My name is Gareth
Gareth is an unusual name in Canada, practically unheard of for most Canadians. When I introduce myself, or when I am introduced, it is not uncommon for the Canadian to reply "Nice to meet you Garth" or, on the odd occasion, "Nice to meet you Gavin".
Today I went over to another university department to collect some samples and the lady that I was meeting was very eager to introduce me to someone. She called him over: "Gareth, meet Gareth".
Stunned silence from the pair of us.
"Two Gareths, how about that eh?" she said, clasping her hands together in delight.
I can't imagine what she expected us to do, maybe we were supposed to fall into each others arms like long-lost brothers. I broke the silence - someone had to - and shook his hand whilst proclaiming "It's always a pleasure to meet another Gareth".
Suddenly the ground opened up and swallowed me.
Actually it didn't, but it should have.
The name Gareth was invented in the mid-1400s by Sir Thomas Malory for his Morte d'Arthur,. Malory adapted his work from French sources, in which the same character was called Gahariet. That name was probably the result of a mis-reading of a Welsh name in some Welsh version of the Arthur stories. The first example we have of a historical person named Gareth is from England in 1593, but the name did not become common until much later [1, 4].
Gareth is often confused with Garth , but the names are unrelated in origin. Garth has two origins. There is a fairly common Norse name, Garðr (where ð represents the Norse letter edh, pronounced like the th in this, and the final r is nearly silent and not a separate syllable) . It is not unlikely that Garðr could have been adopted into 11th or 12th century English as Garth, and a couple of northern place names support this theory . However, it should be stressed that we have no examples of Garth or Garðr used as a given name in England in this period.
The modern name Garth arose from a third source, the English surname Garth. The surname derives from a Middle English word garth, "a garden or paddock", and was originally used for someone who tended such a patch of land . Several 19th century authors used it as a character name, and it came into use as a given name in the early 20th century .
In sum, Gareth is a 15th century literary invention which was not used by real people until nearly 1600. Garth may have been used as a given name in 11th or 12th century England, but we have found only indirect evidence of its existence.
Source: Medieval Scotland