Dueling Lane - Atlas Obscura

Dueling Lane

In addition to escorting prospective couples to and from ballrooms, this lane was also a place for gentlemen to settle scores. 

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It is only befitting that Gravel Walk Lane, in Bath, is a short distance from the Jane Austen Center. The British novelist is known for her scathing critiques of the English gentry and their obsessions with marriage, and many of her literary works take place in this idyllic Somerset town. In fact, this tarmac-laid path is used as a setting in Austen’s 1817 novel Persuasion, where the characters Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot have a passionate tryst. It is no small coincidence that this walkway is nicknamed “Lover’s Lane.”

Quaint and charming as the aforementioned paints a picture of blossoming romance, there is a darker side to this notable thoroughfare. In addition to escorting prospective couples to and from the stately ballrooms, it was also used as a place for gentlemen to settle scores. Being a long stretch of uninterrupted roadway, it was ideally suited for the purposes of holding duels.

It should be noted that these affairs of honor were not always resolved at the end of a revolver. More often than not they involved hand-to-hand combat. So much so, that a medical tent was set up in Royal Victoria Park to tend to the wounds of both the victor, as well as the vanquished. There are tales of hauntings, involving the spectral figures of those who did not survive their honorable confrontations, roaming listlessly up and down this illustrious lane.

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December 20, 2022

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