The Squeeze Gut
At the end of Castle Street there is a narrow gap between the Old Court Estate Office and the last house. It is known locally as the Squeeze Gut and it leads over the hill behind the village, with a fine view of the Lough, before looping back to Strangford via tree-lined Dufferin Avenue.
William, 23rd Baron de Ros, with his wife Georgiana and family, came to live permanently in Strangford when their home, Old Court House, was completed in 1844. Although County Down was a lesser affected area in the worst famine years of 1845 – 47, there was still great hardship and starvation. To provide Employment Relief Work William commissioned the Squeeze Gut – a sunken path - to be dug out in 1847.
It is said that the Squeeze Gut was so named because Old Court farmers used it to drive their cattle that way to the ferry and larger beasts often had to squeeze through. Local folklore claims that it became a lovers’ lane where a boy might give his girl a ‘squeeze’!
19th Century benefits of the Squeeze Cut:
Staff from Old Court could get home to the village without disturbing the gentry!
Local residents could walk to Old Court Chapel without being seen by the gentry!
Drunken seamen could pass by Old Court without being able to see the gentry!
Two footbridges were built over the Squeeze Gut so the gentry could cross over without being seen by the common folk below!