A house by any other name

I think it’s sweet how some people give their house a name. It almost makes it another member of the family, and I suppose if your family has always lived there, in a way it is.

Walking around my village, as I do quite a lot, I’ve noticed some interesting trends and themes in the house-naming lark. For instance….

Economics  – perhaps this is some kind of good luck charm and will bring prosperity to the household. Unfortunately, none of these denominations is worth much now. The florin, or two shilling bit, is the equivalent of 10p.

Literature – who doesn’t have a favourite book or fictional character they’d love to see immortalised on a gatepost or front door? There is a house called Lorna Doone in the next village. As well as “Darcy Cottage”  and “Mordor Lodge” I found “Mandalay” (see also Geography) and “The Iliad” (in Homer Road!). A quick glance at my own bookcase offered the following possibilities: “Steerpike”, “All Passion Spent”, “The House of Cards” “Underworld”, “Toast” – all quite plausible as house names I think.

Linguistics – house naming can offer an opportunity to show off your grasp of a foreign tongue. “Minakaya” is Zulu for My House (love the porthole by the way), “de Nada” is Spanish for It’s Nothing (surely taking modesty to the extreme).

Botany – many houses are named for a favourite tree or flower that may or may not be a cherished feature in the garden. I saw honeysuckle, rose, cherry, holly, oak, elm, pine, fuschia, apple blossom, camellia, lilac and many others.

History – another common theme was the use the cottage was originally put to or the trade of the inhabitants. So we have a bakehouse, cobbler’s, pottery, forge and so on. Latchets is old-time speak for leather straps for holding shoes on the feet.

Creative Writing – some names are an accurate description of the house. For instance the house that bears this name…

looks like this…

whereas this one… well, anyway.

Geography – several houses I found were named after exotic locations that probably mean something to the owners. Maybe a memorable foreign holiday or an original hometown or where two people met and fell in love. Others in this category are “Ithaca”, “Woodstock”, “Mandalay” and “Eastbourne” (yes, really).

Phys Ed – two houses by the cricket club are named “Boundary View” and the wonderful “Stumps”. This got me pondering some other games-related names. How about “18 Yard Box”, “Umpire’s View” or “Sin Bin” ?

Etiquette – no.82 carries  a stinging post-script, something that might make you think twice about ringing on the bell!

And finally……

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3 thoughts on “A house by any other name

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