‘Tis the season for festive house names

Blog post by Diane Waugh.

In RoS’ Information & Analysis team, we work with the vast amount of registration data held by RoS, to develop information products and gain insights into land and property ownership in Scotland. Our remit includes data improvement, and we’ve been paying particular attention lately to our address information in order to support the integrity of our registers as well as improving our statistical reporting, and the user experience in applications such as ScotLIS.

Addresses of course aren’t just numbers and streets, but house names too, and these have provided plenty of interest and scope for some musings on what these might be able to tell us about ourselves as a nation.

For example, did you know we have three ‘Christmas’ properties currently listed in Register of Scotland’s land register of residential properties? They are ‘Christmas Cottage’, ‘Christmas Lodge’ and ‘Xmas Rose’. We decided to search our residential properties register a bit more to see if there were other related names but sadly found no ‘Rudolph’s End’, ‘Yule Bank’ or ‘Santa View’ (although there is a ‘Reindeer House’ in our commercial properties listings), however, we did find that it is the plants we generally associate with this time of year that have the most impact. Whilst there was only one mention of that plant favoured by romantics, in the property simply named – ‘Mistletoe’, there were numerous examples involving the other notable festive flora – holly and ivy.

Holly featured 112 times with 41 name variations, the most popular being ‘Holly Cottage’ which featured 32 times. Ivy trumped it with 142 mentions and 22 name variations, the most popular being ‘Ivy Cottage’ which featured 81 times.

That these two plants should feature heavily in amongst the residential house names on the Land Register is no real surprise. Because of their perceived protective properties, they would often be planted close to dwellings and settlements and they also provided additional winter fodder for cattle, sheep and deer, amongst others. They would often become the identifying feature for a dwelling, or area, and so the names would stick down through the generations.

Find out more!

We’re always on the look-out for other interesting stories we could tell from the data RoS holds. If you have any questions, quirky or otherwise, that you think we could provide some answers to then do get in touch!

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