Stoggy Lane

Stoggie and in dialect Stoggy, the word is “of obscure origin”, say the compilers of the seventeen-volume Oxford English Dictionary.“Rough, rough and course, strongly made”are the only definitions offered and they cite their earliest reference as dating from 1825 where “stoggy” is used to describe one of the qualities of a piece of cloth.

Stoggy Lane at Plympton however appears to be an altogether more ancient affair and one theory for its existence (passed on to me by one of its residents – Peter Stedman), has it that this was part of a nearly by-pass for the Ridgeway, along which those unfortunate enough to have that once widespread affliction – leprosy – were forced to walk, to keep them away from the rest of the community.

The Plympton Maudlyn, which claimed “immemorial existence” in 1370 and which was dedicated to the Holy Trinity and Mary Magdelene, would have been an important haven for the lepers and has interestingly enough been linked with a site on or near the George Inn at the eastern end of the Ridgeway.

Incidentally, rare as the term is, there is at least one other Stoggy Lane in England, in North Wiltshire; it is an old bridleway that earlier this year (2003) was upgraded to a “byway open to all traffic.”