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Folklore/language: Of snickets and ginnels

Arnie 17 Jul 01 - 11:03 AM
Drumshanty 17 Jul 01 - 11:16 AM
bill\sables 17 Jul 01 - 11:18 AM
Drumshanty 17 Jul 01 - 11:20 AM
Steve Parkes 17 Jul 01 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 17 Jul 01 - 11:54 AM
Mountain Dog 17 Jul 01 - 11:57 AM
Susie 17 Jul 01 - 01:35 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 17 Jul 01 - 02:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jul 01 - 02:11 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Jul 01 - 03:22 PM
Penny S. 17 Jul 01 - 06:48 PM
Penny S. 17 Jul 01 - 06:53 PM
Snuffy 17 Jul 01 - 08:21 PM
RangerSteve 17 Jul 01 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Sooz ( at work ) 18 Jul 01 - 03:38 AM
IanC 18 Jul 01 - 05:33 AM
Gervase 18 Jul 01 - 05:44 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 Jul 01 - 06:14 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 18 Jul 01 - 08:59 AM
KitKat 18 Jul 01 - 09:02 AM
Ringer 18 Jul 01 - 09:44 AM
Geoff the Duck 18 Jul 01 - 09:52 AM
Snuffy 18 Jul 01 - 04:36 PM
Arnie 18 Jul 01 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Vectis 18 Jul 01 - 06:03 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 01 - 06:27 PM
LR Mole 19 Jul 01 - 02:38 PM
MMario 19 Jul 01 - 03:02 PM
Sooz 19 Jul 01 - 03:45 PM
Penny S. 19 Jul 01 - 03:51 PM
Penny S. 19 Jul 01 - 03:56 PM
Penny S. 19 Jul 01 - 04:05 PM
Penny S. 19 Jul 01 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Lizzy 20 Jul 01 - 03:28 AM
RoyH (Burl) 20 Jul 01 - 03:44 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 20 Jul 01 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,jack the lad 20 Jul 01 - 04:33 PM
Ebbie 21 Jul 01 - 11:16 AM
Arnie 21 Jul 01 - 02:52 PM
Les from Hull 21 Jul 01 - 04:09 PM
Penny S. 22 Jul 01 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Neil B 02 Jan 13 - 08:00 AM
John MacKenzie 02 Jan 13 - 08:55 AM
theleveller 02 Jan 13 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,henryp 02 Jan 13 - 09:29 AM
selby 02 Jan 13 - 09:49 AM
ian1943 02 Jan 13 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Richard 02 Jan 13 - 12:42 PM
GUEST 02 Jan 13 - 01:09 PM
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Subject: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Arnie
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:03 AM

When I was a kid in the West Riding of you know where, we called the passageway between two houses a snicket. In Yorkshire dialect books I've seen the same thing called a ginnel (maybe S.Yorks?. Now that I'm in Kent no-one knows what a snicket is, but they refer to it as a twitten (god knows where that originated!) It occurs to me that there must be a few more variations to describe an alleyway around parts I have not visited, like East Anglia and most of the rest of the world. Any offers??


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Drumshanty
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:16 AM


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: bill\sables
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:18 AM

In County Durham it was called a "Lonnen"


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Drumshanty
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:20 AM

Sorry! 's been a long day.

They are called 'closes' in Edinburgh and we call them that in Elgin too although I am sure there is another older name that I will have to look up. My da, on the other hand, says he's going 'up the entry'. He's from Belfast.

Tracy


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:43 AM

'Gulley' in parts of the Midlands ... in other parts. a gulley is the little hole in the ground where the water from the sink or the drainpipe goes. I never knew hoe to tell which part I was in, but it's OK as long as no-one asks directions! There's a 'ginnel' that runs down from Mellish Road to the Arboretum (I think) in Walsall.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:54 AM

When I were a nipper in Brummagem we called them "entries".
RtS


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:57 AM

Narrow passageways between buildings are called "opes" in Cornwall.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Susie
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 01:35 PM

Where I live now in Cumbria we have a ginnel, but when I lived in Nottinghamshire, it was called a gennel (still with a hard "g"). I've always wondered whether the name is derived in some way from "tunnel". A "lonnin" here is just a narrow lane, ususally not suitable for vehicles and certainly not with a roof, which a ginnel always has - one of the houses on either side making use of the floor space above! We have swallows nesting in our ginnel every year - lovely, but they dive at us alarmingly every time we go through. Regrettably for them, we can't be discouraged as it's the only way to our back door! Susie


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 02:09 PM

tenfoot


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 02:11 PM

In Oxford we called them Cracks.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 03:22 PM

Gennel or Ginnel in South Yorkshire, as Arnie suggested; usually with a soft G.  Sidney Oldall Addy (A Glossary of Words Used in the Neighbourhood of Sheffield, 1888) gave the word, mentioning that it appeared in Lancashire as ginnel, and around Leeds as ginnil, with a hard G; in that case it was "generally understood to mean a passage between a wall and a hedge, or between two walls".

