Top of Brant Gate

I learnt the other day of the Old Norse word ‘brantr‘ meaning steep, although it’s unattested and has been ‘reconstructed’ from the Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian form ‘brattr1“The Vikings in Cleveland”. Edited by Heather O’Donoghue and Pragya Vohra. Page 30. First published in Great Britain by the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, University of Nottingham, 2014. ISBN 9780853583011.. I guess this means that it’s a bit of a guess.

However, I read also that ‘brant‘ is actually a Cleveland dialect word for steep, and my mind was immediately transported to Brant Gate, recorded on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey Six-inch map for the bridle road diagonally climbing the steep Cockle Scar on the northern slope of Roseberry Topping2Yorkshire 17 (includes: Guisborough; Hutton Lowcross.) – Ordnance Survey Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952. Available online at: https://maps.nls.uk/view/102344206#zoom=7&lat=1137&lon=4536&layers=BT [Accessed 15 Jul. 2022].. It’s named as such on the modern mapping too.

Brant‘ actually translates as ‘steep‘ in modern Swedish.

I must admit I haven’t heard of this local usage of ‘brant‘ meaning steep. ‘Gate‘ of course, derives from the Old Norse word ‘gata‘ for a street.

At the top of the climb the Brant Gate becomes sunken through generations of wear. I guess it was the route used to sled building stone, heather and turves down from Little Roseberry and Great Ayton Moor.

  • 1
    “The Vikings in Cleveland”. Edited by Heather O’Donoghue and Pragya Vohra. Page 30. First published in Great Britain by the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, University of Nottingham, 2014. ISBN 9780853583011.
  • 2
    Yorkshire 17 (includes: Guisborough; Hutton Lowcross.) – Ordnance Survey Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952. Available online at: https://maps.nls.uk/view/102344206#zoom=7&lat=1137&lon=4536&layers=BT [Accessed 15 Jul. 2022].

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