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Lancashire Dialect Poems

Even if it is sometimes obscure, published material from even before the eighteenth century is nearly all written in 'good' English. For example, the work of James Butterworth on the history of Oldham, published in 1817, is almost as easy to read today as when it was written. Charles Dickens is perfectly intelligible today, even if we sometimes sigh at his sentence construction. The truth is, there is very little written in the way that English used to be spoken. Robert Burns, the celebrated Scottish poet, was exceptional in publishing in his own dialect. As a result of this tendency most of the indigenous English accents and local vocabulary are lost. This is tragic, because the soul of the people, their hopes and fears, likes and dislikes, their humour and their pathos, is in their pronunciation, vocabulary and the expressions they used.
 
If you have difficutly with any of the words or expressions, check the Glossary which I have compiled from various sources.
 
Below you will find some fine examples of Lancashire dialect poems. Please click on the underlined title.
 
All the poems have spoken (or sung!) versions attached which you should be able to hear with Windows Media Player, or equivalent, but you will have to allow 'ActiveX' first.
 
I don't claim that my spoken dialect is particularly true (I've lived away from Lancashire for too many years), but I haven't found it easy to come across recitals of Lancashire dialect poems, so I hope that my efforts will provide at least an idea of the sound of what was always a spoken idiom.

1. The Wayver of Wellbrook - Ben Brierley
2.
My Owd Case Clock - Sam Fitton
3.
Cuttin Id Teeth - Joseph Baron
4.
Some Fooak by Joseph Baron
5.
A Lift On The Way - Edwin Waugh
6.
Welcome, Bonny Brid - Samuel Laycock
7.
Owdham Wakes - J. T. Taylor
8.
Th' Edge o' Dark (or Owd Anvil's Prayer) - Samuel Hill
9.
Come Whoam To Thi Childer An' Me - Edwin Waugh
10.
Cwortin' - John Trafford Clegg
11.
Eawr Sarah's Getten A Chap - Sam Fitton
12.
My Piece Is O' Bu' Woven Eawt - Richard Rome Bealey
13.
Owdham - 'H'
14.
Owdham Footbo - Ammon Wrigley
15.
Tim Bobbin's Grave - Samuel Bamford
16.
Jone O' Grinfilt - Joseph Lees
17.
Gettin' Wed - C. A. Clarke ('Teddy Ashton')
18.
God Bless These Poor Wimmen That's Childer 

       - Thomas Brierley
19.
It's Hard To Ceawer I' Th' Chimney Nook

        - Samuel Laycock

20. A Weighver's Song - John Trafford Clegg
21. Ale Versus Physic - Elijah Ridings
22. An Owd Maid's Lament - Joseph Burgess
23. Friezland Ale - Ammon Wrigley
24. Hard Times - H. B. Whitehead
25. Hard Wark to Howd Up Mi Yead - Samuel Laycock
26. Love - Thomas Brierley
27. On Th' Hills - John Trafford Clegg
28. Sumb'dys Sunshine - H. B. Whitehead
29. The Surat Weyver - William Billington
30. Th' Ballies - Elijah Ridings
31. The Lancashire Witch - John Scholes
33. What Could Aw Say - William Baron 
 
35. Clogs
37. Billy Suet's Song - Major D. Halstead
38. My Grandad - John Walker
39. Ah'm a Leet-Hearted Chap - Anonymous
40. Six O'Clock At Mornin' - William Baron
41. Todlin' Whoam - Edwin Waugh
42. A Bird Song Away - Nicholas Freeston
43. Lookin' Back - Joan Pomfret
44. Cradle Song - Edwin Waugh
45. Pendle Nestlin' Song - Alice Miller
46. T'Mothers' Meetin' - Joan Pomfret
47. The Little Doffer - Edwin Waugh
48. A Gradely Prayer - C. A. Clarke ('Teddy Ashton')
49. July Wakes - Richard Pomfret
50. Factory Workers' Song - Anonymous
51. The Homestead - Ammon Wrigley
52. Owd Jone - William E. A. Axon
53. The Bury New Loom - Anonymous (pre-1804)
54. Cheer Up A Bit Lunger - Samuel Laycock
55. Cheer Up Toilin' Brothers! - Samuel Laycock
56. Poor Pussy - Samuel Laycock
57. 'Sixty-Six - Samuel Laycock
58. The Bonny Brid's Wedding - Samuel Laycock
59. Sam Bamford - Samuel Laycock
60. A Little Bit o' Boath Sides - Samuel Laycock
61. Frolicsome Kate - Anon
62. Bowton's Yard - Samuel Laycock
63. Proem - Joseph Ramsbottom
64. A Bit O' Good Feighr - W. F. Hampson
65. Eawr Parson - Joseph Cronshaw
66. Eawt o' Wark - Joseph Cronshaw
67. Warrikin Fair - Traditional
68. Friends Are Few When Fooak Are Poor - William Billington (No audio)