UK

UK 2003 SURVEY - GENERAL

We’re delighted that Halifax plc, now as a subsidiary of HBOS plc, has continued with what we hope will become a tradition i.e. carrying out a five yearly survey of house names in the UK.

This is the only survey we’re aware of and, if there is another, it’s unlikely to be on the scale of the Halifax one which is taken from a computer run of investor and borrower addresses throughout the UK. If you’re aware of other surveys, especially in other countries, please Contact Us.

We’re obliged to Halifax plc for allowing publication of the survey. The main parts of the press release, which gives the survey results, are shown below:

HALIFAX HOUSE NAMES SURVEY REVEALS OUR HEARTS ARE STILL IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

Britons still hanker after the rural life according to the results of the new Halifax House Names Survey. Our homes are clearly a refuge from the everyday pressures of urban life with the top 50 popular names dominated by countryside themes reflecting a bygone and gentler pace of life.

As the UK’s largest lender, Halifax analysed its own mortgage computer records to search for the most popular (and least frequent) house names. The top five names in the UK (1998 position in brackets) are:

1st. The Cottage (1st)
2nd.
Rose Cottage (3rd)
3rd.
The Bungalow (2nd)
4th.
The Coach House (5th)
5th.
Orchard House (12th)

The Cottage has retained its position as the nation’s favourite house name since the last survey was carried out in 1998. The Bungalow, still Britain’s favourite type of home, was nudged out of number one slot which it held in the 1993 survey and has slipped even further to number three this time. Interestingly, when Halifax first started tracking house names in 1988, the five most popular were The Bungalow, The Cottage, Rose Cottage, The School House and The White House.

The highest new entrant in the top 50, coming onto the list for the first time at number 21, is The Old Post Office highlighting a new and increasingly prevalent use for properties no longer needed for their original purpose.

There are thirteen other new entrants in the top 50: The Stables, White Cottage, The Orchard, Primrose Cottage, The Granary, The Nook, Corner Cottage, The Old School, Honeysuckle Cottage, Lilac Cottage, Oaklands, The Grange and Manor Cottage.

Previously popular names that have slipped out of the top 50 this time include Hill View, Manor Farm and South View.

Names of trees, plants, shrubs and flowers together with echoes of a bygone rural life and countryside themes are prevalent in the top 50, underlining the importance of our homes as a retreat from the stresses and strains of modern life.

Significant moves up the popularity stakes include: The Old School House (up from 26th to 8th), The Barn (up from 32nd to 11th) and Orchard House (up from 12th to 5th).

Significant movers down the ratings are: The White House (down from 7th to 29th), The Gables (down from 10th to 22nd) and The Greenacres (down from 24th to 45th).

Nostalgia still rules when it comes to house naming and there are few signs of contemporary names joining the list. Springfield appears in the top 50, but is more likely to reflect the widespread rural theme than the home town of arguably TV’s best known cartoon family, The Simpsons. Nirvana is popular too, but probably alludes to the Buddhist name for the end of suffering rather than the eponymous American grunge band!

A selection of the least frequently found house names include: Arcadia, Bali Hai, Omega, Tangle Trees, The Hive, Witsend, Bedlam, Tally Ho and Pooh Corner.

REGIONAL NAMES

Regionally there are some interesting variations. In the North of England physical features of the landscape are evident in such names as Fell View, Hill Side, Stone Leigh, High View, Fir Trees, Ivy Cottage, Hill Crest and Grey Stones. Echoes of the Industrial Revolution also appear in names such as Prospect House, Mill House, Toll House, The Shires, Tethers End and The Mill. There are also a number of Windy Ridges as well as The Vicarage and The Old Rectory–perhaps reference to the Pennines or the moors and tales of The Bronte family of Haworth?

The Midlands and East Anglia have a number of agricultural references such as Manor House, Home Farm, The Grange, Yew Tree Cottage, Woodlands, The Hollies, The Laurels, Primrose Cottage, and The Elms. Other names in the region include Bridge Cottage, Riverside, The Anchorage and Church Farm.

Not surprisingly popular names in Scotland and Wales reflect a very strong national identity. House names such as Braeside, Glen Cairn, St Andrews, Fairways, Blacksmith Cottages and Cruachan are evident in Scotland, whilst names such as Ty Gwyn (White House), Brynawel (Hill Breeze), Hafen (Haven) and Ty Newydd (New House) are evident in Wales. Wales also sees more nautical names than most regions – these include Mariners Cottage, Sea Scape, Channel View and Ocean View.

