Naming A House

Naming A House

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to name my house. In the olden days, house names were common. In America, we had the White House, Mount Vernon, and Monticello. In England, they had Windsor Castle, Chatsworth House, and Holkham Hall, among many others. People used to name houses instead of naming streets, so a house name served as an address. In many parts of England, postal workers still keep track of house names.

I know some of the other Austen Authors have named their houses. For example, Zoe Burton has Burton Cottage, which I think is an adorable reference to Jane Austen’s Barton Cottage (pictured from the movie above), and Jenni James, a former Austen Author, named her house Serenity Brook Farms, which I suspect is a reference to the book Rebecca of Sunny-Brook Farm. There are probably others I’ve overlooked. Please let me know in the comments of any I may have overlooked.

Jane Austen, of course, was a genius at naming the homes in her book. Though, according to researchers, none of the homes in her books were based on real houses, she came up with some great names, so many that I think it’d be fun to have a little quiz. Let’s see if you can match up the house name with the family name. I’ll put the answers at the bottom of my post. Here we go:

Rosings                                                                    Dashwood

Netherfield                                                                Elliot

Donwell Abbey                                                          Churchill

Norland                                                                     Woodhouse

Hartfield                                                                     Rushworth

Southerton                                                                 Musgrove

Kellynch Hall                                                             Knightley

Enscombe                                                                  de Bourgh

Uppercross                                                                 Bingley

I left out Allenham (Willoughby’s inheritance), Woodston (the site of Henry Tilney’s parsonage), and Delaford (Col. Brandon’s home), as well as Maple Grove, Combe Magna, and others.

As you can tell from this picture, our home is a split-entry house, nothing fancy. My husband and I bought it when we were in our twenties. Now we’re in our forties, and it’s all paid off–heaven! I like to think of it as a cottage, a haven, a retreat, or a refuge.

I was thinking I’d like to name our house Redbud Cottage since we have a big, beautiful redbud tree in our front yard, but the male members of my household vetoed that plan right away. They wanted something more like Bag End from the Hobbit, and suggested Ozzy’s Lair. (Ozzy is our dog) or Dome of Gas. I came back with Jamison HQ or Fort Jamison, both of which they rejected. I also liked the names Sunshine House or Little House on the Hill, which they also didn’t like.

My husband suggested Mustard Mansion, which I think is funny, but it doesn’t make me love my house any more. After more discussion, the two of us have reached consensus on Banana Split House. I like it because it’s fun, funny, and descriptive. If I told someone we lived in the Banana Split House, they’d be able to find it pretty easily on our street, and it makes me think of ice cream! I love ice cream! We’re still brainstorming, though.

So here are the answers to the quiz above:

Rosings (de Bourgh)

Netherfield (Bingley)

Donwell Abbey ( Knightley)

Norland (Dashwood)

Hartfield (Woodhouse)

Southerton ( Rushworth)

Kellynch Hall (Elliot/Wentworth)

Enscombe (Churchill)

Uppercross (Musgrove)

 

Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment about your favorite house names from Jane Austen or anywhere else. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for naming my house.

 

25 Responses to Naming A House

  1. I always wanted to name a house too – enough that when we moved into this house in ’92, I declared it’s name as “Five Oaks”, inspired by “Twelve Oaks” from Gone With the Wind. Mind you, there isn’t a single oak tree on the premises, but there were five people in our family, hence the number five. When we decided to homeschool, we dubbed our school “Five Oaks Academy” and I’ve often used fiveoaks as a username on websites. I love the idea of putting the name on the door and making it more official. I’d love to have a custom front door with an Oak tree motif too!

  2. I missed two [Woodhouse and Churchill]. Neat quiz. I agree with everyone else on the Redbud Cottage. What is with your family? Dang, when they can gang up on you and veto your ideas…not cool. You have to find a negotiating chip my friend. Find something they want and then use this as a leverage. OK… you can have this and I will choose the house name. I loved this post. What fun. You have a very creative and hilarious family with all their name selections. Good luck in the quest to name the house. Great idea.

  3. Rebecca, thank you for this interesting post. I’m amazed at the names. They are so beautiful and awe-inspiring. 🙂

  4. I have a question, Rebecca. Am I right in thinking that houses in the US still have to have a number on the street where they’re situated, even if they’re named? Meaning that Banana Split House would be No. ? on Somewhere Street in addition to your chosen name?

    Here in the UK, it can be very different. Our house only has a name and not a street number, though the rest of the houses on the street have got one. Mind you, our house is the oldest one on the street by getting on for two hundred years and used to be two farmhands’ cottages, dating back to at least the 1750s (we have a map dated that far back). We’ve been swallowed up by our local town now though. A house like ours would never have it’s name changed, even if we sold it and moved away, as the name is part of it’s registered street address.

    Would you change the name of your house if you decided to change the colour?

  5. I do like the name of Banana Split Cottage (instead of house) because everyone will know what house it is! I did grow up in a house with a name then street address – no house number. The house name was Buckingham. Everyone knew it – even today!

    • I am so jealous, Eva, that you got to grow up in a house with a name. Buckingham is a great name. Isn’t it wonderful that it’s still there, too? I’m lucky enough that my mom still lives in my childhood home. It is a sweet little house in the woods and has a creek beside it. I always thought we should name it Brookside, but my parents weren’t big on naming the house.

  6. I liked Redbud Cottage, myself. I have to hand it to you for going along with Banana Split House. You’re a far braver woman than I! I do have to say, though…it does fit!! LOL 😀

    I don’t know that I have a favorite name from Austen’s books. Obviously, I was fond of Barton Cottage. LOL 😉

    Great post today!! 😀

  7. I like Redbud Cottage. That’s a very warm and homey name! Right now, we’re still renting, but if we buy a house someday, I’d love to name it.

    • Thank you, Anna! I noticed on some of the websites that I visited that it’s a tradition in some places for college students to name homes they rent, which I think is so awesome. I hope you get the opportunity to name a house someday.

  8. I read a book many years ago with a house called Rowangarth in it. I loved the name and would have loved to call our house the same. Unfortunately, vetoed by my family. But it always stuck in my memory.

  9. Hi Rebecca,

    I like Redbud Cottage 🙂 It’s too bad it was vetoed. I bet that tree is beautiful in spring. Actually, redbuds are nice all year round. They have a nice habit and I love the giant heart-shaped leaves. I grew up on a farm, and know quite a few farmers, and farms are generally named. My family’s farm is Sycamore Hill Farm. My aunt’s and uncle’s is Silver Spring Farm. Maybe you could go with something more like Hill Top Split? I have no idea from the picture if there’s a hill. What about the street name (no need to tell us) with Cottage after it? Shady Lane Cottage (if you live on Shady Lane, for example).

    Good luck finding a name all of you, and Ozzy, agree on!

    Summer

    • Thanks, Summer. I like Hill Top Split too. I tried the street name with cottage too, which they also didn’t like. I may just have to forget about asking for my kids’ opinions and just get agreement from my husband. He likes the Redbud part, but not the cottage part. I guess men prefer not to live in cottages. 🙂 I love the names of your family’s farms. I grew up in Virginia, and they would fit in there.

Your thoughts are precious!