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’s name is found in two instances in Clairvaux in the late 12th century (both records refer to the same man). The name is not obviously of Germanic origin, unless we interpret the prototheme as Latin bellus ‘beautiful, handsome’ and the deuterotheme as a Latinisation of Old High German heri ‘host, army’. There are other Romance/Germanic compounds in France, albeit they tend to develop at an earlier period and not remain in use very long.
It’s also tempting to see this as a variant of Latin Valerius, but that would involve providing an explanation of the vowel shift in the first syllable (as well as the consonant shift, but that is less tricky).
Do you have any examples of the name? Other thoughts concerning its origin? Please share in the comments!