Friday, 19 September 2008

Possessive Parishes

Parish-named places - why are there so many unnecessary plurals or apostrophes? You never see Jersey's Something-or-Other... or Jerseys Doodads... it's Jersey Pottery, Jersey School of Corruption or whatever - like you see London Business School, Wibblesworth College or Fulchester Rovers, etc.

In the phone book, Grouville places don't need an s, and Trinity's School would look silly too, when Trinity School sounds perfectly reasonable. So why do the saints parishes (parishes named after saints, as opposed to saint's parishes belonging to them!) get so inconsistent?

St. Catherine is the place, not St. Catherines or St. Catherine's.

St. Brelade is the parish. Parish of St. Brelade. You want to name a bowls club after it? St. Brelade Bowls Club. Simple. So why do we get St. Brelades Church, College, Parish Hall, etc? (without even the apostrophe?!)

St. Helier seems to be well used - all as it should be - with no St. Heliers in the phone book.

St. Malos Town Center would look and sound horribly wrong, wouldn't it?

I reckon that if it's named after the saint then an 's is correct, but if it's named after a place that is named after a saint, then the name on its own should be used, unmodified.

St. Martin School sounds more logical to me. You'd think a school of all places would get it right!

1 comment:

Ugh, It's Him! said...

"Oranges and lemons
say the bells of St Clement's..."

There is an established English usage for churches taking the possessive of the saint that they are dedicated to, and most Jersey parishes are named after their church. The original French translates ambiguously - la paroisse de St Jean could as well mean the Parish of St John or St John's Parish, and so you see both usages; you drive from St Helier to St John up the St John's Road.