Lancashire Poetry & Lingo
Ring o clogs


What ses Lancasheer to thee Is it Blackpoo' by the sea
Is it wet ond muggy days, Ships on t'Mersey through the aze,
Blackpuddings on a plate in't shops, Industry as niver stops,
Is it shawls or whippet dogs, Or is it just the ring o' clogs.

Tha maybe thinks o' Pendle 'ill, Or weivers torning out fray t'mill,
'Appen t' Rovers or North End, Weekend when tha's brass to spend.
It's appen t'pits ond slag 'eaps grey, Shrimps ond Southport, Morcambe Bay,
Or gorse, ond millstone grit ond bogs, It brings 'em back does t'ring o' clogs

Th' owd windmill tall on Lytham Green, Fact'ries and th'ouses in between,
Clanging trams and cobbled streets, T'Market lit wi'flares at neets,
Gracie when hoo's singing "Sally", Rivington, or t'Ribble Valley,
Mill lodges thick wi'newts ond frogs, Mem'ries flood back wi't ring o'clogs

Brass bands on Sunda' into t'park, Cooartin'in t' lamp leet efter dark,
Treats on Knucknowles, Whit processions, "Lakin", "Witchert", owd expressions,
These mem'ries rise up sharp ond clear, When the sound o'clogs Ah'ear,
It sweps away the mist ond fogs, Fray memory, does t'ring o clogs!
-----------------------

IT DIDN’T SEEM REET.

Wen a fella cum walkin’ deawn eawr road, ‘Is clogs went "er—clatt, er—clatt."
An’ it struck mi, as Ah’d never knowed  A pair o’clogs t’seawnd like that.

Soo Ah waited wile ‘ee getten close, Fer t’see wot wer th’matter,
Clogs doant "er—clatt, er—clatt" tha knows  Thi should guh "clatt—er, clatt—er!"

Ah thowt, "Just wen ‘as passes mi  Ah’ll ‘ev a look a’t’greawnd,
Cause Ah wer fair reet wonderin’  O’er th’reason fer yon seawnd.

Sos wen ‘ee sad, "Nah then theer,"  Wen ‘ee passed mi i’ th’ street,
Ah looked, an’ does ta know  Booath ‘is clogs wer o’t’wrong feet.


--------------------- 

 

THE CLOG MAKER

Young Jim he were a clogger,  Wi'a workshop, up some steps.
Ther'l be lots o'folk a warin, those fancy clogs'e meks.

'e cuts the soles from wooden blocks, wi a fancy shaped machine,
An clever folk'ave coed it, A clogger's guillotin

  An when e’s finished shapen' soles,  An tacked'is leather round,
'e's ready then fer buckle on, An pattin'toe-caps down.

A can see'im now a shapin' Some very pointed soles,
'e sez ther for a clog-dancer, 'who puts on special shows. 

An'then thers bread and butter clogs, which Jim meks by the score,
An'when ther blacked and polished up, Ther ready for the store.

But one thing's sure, ther is no doubt, For warin on yer feet.
Yo canna beat Jims wooden clogs, becoz ther med just reet.
--------------------

LANCASHIRE HILL COUNTRY

Wherever I may wander, wherever I may roam
the greening hills of Lancashire keep calling me back home
I miss the moors of Rosssendale and her villages’ rural charms,
With Rawtenstall and Haslingden held fast in beauty’s arms.

The stalwart town of Burnley calls ‘neath hills of East Pennine,
Where the hardy race of friendly folk now taste air as sweet as wine
. And up above her brackened slopes the windmills whisper and sway
Like sentinels guarding the town below With arms outstretched to pray.

I stand on top of Accrington’s hill the Coppice, now with wooded slope.
No chimneys mar the skyline No buildings grimed by smoke.
Yes Hynburn now is beautiful, as I always knew she would be,
With greening slopes and purpling moors Blessing Lancashire’s Hill Country.

I dream of bustling Blackburn town, remembering Market Days
When pools of lamplight gilding stalls would enchant a young child’s gaze.
Where Darwen Tower raised its proud head defending our heritage
and the hillsides blushed with the rowan’s fire ‘til the woodlands were ablaze.

Yes, no matter where I wander, wherever I may roam
My own dear Lancashire’s Hill Country will always call me home.
-----------------------------


Now for some Lancashire chatter with a translation back into English...

