Monday 22 April 2024

A Town without Walls

 After doing the shopping I had a little time to spare so I called in at Louth library.  

The shelves of local history books are in a quiet corner, perfect.  I found a book which gives the history of virtually every street in town.  Jonny and MingMing have a house in town, not so much a house, more a rather large project.  I was hoping to be able to discover some of the history of the old building.

I couldn't find anything directly relating to their building but there was plenty about some of the people who lived in the same road, Northgate, which is only one of the names it has been known by since medieval times.  

The other names are rather more fun - in 1317 it was known as Padehole (toad-hollow).  'Northgate', was recorded first in 1450 then, for a while, it became known by the nickname Finkle Street (stinking street or fart street). 


There were a couple of small schools along the road, but given the Finkle Street name it probably wasn't a particularly good part of the town, nor were they especially good schools.   The Poor House and House of Correction were also sited on Northgate.  These days part of the workhouse building has been converted into flats, after having been a butcher's premises for quite some time.  You can see it in the photograph.

The modern building to the right is the library.

Records show there was a baker and flour dealer on Northgate,  Edward Fields,  this is of particular interest as some of the old deeds to J & MM's house show that the building was formerly a bakery and shop, could that be their building?  I wonder.  Unfortunately the paperwork they have doesn't go back quite far enough. 

Back to Louth, the town itself.  It is a fairly small market town, steeped in history.   The number of gates which are listed, given that it is not a walled town, is intriguing.

  • Eastgate
  • Westgate
  • Northgate (No Southgate)
  • Kidgate
  • Upgate
  • Ramsgate
  • Gospelgate
  • Cisterngate
  • Ludgate
  • Chequergate
These are all street names which can be seen around town.  However, there also used to be:

  • Hollowgate
  • Walkergate
  • Enginegate
  • Lowgate
According to another book this is because this part of the country was conquered by the Danes in 9th century and a strong Danish influence of the language remained long after.  The Danish word for road was 'gata', which over time became the suffix 'gate'.


  1. Interesting about the gate names in Louth - a place I've never been.
    Didn't know that 'gata'=road=gate. So I was probably wrong about 'Lowgate' in Eye being named that due to the toll gate as it is lower than another road out of town and probably just means Low Road. Love learning something everyday!

    1. Louth really is just a small market town. As with nearly all small towns, half the shops are now charity shops, barbers, or coffee shops. Luckily there is still a sprinkling of really nice independents. In fact, the other day I saw a hat shop, a new kid on the block. The window had three or four stunning creations, all very tasteful. Such a shame that I am not a hat person! I hope they do well. By the way, I liked your theory.

  2. Hi from Australia. I found your blog a little while ago and am enjoying it very much as I emigrated from north Lincolnshire 55 years ago in my early 20's.I met and married an Aussie. I remember Louth very well also Hubbards Hills we used to love it as kids and used to take our children there whenever we visited my family.
    Now what I really wanted to tell you about when I first made bread a few years ago it took a bit of practice but hated to throw out my failures so used to make a Spanish dish called Migas, plenty of recipes on line but mine was from a Rick Stein programme it has chorizo and other tasty things in it and so easy and delicious so IF you have any disasters with your outdoor oven have a go at making Migas. Best of luck.

    1. Hello Shirley, Lovely to meet you - and thank you for coming by. I will definitely check up on the Rick Stein recipe, you can be sure it will be needed at some point. Hubbards Hills is still very popular. We occasionally take the family and have a picnic down there, I think there should be a post about it somewhere or other on this blog, we had a picnic there to celebrate MingMing's birthday, a couple of years ago. I don't think you would find much has changed in Louth. The one-way system around town gets changed every now and then, just to confuse people and the old Eve and Ranshaw Department Store has closed and is now a large coffee shop, unfortunately. Right across the road is a Costa Coffee shop. There are still several outdoor markets each week, which is good, but the calibre of stall is not as they used to be.
      Great to see you here. Don't forget to check once in a while for those loaves of bread - good or bad. By the way, do you have a blog?

  3. When I was my township clerk, the history of the township fascinate me. We had only half a dozen roads in the township, and I wrote a piece for the website that every road had a first name. It was because all the roads were called after (and named for) the largest farm on the road.

    1. I hope that information is still available to people, Joanne.


Lovely to hear from you.
I will try to answer comments in the next post.