Sunday, 15 July 2012

New Names Wanted for New Neighbourhoods

I read that land in the north of Houghton Regis was given to the Prior and this land was called Caldecote (Vivienne Evans, A Brief History of Dunstable with the Priory 1100-1550). Now that redevelopment proposals are being publicly discussed, they are also casting around for new suggestions for up to three new neighbourhoods. I think it important that the new neighbourhoods are given appropriate names.

We start from the current three electoral wards for Houghton Regis: Tithe Farm, Parkside, and Houghton Hall.

Developers suggestions have included "Houstone", "Milard", and "Kyngs".

Well, "Houstone" is an ancient name for the whole of Houghton Regis, and I don't find that very imaginitive. Milard comes from Alice Milard. Alice Smyth, widower, purchased land from the Duke of Bedford's very extensive estates, and proceeded to have Houghton Hall constructed next to the Village Green, completed in 1700. Her new husband, William Milard, later gained a knighthood. "Kyngs" is just another throwback name to ancient times when the whole area may have been known as Kyngs Houstone or Kyngs Houghton before 1066. (check out my time line for Houghton Regis at

Alice Milard was actually a daughter of one of the well known Brandreth's, so really, the argument ought to be to call a place Brandreth, except that the electoral ward known today as "Houghton Hall" is more representative of the area owned by the Brandreth's.

In the 2006 book "Selling Sparrows" "Great Crixsey" is mentioned within an enclosure map MA84/2 of 1796, as an area of land mentioned to the south of "Carcutt" Farm. Today we know it as Calcutt Farm. So there are three potential locality names - Carcutt, Calcutt, and Great Crixsey. Why not re-use, at least as small estate, or as road names?

My colleagues on the Facebook Group Houghton Regis .... Back in the Day are suggesting "Washbrook" and I discovered there was a "Washbrook Corner" in Houghton Regis in the 1841 census. I've located it on the same 1796 map mentioned above, being immediately to the west of the land marked Great Crixsley on Bedford Road, opposite the junction with Thorn Road. Roger Chant writes, "The Washbrook was so called as it was where drovers washed their sheep whilst driving them to market, probably in Dunstable. When we were kids there was a bit of a slope into and out of the stream on the eastern side of the bridge. "

I'm aware that various plants were cultivated for local chemists. So how about "Sage", "Parsley" and "Thyme" –– but only if they were relevant to our area!

So, thinking caps on– and let's hopefully end up with some reasonably good names–

The Draft Houghton Regis Proposals can be found here, on CBC website.

Time Banks

Here's a problem:
Mary loves baking, hates gardening.
Peter misses his mum's cooking now she's passed on.
Fred doesn't mind gardening, but hates ironing.
Betty loves ironing, hates wall-papering.
Peter happens to be quite good at wall papering.

         On Friday I attended a "Time Banking" seminar at Chicksands, hosted by Central Bedfordshire Council. Here's what happens: you volunteer an hour of your time to help someone, and get a credit of one hour in the time bank. When you need something done, you go to the time bank and prevail upon the skill that someone else has.

 So, Mary does some baking for Peter. Mary's credit 1 hour.
 Peter does some wall papering for Betty. Peter's credit 2.5 hours, less the hour already taken.
Fred does 3 hours gardening for Mary. Fred's credit 3 hours.
Betty does Fred's ironing. Betty Credit 1 hour.

 A free software programme works out the balance of time for you. If you've got lots of credit, why not link up with another time bank in Cornwall, and get some free instruction on surfing? Or maybe you'd like to gift this time to mother for Mothers Day?

 Find out more at