He also referred to Gin-Hoil, "a footpath in Dore with a wall on on each side and a post at the end.  Probably the same as gennel... A[nglo] S[axon], gin, a gap, an opening."

"Hoil" is "Hole", of course.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 06:48 PM

They're twittens in Sussex, too. I think they have a rural origin as small tracks giving access to fields off the road, rather than the urban meanings in some of the above. Isn't there another word somewhere - I used to know quite a few of these words, all two syllable with a diminutive sound, collected as we holidayed around the country.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 06:53 PM

Vennels, I think, somewhere. Scotland?

Penny


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 08:21 PM

We always called them ginnells (hard g) in cheshire, but here in Warwickshire (Alcester), a passage between two walls without a roof is called a 'tuery'


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: RangerSteve
Date: 17 Jul 01 - 11:32 PM

G.B.Shaw was right: We are two nations divided by a common language. But thanks for this thread. If I ever get to the UK and have to ask directions, I'll have a slight idea what people are talking about.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,Sooz ( at work )
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 03:38 AM

Eightfoot, or twitchel in the area of Nottinghamshire where I grew up.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: IanC
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 05:33 AM

We have a Twitchell here in Ashwell, Herts. I don't think the terms are entirely mutually exclusive, though my Bradford relatives always seem to call them Snickets.

Has anyone noted down Ullet for one of the Yorkshire versions of the term?

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Gervase
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 05:44 AM

In Lowestoft the narrow alleys running from the High Street down to the shore are called Scores (from the Anglo Saxon scorean meaning 'to cut', I think)


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 06:14 AM

Arnie, ginnel (hard G) was the word in my part of the West Riding: Leeds. Or Crossgates to be more precise. Maybe it depends on whether you call the gathering of combustibles for Bonfire Night "chumping" or "progging" - or even whether it's not Bonfire Night but Plot Neight. In my experience, five or ten miles could make all the difference.

On the other hand, "lonnin" for farm lane, as mentioned by Suzie, seems to hold good all over Cumbria, or at least from Wetheral to Egremont. Though if we're reviving the Ridings, I should perhaps be saying Cumberland.

Entries, Belfast style, are not quite the same thing as ginnels. In residential areas of Belfast an entry runs between two terraces of houses, at the rear of both, on to which backyards open (known as back streets in northern England, and actually named as such, as in the Liverpool song, Back Buchanan Street). In the city centre an entry is more likely to be a bustling alleyway, maybe containing a shop or two, or a bar (eg the Morning Star). A ginnel (in Crossgates, Leeds, at any rate) would typically be a pedestrian-only link between two roads, passing between a couple of houses and their gardens. No roof.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 08:59 AM

In Newcastle the ones that run down to the Tyne are called Chares.

"He cam oot the bottom of the chare eatin a brick ye knaa"


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: KitKat
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 09:02 AM

I too remember them as 'entries'. I have heard that the Shropshire/Welsh border area word for them is 'entanies'. Presumably from the same root.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Ringer
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 09:44 AM

Twitchell in my native village in Nottinghamshire, but squitchell in the neighbouring village (whence hove my mother).

Sooz: is "eightfoot" native to Notts, too? I've never heard that usage.

Snuffy: how is "tuery" pronounced? (too-er-ie?) Is it related to "tuyere", the tapping hole in a steel furnace?


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 09:52 AM

When I grew up in Bradford we had both snickets AND ginnels. I would say that the ginnel went between houses, as in Fionn's definition a couple of postings up. A snicket as I recall was longer and went somewhere. It was often the part of a footpath which was bordered on both sides by a hedge or fence, often a shortcut between one part of an estate to another.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 04:36 PM

Bald Eagle - yes, 'too-er-ee' (or sometimes choo-er-ee). And going by Geoff the Duck's definitions, a tuery is really a snicket, but the end of it is often a ginnel.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Arnie
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 05:05 PM

Many thanks to all who replied. It really is comforting to know that despite 'estuary English' , BBC English and all the rest, dialect is still going strong....but for how much longer???


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,Vectis
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 06:03 PM

Twitten down here in Sussex.
Alley in South London.
On the Island they were just paths or side paths. Lanes were longer and went somewhere other than between houses.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 01 - 06:27 PM

I was amused by an entry in the OED about gennel (ginnel). 1613- "Robert Charnocke has newly erected a privie, the ffilthe whereof ffalleth into a certen gynnel or gutter." The first published use of the word for a long, narrow passage is 1669. Of course, these are the earliest dates found by the editors; they could be much earlier. Any songs about gennels? I have heard a lot of dialect on the BBC lately. BBC English was very useful in the days when radio reception was poor, and it was also a link that bound the far-flung empire.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: LR Mole
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 02:38 PM

You guys are making all this up, right? And you're all in a room together? "OK, we'll tell them the word for saucepan is...smorclet!!"


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: MMario
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 03:02 PM

mole - everyone knows a "saucepan" is a "soppippin"


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Sooz
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 03:45 PM

Bald Eagle- I don't think I heard about eightfoots until I moved to Hull. I always though they were the poor man's tenfoot! I'm resisting the temptation to start a thread about the different regional names for bread rolls (cobs, baps, breadcakes................)


