparently a natural biorhythm.  I’m a little sceptical, myself, since the average working man would not have had ten hours overnight to play about with like that.  Possibly it may have been a pattern followed by some of the leisured classes, but Austen never mentions her characters getting up in the middle of the night, so I’m inclined to go with her.  As to natural biorhythms, once I’m off, I’m off until my alarm clock puts his soft paws on my face and bites my nose gently seven hours later. 


Even in the Regency time was not as all-important as it is now.  Time nowadays is measured in nanoseconds and consumes all our lives.  Then the nearest quarter hour was good enough – and likely to be different in every village or at every church steeple by which gentlemen set their watches.  Accurate chronometers for the use of sailors had been invented in 1750 for the purposes of calculating longitude at sea, but pocket watches were not of that degree of accuracy, and nor did this particularly matter.  Especially as the time from one place to the next might be anything up to an hour different.
Country wide timekeeping only became important with the widespread use of railways; when ‘railway time’ was adhered to as the standard.
No Regency buck is going to look at his watch and say ‘it is three seventeen’; for one thing that means of expressing the time is modern, and for another it would not occur to him to be that accurate – unless he was trying to break a record driving from London to Brighton, when he would probably start on the hour or half hour in any case.  He would for every day purposes say either ‘it’s about quarter past three’ or if he was trying to hurry up the females in his life ‘hurry up, it’s coming up twenty past three already’.



sunrise times London

Sunset times, London


The country year, in common with the medieval year, was governed by farming expediency; such religious festivals as were retained in a Protestant country were those which, like the pagan festivals, fitted in to the farming year.  Most people by now had some idea of what the date was, but most country people would still count time as being along the lines of, ‘the day after old Mrs. Scroggins slipped on the ice, which is two years since there was ice as bad as this and the river froze’.  The state of the moon would also be something more people would be aware of than in these times of street lighting, and high rise buildings that block the moon.  ‘I’ll sow my seeds on the waxing moon next month’ would be a statement that made sense to any countryman [and as a matter of interest some extensive research seems to concur with the old country saying that seeds should be sown with the moon waxing. Something to do with tidal drag.]

The farmworker’s day was determined as it always has been by the time of year; he worked from dawn until dusk. The hardest work of the year was during harvest, when the day was very long too; in winter there were less tasks to do on the land save marling it but the few animals that were not slaughtered still had to be cared for, and there was repair to tools and fences.

The year was still divided into quarters, and this was the day on which debts were settled, rents were paid, quarterly pay was given, disputes were heard by magistrates, and many fairs were held, including hiring fairs where country servants might hope to get a position.
Quarter days:
Lady Day, 25th March, held as New Year’s day until 1751 and the reason for the superstition of cleaning the grate completely on New Year’s eve [it makes sense at the end of spring to be without a fire where it does not do so in the middle of winter]
Midsummer Day 24th June
Michaelmas Day 29th September
Christmas Day 25th December

Country folk were still calculating by the quarter day up to the second world war in some places.



Moon phases as they relate to time of rising and setting.

Nothing irritates me much more than to read things like ‘the sickle moon was just rising as they went to Almack’s’
The rising and setting times of the moon are determined by the phases and though that may vary by some hours in general the following is true.

The New Moon or dark of the moon rises very early in the morning, between the late early hours and early morning and sets in the early evening.  This is only really noticeable when there is the first sliver of new moon visible.

First Quarter  rises quite early in the morning and sets sometime at or after midnight.

Full Moon rises early evening, sets very, very early in the morning

Third Quarter rises after midnight and sets  during the first part of the morning


During each of these phases of course the time shifts slightly each day. 

NOTE: tides will be high roughly when the moon is at Zenith and Nadir . This is also affected by latitude. I haven’t come across a reliable engine to do the maths for me yet.  Just please, don’t have a high spring tide, or any kind of high tide, as the sickle moon rises.  High springs are with full moon.  

Note 2: the graphs are drawn by me from data in books, so please attribute me if you use them. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Reprobate's Redemption is live!



