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Slyne-with-Hest Village


 
 


Location

The township of Slyne-with-Hest is located three miles north of Lancaster and three miles east of Morecambe. To the North lie Bolton-le-Sands and Carnforth. All are included within the City of Lancaster district.

Slyne-with-Hest consists, as the name suggests, of two villages; Slyne to the East and Hest to the West. The main A6 road (London to Carlisle) runs through Slyne and the main "West Coast" railway line from London to Glasgow touches the coast of Morecambe bay at Hest Bank beach.  

Between the A6 and the railway line lies the bulk of our peaceful community. The Lancaster canal, opened in 1795, passes through the centre of the village and provides an attractive resource to both locals and tourists. 

To the West the splendid expanse of Morecambe Bay gives way in the distance to the panoramic view of the Lake District mountains. Morecambe Bay sunsets are unrivalled anywhere in the world!

Early History

The first time we hear the place-names Slyne and Hest their unusual sound gives us the feeling of great antiquity. For people who have just arrived from other parts of the country, to settle in the village, there is the same feeling and curiosity about the names. This is because they are unique, and people instinctively recognize that.

The village of Slyne-with-Hest is very old. The spelling of the place-name Slyne appears in various guises throughout the middle-ages. From 1500 to 1750 it is most commonly written as "Sline", only becoming "Slyne" after this time. Here are some extracts from "The Place Names of Lancashire":

There is every reason to believe that the Lune valley became English some time before 670. Certain place-names suggest very early colonisation of the districts in question. Some names in Lonsdale contain elements hardly or extremely rarely found as living words in historic times, and not, to my knowledge, evidenced in other Northern English place-names. Hest, Slyne.

Slyne: First appears as Sline, Domesday Book, Asselinas 1094, Slynes 1190. Then as Slina 1177, Slin 1185, Sline 1203, .Slyne, Slynedale 1200-10,. Slyne 1246,  Slene 1248-51, de Slen 1250,.de Slene 1332, de Sleen 1200 and 1240.

Slyne stands on a ridge. Near Slyne Hall is a small, prominent hill. Related names are perhaps Slynhead, and Slindon, (Staffs).

I believe Slyne goes back to Old English, Slinu or the like, related to Norw. slien "gently and evenly sloping terrain". Old English slind, Irish sliss "side" by the side of, Latin clino. The Old English slinu may have meant 'a slope' this seems a suitable meaning here, a meaning "hill" is also possible.

The place-name Hest with its simple construction had settled down by 1650 to the spelling as we know it. Again from "The Place Names of Lancashire":

Hest.: Hest 1177, Heste 1327,  Heest 1246, Heast 1557.

This is apparently another interesting old name containing an otherwise lost word. The form Heest points to a word with a long vowel, Old English, Hoest or Hest, the meaning seems to be "brushwood" or "underwood". Old English, hoes, is often used in names of swine-pastures, this seems to tell us that at least its original meaning was "beach" or "oakwood".

The third area I am including is Hatlex, which appeared to be considered as an area in its own right. I have come across almost thirty different spellings of Hatlex, some of which are quite amusing e.g. "Hatcklets" and "Acklets". This name took quite a long time to settle down to the word as we now know it. For a long period up to the1800s it was commonly known as "Hatlocks" and was still being written as such on the maps of 1792, only becoming "Hatlex" in the mid 1800s.

Hatlex: Written as Hakelakes,1230-5, Mekelhakelakes 1246-67, de Hakelakes 1250-70, Haclex 1586, Hakles 1526, Hackleek 1557.

Hatlex farms are on a brook called Hatlex Beck. The second element of the name is no doubt lake "a small stream". The first may be a person Old English e.g.. Hacca or Old Norse Haki, or possibly "hackle" "stickleback". The plural form is probably due to the fact that there are or were two farms of the name.

As we can see from the above, Slyne and Hest are perhaps the oldest settlements in this area, predating the Viking invasion by as much as two to three hundred years.

One of the numerous stories of St Patrick (377-460) tells us that he was supposed to have been ship wrecked on a skeer at Heysham and on his way northward, when thirsty, to have thrust his staff into the ground at Slyne and thus originated a permanent local water supply. On the copy of the 1845 Tithe Map of Slyne-with-Hest the field numbered 71, north-west of Belmount, is named Well Hill and three adjoining fields contain "Patrick Well" and "Part of Patrick Wells". The water of St. Patrick's well was said to have remarkable curative powers in affections of the eyes. Now that we know how ancient Slyne and Hest appear to be, the story of St. Patrick may well have some truth in it.

Mavis Foster (1996)