Tiddleywink is a hamlet 1 located on the B4039 between Chippenham and Chipping Sodbury in the county of Wiltshire in England. It consists of eight terraced houses and a total of seventeen residents and although there is apparently evidence to suggest that there has been some kind of human settlement there for the past 1,600 years but is so small and insignificant that it does not even appear on any maps.

As such few people, part from the residents, were aware of its existence. who developed a strange pride in their obscure little hamlet if only because the mere mention of 'Tiddleywink' seemed to provoke either disbelief or amusement in equal measures.

The name has absolutely nothing to do with the game tiddlywinks, and in fact it shouldn't be called 'Tiddleywink' at all, rather Tiddly Wink or Tiddly-Wink. Apparently the place used to be known as Old Moore's End but was renamed as 'Tiddly Wink', being the cockney rhyming slang for drink 2, by thirsty drovers. We must therefore presume that once upon a time 'Tiddleywink' boasted an inn or public house but there is no trace of such an establishment in the present day.3

But despite the insistence that the extra 'e' is entirely superfluous, as the local council have finally put up some road signs pointing the way to 'Tiddleywink' along with some further name signs bearing the now traditional admonition to 'Please Drive Carefully', it seems inevitable that the place will forever be known as 'Tiddleywink'.

Sadly this is only because this particular stretch of the B4039 is infamous for speeding and the recent death of one of the residents' sixteen year old daughter finally prompted the council to take action and put up some signs.

My spellchecker kept suggesting 'tiddledywink' for both 'Tiddleywink' 'tiddlywinks'. Further research reveals that 'tiddledywinks' is in fact the original name of the game tiddlywinks, invented by Joseph Assheton Fincher who registered the trademark of 'tiddledy-winks' in 1889.

It also features in the book Tiddledywink Tales (1891) written by the American author John Kendrick Bangs, which is apparently of sufficient import to feature in the 'official' chronology of tiddlywinks.

I am not familiar with the work of Mr Bangs, but he apparently wrote "comic, occasionally savage, spoof fantasy", and is the source of the term Bangsian Fantasy referring to fantasy set in the afterlife; his most notable works being Houseboat on the Styx series and one of the 'inspirations' for Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series.


1 A hamlet, and you learn something new every day, is simply a village that doesn't have a church.

2 Of the alcoholic kind and hence the slang term tiddly or tiddley for drunk - both spellings appear to be acceptable according to Dictionary.com quoting as a source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

3 Actually although the Financial Times source insists that it ought to be two words whether hyphenated or no, all the cockney rhyming slang sources I checked quote 'tiddlywink' as one word.


The Financial Times Saturday 16th August

Tiddlywinks information from;

Cockney rhyming slang from;

John Kendrick Bangs information from;

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