Following a botched abduction in which he was wounded, Evelyn, Marquis Finchbury finds himself embroiled with the determined young runaway Imogen. Short of money but loath to get attached to a chamberpot heiress, Finchbury spurns the idea of courting Imogen. Instead he hands her over to his mother’s protection.

As Imogen turns her hand to sorting out Lady Enid’s problems and rescuing Finchbury’s illegitimate children from a murderous gypsy and a vituperative gentlewoman, Finchbury finds himself drawn to Imogen against his will. His protestations that he is no good for Imogen fall on determinedly deaf ears as the chamberpot heiress unravels the ghosts of his past and determines to marry Evelyn.


The background picture is Bath, where Finchbury, travelling reluctantly with Imogen, meets up with his mother and her paramour, and thankfully hands Imogen over to her.  Here Imogen makes a social debut, meeting some of the younger inhabitants of the town and trying the baths with Lady Enid, the cause of whose strange malady Imogen is able to guess.  However, Enid agrees to go with her son, with Imogen in tow, to his Seat, to decide what to sell, in order to start to recoup his fortunes.  We discover a lot about Evelyn's father, all to the man's detriment, and I enjoyed writing the children so much I'm going to work them into another book in the series just for kicks and giggles.  This may delay the book involving Letty Grey, as that doesn't take place until early 1815, but it will be coming! 
Fortunately I had all my weather research to hand in the writing of this, so the weather, including snow in Bath early in May  is accurate,  because it was written in the book, and sent to a friend to beta-read, before the Great Data Crash.  

It's coincidental that I was involving gypsies at the same time as my friend and editor, Giselle Marks, was writing a book in which Gypsies were a major feature, so we were able to share information.  The carts of the time were not the brightly painted vardos of later times, but were more akin to the pioneer carts of the wild west, with carts hooped and covered with canvas.  The hoops, often cut from local materials at each stop, were used to make rude tents for living in.  I call them vardos for convenience, because the word isn't going to have sprung out of nowhere. 
US:

And the UK manages to have both on one page HERE  and I'm sorry about the price, costs keep going up with everything...  I make 27p per hard copy... 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Guest blog from Melinda de Ross, the Coriola books.

Melinda's work may be set in the modern day, but her research is based in the past, in times of Renaissance superstition, belief in magic and vampires and so on. I have every respect for Melinda, not only for her meticulous research, but because she's writing in a foreign language.  Now I can shop in Romanian, but I couldn't write a book in it, and I raise my hat to her amazing English, which surpasses that of plenty of native speakers.






Melinda De Ross (real name Anca-Melinda Coliolu) is an international author of Romanian origin. She writes in two languages, and her books combine the elegance specific to the European style with the modern appeal of the American culture. Her favorite genre to read and write in is Romance, and anytime she prefers to watch a classic movie instead of going to a noisy club.
She loves to hear from her readers, and you can find her at:




Italian businessman Giovanni Coriola and English target-shooting trainer Sonia Galsworthy have only two things in common—a sizzling chemistry and no desire for commitment. When they meet in London, the world starts spinning faster and they quickly become addicted to each other. The incendiary passion between them skyrockets into smoldering, once-in-a-lifetime love.
Just as they thought they had things settled, a strange discovery triggers a mysterious spiral of events that puts their lives in danger more than once, with no apparent reason.
What connection could there be between an ancient amulet, a secret society and the long-dead poet Dante Alighieri? A sinister, complicated conspiracy that gradually catches up with the characters. And of course, one last twist before the ending.
*Dante’s Amulet is a follow-up of Mirage Beyond Flames.




 

 

 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The use of literary names after the advent of Printing



This is some of the lost work I've been re-creating.  Originally it was a page or so inserted after English medieval names in the main body of the text, but I've done it out nicely and it's now ready to be one of the essays in the appendices of the great name book.  

