Friday, 24 July 2009

What's a weind?

What's a weind?, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

You don't know what a weind is, do you? It was a unknown word to me until yesterday.

It started at a shop in Garstang - a small market town near Lancaster -when we asked for directions to a local tea house:

Her: "Take the second weind on the left, and you'll find a good one."
Me : "What's a weind?!"
Her: "erm... I don't really know. It's just what we call them."

We decided not to ask the obvious question, but to find out for ourselves. Have you guessed it yet? I haven't tracked down the etymology of 'weind' or even the subtle details behind its meaning and use, but it seems a weind is a passageway of some description. And a Google search suggests the word is confined to this general area. They are mentioned here in a document titled A Short History of Garstang.

Postscript 1: The beauty of not being 'born and bred' in Lancashire is regularly coming across new words as well as places. One thing yesterday's discovery taught me was that there were obviously a lot of alleyways in this part of the medieval world. I base this assertion on only recently having added another new word to my linguistic repertoire for them - ginnel.

Postscript 2: Before anyone asks, I have no idea who Thomas was. Regrettfully, it didn't occur to me to ask someone at the time.


  1. I guess it is true what they say. You learn something every day!

  2. ...and I thought the Swiss were strange :)

  3. I love this sort of history learning and this sort of language learning. More whenever you can, Eamon.

    And thanks for the info about Yasmin's book. She is a good little reader then. I had one of them - she was 30 this week just gone. Thirty ... my my ...

  4. Certainly do Lois :) Sean, the Swiss have nothing on these Lancastrians ;) and thanks Julie, I'll keep my eye out for more. Btw, Yasmin has just looked at the photo carefully and told me that wasn't actually a Pullman book - it was 'Knife' by R J Anderson. She goes through so many I lose track. So your little girl is 30? Not so little any more!

  5. Thanks for the lesson, Eamon! I learned a new word today.

    This photo is wonderfully crisp and rich. And I'm assuming you took it in a darkish weind. ;-)

  6. YEGTG, not sure how useful it will be though! The weind wasn't that dark - as you may have guessed, I increased the contrast to darken the bricks a little. Hmm... is that cheating?

  7. Nice shot. I assume it is like an alleyway. I enjoyed the post.

    Pick a Peck of Pixels

  8. Interesting local variation of a common word, new one on me. I knew the scottish wynd though.
    Leeds Photography

  9. Hi there,

    A "weind" is probably the same word as a "wynd", which is to be found all overe Scotland. It is pronounced to rhyme with the word, "kind" and means a lane. I don't know if "weind" is pronounced the same way or not. However, the northern dialect of English and Scots have much the same basic vocabulary (as in "d'ye ken John Peel?").


    1. wEIND IS PRONOUCED TO Rhyme with fiend.

  10. Thomas's was the pharmacy. There you are; I'm married to a beautiful Garstang gal!

  11. A weind is like a ginnel, but more weindy than ginnelly. If it wasn't so weindy, it would be a ginnel. The word does seem to be found mostly in the Preston and Garstang area.
    Tony H - Windermere - Formerly of Catterall

  12. In Preston there's a Main Sprit Weind.

  13. Ha, I just tried to use this word on Scrabble but it wouldn't accept it. I asked my partner if she had heard of it and explained it was like an alley way or a narrow passage of some kind. She hadn't of course, so I googled it and wound up here. I was of course born in Garstang and my family still live there!

  14. Re., Thomas Weind: I would think that the weind is named after this man rather than a chemist shop owner. "Thomas Stanley, the 1st Earl of Derby built nearby Greenhalgh Castle in late 1400’s, under licence from King Henry VII."


Thanks for the comment in advance. All thoughts are appreciated ~ Eamon.