Sunday, January 20, 2013

We've Finally Named Our House

As of last night we have finally named our house. And  honestly, after too many episodes of Downton Abbey, it was high time we did so.  I tried my best to discover the proper way of doing these things on-line. I hate to tell you, but there is little information available on how one goes about naming property, or the history of this tradition.We also  weren't certain if there needed to be a certain amount of land, but in the end we supposed three acres were enough to begin with. I was able to find that in anthropological accounts of Europe  there was a strong movement to name houses and estates as a means of declaring the members within its walls as a  formal social organization. I don't know if this tradition carried on from there, or was developed elsewhere, but for a long time it was a natural part of social life. 

The name we decided upon is Four Gables. It sounds right doesn't it? Fred pointed out that technically, there is a small portion off the front that could be considered a fifth gable, but since we had already settled on Four Gables by the time he mentioned this- I objected. After-all the name doesn't mean we don't have a fifth Gable, just that there are certainly four. In days to come, there could in fact be many gables more, but that doesn't mean I'll change the name. Four Gables it is. Fred says he'll have a small plaque made up to make it official. Now, if we could only hire a good valet- things would be settled nicely- but it is so hard to find good help these days.  

front view
at the edge of our property
My English Mother-in-law (Angela) grew up in Jamaica and all of her homes had wonderfully colorful names. There is something different about a house with a name. It takes on a life of its own, after having been given a certain dignity. Angela, always speaks of these places and they conjure images in my mind that are somehow wistfully romantic and  connected to the names themselves.   There was the main house where all the family lived called Good Hope, located  high on a mountainside- with huge old furniture and servants bustling about, (and even a few whispers of spirits that roamed , but those are just tales). And the family would always summer at Low Ground, which was in the countryside as suggested, and of course there was the little parcel called Peters Field, the family sugar cane plantation as well. We spoke this morning and I told her of our choice and she seemed delighted. In fact, she and my father-in-law may come to visit Four Gables as soon as this Spring to celebrate. 

future servants quarters ( or a chicken coop- we haven't decided)
This is not my first attempt at naming a piece of property. Once years ago, my sisters and sister-in-law, niece and I, tried to name my Mothers summer house in Southampton, but my mother protested vehemently to our choice ( which if memory serves me correctly was unanimously  The Cuckoos Nest). It really dashed our hopes when she wouldn't allow us, but in the end we yielded to her wishes. 

I trust all you good folks out there will be pleased with our name choice. Do come and visit us here at Four Gables soon. We'll look forward to it. 


  1. How delightful! The McQuins would love to come visit Four Gables at the earliest possible opportunity. :)

  2. You may not be able to hire a valet, but I think Sophie has the makings of a very proper Ladies' Maid. Just keep your daughters away from your revolutionary chauffeur!
    (Ok, back to the real world, Paige...)