Mystery Monday: Hoccadei

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.

Here’s a fun one! It’s from a survey of Glastonbury Abbey in 1189. The 12th C is a fascinating transition period in onomastics in the Isles, as one sees the Old English names fall in popularity, and the new Norman names come rushing up to fill the void. But of course it’s not just a matter of Old English versus Norman; one can’t forget the other native Celtic names some of which managed to hang on, or the rising popularity of Greek and Hebrew saints’ names, or the developments towards the 13th C fad for fantastically lyrical names of Latin origin. Of all of these interplaying factors, today’s name can possibly be fit onto the last.
The form Hoccadei is itself in the nominative (given the context it occurs in), which means the most likely interpretation of -dei, (gen. of Lat. deus ‘God’), is that this is a phrase-name, akin to Donadei, Gratiadei, and Homodeus/Homodei. But then the mystery is: What is Hocca? It’s not in our Latin dictionaries, even if we drop the possibly excrescent ‘h’. (Well, occa is a Latin word, but not one relevant to the present contexts; it’s an imperative verb form, which we do not find in personal names.)

What could it be? Do you have any suggestions? Or have we been mislead by the -dei, and this isn’t a Latin phrase name after all? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

3 responses to “Mystery Monday: Hoccadei

  1. Brian M. Scott

    It’s not a personal name at all. The syntax is clear: footnote 6 of N. Neilson, Customary Rents, p. 82, has In die hoccadei xij tenentes Hildrodi debent dare vnam ovem cum agno and ad hoccadei unum denarium ad ovem quandem , and in other sources we find rents due ab Hoccadei. Latham’s Revised Medieval Latin Word-List has the word as hockdies c. 1270, hockedies, hokdies 1330, dies de la hok’ 1303, glossing it ‘hockday (second or third Tuesday after Easter)’. From the OED s.v. Hock-day:

    The second Tuesday after Easter Sunday; Hock Tuesday: in former times an important term-day, on which rents were paid, and the like, Hock-day and Michaelmas dividing the rural year into its summer and winter halves. It was also, from the 14th c., and probably earlier, a popular festival, signalized by the collection of money for parish purposes by roughly humorous methods: see Hocktide n., hock money n. The plural, Hock days, includes also the preceding day, Hock Monday, which was similarly celebrated.

    The OED’s list of forms: Also (ME hocedei), ME hokedey, ME (16–18 Hist.) hoke-, hocke-, ME hokke-, ME–15 hoc-, ME hok-, -dai, -day.

  2. Jörg Knappen

    I am sure that Brian Scott is on the right track here, but I think it is possible that a person is named after the date of birth or baptism.

    • Brian M. Scott

      The entry that has Hoccadei on p. 233 starts on p. 232: Johannes similiter. Idem recepit sex oves et unum arietam pretiam iiijor d. Ad Hoccadei debet quolibet anno dare unam ovem cum agno et si dimiserit terram suam reddet oves predictas et arietam. Unless I’m misreading badly, the person here is Johannes.

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