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24 September 2014

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Briggate, Leeds
Leeds: still the tops!

Loiners of the world unite!

Natives of Leeds are known as Loiners and there are several theories as to the origin of the term but nobody can be certain where the word comes from.

Here are three competing theories.

- Loiner could derive from the name Loidis (in use by the eighth century for the district around modern-day Leeds).

- Another explanation says that in the 19th century there were many yards and closes around Briggate whose back entrances were known as Low Ins or Loins, hence Loiner.

- Yet a third theory is that there were a number of lanes in the Briggate area pronounced loins in the local accent. People who gathered in these loins to gossip were therefore called Loiners.

As well as meaning a citizen of Leeds, the word was used as a nickname applied to Leeds RLFC before the Super League team became the modern Rhinos.

Following on from the old Loidis name the settlement on the banks of the Aire changed its spelling gradually to Ledes or Leedes and currently, of course, Leeds.

Ledes was mentioned in the famous survey, the Domesday Book, in 1086. Other local areas named included, Halton, Sacroft, Hedingleia, Bramleia, Beestone and Hunslet.

The first centre of Leeds was a cluster of buildings near the parish church of St Peter in Kirkgate. In the early 1200s a new town was founded west of the parish church towards the corn mills around the river crossing. Its main thoroughfare was a new road, Briggate (meaning the road leading to the bridge). Almost a thousand years later Briggate remains the street at the centre of the city.

last updated: 22/08/05
Have Your Say
Are you proud to be a Loiner? Which explanation of the word do you think most likely?
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I'm going for the first one, it sounds most likely! I'm proud to be a Loiner, but I hated it when Leeds RL called themselves Loiners, Coz I support Hunslet, and we're a Leeds team too, and closer to original Leeds than Headingley!!

T. P.
yes I am a loiner through and through and how good it is to see just how proud other loiner's are of our great city.

I was born in Wortley in 1968 and proud to be a Loiner! I think it's probably a bit of each and so that's why Loiners and Leeds have stuck as names for this area and its people.

Mrs. Barbara Finch
The 'lane' seems apt to me. I now live in Lincolnshire but it will never mean what Leeds means to me I am definitely a LEEDS LOINER and at my age 72 will stay that way!!

katie robinson
i am so proud to be a loiner - it doesn't matter where the word came from, it matters where i come from and thats leeds!

Loiners are from Leeds. I've never heard of Leodisiwotsits 'til visiting this site today. Not putting that one down of course, but sounds too 'ponsey' for a citizen of Leeds. Leeds is lovely, only thing I think ruining it at the moment is all the shop fronts... just walk down Duncan Street and Boar Lane and look up to the first floors and only then do you see all the beautiful architecture. Planning permission has gone mad on the shop fronts front! Home of Marks & Sparks and Moving Pictures - Leeds should be shouted about all over the world! Apart from me gabbing on, I am a Loiner in birth, life and hoepfully death (!) and instead of Leeds Utd being nicknamed the Peacocks (not that anyone knows this either!), I think they should be called The Loiners, then maybe people from all around the UK will then know what to call us, as they certainly know what Scousers and Londoners are don't they!?

elaine kent
i always understood that the word loiner was referring to the lanes that in days gone by were called loins. Which ever explanation you prefer I,m a Leeds loiner and proud of it. gone by were called loins

I once heard that all the rich lived in upper briggate,and the hoi poloi at the bottom end hence lowenders.

Barry Keating
The name Loiner once made an appearance in the TV quiz show 'Call My Bluff'. Naturally when it cropped up I jumped up and down in my armchair shouting out the answer, but they still got it wrong, I think.

Marc Springer
I understood Leeds Loiner was of the "Loins" of Leeds, ie; born of Leeds

kev hird
i believe it comes from the cotton mills , loins of cloth ,, loiners

john crosby
iprefer the loidis explanation

Bat King
Never used the term Loiner to describe a resident of Leeds. Only ever to describe Leeds RL or a fan of Leeds RL. I always thought the term was a derivative of 'lanes' but who knows.

c thomas
pround to be from leeds and a true lioner i hate being called a tyke which originates from Barnsley up the whites

i'm pround to be a homegrown loiner an i think that its to with the back entrances in briggate

The third one is ridiculous, I'm Leeds born and bred and I've never heard anyone prononce the word lane as loin, people from Bristol maybe but not from Leeds. The first is the most probable.

Another theory is that Loiner is derived from the linen trade which employed a lot of people in Leeds at one time.

Matt Wilson
i think its the accent thing, sounds most reasonable. bin a loiner all my life, all 19 years of it, and yes i am proud! Matt. Garforth

I do agree that the third comment is the most likely. Leeds is under-estimated on our maps today. After all, Yorkshire boasts some of the best countryside in the whole of Britain and you only have to visit one of its little villages and it will capture your heart forever.

I think it's probably the one which explains people gathered in the lanes to gossip. My mum would be most happy that Hunslet was mentioned in the Domesday book because her entire family come from that area. My entire historical family derive from Leeds and I am proud that I can say I am and always will be a part of it.

