RIGHT UP MY STREET - No 1: The Gullet 

Is it one T or two for this road?    

Updated January 2018 (first written in 2009 with later amendments)

These images are of The Gullet in spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Note that the springtime was the most colourful generally but the most

spectacular was that of the autumn leaves.

   The one that took the longest to acquire was the winter one because

snow seems to fall very rarely in South Cheshire. Even if it does it doesn't

take long for some weak sun to melt it away. The year 2017 was an exception. 

 

A view along The Gullet towards St Mary's Parish Church. On the left is Wesley Court and Rectory Close is to the right of the picture.

 

The entrance to The Gullet from Hospital Street. On the right is Globe House - the location of a business

GULLET or Gullett? Having grown up seeing the sign, above left, on Globe House at the Hospital Street end of the short street in Nantwich (pictured above, right), I had always felt the spelling as used was correct. But then the second T was questioned. A more recent sign (above, right) at street level opted for the single T version - and when Globe House was repainted in late 2011 / early 2012, the correct spelling was made very clear (above, centre).

   My first thought was that a clever metalworker had ground off the top part of the second T, leaving just a full stop. The whole letter could not have been removed as there would have been a space, creating an off-centre name. There had to be something in the space at the end of the name. Full stops are not used in street name plates but, as amended, this was an exception. A closer look at the weather-worn sign (above, left) shows that much of the letter T had already been eroded The older picture was taken in 2009.       

  

THE proper spelling of Gullet must lie in the source of the name. Is it from the alternative name for the oesophagus - gullet? Did the short road look roughly like the body part, or perhaps perform a similar function? Allowing people, in this case, to pass through?

   Is it from the surname Gullett (run a check on the Internet to see how popular a name it is)? I am not aware of any Nantwich Gullett families, but if there were and they were the source of the name, it would surely be Gullett's Row or something, not The Gullett.

  The final "t" is certainly pronounced, but Johnson's Nantwich Almanack and Directory for 1956, in an article about the origin of Nantwich Street names, says: "The Gullet is probably named from the French word 'goulet' meaning a gulley or channel. One did, in fact, flow along here and it is often mentioned in leases of the Abbots of Combermere."   

   There is, as people holidaying in Turkey will know, a third spelling - gulet. This is a wooden sailing ship with masts and sails.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The vehicular entrance to Rectory Close from The Gullet looking towards the town centre.

But I am sure that is a complete non-runner as a source of the name!

 

   IN passing, an interesting point about the Bowling Green Court development is that it is a condition of residency that residents must be 55 years or older.

   There are several homes in the street now but back in the 1950s there were just six or so houses listed in Johnson's Nantwich Almanack and Directory - although the house numbers went up to 17 (see picture at the foot of the page).

   For a while, No 17 seemed doomed to go from the Nantwich scene as - it was rumoured - it would be

knocked down to provide access to a new housing development fronting South Crofts.

    But this didn't happen and just the two houses, renovated, remain.

    No 17 was extended at the back - and in a very clever way which means that the extension looks like a separate building when seen from The Gullet.

   Note: I have used my preferred spelling of Monks' Lane, giving the idea that it was a footpath for all the monks from what is now St Mary's church, rather than a single monk. The spelling on the name plate of the path which runs in front of Dysart Buildings, is Monk's Lane.

 

JOHNSON'S Nantwich Almanack and Directory was an annual publication from the Nantwich printer. It contained essential information about the town (and later Crewe and Nantwich Borough - now replaced by Cheshire East Council) and surrounding areas, as well as a street-by-street directory of house numbers and the head of the individual households.

   Telephone numbers were also included. There is no such publication today, although the same information can be obtained from the Electoral Register, telephone directories and Nantwich Library.

 

IN the 1953 edition of his Almanack, Harry Johnson had said the name Gullet was "probably a Norman-French name for a ditch" and was probably the boundary of the North East portion of Nantwich. In that entry he also said that the word Dog in Dog Lane referred to a dyke. That is, Dyke Lane.

   He also refers to Cart Lake (part of the route taken by The Lothburn - a watercourse) saying the name came from the "ducking cart and pond" - an old punishment of ducking in the water a "scold" or scolding woman.

   He says there was a saying that people could "scould like a Wyche waller", a waller being a worker who produced salt by boiling brine, also called walling - hence the street name Wall Lane which is close to the site where salt was produced.

    See here to read about the discovery of a salt ship - not a vessel but a hollowed out tree trunk used to store brine - one third of which is in the museum. 

 

oA full reference to places and streets in Nantwich in the 1880s can be found in a booklet on sale at Nantwich Museum, called "Harry Thomas Johnson on Nantwich in the 1880s".    

 

ALTHOUGH, as the newer road sign (above, right) shows, the road has no vehicular exit at the far end, it does have a number of ways in and out for pedestrians.

   In street order - from the vehicular access from Hospital Street (pictured above) - these are: 1, a public right of way through Bowling Green Court housing development to South Crofts for pedestrians; 2, vehicular access to Rectory Close, for residents only; 3, vehicular access to Wesley Court (far left), also part of Bowling Green Court (below); 4, pedestrian access to Hospital Street; 5, a pedestrian way past The Bowling Green public house to Monks' Lane; and, finally, a gated exit through to the churchyard (also pictured below).

LOCAL historian Andrew Lamberton contacted me:

 

I enjoyed reading your article on the Gullet. Brilliant. Informative. Interesting. I couldn't have bettered it.

   Let's hope you'll do some more Nantwich Streets.

 

lHarry Johnson was correct. I found a watercourse marked on the 1851 map running as an extension of the Gullet which would join the Lothburn by the churchyard.

   The Lothburn was a watercourse or ditch. It means dirty stream and started in Churchyardside, went behind houses in Pepper Street and Market Street, across Beam Street, under the Shakespeare pub, behind houses in Dog Lane, and then turned at right angles to the edge of Manor Road School

 

and emptied into the Cart Lake (a pond) off Beam Street.

   The roadway of the same name was a long lost link between Beam Street and the road named Snow Hill. Neither are there now although the adjacent car park is now known as Snow Hill.

   However, the name lives on in Cartlake Close, off Edmund Wright Way to the north of Nantwich.

     

l  I notice that the Gullet is not even mentioned in Dodgson (English Place Names, Cheshire).  A glaring omission I would say!

 

The watercourse is shown on this 1851 map in Nantwich Museum. It can be seen flowing between trees to the left of The Gullet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture used by permission of Nantwich Museum

 

     

No 17 The Gullet - saved from demolition after being renovated

 

 

St Mary's Parish Church in the town centre, viewed from Rectory Close

 

The plaque marking the opening of Bowling Green Court in 1964

 

The Bowling Green between The Gullet and Monks' Lane

   

 

Oops

I went as a visitor in 2009 to a meeting of the Nantwich Group of the Family History Society where the street name plates above featured in a talk by the then Leader, Sue Church.

   But Sue pointed out to her audience that I had missed the sign just around the corner where Gullet is spelled with two "t"s. I did know the sign was there but hadn't studied it carefully enough. Thanks, Sue. 

                                    On the subject of road signs . . .

A view of the car park end of The Gullet, as seen from near to the gates by the church

 

The east end of St Mary's Parish Church from The Gullet. In summer, leaves hide the church 

 

Maisterson Court - a look at a second street  |  Articles by Andrew Lamberton

 

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