The use of literary names after the advent of Printing, [and lists of names to be found in Medieval literature]

The publishing of ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’ by Malory in 1485 has to have had some influence upon the choices of names within the literate community.  It was the first work of prose to be printed in the English language, despite its French title.
It is impossible to discuss the use of literary names without some discussion on literacy in late medieval Britain.
The literate community in Britain was large, compared to that in many places, largely owing to the influences of Lollardy, which had moved from being an upper class conceit as a counter to the power of the church in the mid fourteenth century, to being a religion more of the incipient middle classes in the fifteenth century.  Literacy, with the intent of being able to read English language Bibles, was a strong tenet of Lollardy.  It should be noted that printing presses sprang up in such places as Bungay, which was also a hotbed of Lollardy, including such figures as William of Bungay who was burned in Norwich in 1512.
Literacy too was popular with the mercantile classes even if they were not inclined to Lollardy, since being able to read their own contracts meant that they could both avoid being stiffed, and save money on a clerk. It was a period of increasing numbers of Grammar Schools, including those with places for clever poor boys, like the Ipswich School founded by Felawe, which was attended by Thomas Wolsey.

The names from the tales of Arthur were known before printing, of course, by many, and the incidence of the Cornish name Guinevere or Jenefer in the fourteenth century cannot be entirely explained by Cornish girls bearing the name.  However, it is in the fifteenth century that we see male names like Ninian, Gawain and Percival appearing in sufficient numbers to be noted.  The more common version of Ninian, Vivian, had been around for a great deal longer, but it is certainly worthy of speculation that the literary form may have been an influence.   With the spread of printing, too, other sources became available, in addition to various Arthurian legends, which I will address in detail.  Other literary sources include the ‘Song of Roland’ and its related early sixteenth century works, ‘Orlando Furioso’ and ‘Amadis the Gaul’; as well as other works like ‘Roman de la Rose’, ‘Valentin et Orson’, Chaucer’s various tales, a selection of fairy tales, and of course the various gestes, or tales, of Robin Hood. 
Robin Hood probably remained one of the most popular sets of tales, crossing all social and class boundaries.  However, it is impossible to say how much influence it may have had on naming traditions, as the names within it are ordinary English names, which may be seen to be popular throughout the period, and were probably popular in any case.  Names for men such as Robert, Richard, John and William were always in the top ten,  equally Marion as a variant of Mary for women, and certainly Bettrys [Beatrice] was frequently used, if less common, even as George was less frequently used [George the Pinner of Wakefield and his bride, Bettrys].  Robin Hood was, like Chaucer’s tales, written in English and hence more accessible than the majority of French language romances, which carried the snob value of Norman French, out of the reach of many readers, though even as early versions of fairy tales appear to have been common currency, so were the Arthurian tales, at least in basic versions.

I will undertake first to list names from Malory, and then from other Arthurian legend bases.   One of these, ‘Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight’, is said by some sources to contain allegorical reference to John of Gaunt, an early champion of Lollardy.

Arthurian cycles

Morte d’Arthur
These are the most prominent characters appearing in the 8 books
Male
Female
Agravaine
Ector
Mark
Elaine
Arthur
Gaheris
Mellyagaunce
Gwynevere
Balan
Gareth
Merlin
Iseult [Isolde]
Balyn
Gawaine
Mordred
Lynette
Bedivere
Galahad
Ninian
Lyonesse
Blamore
Gorlois
Palamedes
Morgan
Bleoberys
Launcelot
Peregrine
Margawse
Bors
Leodegrance
Tristrams
Ygraine
Cei [Kay]
Lot
Urry

Dinadan
Lucan
Uther


Brothers: Balan & Balyn; Gawaine, Gareth & Gaheris. 


