Those that we call Winchester by any other word would be as sweet…. Forgive me, kind readers, the blasphemy of paraphrasing the words of magnificent Shakespeare for my own intentions… But, as the bard and I have shared a loving relationship from my 16th year on, I trust William would not take it amiss…

I have been thinking, in one of those high temperature sleepless summer hiatus nights about the names in our favourite show. I wouldn’t say that Kripke & Co chose the names of the characters in regard to their mythological, biblical (or whatever else) meaning, but I found it to be a fun exercise to look at our characters’ names as if he might have.

For the first time I came across some possible meaning happened when I was thinking more about Mary – did she carry that name deliberately? Or was it a coincidence that this iconic mother figure had the same name as the woman who gave birth to Christ? Since her story is full of tragedy and evil circumstances that were planned by those entities that did strive to destroy this planet, I am inclined to think that her name is no coincidence.

So, you are invited to accompany me on a history of Supernatural’s names. Perhaps you might find it as interesting as I did when going on my little search for them. And you might say that hot summer nights bring out the geek in me, occasionally.
Winchester

The name of Winchester is of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from a family living in the city of Winchester in Hampshire. In the 10th and early 11th century Winchester happened to be the capitol of England (and before that the capitol of the realm of Wessex). It is an old city – pre-Roman city grounds have been found, and after Rome’s conquest of England, they called it ‘Venta Belgarum’, meaning ‘market of Belgians’. After Anglo-Saxon takeover of the area about 520 A.D., the place was called Wintanceastre.

The poet John Keats lived there for a short while (August-October 1819) and wrote ‘Lamia’, ‘Isabella’ and parts of his ‘Hyperion’ there. And Jane Austen died in Winchester on July 18th 1817, finding her last resting place in the local cathedral.

There are more cities/towns by that name, 18 in the US alone.

The name might be most famous, however, for the Winchester rifle which was one of the earliest repeating rifles. It’s forerunner had been the so-called Volcanic rifle produced by Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson. The businessman who founded the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was Oliver Winchester, son of Samuel Winchester (I couldn’t resist), married to Joan Ellen Hope.

This gun played a huge role in the Western Expansion and therefore is often referred to as ‘the gun that won the west’. To some extent these weapons were also used during the American Civil War. So, why not assume, that this name was attractive to Kripke to establish a family of equally effective ‘guns’ in their fight against evil. I always smile about Dean’s ‘Aren’t you a handsome son of a gun’ in Dream A Little Dream Of Me. Indeed, the son of a damn good repeating rifle, ahem, a repeating demon slayer...

Sam

A version of the Hebrew name Samuel which means ‘God has heard’. It is also the name of he prophet who anointed Saul and David as kings of Israel.

Another reference is to be found with the angel Samael (sometimes Samuel, Samyel), a contradictory figure. The name might mean ‘poison of God’. Sometimes he is identified with Satan, saying that Samael was his angelic name, and not Lucifer, and he is associated with the angel of Death (who was assumed by ancient people to administer poison). His partner is Lilit and together they rule the realm of evil (according to the Kabbalah). – Now isn’t that a intriguing idea? Sam and Lilith… oh, wait, that almost happened in some way…

The book of Enoch refers to him as the angel who sits alongside Satan, writing down the sins of Israel. They pass the writing tables to the Seraphim to pass on to God, but the Seraphim burn them instead, so God never learns of Israel sins.

The name is in popular use, there’s a song by Olivia Newton-John from 1977, Uncle Sam personifies the United States government, and a town in Sweden goes by Säm. In Croatian the adjective ‘sam’ means ‘alone’.




Dean

This name derives, among others, from the Latin ‘decanus’, meaning ‘chief of ten’. It’s old English origin means ‘valley’. In Hebrew it’s meaning is ‘law’.  â€“ Dean, he has long been something like the leader to the Winchester brothers’ team. His word was law to some extent, he had the responsibility.

It is also a title given to the holder of senior positions in various fields, for instance within religious hierarchy (e.g. the chief resident cleric of a cathedral). – what a fascinating contradiction knowing how low our Dean’s opinion of religion and God is.

