Most ancient part of the Old Town

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

b) BLACK LION LANE : This very narrow twitten leads from Black Lion Street to Ship Street . Charles II, during his escape to France, is said to have been carried piggyback along the lane by a fisherman. On meeting a burly woman, the pair knocked the poor lady down and stepped over her! In the late eighteenth century a certain portly Mr Bullock wagered the youthful Lord Barrymore that he could outrun him, given choice of course and a ten-yard start. Choosing Black Lion Lane , Bullock merely trotted along and Barrymore, unable to pass him, lost the bet! {3,47}
There are three listed cottages on the southern side of the twitten with projecting, slate-hung upper storeys, probably on timber frames. They claim to date from c.1563; they may well date only from the seventeenth century in fact, but are probably still the oldest buildings in the Old Town . {44}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Comments about this page

  • So gald to see the word ‘twitten’ used in this piece, if I remember correctly this is very much a local word used for such an alley way. I am not sure of its origion but feel it must come from a shortening of something like, way between.

    By Ken Ross (20/08/2007)
  • Hi Ken. Thought this might be of interest. I’m producing a short film on The Lanes currently and from my research, the word Twitten is still without a known definitive origin. However, it’s said that it’s either (as you quite rightly suggested) a cross between Betwix and Between, or perhaps from the German word Svisshon meaning between. That’s most like not how it’s spelt, but I’ve gone for the phonetic option.

    By Sara (26/10/2007)
  • Nice to see a photograph of The Cricketers. This lovely, cosy pub with its ornate polished brass inside was, before it became overcrowded and bouncers started to be employed, a delightful throwback to the ’50s. It used to be the haunt of ladies of a hard-to-determine age, with extinct names like Flo or Dot. They used to drink equally extinct drinks like Gin&It or Port&Lemon. They usually had men friends who called themselves chaps, drove cars like MG Midgets and often had names like Johnnie or The Major, and were often “popping off” somewhere. All of this has gone now, but I used to spend hours in there in the ’70s listening to (more like overhearing) stories of weekends in the Isle of Wight “with my gentleman friend”, or the Major “popping orf to see a chap I know”.

    By Adrian Baron (15/04/2020)

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