Category Archives: Lancashire

The Britannia Coconut Dancers

From the town of Bacup with blackened faces and unusual costumes comes a unique folk dance troup. The team dances several garland dances once common as part of rushbearing festivals around the area, but also a “nut dance” of which they now seem to be the sole surviving example.

The Britannia Coco-nut Dancers, a folk dance troupe from Bacup in Lancashire, England.

Photo by Kezka Dantza Taldea Eibar

Whilst the clogs shirt and britches are traditional Lancashire, the white and red hooped skirt and white hat/turban seem more exotic in origin.

While Morris Dancing is rumoured to have been derived from the dances of the Moors, the African tribe that conquered large parts of Spain, Portugal and Southern France. The tradition danced by the Britannia dancers seems to have a more definite link. It is rumoured to have been taught to Cornish tin miners by Moors who came to this country and found employment in the mines. When the work in Cornwall became scarce during the 18th & 19th centuries some of the Cornish miners came to the North-West to work in the mines and quarries and brought the tradition with them.

Tunstead Mill Nutters 1907

Tunstead Mill Nutters 1907

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The Pace Egg Play

Children”Pace Egging” in Hebden Bridge.

The Pace Egg Plays are traditional village plays, with a rebirth theme, in which St George smites all challengers and the fool, Toss Pot, rejoices. The drama takes the form of a combat between the hero and villain, in which the hero is killed and brought to life, often by a quack doctor.

The plays take place in England during Easter; indeed, the word ‘Pace’ comes from the old English word ‘pasch’ literally meaning ‘Easter’, but have also been known to have been performed at other religious celebrations such as Christmas.

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Tim Bobbin’ Grave

Self Portrait

Self portrait of John Collier (Tim Bobbin)

I stoode beside Tim Bobbin’ grave
‘At looks o’er Ratchda’ teawn;
An’ th’ owd lad ‘woke within his yerth,
An’ sed, “Wheer arto’ beawn?”

“Awm gooin’ into th’ Packer-street,
As far as th’ Gowden Bell;
To taste o’ Daniel’s Kesmus ale.”
TIM.—”I cud like o saup mysel’.”

“An’ by this hont o’ my reet arm,
If fro’ that hole theaw’ll reawk,
Theaw’st have o saup o’th’ best breawn ale
‘At ever lips did seawk.”

The greawnd it sturr’d beneath my feet,
An’ then I yerd o groan;
He shook the dust fro’ off his skull,
An’ rowlt away the stone.

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Rochdale Town Hall Fire

 

Rochdale Town Hall before the fire

Rochdale Town Hall prior to the fire of 1883

Rochdale Town Hall, is a fine example of gothic revival architecture and home to some of the best modern stained glass in the world. The grandeur of this building was such that according to local legend, Hitler had plans to take the building stone by stone back to Germany if he won the war. This is also supposedly the reason why Rochdale, despite it’s industry, escaped pretty much unscathed during the German bombings.

A competition was held to produce a design for the building which was won by William Henry Crossland. Work started in 1866 on the site of an abandoned 17th Century mansion and was completed five years later at a cost of £160,000 (eight times the original budget, and a remarkable sum for a town the size of Rochdale.) the work was so costly that to this day some of the internal decoration remains unfinished.

But what visitors to the town may not know is that the building you see today is different from the original.

The original clock tower was 134 feet high and had a 106 foot wooden spire richly gilded and surmounted by figures of Saint George and the Dragon.

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The Devil and the School Master

Bury Grammar School is an independent grammar school that has existed since c.1570 the following tale is thought to have originated from the early days of the school. It seems that teachers were made of stern stuff in those days.

 

Old Mr. Hodgeson the master of the grammar school at bury was sat at his midday meal when his wooden trencher started to spin alarmingly.

Convinced something was wrong he returned with all haste to the schoolhouse to find the schoolboys in a panic and the air fouled with brimstone.

In a foolhardy show of bravado one of the boys had recited the Lords Prayer backwards and in doing so had summoned the Old Nick himself to the school.

Being a learned chap, Hodgeson knew that the only way to banish the devil would be to give him a task which he could not perform, yet if the devil could complete three tasks the price would be his soul.

