The Secret Garden ~ Character Names


“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden” – Frances Hodgson Burnett

My inner child requested that I write this post. Names have a wonderful way of making me extremely nostalgic. When I hear the name Colin, for example, I immediately think of little Colin Craven. Needless to say I read and watched The Secret Garden countless times. Let’s delve into the names of the characters from this timeless children’s tale.

maryMary Lennox
In 1910, when The Secret Garden was first published, Mary was the #1 name given to baby girls in the United States. Mary has dropped in popularity, now sitting at spot #123. A classic name, Hebrew in origin, Mary means “bitter”, which is quite fitting for this character in the beginning of the novel.

Colin Craven
An interesting little tidbit is that the names Colin and Mary were both #123 in popularity in 2012. Colin is a name with Scottish and Irish roots and has a cute meaning – “young dog” or “pup”.

Archibald Craven
Definitely a striking and powerful name heard mostly in Scotland and England. Archibald’s meaning “bold” and “brave” lives up to its strong sound.

Lilias Craven
As a lover of “lil” names, Lilias is my favorite character name from the robinstory. Lilias is a rare Scottish form of the name Lillian meaning “lily”. In many film adaptations Lilias’ has been renamed Lily.

Dickon Sowerby
Dickon is a sweet character with arguably the least usable name of the bunch. A rarely used English name, Dickon comes from the name Richard, meaning “dominant ruler”.

Martha Sowerby
Martha stems from an Aramaic name meaning “lady”. When was the last time you met a little Martha? I actually quite enjoy the Marta spelling and pronunciation.

Susan Sowerby
Susan is a Hebrew name meaning “lily” that peaked about 50 years ago. I love many variations of Susan, such as Suzanne or Susannah. I’d love to see those names to make a comeback.

Ben Weatherstaff
I have to start by saying that I love Ben’s last name. It’s so perfect for his character! Ben is a diminutive of Benjamin, a wonderful Hebrew name meaning “son of the right hand”.

*I purposely left out Mrs. Medlock & Dr. Craven. Prominent characters, though we don’t know their first names.

Off to play with my skipping rope 😉

4 responses to “The Secret Garden ~ Character Names

  1. I love Mary so much! I think it’s darling and classy and it ages so well. Colin is also very adorable but suitable on any age. I like this spelling over Collin. I’ve never been a fan of Martha but lately I’ve been liking Marta 🙂 I actually really like Dickon and I’ve been liking some Ben names like Benjamin and Bennett lately with the nickname Benny but I’ve been listening to and watching a lot of Jack Benny lately 😉

  2. Mary is very precious. I’ve loved “Ben” names since I was little. Benny is an adorable nickname 🙂

  3. Anna GIllespie

    When I hear Collin I always think of Colin Creevey from Harry Potter.

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