1.Thammun gerrit thisen.     You must get it yourself.(as in find it yourself)
2.Initot?          Isn/t it hot?
3.Giuzit.        Ggive me it. (give it to me)
                                     4.Gerritetten.              Get it eaten. (told to eat your food)(as in children instructions)
5.Gerofit.         Get off it..(leave it alone)(or step down from)
6.Supitup.         Drink it up.( consume your drink)
7.Azzee getniteer?         Did he get it here?(buying or finding something)
8.Eez gooinwom.         He is going home.
9.Ast getnit reet?         Have you got it right?( as in understanding)
10.Isit thi mam?         Is it(she, this, her,) your mother.
11.Purrimineer.         Put him in here.(ie:-animal to kennal)
12.Eessezitintis burra berritis.         He say’s it isn’t he’s but it is.
13.Thalaft gerra newun.         You will have to get a new one.(replace an old object)
14.Lerrus gerrus answasht.         Lets wash our hands or Let us get our hands washed.
15.Summonusul afert gerrof.         Some of us will have to get off. (ie:- off the bus)
16.Wi afert gerrus imbooks.         We have to get our Hymn Books.(in church)
17.Thamun gerrit lernt.         You must get it learned or you must learn it.(as in advised)
18.Shut thigob.         Shut your mouth.(as a threat)
19.Owzeenow?         How is he now? (as in health enquiry)
20.Buzztop.         Bus stop.
21.Aberitinterz.         Ah! But it is not hers.
22.Nethen warartdooin?         Now then, what are you doing?
23.Ast seenim ont elly?         I have seen him on the television.
24.Les gutert pitchers.         Lets go to the pictures (cinema).
25.Ast gorratanner?         Have you got sixpence?(tanner meaning pre decimal coin of six pennies value)
26.Eenose nowt abartit.         He knows nothing about it. (does not realize what he is talking about)
27.Eez gooint gerrit.         He is going to get it. (ie:- he is asking for trouble)
28.Lerrer gerontbuzz.         Let her get onto the bus.
29.Ee sez ee antadit.         He says that he has not had it.
30.Atowdim buree wuntlissen.         I told him but he would not listen.
31.Lerrim purrizaton.         Let him put his hat on.
32.Eez goriz awom.              He has got he’s (his) at home.
33.Thakon if tha wants.         You can if you want (to do).
34.Thawantsta weshthi eeroleht.         You should wash your ear holes out.( ie:-you should listen, take notice)
35.Izeeonneeturn?         Is he on (the) night turn. (is he working nights)
36.Thisulpurrers onthichest.         This will put hair on your chest. (this will make you stronger.Into a man.)
37.Weevegorracar         We have got a car. (as bragging)
38.Eez nowt burrababi.         He is nothing but a baby. (as in acting childish)
39.Tha luks owder barteeth.         You look older without (your) teeth.
40.Sithitneet.         I will see you tonight.
41.Tint init.         It is not in it. (not in there)(trying to find something inside something else)
42.Artawreet?         Are you alright?(greeting or enquiry)
43.Worart onabehtall?( Wats tha onabate?)         What are you on about (talking about)
44.Eegetten(eegeet) runnoar.         He got run over (knocked down by a vehicle)
45.Wellal guttat futovarr sturs.         Well! I will go to the foot of our stairs. (very suprised)(flabbergasted)
           46.Nah,    dust see yon ace oer theer?               Now, do you see that house over there?
           47.Nah,  Thunder Monager lives theer.       Now,  the Under Manager lives there.

Insulting abusive remarks at their best 
Th'art as much use as a one-legged mon at an arse-kicking contest.          You aren't much use at all!
Dust want a leather 'n' timber kiss?        (How do you fancy a kick from my clog?)
Ah'll tek a bit o' thi wom (home) in me pocket.        (There'll be bits of you missing when I've finished!)
Thaz a face lahk a constipated bloodhound!         (Smile, please.)
If tha'd hafe a brain, tha'd be an ape.        (You are somewhat deficient in grey matter.)
Th'art purrin' (putting thi yed in a dog kennel!         (Don't mess about with me or you'll get in trouble.)
Tha favvers tha's bin punched gether.      (You look slightly deformed.)
Tha skens (squints) enoof ter crack a lookin'-glass.   Tha skens enoof ter upset an 'orse an' cart.
Tha skens lahk a basket o' whelks.       ( Unkind remarks to one with cross-eyes.)
Ah'll gi thi some clog toe pie.      (Not an invitation to dinner- this is an offer to give you a good kicking.)
Thaz a nose lahk a blind cobbler's thumb!      (Your nose is a funny shape!)
Th'art nor 'avvin' me on a butty.      (Don't try it on with me.)
Ah'll snatch thi breath!         (I'll kill you!)
Ah'll tek it eawt thi ribs!        (Pay what you owe me or I'll have the satisfaction of giving you a good hiding!)
Art tawkin' ter me or chewin' a brick?       (You are conversing rather indistinctly.)
-----------------------

