WE have escaped largely unscathed after our assertion a couple of weeks ago that it is nowadays only outsiders who refer to Chop Gate, in Bilsdale on the North York Moors, as “Chop Yat” in the mistaken belief that they sound locals.

On a Zoom talk to the Kirby, Great Broughton and Ingleby Greenhow Local History Society this week, members agreed that dalespeople do indeed now pronounce Chop Gate as “Chop Gate” – but, they warned, Sneck Yate is most definitely “Sneck Yate”, even though both names derive from the same Old Norse word, “gata”, meaning “road”.

Sneck Yate is about ten miles south west of Chop Gate, above Boltby, near Thirsk. It is on the Hambleton Drove Road, part of which is now the Cleveland Way footpath. For centuries, the drove road was an important main road between Scotland, York and the south of England in the pre-railway days when animals were driven vast distances on foot. Perhaps William the Conqueror even marched along it on his way to Bilsdale.

Some sources suggest a literal derivation of Sneck Yate – it was a snick, or latch, on a gate.

However, more likely is that the first Viking settler here was a chap called Snakr – perhaps that was his nickname, because he had the slippery, elusive qualities of a snake.

Local dialect seems to have converted “snake’s gate” into “Sneck Yate” but don’t, if you want to sound like an insider, think Chop Gate has a similar sound.