English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Armthorpe

Historical Forms

  • Gunnel(l)-close, Gunnel(l)-steele 1539 Hnt
  • Gonnall-close-nook, Gonnall-close-steele 1559 ib


Gunhills, Gunnel (l )-close , Gunnel (l )-steele 1539 Hnt, Gonnall-close -nook , Gonnall-close -steele 1559 ib. The first el. is probably, judging by its combination with -steele (v. stigel 'a stile'), a variant and early instance of the dial. word ginnel 'a narrow passage or entry between buildings, an alley, a water-channel, a street-gutter' (cf. EDD s.v., NED s.v. gennel ); the form gunnel is typical of YW and La, and is probably a later dialectal variant of the ginal - already found in the thirteenth century (YE 329). The origin of the word is still obscure but an ultimate association with OE  poetic gin 'gap, opening' and OE  gīnan or ON  gína 'to yawn' is not improbable (with the noun-suffix -el 3 , cf. EPN i, 149). Initial g - instead of y - is due to ON influence.