Of Germanic (Frankish and Lombard) origin, introduced to Britain by the Normans. It was in regular use among the counts of Anjou, ancestors of the English royal house of Plantagenet, who were descended from Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou (1113–51). It was a particularly popular name in England and France in the later Middle Ages; notable bearers in England include the poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340–1400) and in Wales the chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth (d. 1155). The original form and meaning of the name is disputed. According to one theory, it is merely a variant of Godfrey; others derive the first part from the Germanic word gawia ‘territory’, walah ‘stranger’, or gisil ‘pledge’. Medieval forms can be found to support all these theories, and it is possible that several names have fallen together, or that the name was subjected to reanalysis by folk etymology at an early date.