See Pants in Northumberland!
4th May, 2015
If you've never heard it before – the word 'pant' is a term apparently unique to the Northeast of England.
When visiting Northumberland, you will spot these interesting public water fountains. Many pants are no longer operating and have simply been turned into receptacles for pretty flower beds. However in bygone times when water was not on tap they were important drinking sources for both animals and people.
If you are driving up to Wooler along the A697 on the way to Apple Pie Cottage, you will spot the Lion Trough next to the road in Longframlington. This one was installed in 1911 (the same year the ship Titanic was launched). You will see the lion – a symbol of 'British-ness' and the British Empire – which is no surprise as the pant was built to commemorate the coronation of our King George V – who was then Emperor of India – and Queen Mary.
The Lion Trough water supply has long been capped however there are still several operational in the town of Alnwick.
Elaine Housby describes how these fountains gained their perculiar. She says:
In this region 'a pant is a public fountain of a particular construction, having a reservoir before it for retaining the water' and that 'pond was anciently pronounced pand, which may be derived from the Saxon pyndon, to enclose or shut up'.
About five minutes drive from Yew Tree Cottage is Corbridge which has several surviving pants – indicating their significance to the village. The famous pant in the market place was erected by the then Duke of Northumberland, Hugh Percy in 1815. That one (shown below) now too functions as a flower bed!