Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.
Today we’ve actually got TWO names, because we have a passing suspicion that one is the feminine form of the other. The first is Briant/Brient, which is found in France between the 12th and 14th centuries:
These French examples are from Paris and Chartres, both in the north, which makes it tempting to associated the name with Proto-Brythonic *brigonos, and to claim a Breton connection.
But if we take the possible feminine form — Brianda — the evidence for this name that we have makes the Breton connection seem less likely, for our examples of Brianda are from Italy and Spain, not France — this would be quite far south and west to find a Breton-influenced name:
Perhaps we’re wrong in connecting the two names. Perhaps we’re wrong about the origin of Briant. Do you have any thoughts? Any French examples of Brianda? Please share in the comments!