From an Old English personal name, derived from wil ‘will, desire’ + frīð ‘peace’. This was borne by two Anglo-Saxon saints: there is some doubt about the exact form of the name of the more famous, who played a leading role at the Council of Whitby (664); it may have been Walfrid ‘stranger peace’. Wilfrid the Younger was an 8th-century bishop of York. The name enjoyed some favour in Yorkshire (often in the form Wilfrey) in the 16th and 17th centuries. Influenced by a character of this name in Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe, it was revived more widely in the 19th century, becoming quite popular then and in the early part of the 20th century.