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15 Amazing Scottish Women From History To Name Your Daughters After

Because "Fionnghal: Jacobite heroine" is a fantastic name for a baby.

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1. Winifred, Countess of Nithsdale (c. 1680–1749)

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If you want a baby who won't take "sentenced to death for treason" for an answer, and likes breaking into prisons, call her Winifred.

Winifred married a Catholic nobleman in 1699, who went on to join the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. When he was captured at the Battle of Preston and sent to the Tower, Winnie said "LOL NOPE", travelled to London, persuaded the guards to let her in, put him in "female dress", and smuggled him out right under their noses.

King George I declared she had done him "more mischief than any woman in Christendom". If that isn't a good reason to name your baby Winifred, what is?

2. Mary Somerville (1780–1872)

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Do you want your daughter to become a science writer and polymath? Who wouldn't? Which is why you should call her Mary.

Mary was born in the Scottish Borders town of Jedburgh at a time when people weren't exactly welcoming women's participation in science with open arms. But she didn't let that stop her: She went on to study maths and astronomy, in 1835 became the first female member to be elected to the Royal Astronomical Society (jointly with Caroline Herschel), and played a role in the discovery of Neptune.

Mary was also a strong supporter of women's education and suffrage. If her name is good enough for an Oxford College, it's good enough for your baby.

3. Isabella MacDuff, Countness of Buchan (c. 1286–1313)

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When Isabella's husband sided with the English in the Scottish Wars of Independence, she defied and abandoned him, "borrowed" some of his men and horses, rode to Scone, and crowned Robert the Bruce, as the MacDuff Clan had the right to inaugurate kings.

Unsurprisingly this didn't go down very well with King Edward I, who had her locked in an iron cage on the walls of Berwick Castle for four years. She was eventually released and joined a nunnery, but Edward still saw her as a threat.

So name your daughter Isabella: She will carve her own path in life, do whatever she wants, and intimidate kings while she does it.

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4. Mairi Chisholm (1896–1981)

Do you want your daughter to be bold and caring, have very strong female friendships, and potentially host Top Gear? Then name her Mairi.

When war was declared in 1914, Scottish-born Mairi (pictured left) and her pal Elsie Knocker became dispatch riders for the Women's Emergency Corps. Mairi impressed a doctor with her hairpin turns and he invited her to join his efforts to help the Belgian troops in Flanders, and Elsie joined her as a driver. They were the only women to live and work in the Belgian front-line trenches during WWI.

They soon decided to start treating the soldiers directly and set up their own dressing station just a hundred yards from the trenches. Not only that, but they were also free agents by that point and had to find time to fundraise for supplies.

5. Fionnghal nic Dhòmhnaill. (1722–1790)

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Do you want a strong-willed, determined, brave daughter who stands up for what she believes in? Of course you do, so call her Fionnghal.

Fionnghal (Gaelic for Fiona) was 24 and living on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides when she bumped into Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was in hiding after the Battle of Culloden. She helped him escape to Skye by disguising him as her maid, Betty Burke, but was later arrested for her efforts.

She was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London, then moved to America in 1774, where she became involved in the War of Independence. She returned to Scotland in 1779 in a ship that was attacked by privateers. She refused to leave the deck when they attacked and was wounded in the arm. Now that's tough.

6. Fanny Wright (1795–1852)

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Everyone wants their child to be a social reformer and writer with an awesome name, so it's only right that you should name your daughter Fanny.

Fanny Wright was born in Dundee in 1795. She travelled to America in 1818 and 1824 and, during the second visit, published A Plan for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in the United States, which urged Congress to set aside land for emancipated slaves. She also bought a 640-acre tract of land that she called Nashoba, purchased slaves, freed them, and settled them there.

Fanny also found time to lobby for advocate for equal rights for women, edit a magazine, become a freethinker, and divorce her husband. Go Fanny.

7. Elsie Inglis (1864–1917)

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Elsie Inglis was a pioneering doctor and suffragist, who started her training at the Edinburgh School of Medicine.

When war broke out in 1914, Elsie offered to set up a woman-run hospital unit, but was turned away by the military. She was far too much of a badass to let that stop her, so she fundraised instead, and eventually ended up running 14 hospital units across Europe and led two units in the Balkans before her death in 1917.

In short, if you want your baby to be a medical hero who won't let stuffy, moustache-twiddling military leaders prevent her from saving lives, call her Elsie.

8. Agnes, Countess of Dunbar (c. 1312–1369)

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Do you want your daughter to resist sieges, fight the patriarchy, and give zero fucks while she's doing it? Then you should call her Agnes.

Agnes of Dunbar defended her castle home against a six-month siege by English forces led by the Earl of Salisbury. She held the castle with the help of a handful of servants. After each catapult bombardment, she had her maids nonchalantly dust down the ramparts with handkerchiefs: a pretty bold move.

The Earl eventually gave up and went away, calling her "a brawling, boisterous Scottish wench", which is high praise indeed.

9. Sophia Jex-Blake, Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechey, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Mary Anderson, and Emily Bovell.

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If you want your daughter to completely change the face of womens' education, then you should name her Sophia, Isabel, Edith, Matilda, Helen, Mary, or Emily.

Known as the "Edinburgh Seven", they were the first group of female students ever to study at a British university. They enrolled at Edinburgh University to study medicine in 1869, but male students attempted to prevent them graduating and even organised a mob to stop them from taking their finals. The "Surgeons’ Hall Riot" apparently included a sheep being let loose in the exam room.

Due to this twattery, the women didn't manage to graduate from Edinburgh University, but their campaign eventually resulted in legislation being passed in 1897 that allowed women to qualify as doctors in the UK and Ireland.

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