27 JANUARY 1939, Page 18

Two Old Words

In a Hertfordshire parish are two places always referred to by the local population one as the Slade, the other as the Slype. The Slade or Slad is a dip in the field running parallel with a very perfect reach of " Grimm's Dyke," and was doubt- less artificially dug. Between the two is a high and fairly level field that is presently to be unearthed. It was quite certainly the site of a Belgic town-camp, built, it is thought, about a century before the Roman invasion. Slade is an old English word for ravine. The Slype is part of a new and narrow road. I failed to find the word in my Skeat (which is abridged), but other dictionaries describe it as an urban word, meaning a narrow passage between buildings. The country use of the word would suggest that it has no necessary con- nexion with architecture, but means any corridor, whether enclosed by hedge or wall. Is it in general use about England?