Songdog has alerted me (via e-mail) to the synonymity of two words whose existence had hitherto been unknown to me: gennel and snicket. They both mean ‘alley between houses’; the OED entries are:
gennel, ginnel (‘dZEn@l, ‘dZIn@l; elsewhere ‘gIn@l). dial. A long narrow passage between houses, either roofed or unroofed.
1669 Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. (1887) V. 98 Wm Jackson hath made a Doore into A Ginnell belongeinge to Edmo Heywood. A. 1804 J. Mather Songs (1862) 33 in Sheffield Gloss. s.v., When Sancho was a raw-boned whelp And lived in yonder jennel. 1855 Waugh Lanc. Life (1857) 111 Through th’ ginnel, an’ up th’ steps.
snicket (‘snIkIt). north. dial. A narrow passage between houses, an alley-way.
1898 B. Kirkby Lakeland Words 136 Snicket, a narrow passage between buildings. 1947 I. Brown Say the Word 65 We have vennels, gunnels, and snickets in our northern towns. 1957 R. Hoggart Uses of Literacy i. ii. 52 Street after regular street of shoddily uniform houses intersected by a dark pattern of ginnels and snickets (alleyways) and courts. 1968 B. Hines Kestrel for Knave 31 He cut down a snicket between two houses, out into the fields. 1981 J. Stubbs Ironmaster xx. 276 We are cramming poor people into ginnels and snickets and foetid courts.
So here we have, as far as I can see, exact synonyms to set beside furze and gorse.
Incidentally, I apologize for the disappearance of recent entries and comments between yesterday evening and this afternoon; it was the result of a server change by my hosting service. Thanks to Songdog‘s dependable expertise and selfless efforts on this blog’s behalf, everything has been restored, with the minor glitch that the restored comments are all dated “October 17, 2003 01:38 PM.”