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:
Donwell Abbey Churchill
Kellynch Hall Knightley
Enscombe de Bourgh
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)
Donwell Abbey ( Knightley)
Southerton ( Rushworth)
Kellynch Hall (Elliot/Wentworth)
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.