|Life and Times: The Spelling of the Name
name, both first and last, can be spelled in a variety of ways. His
first name, Ralph, is a modern derivative of Rafe. The tomb at St. Mary's
(Standon) is spelled Rafe. Rafe or Ralph is the English shortened form of the German
RADULF. 'Rad' meaning counsel and 'ulf' coming from wulf or wolf, thus wolf counselor.
also has a long list of variations. Here, in a foot note from "The
life and Times of Sir Ralph Sadleir" 1877, Major F. Sadleir Stoney,
the author explains his experience with the name.
** I take the liberty of correcting Sir Walter Scott as to the proper mode of spelling Sadleir, which he spells "Sadler." As Sir Walter truly observes, "the orthography of proper names in this period was far from perfect," and, as a fact, I have met Sir Ralph's surname spelt thirteen different ways in State documents, as
follows:-Sadleyr, Sadleyer, Sadleir, Sadlier, Sadliar, Sadlair (James V., of Scotland),
Sadlare, Sadlar (Quenn Margaret, of Scotland), Sadller, Sadiller (Sir Thomas Clifford), Saidleir (Earl of
Arran), Sadeler, Sadler. Now he last of these was no doubt often used for ordinary purposes, such as endorsing papers, &c.-the name being simply spelt as pronounced; but Sir Ralph almost invariably signed himself as Sadleyr during Henry VIII.'s reign, according to the then common custom of writing
y instead of i, when it followed e (for example,
"deceyve"). This custom went out as printing came more into vogue, and accordingly, during Elizabeth's reign, Sir
Ralph generally wrote Sadleir. It is spelt thus on his tomb, and has been so spelt ever since by
*the only branch to my knowledge still
surviving-viz.., the Sadleirs of Sopwell, County Tipperary. (footnote
As for the bolded text; Richard
Sadleir of Lower Hutt, New Zealand writes to remind me that
the Sadleir line has also been perpetuated by Sir Ralph's
brother John of whom little is known, least not that he
commanded a company of men at the siege of Boulogne in 1544.
Interestingly Sir Ralph was also present at Boulogne in
attendance to His Majesty King Henry.