Gaol Yard

Chantry Close is on the site of a square of houses originally known as Gaol Yard, as it originally housed a gaol – a one-roomed building with no windows and a tiled roof.

In the early 1930s it was renamed Chantry Yard.  The rector – Rev. Clarke – met the new owner of the yard and asked why the name had changed, though Sawley never had a chantry.  The man replied that he made a custom of buying up properties with a bad name and giving it a decent title.

Next to Gaol Yard, ‘Priory Cottages’ (previously known as Pantile Row) comprised 11 houses on a tiny plot where 40 people shared five earth closets.

The yard was partly demolished in 1931 and most of the remaining houses were condemned.  There was no piped water and the two pumps were said to be chocked with weeds.   Another 17 houses were demolished in 1935.  The remaining houses were demolished in 1955 to make space for the bungalows.

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