Pub's name is an old chesnut

AN expert in language and dialects believes a 16th century village pub should be renamed to reflect the distinct twang of rural Suffolk.Language expert Charlie Haylock, who took an affectionate look at the Suffolk dialect in his best-selling book Sloightly on th' Huh, has contacted brewer Greene King asking it to rename the pub near Stowmarket.

AN expert in language and dialects believes a 16th century village pub should be renamed to reflect the distinct twang of rural Suffolk.

Language expert Charlie Haylock, who took an affectionate look at the Suffolk dialect in his best-selling book Sloightly on th' Huh, has contacted brewer Greene King asking it to rename the pub near Stowmarket.

Mr Haylock, 58, a champion of Suffolk dialect, believes the historic Chestnut Horse tavern in picturesque Great Finborough should be spelt the Chesnut Horse.

The spelling chesnut, without a middle “t”, is regarded as the predominant form from 1570 to about 1820 - and Mr Haylock wants the old pub to have the traditional spelling.


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Mr Haylock, from Great Cornard, near Sudbury, said: “If you look in the Oxford English Dictionary and look under chestnut, you see that without a 't' is a variation on the spelling.

“The history is that chestnut did not have a 't' until the 1700s. The 't' is a late appearance, which the vast majority of the country adopted - but Suffolk kept to the old way.

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“I don't ever think the pub's name was spelt correctly in the first place. It's important to remember our history and tradition through dialect.”

The Chestnut Horse Inn is a grade II -listed, timber-framed late 16th or early 17th century pub at The Green, Great Finborough.

Mr Haylock's call has sparked a talking point in the pub, where the regulars are divided on the best way forward.

Sharon Shipp, landlady, said: “We should spell it correctly, but say it how we want to. It's a lovely talking point, a lot of people will discuss what it should be. It is a very debatable point really.”

Regular Peter Moss, from Stowmarket, said: “There are some lovely dialects, some real Suffolk sayings, but keep it as it is. Otherwise we could end up with the Chesnut 'Orse.”

Tim Norman, from Combs, said: “It's very nice to know how the pub's name should be spelt. I think Mr Haylock has done a great job highlighting the dialect, reminding people what the dialect used to be.

“I met him when he called in to the Chestnut Horse the other day. We should not lose our Suffolk sayings, but I think the name is as it is now and should stay that way.”

Elaine Beckett, a spokeswoman for Greene King, said it would be looking into the issues raised by Mr Haylock.

She said: “Mr Haylock has highlighted the way the pub is spelt and it is something we will be looking into, but is not something we can give an answer to straight away.

“The Chestnut Horse has always been spelt that way and is spelt that way elsewhere in the English Isles. I can't say yet whether we will decide to change it.”

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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