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 03:51 PM

I think we've been there - Kentish huffkins, I remember. And we ain't makin' it up, 'onest. Just don't get us started on children's truce words, or the words for what you do with the tea after pouring in the boiling water and befoe pouring it out. We've got diversity over here, and then some.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 03:56 PM

Eh bien: ici un(e) vennel en Normandie.

French Vennel

Other references are to sites in Cromarty and Glasgow


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 04:05 PM

Other references I found are to .....

And this one

Scottish Vennel (with links)


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Jul 01 - 04:20 PM

I've run Google on twitten, vennel and ginnel, all of which come up - haven't tried the others yet, but here's a discussion on snickets and ginnels.

Yorkshire discussion

By the way, I think the French vennel comes from Looking-glass land.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,Lizzy
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 03:28 AM

My recollection is in accord with Geoff the Duck. Having lived many years in Bradford and before that in North Yorkshire I understand a ginnel to be a snicket with a roof. So a ginnel is, for example, the passageway through a row of back-to-back houses. A snicket is, as Geoff says, a longer path or lane but open to the elements. In Leicester, where I now live, both are called jittys or jittyways.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 03:44 PM

I grew up in the Notts/derby border area. The word there was 'twitchell'. I assume that is how it's spelt, I never saw it written down. Our word for pavement was 'corsey', derived from 'causeway' I should think.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 04:30 PM

Twitchel is a very old word for a narrow passage between walls or hedges (Old and Middle English- see OED). It is interesting to see that it and some of the other words mentioned here survive locally. Twitten is old Sussex, as noted by Vectis. Twitting is another word for the same thing. Not all words mentioned here are considered dialect, by the way, they are just seldom or locally used now. Long may they survive! Television and computer English are removing much of the flavor of the English language.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,jack the lad
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 04:33 PM

has anyone heard of a "finkle"? I heard it as a lad in Yorkshire- my teacher said it was a ginnel. Jack The Lad


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Jul 01 - 11:16 AM

Amazing. Wonder if we have any equivalent esoterica? Other than 'poke' for 'bag' or 'sack' in the American South, I can't think of a single one in U.S. English.

On a less exotic note but still distinct from us, an English couple the other day told me that over there our 'sidewalk' is your 'pavement' and our 'pavement' is your 'tarmac'. Our 'tarmac' is the concrete or asphalt-surfaced idling section of a runway for a plane about to take off- what do you call that?

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Arnie
Date: 21 Jul 01 - 02:52 PM

Ebbie,

Dead right! Sidewalk is pavement over here and tarmac is the road and also the airport runway. I won't bore you with the other differences as you no doubt know them already! None of which is to do with snickets, ginnels and all the rest - it's a wonder we Brits understand each other let alone your lot!!!


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Les from Hull
Date: 21 Jul 01 - 04:09 PM

Jack the Lad - there are still many Finkle Streets in Yorkshire, but I'm not sure of the derivation.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: Penny S.
Date: 22 Jul 01 - 04:45 AM

Actually, Arnie was the first to mention twittens

Penny


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,Neil B
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 08:00 AM

I have just returned from a walk around Alcester and Googled 'Tuery'. This gave me this thread which I have just read out to my wife and mum and it has provided great interest and amusement. Thank You!

We have heard of so many of the different words, as between the three of us we have connections to Yorkshire, Leicestershire, The Midlands and Sussex, but as a Scouser I generally knew of them as 'entries'. However, many years ago I did some research and discovered that in Liverpool they were known as 'jiggers' and 'me mum' has just confirmed the same.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 08:55 AM

There's a Finkle Street in Kendal.
Apart from closes, in Scotland, we also have wynds.
Poke mentioned above is common parlance in the west of Scotland, for a paper bag. Think, 'Buying a pig in a poke'
Weakness was described as, not being able to punch your way out of a wet poke.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: theleveller
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 09:08 AM

There's a Finkle Street in Selby. And I'm reminded of that Yorkshire description of a bow-legged person..."'E couldn't stop a pig in a ginnel."


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 09:29 AM

Scotland has wynds, but Lancashire has weinds in
Preston; Main Sprit Weind, Anchor Weind
Garstang; Thomas's Weind
Great Eccleston; The Weind

I think we'd call them ginnels today.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: selby
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 09:49 AM

FINKLE comes from the Old Norse meaning elbow, bend or even dog-leg. There was also an old Danish word, vincle, which meant a corner, angle or short, winding street. Finkle St inSelby has a bend in it.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: ian1943
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 11:38 AM

Here in the city of Durham we call them vennels.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 12:42 PM

With regard to RoyH, "causeway" is derived from "Causey way" (however you spell it), not the other way round. I looked it up once, but can't remember where1 Might have been Chambers' dictionary.


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Subject: RE: Of snickets and ginnels
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 13 - 01:09 PM

In Salford we called them entries


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