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 http://houghtonregisheritage.blogspot.co.uk/p/timeline.html)

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.

4 comments:

  1. We don't want more houses therefore we don't need any new names.

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  2. Make sure you have your say on the developments. There is plenty of opportunity, afternoons and evenings at the Bedford Sq, community centre this week.

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  3. I'm surprised that new names are being sought for the development. We already have territorial issues in Houghton Regis, particularly with Parkside & Tithe Farm; why exacerbate this by distinctly naming areas and encouraging a "them & us" atmosphere?

    I was brought up in a very large village where the whole area was just the name of the village. The wards are called North, South & Central. The community spirit was, and still is, much stronger than that in any of the surrounding towns. Can't we all just be Houghton Regis?

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  4. Dear Unknown,
    If you tell someone local that you're "going up the shops", they'll probably know what you mean. But if you tell someone from 20 miles away to meet you at the shops, which ones will they go to? The ones in the town centre, the one in Dolphin Drive, or the ones at Hillborough Crecent?
    With a suggested 3 new neighbourhood centres it makes sense for them to have names so people know where to go.

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