First Hodgeson demanded that the devil count the blades of grass on the Castle Croft, within a moment the devil returns with the answer.

Getting more desperate he asks the devil to count the grains of sand on the school brow. Again the devil completes the task easily.

With only one chance remaining, the old schoolmaster thinks for a while and without panic, having worked for years with little devils in front of him, he asks the devil to count the letters in the Bible in the nearby Parish Church.

Knowing he is beaten, since he cannot enter the church, the devil lets out a roar and descends through the schoolroom floor back to hell, leaving a great crack in the hearthstone where he passed through.

A Glossary of Lancashire Dialect

Glossary of Lancashire dialect.

by

George Hull.

 

Abeawt, about
Aboon, above
Afoor, before
An’, and
Appos, apples
As, ‘At, that
Aw, I
Aw’ll, I will
Aw s’, I shall
Aye, sure; yes, certainly

Bawls eawt, calls out
Beawn to, bound to, going to
Beawt, without
Bell-heawr, meal time
Bi theirsel’, by themselves, alone
Bin, been
Bobby, policeman
Bod, but, only
Booat, boat
Bowt, bought
Brass, money
Breet, bright
Brid, bird
Browt, brought
Broo, brow
Brooak, broke
Brunt, burnt
Bud, but, only

Campin’, chatting.
Canel, Canal
Catched, caught
Ceawrd, cowered
Chaff, banter
Chap, fellow
Cheer, chair
Childer, children
Chimbley, chimney
Chucked, thrown
Clam, starve
Cleawds, clouds
Cleynin’, cleaning
Clooas, clothes
Co, (1) call, (2) abuse
Codger (Cadger), fellow
Con, can
Connod, cannot
Cooat, coat
Cooartin‘, courting
Coom, came
Corn’d, cannot
Cosses, curses, curse
Cowd, cold
Crack, (1) an instant, (2) a joke or merry
anecdote
Craytur, creature
Creawded, crowded
Cronies, mates
Cut, canal

Dad, father
Daicent, decent
Deawn, down
Dee, die
Disate, deceit
Doesno’, does not, dost not
Dooin’, doing
Dorn’d, don’t
Dree, monotonous
Dreeam, dream
Drooav, drove
Dudn’d, did not
Dust, a warm discussion
Dule (Devil), smart fellow

Eawr, our
Eawt, out
E’e, eye; E’en, eyes
‘Em, them
Eyt, eat

Fauce (False), knowing, wise
Fayther, father
Fayver, fever
Feeard, afraid
Fella, fellow
Fleawr, (1) flour, (2) flower
Fo, fall
Foo’, fool
Fooak, folk
Footbo’, football
Forged, forget
Forrad, forward
Fost, first
Fotch, fetch
Fowd, fold, yard
Fowt, fought, toiled
Fun’, found

Ged, get;
Geddin, getting
Geet, got
Getten, gotten
Gill (Jill), in Lancashire, half-a pint
Gi’n, given
Gooa, go; Gooan, gone
Gowd, gold
Gradely, proper-ly, thorough-ly
Gred, great
Gronny, granny

Hafe, or Hofe, half
Hafe-timer (Half-timer), a child
who works during one half of each day and attends school the other half
Heaw, how
Heawr, hour
Heawse, house
Hed, had
He’d, (1) he had, (2) he would
Heeard, heard
Hes, has; Hev, have
Heyd, head
Hob, side of fireplace opposite oven
Hoo, she
Hooam, home
Hooarse, hoarse
Horts, hurts
Hoss, horse

I’, in
Id, it; Id’, its
Ill fooak, sick folks
Iv, if

Jannock, genuine
Jiffy, instant

Keer, care
Knowed, knew

Layrock, lark
Leeap, leap
Leet, light
Leet on, alight upon, discover
Lick, beat
Limber, lithe, active
Loce, loose
Looan, lane
Lots, plenty
Loysin’, losing

Mad, vexed
Maister, master
Mam, mother
Marlocks, practical jokes
Meawse, mouse
Meawths, mouths
Med, made; Mek, make
Meyt, meat
Mi, my; Misel’, myself
Mich, much
Mo, me
Mon, man
Mony, many
Mooast, most Moor, more
Moytherd, worried, troubled
Mun, must; Mut, might

