Criss-crossing the ancient and beautiful city of York in England is a series of footpaths and alleyways known as Snickelways. These, often hidden, passages have seen lots of York’s history and each one has a story to tell. They serve as little known shortcuts and detours, sometimes barely going anywhere at all. Although many cities have these little streets, as far as I know the word is peculiar to York. They are ancient public rights of way, mostly medieval and often have odd names such as Mad Alice Lane.
In 1983 Mark Jones wrote the definitive guide to these curious narrow back streets called A Walk Around The Snickelways of York.His hand-drawn maps and illustrations show 50 snickelways and he provides hand-written directions that guide the reader on a walk around them all.
Because I so loved the name I had to include them in my novel, Blackfeather and they are mentioned briefly in Chapter Six when Kate thinks the mysterious stranger in black has ducked out of sight down one of the Snickelways known as Hornby’s Passage which is situated on Stonegate. However, she soon finds out her new shadow has an even more amazing mode of travel is pulled into an adventure that will have her battling for her very soul.