Usual English form of the Latin name Hadrianus ‘man from Hadria’. Hadria was a town in northern Italy, which gave its name to the Adriatic Sea; it is of unknown derivation. The initial H- has always been very volatile. The name was borne by the Roman emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus, during whose reign (ad 117–138) Hadrian's Wall was built across northern England. The name was later taken by several early popes, including the only English pope, Nicholas Breakspeare (Adrian IV). It was in early use among immigrants from the Low Countries, and is found in some English regions from the mid-16th century. It has enjoyed considerable popularity in the English-speaking world since the late 20th century.