The name Nigel can be traced back to a few different earlier names:
- Nigellus, Latin, meaning champion. this appeared in the Middle Ages when the word Nel 0r Neel was written down incorrectly in various documents.
- Niadh, Irish, which meant the same, then developed into the word Niall , which became the name of a famous Irish king . His descendants became known as the O’Neills.
- Niel, French, which was created when they borrowed the name O’Neill from the Irish,
Once it appeared, Nigel was then a common name until the end of the Middle Ages, where it all but vanished until various 19th-20th century British authors revived it , including Sir Walter Scott, whose famous novel ‘The Fortunes of Nigel’ published in 1822 was probably a significant influence. After this Nigel has remained a common name in England and Wales, though it is yet to be revived for use in the rest of Europe.