As an English name, Abigail first became common after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans. The biblical Abigail refers to herself as a servant, and beginning in the 17th century the name became a slang term for a servant, especially after the release of the play The Scornful Lady (1616), which featured a character named Abigail. The name went out of fashion at that point, but it was revived in the 20th century.
This name was borne by the heroine of Lewis Carroll's novels Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass (1871).
This is the name of several New Testament characters, most importantly Mary the mother of Jesus. According to the gospels, Jesus was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit while she remained a virgin. This name was also borne by Mary Magdalene, a woman cured of demons by Jesus. She became one of his followers and later witnessed his crucifixion and resurrection.
Due to the Virgin Mary this name has been very popular in the Christian world, though at certain times in some cultures it has been considered too holy for everyday use. In England it has been used since the 12th century, and it has been among the most common feminine names since the 16th century. In the United States in 1880 it was given more than twice as often as the next most popular name for girls (Anna). It remained in the top rank in America until 1946 when it was bumped to second (by Linda). Although it regained the top spot for a few more years in the 1950s it was already falling in usage, and has since dropped out of the top 100 names.
This name has been borne by two queens of England, as well as a queen of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots. Another notable bearer was Mary Shelley (1797-1851), the author of Frankenstein. A famous fictional character by this name is Mary Poppins from the children's books by P. L. Travers, first published in 1934.
The Latinized form of this name, Maria, is also used in English as well as in several other languages.
Mealla was a sister of Saint Kevin.
Geoffrey based parts of Merlin's character on Myrddin Wyllt, a semi-legendary madman and prophet who lived in the Caledonian Forest. Other parts of his life were based on that of the historical 5th-century Romano-British military leader Ambrosius Aurelianus. In Geoffrey's version of the tales and later embellishments Merlin is a wizard and counselor for King Arthur.