A short thread on kissing gates

(Archived from a Twitter thread.)


In a supplement to the latest @countrywalking magazine supported by @komoot, I spotted this note on the origins of kissing gates, which made me sceptical (I’d always thought the ‘kiss’ was from the swinging gate touching its frame). This sent me down the footpath of research‚Ķ🧵

The OED defines a kissing gate as ‘a small gate swinging in a U- or V-shaped enclosure, so as to allow only one person to pass at a time’, with its earliest citation from 1875. But Google Books quickly reveals many earlier instances‚Ķ

The earliest of these I can find is from Francis Lloyd’s 1844 novel (published anonymously) called Hampton Court, or The Prophecy Fulfilled, referring to ‘the swing bars of Petersham meadow kissing gate’. (This is Turner’s painting of this area from Richmond Hill.)