5 January 2021

Har Har

Historically-minded Brits will remember that Harrrrh Harrrrh was the native cry of that great English pirate, Cut Throat Jake. And Harwood has been, since the Doomsday Book, a village in Yorkshire. Because of the entertaining vagaries of English topographical nomenclature, it has long been spelt Harewood but pronounced Harwood.

Now the owner of a quite recently built house near the village has decided to change the pronunciation!! A member of the Lascelles family, possessor of one of those late, Georgite, 'peerages', has decided that this is the properly demotic thing to do. Lettered readers will recall that, for political reasons, some branches of the Claudii repackaged themselves as Clodii. (The Citizen King would have understood.) 

The Lascelles family acquired their cabbodle from a Trade which today it would be inelegant to specify. But, in the splendour of their plutocratic, oligarchic, Whiggish arrogance, they have lost none of their conviction that they are empowered even to change ancient placenames.


AKMA said...

British Pathé had no trouble pronouncing 'Harewood' or 'Lascelles'. Perhaps a remedial course in British newsreels would alleviate the in=gnorance of newcomers to the region.

AKMA said...

Sorry, I meant to include https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9ufYDuOjMw

vetusta ecclesia said...

Unlike Lord Marchmain:(from memory) “ We were knights then, barons after Agincourt; the greater honours came with the Georges”. And he couldn’t understand why he was dying since “I have eaten of what is in season and drunk the best vintages”. I think I love Waugh as you do DL Sayers!

John Patrick said...

"a Trade which today it would be inelegant to specify"

If this was the same Lascelles that was the producer of the Inspector Morse TV series, that would seem to redeem them trade-wise.

Jhayes said...

In June, the Yorkshire Evening Post had a heeadline "Harewood House acknowledges slave trade history and speaks in solidarity with Black Lives Matter".


Greyman 82 said...

Near where I live is a residential road named Harewood Avenue, the first syllable of which everyone in these parts pronounces as "hare", as in the cousin of the rabbit. When speaking of that road I go along with this pronunciation, but, since learning of the correct pronunciation of Harewood House as "Harwood", have used that pronunciation when speaking of the House and the nearby village.

There are precedents, I believe, for English aristocrats to change the "official" pronunciation of the names of their country houses to accord with the way hoi polloi utter them. Woburn Abbey was traditionally "Wooburn" and "Althorp" was "Altrop", but in the last few decades the common people's pronunciations have been adopted by their resident owners.