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29/08/2011: What's in a name?

Royce Rolls? Spencer and Marks? Davidson Harley? These were some of the household names I mused over when studying the morning mail, wondering what would have happened to these businesses if the other person had won the toss and got their name first in the list.

A very similar phenomenon occurred in the parish surrounding Farkham Hall at the turn of the 19th century. Wealthy industrialist, Obediah Quinell's Son Gerald was set to marry Hermione Farr, daughter of a local landowner, Steptoe. Now, the Farrs were 'old money' and as such Steptoe thought his daughter was marrying beneath her, and that new money was somehow dirty money and worth less than that which has been in the family for generations. Also, he had no sons and didn't want the Farr family name to die out with him, so he gracelessly allowed the marriage to go ahead provided that the name became hyphenated and gave rise to the Quinnell-Farr dynasty.

However, this rankled with Farr senior who, as tradition has it, was paying for the whole bun-fight anyway. It is rumoured in the parish that he was blackmailing the Appalling Vicar Bastard of the time, and got him to pressurise the registrar into making a 'mistake'. Whatever the reason at the time, once the register had been signed, the truth of the matter came out, that they had been joined with the names reversed.

To this day, and it is over 100 years since they celebrated with a reception at the Hall, the toast of local has remained the same. At all celebrations where a group gets together they all raise their glasses and shout "Farr-Quinnell" at the top of their voices.

The F-Q's had a number of children who received FA Education (Farkham Academy) at the same time as my father, the 18th Squire Farkham before going on to achieve great distinction at FU (Farkham University). More of their stories anon...

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