Wylye Close, Quidhampton and Wiley Terrace, Wilton

Wile E. Coyote's ACME Instant Tunnel at MIT

Wylye Close is in Quidhampton, which is about 3 miles west of Salisbury. Wiley Terrace is about a mile away in Wilton.

They are both named after the river Wylye, which is nearby, as are Wilton and the county of Wiltshire itself.

Wylye itself seems to be derived from ‘wily’, which according to the Online Etymology Dictionary a 14th Century word meaning “subtle, cunning, crafty,”1. Rivers in the area don’t seem to have been seen as trustworthy - ‘Nadder’ is the original form of the name of the poisonous snake, the ‘adder’.2

Justin Cord Hayes, in ‘The Terrible Meanings of Names: Or Why You Shouldn’t Poke Your Giselle with a Barry’ writes that:

Wiley (and wily) come from an Old Norse word, vel, which suggests all kinds of rotten things including deception, fraud, and craftiness3

The Coyote in ‘The Road Runner’ cartoon is famously ‘wiley’. Wikipedia says:

Jones based the Coyote on Mark Twain's book Roughing It,[11] in which Twain described the coyote as "a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton" that is "a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry." Jones said he created the Coyote-Road Runner cartoons as a parody of traditional "Cat and mouse" cartoons such as MGM's Tom and Jerry, which Jones would work on as a director later in his career.[12] Jones modelled the Coyote's appearance on fellow animator Ken Harris. The Coyote's name of Wile E. is a pun of the word "wily." The "E" stands for "Ethelbert" in one issue of a Looney Tunes comic book.

The town of Wilton is indirectly named after the Wylye. The Wiltshire Council Community History website says that:

This settlement, on an area of firm gravel soil, became the fortified place of the Wilsaetes tribe who took their name from the river Wylye beside which they dwelt. The Wilsaetes and Wilton were to give their name to the whole county of Wiltshire.[^4]


  1. Douglas Harper, “wily | Origin and meaning of wily by Online Etymology Dictionary”, Link: https://www.etymonline.com/word/wily. Retrieved: 06 December 2019 [return]
  2. Me, “Nadder Terrace, Salisbury, Nadder Terrace, Wilton and Nadder Lane, Quidhampton - salisburyandstonehenge.net”, Link: Nadder Terrace, Salisbury, Nadder Terrace, Wilton and Nadder Lane, Quidhampton. Retrieved: 10 January 2020 [return]
  3. Justin Cord Hayes, “The Terrible Meanings of Names: Or Why You Shouldn’t Poke Your Giselle with a Barry”, Google Books, Link: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uxjsDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT204&lpg=PT204&dq=etymology+wiley&source=bl&ots=N0vcaqpNnI&sig=ACfU3U03wkem45UkIZtnOdts55RlYOXo6A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjIjp3_xZzmAhXGTsAKHai1BI8Q6AEwDnoECGIQAQ#v=onepage&q=etymology%20wiley&f=false. Retrieved: 09 December 2019 [return]