Wherever I may wander, wherever I may roam
the greening hills of Lancashire keep calling me back home
I miss the moors of Rosssendale and her villages’ rural charms,
With Rawtenstall and Haslingden held fast in beauty’s arms.

The stalwart town of Burnley calls ‘neath hills of East Pennine,
Where the hardy race of friendly folk now taste air as sweet as wine
. And up above her brackened slopes the windmills whisper and sway
Like sentinels guarding the town below With arms outstretched to pray.

I stand on top of Accrington’s hill the Coppice, now with wooded slope.
No chimneys mar the skyline No buildings grimed by smoke.
Yes Hynburn now is beautiful, as I always knew she would be,
With greening slopes and purpling moors Blessing Lancashire’s Hill Country.

I dream of bustling Blackburn town, remembering Market Days
When pools of lamplight gilding stalls would enchant a young child’s gaze.
Where Darwen Tower raised its proud head defending our heritage
and the hillsides blushed with the rowan’s fire ‘til the woodlands were ablaze.

Yes, no matter where I wander, wherever I may roam
My own dear Lancashire’s Hill Country will always call me home.
-----------------------------



This came from the St Helens Star Newspaper Sept 2000

IF you have a broad Northern twang, then be proud of it! For it contains the sort of terms that would have been familiar to Chaucer and Shakespeare . . . though, of course, radio and television have now all but wiped out traditional Lanky-speak.

I was reminded of just how much has been lost while debating the decline of flat vowel and the unique Northern vocabulary with my old chum Kevin Heneghan, a dedicated delver into such matters.

Some customers of this creaky column, might themselves remember humorous anecdotes that typify the Lancastrian character. Anyway, here are a few examples dredged up by Kevin and yours truly, for starters.

For instance, what was the doctor from overseas to make of `Ah've getten t'ballywarch' when the patient meant `I have a pain in my abdomen'? Then there's `Ee, Ah'm powfagged'; for `My brain is weary.' Pow, of course, is a corruption of poll, as in `Ah'm off fer a pow!' (meaning a haircut). And how about, `Owd mon, sirrah , Ah'm clemmed t'dee-uth' for `Old friend, sorry, I am starving to death.'

A particular gem is: `Sithee at yond little beggar. His ganzey's bawtered wi' nast.' Properly interpreted this means: `Look at that little boy. His Guernsey pullover is covered with dirt.' The same little boy, being sent on an errand by his mother, might have been told, `Hie thissen or Ah'st byet thee wi' t' brush-steel,' for `Hurry up, or I'll hit you with the brush-handle.'

Kevin's particular favourite, however, is `Umbethowt me as, it's time he were gerrin' wom.' Meaning `I thought to myself, that it's time he was coming home.' He found an echo of that in a treatise on the Ten Commandments by Richard Rolle, a hermit of Hampole near Doncaster, who lived from about 1290 to 1349. This went: "The thirde Comandement es, `Umbethynke thee that thou hallow thy holyday.'"By this he meant "The third Commandment is `Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.'"

But let us press on. How about `His missus con o'erfawse him anytime,' instead of `His wife can outwit him anytime.' This was not always true! Decades ago a Haydock man suspected that when he went to the pub his flighty wife went about her own affairs. His solution was to take her into the backyard and wind her hair into the mangle. His grim warning was `Tha con stop theer till Ah cum wom.' I bet that attempt at wife-controlling would go down a treat with today's politically correct battalions!

No doubt the prisoner of the mangle would have later told her friends: `It weren't jannock!' This translates as `It was unfair (dishonest).' And the friends might have muttered among themselves: `Yond mon's not getten aw his cheers awom.' By this they meant `That man is two sandwiches short of a picnic.' 'not playing with a full deck of cards' 'a couple of bob short of a quid'. 'lost his marbles'.