The South East has a host of ‘apple’ and ‘wood’ based names – Apple Garth, Apple Croft, Applewood, Bramleys, Sandal Wood, Briar Wood and Woodlands feature regularly in the most popular house names. Other house names include Quincy Cottage, Cherry Tree House, The Limes, Pear Tree Cottage, The Oast House and The Timbers.

COMMON THEMES

Trees – individual species or references to trees provide much inspiration for house names. Orchard House and The Orchard both appear in the top 50 along with Woodlands, Treetops, and Oaklands. Other arboreal favourites include The Willows, Yew Tree Cottage, The Laurels, The Hollies, The Beeches and The Firs.

Plants and FlowersRose Cottage continues to head the list and is joined in the top 50 for the first time this year by Primrose Cottage, Honeysuckle Cottage and Lilac Cottage. Other flowers and plants to appear throughout the survey include Snowdrop, Clematis, Ivy, Daisy, Edelweiss, Heather, Foxglove, Poppies, Tamarisk, Violet, Woodbine and Wisteria.

Animals and Birds – reinforcing our reputation as a nation of animal lovers is a long list of names that show our appreciation of the natural world. The Stables enters the top 50 for the first time, but Badgers Cottage, Cuckoo Cottage, Curlew Cottage, Dolphin Cottage, Fox Hollow, Kestrels, Magpies, Mole End, Nightingale Cottage, Robin Hill, Rookery Nook, Squirrels Leap, Swallow Barn, The Jays and Two Hoots are all old favourites.

Locations and Views – names often suggest a home’s setting or the charm of its location with Hillside, Hillcrest, Sunnyside, Woodside, Meadow View, and Fairway all appearing in the top 50. Other names which set the scene include: Beach Cottage, Cornfields, Channel View, Hill Top Farm, Lake House, Waterside Cottage and Sunnyview. A more exotic twist on the house with a view theme are provided by Bella Vista, Belle View, Bona Vista and Buena Vista.

Historical – popular house names often look back to another era, perhaps reflecting a previous use for the property. The Coach House, The Old School House, The Old Rectory, The Old Vicarage, The Old Post Office, Mill House, The Granary and The Grange are all in the top 50. But other echoes of the past include: The Bothy, Blacksmiths Cottage, Old Forge, The Old Station House, The Old Police House, The Old Surgery and Railway Cottage.

Ambition – some homeowners display an apparent desire for something a little more upmarket than their existing properties by calling their homes Chequers, Chatsworth, The White House, Tara (Scarlett O’Hara’s estate in Gone with the Wind) and Osbourne House (Queen Victoria’s Isle of White retreat). Others simply demonstrate a large dash of romance or wishful thinking: Rainbow’s End, Kismet, Valhalla, Shangri La and Tir Na Nog (Gaelic for the Land of Youth).

Cute and Unusual – some of the most delightful names in the survey are Thimble Cottage, Pippins, The Little House, The Nutshell, Whispers, Wishing Well Cottage and The Nest. Owners of The Shambles, The Folly and Beggars Roost clearly have a sense of fun, but do the residents of Dunrobin have a shady past? Obviously Sylvia and Ken combined to name their house Sylken, whilst the rationale for calling a house Witsend is anyone’s guess. Other unusual names include: MyWay, Hiawatha, High Hopes, The Shambles, Eureka and Tally Ho.

Holidays and Beauty Spots – traditional holiday destinations such as The Lake District and Cornwall are well represented by Ambleside, Blencathra, Ennerdale, Eskdale, Rydal, Tarn Hows, Windermere, Larmona, Tresco and Kynance, while more exotic locations such as Sorrento, Maryland, Montana and Vermont also make an appearance. Lindisfarne, the historic Holy Island, and Aysgarth, the spectacular Wensleydale waterfalls, also provide inspiration for homeowners.

Phil Jenks – Head of Mortgages at Halifax, said: “ There has been little change in the popularity of certain house names over the past two decades and in most cases this is because the house name already perfectly describes the property and its location. It is nice to see that homeowners still view the house as a shelter from the world at large and have a strong love of nature and the countryside.”

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