Aideen Hills
I think that it is most likely that the term loiner comes from the fact that the yards on Briggate were called Low Inns. Coming from Halton, I'm proud to know that it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. A loiner remains a loiner wherever they live, I'm in Warwickshire now.

It's interesting to read all three theories.I was once in a cafe in Benidorm in spain with my husband and two sons when a waitress turned round and just asked which part of Leeds we came from. so i agree with Gail Shaw when she say's the Leeds accent must be very distinctive.

James Curran
I am not sure where the term comes from, but the Loiners will always be Leeds rugby league team to me. And even though I live hundreds of miles away, I will undoubtedly be a Loiner til I die. Good luck to the Loiners (Rhinos) in the Cup final at Cardiff.

Mary Haggarty
I now live in the USA but will always be a Leeds Loiner. It's in the blood it never leaves you.

Adam Miller
Yes I'm proud to be a loiner, although I didn't know I was until I read this. My Crossgates accent seems stronger now I'm down south. As soon as I open my gob and say 'coat' or 'going t'ut' somewhere my students take the mickey. Try teaching Italian students with a Leeds accent! Its all good fun though. I think the first explanation is most likely.

It just don't matter! A loiner is a person that is proud to be from Leeds and therefore takes it upon himself to use the term to describe themselves. Proud and proud we should be. Marching on together. Loiners Through and Through.

Betty Greenhough
Although my father and myself were born in Leeds, my mother was born in Skelmanthorpe, near Huddersfield. When visiting Skelmanthorpe, I never heard the word 'lane', it was always 'loin'. To me 'loin' has always been part of one of the Yorkshire dialects. To me Yorkshire has always had many dialects - so perhaps there are many interpretations of the words 'Leeds loiners'.

Betty Greenhough
I have always been proud to be a Leeds Loiner ... I was born there in 1930. My father was born in Leeds in 1899. His name was Norman Waller, and his aim in life was to live until he was 101 yrs of age - he could then claim to have lived in three centuries. Unfortunately he died (from excessive smoking I might add) in 1966 in a Ministry of Pensions Hospital (I think) in Chapel Allerton. I have lived in Canada since 1956.

David Andrew Edge
I now live in Linz, Austria, which used to be (in Roman times) called "Lentia". Try saying this in an Italian accent and you will see why people get confused when they ask me where I come from and I reply, "Leeds" (in a Leeds accent.) Linz, geographically, looks very much like Leeds: river running through it, flat plain, hills surrounding it etc. Is it not possible that the Romans (who were stationed in Seacroft and not Leeds) thought that it looked the same as Lentia? Bradford is also an Austrian/Celtic word for a river that could be forded but was wide. It´s only a theory...

Chris Richold
It's great to see all the theories. Loiner was used by people I knew when working in Cleckheaton Huddersfield and Wakefield perhaps this was through rugby links. I prefer the Low ins explanation though I've never heard any local accent pronounce lane as loin. Callin'though is a popular Leeds pastime. With the advent of Leeds Met Carnegie and the Learning Centre at Headingley perhaps people will assocoate Loiners with Learners in future!

Bob Claridge
Loiners are in actual fact Dogs from the Balkans

Gail Shaw
Leeds people must have a distinctive accent. I was once in a shop in Torquay in Devon and was asked by the shop assistant "is that a Leeds accent I hear?" . I was shocked to say the least. I prefer the Briggate yards and closes theory regarding the "loiners" nickname as these will be the lanes near Whitelocks, City Varieties etc.

Roger A Jones
I think Loiner is from the old name for this area ie Loidis. It has a more romantic ring to it than the othe suggestions.

Alex Toft
Although I live in upper-far Pudsey, I consider myself a true blue loiner. Our familys been in Leeds for over 200 years - my grandfathers dog used to be called Loiner though this could be down to his fabled love of pork!

Peter Morrison
I think as Paul Walton Loiner derives from the clothing trade in Leeds. As in loin cloth. Doylem is a great East End Park word

Michael Kimber
All three suggestions are plausible, but I think it unlikely that any one is the sole source of the term. As with all language events, the name will have evolved, being influenced by all these, and possibly other, factors.

Patricia E
I'm wondering if there is a definitive answer to the question...after reading all the comments? Just had to write again to let Val Firth know that she's not alone, there defininitely are some Loiner "grannies" on the internet. In fact, myself and another, who answered here (wink wink) are in touch on a regular basis. I am in Canada. Interesting to read Dave K's comment about "Leodiensians " because I too thought that's what Leeds folk were called. I discovered this name first in Alwoodley. It was the Old Leodiensians Boy's Club, which I believe referred to the old boys of Leeds Boys High School?

I am definately proud to be a loiner and I think theory 2 is the most reasonable. But as Sebastian said, everyone knows scousers, geordies and mancunians. I think its about time we put ús loiners back on the map!!