Another favourite old-time term is skrike, meaning cry. In bygone days, a popular venue for settling fights was Banks's Field, behind the Ship Inn at Blackbrook. One contestant, his face as bloody as a butcher's apron, was so small that he had to stand on a mound to reach his opponent. A bystander shouted: "Hey, Tommy, Ah reckon tha'rt skrikin." This brought the reply: "Happen Ah am skrikin', but Ah'm not skrikin' feart, Ah'm skrikin' nowt (angry)." Did that fight start after the customary warning, `Howd thi noise or Ah'st rattle thi tash.' (`Be quiet or I shall thump you in the face.') It was a well-worn threat in times when moustaches, better known as tashes, were the rule rather than the exception among the Northern menfolk.

Another expression recalled by Kevin is `Tha'rt a cropey beggar. Tha' wants talkin' abaht.' (`You have more than your share of good luck. It deserves critical comment.') And he remembers that some old people in his pre-war youth would observe, `Ah'st be awreet if Ah con ger up May brew (brow).' The month of May was regarded as the most difficult one of the year to negotiate.

Likewise, when the road underground was steer (steep), some colliers used a brew-stick -- a short stick to help them up the slope. Each, of course, carried a tin on his belt to hold his `baggin', `snap', `tommy', or `jack-bit.' All of them terms for the snack that helped him through the shift.

Kevin tells me: "Once, when an old friend, the late Syd Webster, arranged a visit to Ravenhead Colliery, I noticed a board on which output was marked. So much yield by Snap (mid-shift break) and so much by Cob, short for cobbler and the last of the day. It was also of a collier that I heard say: `He scrat for 'em aw a bit.' By this he meant that he had worked hard to provide for his family."

Another old mining expression, `If thi feyther finds out, tha'll think thi coal's come and been kecked (tipped) at t'wrung door,' was a reference to the days when a miner's concessionary coal was delivered unbagged and tipped outside his door. Taking it in by the bucketful was a tedious task, made worse if it was delivered by mistake a few doors away.

It was a common sight once to see miners who were `playing them' (having a shift off work) `carring' (cowering) down at a street corner -- adopting a squatting position that was only possible for those who had spent years underground. Just try it, if you want to do your hamstrings a mischief!

I enjoyed Kevin's story of a Haydock man who, some years ago, worked for the Corporation. One day he arrived at work, to be told by the foreman: "Thi mate's gone to Clock Face. Tha'll hetfot goo to Moss Bank." This brought the angry response: "Not so much o'thy hetfot. It's willta?"

Some expressions were especially colourful. How about `Aye, he's thin, awreet. If he sups pea-soup they think he's getten t'mumps.' Still on the soup image, `Eawr Sal's as daft as a brush. If it were rainin' soup hoo'd run ate wi' a fork.'

Years ago, a youth whose parents kept a pub in Billinge, greeted an old customer with, `Nah then, Jem, how are ta?' The old man was so angry that he complained to the youth's father. Young people were expected to properly address their elders as `yo' (you) instead of the familiar `ta' (thou). This custom probably went back to Norman times, as the French have a verb for such familiarity, tutoyer, to address as thee and thou instead of as you.

WELL, there's a basinful of owd expressions to be going on with. Can any readers provide a few more?


------------------------------
A visit to Aunties house

We went t' visit Auntie,
me Mam 'n' Dad 'n' me.
Cos she'd just 'ad a baby,
an' invited us for tea.

Aunties 'ouse were really posh,
wi carpets on the floor.
She even 'ad a cloakroom,
not a nail banged in the door.

"Hello young man." She said t' me,
"my look how much you've grown."
Then she put a shillin' in me  'and an said.
"Welcome to my home."

"I've made us all some sandwiches,
and a pot of Earl Grey tea."
But cheese 'n' pickle butties,
were all that I could see.

Me Uncle then came 'ome from work,
an' shook 'ands all around.
He winked at me, an' when I looked,
'e'd give me 'alf a crown.

Three an' six I'd got by now,
enough to last all year.
I know they're posh, an' not like us,
but I liked it, comin' 'ere.

The baby then began to scrike,
an' me Auntie rushed t' get 'im.
"I bet 'e's 'ungry," said me Mam,
"or else the poor thing's frettin'."

"His nappie's dry," me Auntie said,
"I bet he wants his food."
Then she undid 'er cardigan,
an' filled its mouth with boob.

I asked 'er. "What yer doin'?
It'll never eat all that.
There's loads o' cheese 'n' pickle left,
give 'im some o' that?"

