Showing posts with label Thomas Wriothesley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thomas Wriothesley. Show all posts

May 4, 2012

What's in a Name, Hamptons

According to legend, The Hamptons posh area of Long Island is named after the Earl of Southampton. Thomas Wriothesley, the 4th Earl when Southampton was founded in 1640, was a Cambridge-educated aristocrat. He eventually rose to one of the most powerful political offices in Britain, Lord High Treasurer.

Since the town of Southampton was the first to be settled in that area, and since the other Hamptons (Bridgehampton, East Hampton, etc.) take their names from that town, all of them can claim to owe their name to the Earl.

However, according to the Easthampton Historical Society, “19th century snobbishness” may have resulted in locals spreading that story around, since being connected, however tangentially, to aristocracy was a big deal in early America. According to their records, Southampton was more likely named because it resembled the town of Southampton in England with no connection to the Earl.

The word hamp means pasture. The Native Americans had deforested much of Long Island and farmed it, so the open flat land bordered by a coarse, brown sandy beach may have evoked memories of the south coast of England. So the Hamptons are either posh or pasture, your choice.