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Sharon Bill Author & Music Tutor

Women's institute

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I thoroughly enjoyed the Women’s Institute meeting last night. The speaker was a Toastmaster who researched my name meaning and origins. He also had a wealth of funny anecdotes and bizarre wedding stories. I could empathise - as a wedding organist I’ve seen a few strange things!

My first name “Sharon” is originally a Palestinian name, meaning “Rose of the Plain.” I knew about this from “Songs of Solomon” in the Old Testament, which reads “Rose of Sharon, Lilly of the Valley.”

My maiden name is Healey, which I thought was of Irish origin, but I’ve been mistaken. Healey is an Anglo Saxon name built upon a location based meaning first found in Lancashire and Yorkshire from 1280. “Heah” is a derivative of “High” and “Leah” means wood or clearing - hence Healey means dweller in the high wood or clearing.

I’d always guessed that my married name “Bill” was of German origin, but again I was mistaken. It’s an old English occupational based name (such as Carter or Smith) derived from the word “Bil’ “ which means maker of swords and weaponry. The name was first recorded in Warwickshire in 1188 and there is a John Bill, aged 13 years, recorded as an early settler in New England in 1635, just after the Mayflower made it’s journey to America.

I didn’t enter the competition, which was to make four wedding cup cakes. I was too daunted by the thought of stiff competition, but I wish I’d tried - I think I’d have stood a chance after all! I’m letting that annual trophy slip away...