Me Dad 'n' Uncle laughed out loud,
an' Mam told me to 'ush.
Me Auntie just sat very quiet,
then she began t' blush.

Me Uncle took us 'ome at night,
in a great big shiny car.
As he pulled up outside the door,
me Dad said, " 'ere we are."

'E came inside an' 'ad a brew,
in a proper white pint pot.
A drippin' buttie in 'is 'and
"That's good." 'E said. "Thanks a lot."

I made me mind up there an' then,
if I ever 'ad any money.
I'd stay the same way all me life,
them posh folk aren't 'alf funny.

S. Brown
---------------------------
Author unknown
Childhood Reminiscences
Lancashire England
1941 -1951
Before my childhood was done.
The days seemed longer,
Full of freedom and fun.
Lasses and lads playing together,
Mainly outside whatever the weather.
Roaming over the hills and far away.
Violence and fear no part of our day.
Trusting, truthful and troublefree,
Innocent,carefree, happy were we.
Doors left on the latch.
Or string through the letterbox
With door key attached.
Neighbour looked out for neighbour.
Always ready to do a favour.

Big hearts with open doors.
Sparse covering on bare floors.
Rag rugs by firesides
A welcome present for new brides
Sideboard gleaming in the firelight,
Rubbed with mansion polish bright.
Gas light and cobbled street.
Living rooms small but neat.
On the wireless, Hancock Murdock and Horne.
The BBC where home entertainment was born.


Mothers in curlers and pinny,
Standing at the door singing out,
For their Winnie or Minnie.
To come home, tripe and onions for tea.
Bought fresh from the UCP.
Kettle simmering on the fireside grate.
Cups and saucers with doily on plate.
Home made bread biscuits and pies,
Fresh from the oven a lovely surprise.
With beer collected in a jug,
For fathers supper mug.


Streets of tramlines for the horse drawn tram.
Manure for the gardens, where the horses ran.
Bells dinging people clinging,
Tramlines singing, strap hangers swinging.
As they where transported around the town.
Travelling to work, or for a beer at the Rose & Crown.
Then the Trolley buses swished silently by.
Powered by overhead rail and electric supply.
Street parties and a family sing song,
In parlours where Aspidestra`s belong.
Tin baths and Tipplers down yards.
Glowing coke fires and fire guards.


High stacked chimneys on Cotton mills.
Distinctive landmarks on northern hills.
Low lying weaving sheds alongside lodges.
Where illicit swimmers knew all the dodges.
Filled with fish, a fishermans delight.
Women in clothes black as night.
Lyle stockings, clogs and shawls.
Trawling around the market stalls.
Clog irons sparking on cobbles.
Where high heeled ladies hobble and wobble.


Local drapery shops selling goods.
Stiff collars,cuff links and studs.
Fleece lined liberty bodice vest,
Rubber buttons harnessed it round our chest.
Hand knitted woolly socks scarf and gloves.
Made by mum for those she loves.
Heavy tweed coats, Sunday best.
Easter time bonnets better dressed.
Knocker up and lamp lighter.
Demob suits fitting looser or tighter.


Silver Cross coach built pram.
Monday washing day for mam.
Boiling babies bottles and teats.
Lines of washing filling back streets.
Hand wringing,boiling and possing.
Busy day no time for gossiping.
Dolly Blue brings out the white.
In lines of nappies what a sight.


Corner shop, ration cards and slate.
Paid off on Friday, unless wages are late.
Fresh baked white loaf,crusted black.
Wrapped in fragile tissue paper sack.
Bacon slicer cuts rashers thick or thin.
Also Spam or Corned Beef from a tin.
Doorstep milk delivered by farmer.
By horse and cart in churns much warmer.


Doorsteps and flags dubbed white.
With Donkey Stones was socially right.
Or painted Cardinal red instead.
Then pity anyone who dared to tread.
Rag and Boneman`s barrow patrols the streets.
Collecting old clothes in exchange for treats.
Goldfish in jam jars swinging by a string,
Or a paper windmill for anything you bring.


Concrete bunkers on seaside promenades.
Corrugated air-raid shelter in backyards.
Flags and buntings line the street,
Trestle tables spread with lots to eat.
Street parties full of fun,
Maypole dancing in the sun.
May Queens processions down our street,
Field days an annual treat.
But nothing ever stays the same.
Except memories,that stay bright as any flame.
----------------------------

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