Tuesday, 25 November 2014


We escaped down a snickelway in York the other day. We had both been in danger of over-dosing on all this stuff...

This particular snickelway (a recent addition to the Yorkshire vocabulary, snickelway is a combination of snicket, ginnel and alleyway, coined by Mark W. Jones in 1983) is called Hornpot Lane.
Cow horn has always been a cheap and plentiful material. It has been made into many useful items over the centuries: spectacle frames, spoons, window panes - and pots. Here is one we found recently.

This pot - or beaker - was made to commemorate the opening of the Thames Tunnel in early Victorian London, circa 1843. Back in York, the snickelway led us to the 12th century Holy Trinity Church, close by the Minster.
17th century box pews.
This squint hole is in the wall of an enclosed chapel, where lepers were once permitted to attend church services.

15th century stained glass.
Restored, we left peace behind and got back to what was required of us that day.


  1. I know what you mean - it can be somewhat overwhelming! Though York is a good city for the right kind of atmosphere. Love the term 'snickelway' - what northerners call 'ginnels' are 'twittens' in Sussex.

    1. In my home county, Kent, they call them plain "alley" or " alleyway". One of my favourites is Ticklebelly Alley - there's one near Dover Castle and others in Deal and Faversham.

  2. I got a deep sense of peace reading this Nilly- thank you, it has been a full-on day. Spent in the woods which was lovely, but full on nevertheless.

  3. Historically your cow horn beaker is really interesting - what a lovely thing to have.
    I, like you, would dash down the snickelway as fast as possible to escape the modern day garishness of the ever advancing festive season.

  4. What a beautiful find your beaker is. The photo of the church windows is also beautiful, with such a serene atmosphere. But I also love to see the shop windows at Christmas, all dressed up, even if I don't want to buy any of the goods on offer!

  5. I do miss some of the lovely Christmas shops here but as you so wonderfully show here, it can get overwhelming and you did absolutely the right thing. I love the look of the those carved horn beakers but somehow. the thought of drinking anything out of one turns my stomach...
    Gorgeous church, which looks as cold inside as I remember York can be at this time of year!

  6. Your little escape looks like it was the perfect antidote to the excessive Christmas commercialism.

  7. Hi Nilly. Fascinating to read about the cow horn. I almost have exactly the same photo on my blog, on a post about the Brunel Museum. Did you buy that cup? Love the fact that people have always been buying souvenirs.