John Erskine
Absolutely, and even though Ronnie has grown on me, I'll always be one. I had heard that the word's origins were Irish - as the language was widely spoken in east Leeds from the famine until the fifties. Another truly great Leeds word is doylem - often used in the South Stand in the context of the pre-Tony Smith Rhinos. Generally prefixed with the word big - Sam Backo comes to mind as a pre-eminent example. Any ideas on its origins? A number of us have been racking our brains to work out where the word comes from. And no, it was a lot older than the eponymous Leeds Other Paper cartoon strip of the 1980's....

Derek Kelly
I was brought up believing that the term loiner was to do with the rag trade, which Leeds has always been reknowned for, a loiner being a local term for tailor.

Phil Walton
I agree with Mike North regarding the accent. Then it would have been "lairn" with a soft "r". Does anyone know when the term first came into coinage and when is it first found in literature? Dave Taylor has an interesting idea about the cloth - "loin cloth '??

Im 15 and now i call for my self a loiner!

Mike North
I personally favour the low inns or loins theory and find the 3rd theory least likely as no Leeds accent would ever make lanes loins

simon wortley
loiners or loin is an old tyke term for to lend or borrow during ww1 leeds soldiers were always on the lend in the trenches lioners

Dave K
First Expalnation for me. What happended to the term of Leodensian by the way ? I always thought a person from Leeds was a Leodensian - i.e a Person from Leodis

Frank Clarke
Third, is right, and a true loiner has to be born north of the river, I am sure those from Hunslet would agree, also LEEDS RLFC will still be the Loiners after Hetherington and Co have gone and been forgotten.

Third theory probably most reasonable - but I always thought Leeds was Leodis or Liodis not Loidis

as a loiner through and through who left for oz in 70 it has to be the second.and been a proud loiner i am hoping to be coming back to live later this year

Dave Taylor
Well lets face it the word Loiner could partly come from all 3 ideas. But very likely the third one and maybe even had origins in the cloth industry which leeds would become famous for.

Valerie Frith (nee Farrer)
Loidis is the best explaination of being a Leeds Loiner. I am a proud Leeds Loiner now living in Canada. I would love to find old friends but they do not seem to be computer buffs. How can I reach them? I am a senior now so please grandchildren ask what you grandmother was called and which school did she attend? Find old friends for her and for your grandfather too.


Patricia Eastwood
Loidis would be my choice for the derivative "Loiner". Why am I proud to be a loiner? I was happy living at a time in Leeds where things rarely changed. Alder's was Lewis's department store. Family own businesses were commonplace, like Schofields, where I once worked. Folks weren't so greedy (big corporations i.e.) and there was a sense of security....for me that is. A trip into town wasn't stressful. Not to say I don't appreciate change..the pedestrian precincts are good, but when I lived there, there weren't as many vehicles about. It's a pretty city, with some lovely architect. Each time I return, there's another change. Only thing I truly missed, when I was a girl in Leeds, was not having that outdoor skating rink at Millenium Square. But, then again, a few years back, the square wasn't there either!

Geoff Bragg
I always thought that Loiner came from the dialect word loin for lane. In Morley there are several lanes, one of which "Scotchman Lane" my father always called Scotchman Loin. I thought Leeds RLFC were called Loiners because the ground is surrounded on three sides by lanes, or loins. My father would descibe someone as a "Leeds Loiner" as a derogatory term. A good example of a Leeds Loiner accent is Liz Dawn.

Maureen Brown
I think the third one is correct. My mother in law lived in a cottage in a "loin" in Briggate in the early 1900's and Briggate was her playground. Although my husband and I left Leeds in 1969 we are still Leeds Loiners and proud of it.

Kevin Fitzpatrick
Proud to be born in Hunslet, allthough the Hunslet I knew is long gone(and not for the better in my opinion)The second theory gets my vote,simply for the fact that the entrances to these yards and closes were indeed called low ins or Loins

Derek Booth
I think the 3rd theory is the most convincing

Mike Peacock
Born Holbeck, lived in Holbeck when it was still residential, tho some would argue it never was. Left in 62 but maintain fond memories. 1st theory sounds right, if Loiner had owt to do wi gossip, they'd be called Calers. Calin popular pastime wi 'told lasses on Sweet Street W.

Steve Willimott
I think the second is most likely, but people from north of the river were Leodisians, Loiners were south of the river when I was a lad 50 years ago

Reason 3, most probably. Of course I'm proud to be a Loiner. However, compared to the terms 'Scouser', 'Geordie', or 'Mancunian', mention 'Loiner' to someone from outside Leeds, or even in Leeds, and they will have no idea what you're talking about. Does this say something about Leeds?

laura dawson
i think the second theory is the correect one. Years ago it was full of yards and such. leeds is a great city lively and buzzing, yet people young and old don;t really apprechiate the history it has. some of the buildings in leeds are still featuring there original feautuers and look great. History is a part of leeds.

Peter Moore
I am certainly proud to be a loiner, I was born in Beeston in 1934, and lived in the Old Beeston Village until they began to pull it all down for re-developement in the late 50's. Old Beeston Village stretched from Websters Fold at the junction of Town Street and Old Lane and continued until it reached the bottom of Millshaw at the Ring Road near the White Rose Centre. I think explanation 3 is the correct one.

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