Nau’but, naught but
Neaw, now
Neet, night
Nob’ry, nobody
Nod, not
Nod, a, a doze, a sleep
Nor, than
Nowe, no (the negative answer)
Nowt, nought
Noysy, nosy

O, all
O’, of, on
Oather, either
Olez, always
On, of
Ooak, oak
Oon, Oven
Oppen, open
Otogether, altogether
Ov, of
Owd, old
Owt, aught, anything, ought

Papper, paper, newspaper
Peawnd, pound
Peawrs, powers
Peearkt, perched
Pleecemon, policeman
Pon, pan
Poo’d, pulled
Pooarch, porch
Pratty, pretty
Preawd, proud

Quare, queer
Quate, quiet

Rayther, rather
Reawnd, round
Reet, Reight, right
Rowls, rolls
Ruffins (Ruffians), rough lads

Scoor, score
Seawnd, sound
Seawr, sour
Seeatbooard, the seatboard of
a handloom
Seet, sight; See ‘t, see it, saw it.
Seet off, started off
Set, sat
Sheawr, shower
Sheawted, shouted
Sheed, shed, let fall
Si, (1) see, (2) saw
Sich, such
Sin, seen; Sin’, since
Skeeam, scheme
Slutch, sludge
Smooky, smoky
Some’at, somewhat, something
Sooa, so; Sooart, sort
Sowd, sold
Sowjered, soldiered, served in the army
Sowl, soul
Speawtin’ (Spouting), speechmaking
Stannin’, standing
Sterted, started
Steylin’, stealing
Stooary, story
Stor thi stumps, stir thy feet
Swellin’, swelling, swaggering

T’, Th’, the
Ta, Tha, Thae, thou
Tay, tea
Teawn, town
Tekkin’, taking
Tentin’, attending to
Tenter, weaver’s assistant
Ter’ble, terrible, wonderful
Teyched, taught
Thad, that
Thae’rt, Tha’rt, thou art
Thacked, thatched
Theer, there
Theirsel’, themselves
They’n, they have
Thick, friendly
Thowt, thought
To’ard, To’art, toward
Took his hook, ran off
Towd, told
Toyler, toiler
Two-o’-thre’ (two or three), a few

Uns, ones

Varra, very
Voyce, voice

Wakken, waken
Watter, Wayter, water
Waur, were, was
Waurld, world
Weel, well
Welly, well nigh
We’n, we have
Wer, short sound of were; used in dialect for was, and occasionally for our
We s’, we shall
Weyvin’, weaving
Wheer, where
Whol, while
Wi’, with
Wi’nod, will not
Wi’ ‘t, with it
Wo, wall
Wod, (1) what, (2) would
Wodn’d, would not
Wooave, wove
Wo’st, worst
Wo’th, worth

Yar, our
Yed, head
Yer, Yore, your
Yo’n, you have

The Fairies Chapel

Within a narrow gorge known as “The Thrutch” within Healey Dell nature reserve and now overshadowed by the viaduct hides a pool and waterfall, before the flood of 1838 which destroyed it, it also contained a cavern in the rock which had a pulpit, reading desk and seats, formed by the action of the water. This is still known as the Fairies Chapel.

In local folklore the Chapel was formed when the King of the Fairies, aiding Robert of Huntingdon to overcome a curse, turned a local coven of witches to stone.

“There” the King said, “practice your unholy rites. There you have a chapel for your evil worship. And long may it be ere any mortal be so foolish as to seek you out in your wicked den.”

In overcoming the witches, Robert was forced to sacrifice his uncle’s ring which was the only proof of his claim to the title of Huntingdon and thus took his first step towards his destiny as the outlaw Robin Hood.

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Fair Ellen of Radcliffe

There was a lord of worthy fame,
And a hunting he would ride,
Attended by a noble traine
Of gentrye by his side.

And while he did in chase remaine,
To see both sport and playe,
His ladye went,
as she did feigne,
Unto the church to praye.

This lord he had a daughter deare,
Whose beauty shone so bright,
She was beloved both far and neare
Of many a lord and knight.

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