Chretien de Troyes [5 narrative tales c 1160-1190]

Male
Female
Alexander
Dodinel
Grain
Morhut
Blanchfleur
Alis
Erec
Gru
Nut
Enide
Amauguin
Escalados
Kay
Perceval
Fenice
Aras
Eslit
Labigodes
Sagremor
Guinevere
Arthur
Evroic
Lac
Taulas
Laudine
Bademagu
Gaheriet
Lancelot/Lanceloz
Tenebroc
Lunete
Bedoiir [Bedivere]
Galegantin
Loholt
Tor
Orcades [Morgawse]
Bertrand
Gales
Lot
Tristan
Soredamors
Bliobleheris
Garravain
Meleagant
Uriien
Ygraine
Bran
Gawain
Meliadoc
Yder

Calogrenant
Girflet
Meliant
Yvain

Carabes
Gornemant
Meliz


Cligès
Gornevain
Mordred





Other Arthurian cycles, often involving marriage to a fey [fairy]
There are many tales in which a knight of the Round Table meets a fairy woman and marries here but is under geas not to speak about his wife, which of course he breaks, bringing sorrow.  She usually repents and rescues him.  Another theme is that of the ‘loathly lady’ stories, a version of which Chaucer includes in the ‘Tale of the Wife of Bath,’ where a knight is challenged to find what women want, and is constrained to marry an ugly hag to do so.  On their wedding night she becomes a beautiful woman and tells him she may be lovely by day when others see her, or by night when he takes her to bed.  The proper knight leaves the choice to her, freeing her from haghood at any time.  Other themes involve resisting seduction by a hostess and the obligatory beheading games. 
Authors include Thomas Chestre, Marie de France, John Gower’s ‘Confessio Amantis’ [included for the loathly lady story of Sir Florent] and anonymous writers of works like ‘The Awntyres [adventures] off Arthure’, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘Historia Regum Britannia’, and ‘Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight’. I do not include the main protagonists save where they have name variations or a leading role like Gawain[e].  I have not included the Mabinogian, although it influenced some writers as the names are distinctly Welsh and unlikely to be borrowed in England when Anglicised names were more familiar.
Male
Female
Bertilac
Launfal /Landeval/ Lanval
Anna/Morgawse aka Orcades, Seife
Branchus
Loholt
Clarissant
Florent
Mardoc
Gaynour/ Guinevere
Galeron
Melwas
Olwen
Gawaine
Olyroun
Ragnelle
Gingalain
Percival
Soredamor
Gorlois
Thopas
Tryamour
Gromer
Valentine
Thametis/Thameta/Thenilis
Hoel

Winlogee/Guinevere
Thametis is said to be the sister of Gawaine and the daughter of King Lot, and is probably synonymous with legendary Scottish saint Teneu.  In some texts Loholt is the illegitimate son of Arthur, but in ‘Perlesvaus’ he is the legitimate son of Arthur and  Guinevere.  ‘Perlesvaus’ is a 13th century continuation of Chretien de Troyes’ ‘Percival’. There were a number of continuations, so presumably the world’s first fanfiction…

Perceforest
An anonymous six volume romance in French, loosely related to the Arthurian cycle, a fanciful history of England and one of the earliest tellings of the Sleeping Beauty legend, Troylus et Zellandine. Written between 1330 and 1344, printed 1528.  I have left out such historical figures as Alexander the Great who were included, and the usual suspects from the Arthurian cycles.

Male
Female
Bethides
Gaddifer
Circe
Themis
Betis
Perceforest
Lucina
Venus
Darmant
Troylus
Sebille
Zellandine
Darnadon




The Melusine cycle
It is still a French proverb that one may weep like Melusine.  This is a two generation cycle of husbands disobeying conditions laid on them by their wives  about not seeing them at certain times.   This also has connections to the Arthurian cycle as knights descended from those of the Round Table appear as heroes. The best known literary version is by Jean d’Arras composed 1382-1394

Male
Female
Elynas
Nathas
Melior
Palatyne
Geoffrey
Raymond
Melusine
Pressyne


Song of Roland

The Song of Roland purported to be a history of the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne, or Charles the Great.  Tales of derring-do and the theme of friendship between Oliver and Roland.  Dodgy for Merovingian names but certainly a source for late medieval ones.  Some characters appear to be shared with the Arthurian cycles, probably reflecting a similar folk source.

