1) In Whitby, some of the narrow alleys which link more important streets to the water’s edge are called ‘ghauts’.

I find no evidence that this term has been in use elsewhere along the coast. The alleys are picturesque and much photographed and yet Smith made no mention of the word in The Place-Names of the North Riding. Nor was an explanation of its meaning given in H.P. Kendall’s monograph on The Streets of Whitby, although the author referred incidentally to Alder’s Ghaut, Collier’s Ghaut, Tin Ghaut and Rippon’s Ghaut. The names were evidently remarkably fluid, for Tin Ghaut had two different locations

Alder’s Ghaut was ‘formerly known as Virgin Pump Ghaut’, and Collier’s Ghaut was said to have replaced Horse Mill Ghaut, ‘known as such in 1595’. If the history of the word can indeed be shown to go back to the sixteenth century, it must be presumed that the present spelling has been influenced by the Anglo-Indian word ghaut which has a very similar meaning. In the 1600s, ‘the Ghauts’ was the name given to mountains in southern Hindustan but in the singular it was employed more particularly of narrow defiles or passes, and in 1783 was used to describe a flight of steps leading to the river-side and to the landing place there. Since the artificial cutting on Whitby’s West Cliff was given the name Khyber Pass soon after 1848 it may be that the spelling ‘ghaut’, if not the word, dates from that period.A Whitby glossary of 1855 has an entry for ‘gaut or gote’ and it was defined there as a narrow opening or slip from a street to the shore, and the author quoted ‘Fish gaut’and ‘Horsemill gaut’ as examples. Very similar information is given in J.C. Atkinson’s Glossary of the Cleveland dialect, where the editor also draws attention to the Hindustani word, in the sense of ‘pass or defile’. Wright had an entry in 1900 for ‘gaut’ and included the spelling ‘ghaut’ but no examples of its use. In fact early references to the place-name are rare, Pigot’s Directory of 1829 for Whitby placed two inns or public houses in Fish Goat

the Jolly Butchers where Sarah Coulson was the landlady and the Seven Stars managed by Thomas Fewster: in Baines’s Directory of 1822 the address was Church Street. It is likely, I believe, that it derives from Middle English gote, used principally of a water-course or channel but adapted in Whitby to the narrow ‘channels’ or alleys which lead down to the river. That seems more probable since the word was used of the 'gote' to the horse mill in 1595 according to H.P. Kendall. This mill belonged at one time to Bagdale Hall and it is mentioned independently from c.1540 when 2s rent was paid for 1 Molendini equine which adjoined William Laverock’s cottage. In fact, ‘gote’ as a mill leat or water channel was in widespread use in Yorkshire over many centuries: 1551 the said lessoure shall buylde … one dame and one gote … to conveye water … to such mill, Thurstonland

1618 a water-sewer called the Lower Goate from Firbie to Exilbie.

dates 1540 1551 1595 1618

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