'Tchure'... I hadn't run across this weird word until I visited the village of Deddington, a few miles south of Banbury. It's a pretty little place, with shops, pubs and cafes clustered around a green - and a few minutes walk away, the remains of an ancient castle.

The tchure of Deddington links a footpath next to the main Oxford to Banbury road with the village centre, and is a pleasant little alley linking the two. And that's what the word means: it's an old Oxfordshire term meaning 'alley', though some reckon it also means 'sewer', probably the open kind, not uncommon in times before the Victorians pioneered the mains water systems we enjoy today.

In fact, Deddington is not alone in having a tchure - I've tracked down several others, including ones in the villages of Chadlington, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Steeple Aston, Upper Heyford and Souldern. Mind you, the names seem to vary, as the word can be written in several ways, including 'tewer' or 'chewer', spellings that are more like that possible sewer derivation.

No matter - today, the tchure of Deddington is a quiet (and non-smelly!) backwater that's well worth a look, especially if you visit Deddington on one of its open-market food fair Saturdays. For any foodie (and TEE is definitely among the faithful) it's a visit again-and-again affair.

Don't forget to go inside the handsome church of St Peter and St Paul, and if you can't get enough of olde-worlde things, then allow some time to trawl for rare treasures in the fascinating antique centre just around the corner...

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