Male
Male
Female
Alard
Guy
Angelina
Allery
Hoel
Berenice
Amadis
Lambert
Bertha
Astolfo
Malagigi
Blanchefleur
Aymon
Nayme/Nami
Bradamant
Baldwin
Ogier
Dianora
Basin
Oliver
Dorigen
Berengar
Otuël
Elizana
Doon
Peridan
Oriana
Ferumbias/Fierabras
Renaud/Rinaldo

Florismart
Richand

Ganelan
Richard

Geoffrey
Riol

Guerin
Roland/Orlando

Guichard
Samson

Guillaume
Thiery



Chaucer
Chaucer’s characters are a mix of names that were extant in his time, and those from tales he borrows wholesale from the classics.  Other tales he tells are often borrowed wholesale from Boccaccio and Gower like Patient Griselda or Grishilde. I have not included the names of Greek gods, nor have I included names from Bible stories like Judith and Holofernes which are too well known to require listing

Names in common currency
Male
Female
Absolon[Absolom]
Oliver
Alice
Jill
Alan
Oswald
Alisoun
Mabely
Gervase
Peter/Piers/Perkin
Blanche
Malkin
Guy
Ralf
Cecily
Maudelayne
Harry
Robin/Robert
Constance
Molly
Hubert
Roger/Hodge
Crysede
Prudence
Hugh
Simon/Simkin
Eglantyne
Rosemund
Jack/John/Jankyn
Solomon
Emelye[Emily]
Sophia
Maurice
Thomas
Grishilde
Theodora
Nicholas
Walter
Helen


Classical/pseudo-classical & Persian names in Chaucer
Male
Female
Achilles
Hector
Alcestis
Livia
Achelous
Hercules
Alcyone
Lucilla
Aella
Jason
Anelida
Lucrece
Aeneas
Julius
Ariadne
Medea
Apollonius
Leander
Briseis
Myrrha
Appius
Lucan
Canace
Pasiphaë
Arcite
Lycurgus
Clytemnestra
Penelope
Arrius
Odenatus
Creusa
Philomela
Cambyses
Palamon
Crysede
Phyllis
Capaneus
Pandarus
Deianira
Progne
Ceryx
Pirathous
Dido
Thisbe
Claudius
Pyramus
Eriphyle
Virginia
Creon
Theseus
Helen
Zenobia
Cyrus
Tiburce
Hero

Deiphobus
Troylus
Hermione

Demophon
Valerian
Hypermnestra

Diomed[es]
Virginius
Hyppolyta

Emetreus

Hipspyle


Other mythic names in Chaucer [including those from Arthurian cycles]
Male
Female
Algarsyf
Elephaunt
Percival
Canacee
Aurelius
Ganelan
Pleyndamour
Donegild
Averagus
Guy
Thopas
Dorigen
Bevis
Hermanno
Thymaldo
Elpheta
Cambal
Libeaus
Ugolino
Hermengild
Cambuscan
Melibee
Ypotis
Theodora

Interestingly, some scholars postulate that the tale of the Wife of Bath shows that she has an interest in Lollardy, if not actually being a Lollard, since remarriage of widows was a tenet of the beliefs, and her extremely free thinking suggests Lollard influences.  Where Chaucer stood on this is, of course, a moot point.  He did write a disclaimer to the effect that opinions of his characters did not necessarily reflect his own.  However, as an author myself, I cannot think that he was not pleased that Lollard literacy meant more sales of his books.  Religion is religion but business is business!

Here’s one more table of literary names available by the 16th century, mostly from French romances and ballads:

Male
Female
Abelard
Argentine
Electra
Amylion
Beatrix
Erembors
Amys
Belisant
Heloise
Aucassin
Bessee
Idoine
Flore
Blanche
Margeurite
Orson
Blancheflore
Nicolette
Pippin
Calafia
Yolande
Valentin
Douette



references: Chaucer, selected works; Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight; A lytel Geste of Robin Hood; Wiki on Malory, Chretien de Troyes etc [because I need to go to the library to look at the damn books but Wiki is a shortcut and I can check properly later, and there's only so much Middle English I can take before I get a headache]; the Oxford Treasury of French Literature.