Suburban street naming has gone too far.
I just discovered there’s a cul-de-sac in my area called Tyburn Tree Court.
If that doesn’t sound like a downright awful place to raise kids, how would you like telling people you live on Electric Chair Drive? How about Firing Squad Lane? Guillotine Way?
The “Tyburn Tree” was a gallows erected in London in 1571. The innovative design allowed executioners to hang three people at once. Earls, persecuted Catholics, highwaymen, and even the exhumed body of Oliver Cromwell swung from Tyburn Tree.
So I’d really like to know why some developer thought it was a good name for a suburban cul-de-sac in Northern Virginia, U.S.A. Had he or she heard the phrase somewhere before and thought it had a nice alliterative ring to it? If so, clearly the developer didn’t recall the context and never bothered to look into what the phrase might mean.
Or…someone got sneaky. Maybe the developer was sick of names like “Old Dairy Road,” “Brightfield Lane,” and “Soft Breeze Court” (all streets in the same neighborhood as Tyburn Tree Court). After all, if you don’t know what Tyburn Tree really was, then it sounds no different from the bucolic terms every other developer in America strives to use.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will add that there’s a road in northern Virginia named “Gallows Road,” but that’s because way back in early Virginia history the dirt road actually went out to a gallows. Tyburn Tree was a particular gallows, and it only ever stood in London, England.
Lazy developer? Or sneaky one? What do you think?
P.S. How did I know about Tyburn Tree in the first place? Romance novels 😉