But, of course, the title is also given to longest serving members of diplomatic corps. On the other hand – did you know that Dean owns a couple of companies? There’s Dean Foods in Texas (producer of dairy) and Dean Guitars, manufacturer of guitars.
And, it is often found as a middle name, like with Alan Dean Foster, Richard Dean Anderson and, for certain, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
John

It’s origins are Hebrew - Yochanan, meaning ‘the Lord is gracious’. It gained popularity as the name of John the Baptist (originally Yochanan ben Zechariah), it’s Greek adaptation became I?ann?s, Italian Giovanni, German Johann/Johannes, Slavic Ivan, Spanish Juan.

In the U.K. the name John was not exactly popular for members of the royal household. But, King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215 – Prince Alexander John (youngest son of Edward VII) dies shortly after birth and the youngest son of King George V, John, died in his sleep. In the aftermath of those deaths, the name John has been considered unlucky to this day. Legend has it that Princess Diana wanted to name her firstborn John, after her father, but was not allowed to based on royal tradition (or superstition?).

Since John Winchester has not had a life we might call happy – did he become a victim of the bad luck clinging to his name? On the other hand: the apostle of Christ’s twelve who lived longest was John. Hmm…

Mary

This name derives from the Latin form of the Greek Mariam, another ancestor to that name might be the Hebrew Miryam. The Hebrew meanings include ‘bitter’, ‘beloved’, ‘wished for child’. It is also suggested that the name might be originally Egyptian, consisting of the words ‘mry’ (meaning ‘beloved’) and ‘mr’ (meaning ‘love’). During the Middle Ages, people thought the name was related to the Star of The Sea, ‘Stella Maris’, an appellation for the Virgin Mary.

It has been a widely popular name in Christian countries such as Spain (Maria) or France (Marie), but also in Muslim countries. It’s Arabic form, Mariam or Maryam, is intended to show respect to the mother of Jesus whom Islam considers a prophet.

Well, well… Mary, the mother of the man who would change the world significantly and, according to Christianity, the one who saved the world by dying for the sins of mankind… in a way, the story of Supernatural appears to get some more biblical proportions…
Robert Stephen Singer

Bobby.

Robert is of Germanic roots, ‘hrod’ (‘fame’) and ‘beraht’ (‘bright’), it was also described as ‘bright with glory’. I wonder if Bobby would approve of that, humble soul that he is. The name, however, became very popular from the Middle Ages on and several men of historical importance carried that name, like Robert I (‘the Bruce’) of Scotland, Robert Dudley (1st Earl of Leicester and favourite of Queen Elizabeth I), Robert ‘The Devil’ (father of William the Conqueror).

Stephen
(or Steven) stems from the Greek Stephanos, meaning ‘crown’ or ‘garland’. Apparently it is of importance to Catholics in particular as Saint Stephen was a deacon to be stoned to death and is considered the first Christian martyr. 9 pope’s alone were known by that name.

Singer- the Anglo-Saxon name of Singer comes from the profession of ‘singaere’ or musician, as people were identified by the manner of work they did in the Middle Ages. The travelling musician was a well respected figure in medieval culture, as he was, apart from being an entertainer, a source of news and idle gossip.

The Yiddish version of it would be a cantor in a synagogue, a ‘zinger’, the German equivalent from the Middle Ages would be 'Sänger’, in the sense of ‘poet’.

The motto of the family crest is translated: ‘Fidelity prevails’.

To my mind, Bobby could not have been given a better or more fitting name. He is a man of courage, someone who would sacrifice himself in a heartbeat for the greater good and has quite often conveyed news (albeit mostly bad ones) to the brothers Winchester. And, more importantly, he is one to rely upon. So, fidelity prevails, indeed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find much of substance on the other ladies’ names. I was hoping to find intriguing notes on Ellen or Jo. Alas, there was hardly anything. So, I’ll leave it at the account of the leading men’s names, except for Mary, of course.