Masthead - Local men at Derby Arms

Last Updated: 15 September 2013

The following illustration of the local dialect is taken from:
Furness Dialect Stories
published in 1868.

T' Invasion O' U'ston

An' sooa ye want mà  tà tell ye a bit meeàr abowt t' ãld times i' Forness, du ye - summat like t' Siege o' Brou'ton?  Wy, wy! bless ye barn, this ãld heeàd o' mine isn't what it wos a while sen; it's gittin' varra neeàr as slape inside as it is owt.  But let's see - hev ye iver heeàrd o' t' Invasion o' U'ston, when o' t' Cuniston miners an' t' Kir'by sleeàt-ryvers com' an' steeàl a lot o' meeàl?  Neã!  Wy, then, I'll tell ye summat abowt it.

Now ye mun knã, 'at when Bonyparte wos kickin' up sic 'larums i' France, an' t' war wos on, ivery thing i' t' shap' o' breeàd stuff down tà t' varra soat, wos beeàth ter'ble skeeàrce an' parlish dear.  I've offen heeàrd me mudder say 'at when she wos meeàkin us barns our poddish, 'at she dudn't knã sometimes wedder tà leeàve owt t' meeàl èr t' soat.  Some said 'at t' war wos meeàkin things sooa dear, an' some said 'at it wos t' fellas they co'd spekalaters 'at bowte up o' t' stuff an' then selt it owt at the'r ãn price.  Howiver, things wos dear; that ivery body knã's.

Well! t' times wer' gittin wãr' an' wãr', an' t' meeàt wos gittin' deàrer an' deàrer, when it begun to be toaked 'at ther wos a chap i' U'ston 'at hed bowte o' t' meeàl up i' t' country side, an' wos gã'n tà ex neã body knã's how mitch a pound for it.  This ye knã wos meeàr ner t' poor foke cou'd stand, an' sooa yã day, bless ye, ther' wos sic a noration as niver wos seen.  They'd gitten tà heear on't up i' Cuniston an' Kir'by, whãr t' poor foke wer' fairly hunger't owt, sooa 'at they hed tà  gã intà t' dyke sides an' gedder nettles tà meeàk  nettle poddish on.  O' wos fish 'at com' tà t' net wi' them, for they piked up barbs of o' kinds tà boil an' itt.  "It cap't Langcrown," my mudder used to say, "how foke cou'd leeve on sic crash!" an' ye knã they hev a sayin' i' Forness 'at "Langcrown cap't t' ãld Lad."

Wy, as I said afore, they cou'd stand it neã langer, an' they detarmin'd tà give t' spekalaters a lesson 'at they wodn't forgit in a horry.  An' sooa yã efterneeàn when o' the'r plans wer' settled, abowt thee er fower hunder'd girt letherin' chaps com' marchin' intà U'ston an' woaked in persesshon thro' o' t' streets, co'ing on t' foke tà gedder up an' they wod git some meeàl for the'rsels an' barns.  Efter they'd been thro' t' streets they drew up i' t' Market Pleeàce an' divided the'sels intà companies, an' some went yã way an' some anudder.  It wos said 'at somebody hed telt 'em whã they cou'd finnd what they wanted, for t' biggest lot went on t' Town End - an' I isn't quite suer now, but I think it wos t' Globe Inn they takkled.  Ivery roum an' cellar wos rumiged ower an' ower, but they fand nowte; an' at last they went poapin' intà t' steeàbles, an' then ransack'd t' barn i' t' back yard.

O' at yance ther' strack up a meeàst ter'ble rumpus, for under a pile o' hay they fand sic a melder o' meeàl  - girt secks full! - an' dudn't they lug it owte i' varra lile time!  Then t' signal wos geen, an' efter they'd colloged a bit tàgidder, yã girt fella stood up on t' ãld cross wi' a scowp i' his hand, while anudder fella oppen'd t' secks yan be yan.  It wod ha'e done ye're eyes gud tà hev seen 'em at wark; for, by gock, they dud laddle t' meeàl ouot i' grand style!  O' t' poor wimmen i' t' town cludder'd round abowt 'em wi' basens, pots, an' cans of o' kinds.  Some weshed out the'r chammer pots - ye may be suer they worn't keisty! - an' hed 'em filled; an' them 'at hedn't any pots, held owt the'r brats, an' gat a scowp-ful put in.

What du ye say?  Wos nowte done to stop 'em?  Wy, yes, t' constables tried; but bless ye barn, they wer' neã use - neã, nin at o'.  They wer' fairly gloppen'd.  An' as for t' magistrate - ( ye mun remember ther' wos nobbut yan then, an' he wos t' parson 'at hed a bit of a limp wi' t' teeà leg) - sooa, what gud cou'd he du?  Neã dowt he wos rayder freetn't an' thowte ther' wos gã'n to be riots; but ther' wos nowte o' t' mack.  Ther' wosn't a hopeth o' damage done tà owte er anybody - nobbut takin' t' meeàl.  Wy, as I just said, t' magistrate thowte ther' wos gã'n tà be a riot, an' as he cou'd du nowte his-sel', he sent off for t' soulgers t'll I don't knã whã, an' they com.  But as they had neã talegraph er railways i' them days, it wos à bit afore they cou'd get tà U'ston, an' then ther' wos neàbody tà feight wi'; sooa they woak'd abowt t' streets for a week er two, an' as t' ãld rhyme says:-

                       They itt the'r meeàt, an drank the'r drink,
                       An' then went marchin' yam again.

Ye'll hev seen be this time that I'se neà hand at telling a stooàry steight forrats, sooa mun torn back a bit now tà teill ye that efter t' forragers hed geen o' t' meeàl away - for mind ye, they tuk nin the'rsels - they o' tramp'd out o' t' town agean as orderly as if nowte hed happen'd.  An' I've heeàrd it said that nirt yan o' them gat as mitch as a glass of ale i' U'ston; but ivery thing went off a quiet, an' far soberer, than many a teetotal demon-strashon does now-a-days.

It wos varra leeàt at neet when o' t' Cuniston fellows gat yam.  They'd hed a lang day on't; an' tired an' dusty they wor.  I cou'd tell ye some o' the'r neeàms 'at tuk part i' t' rampãge, but it wod du ye neã gud, an' they'r o' deeàd now.  Anudder thing, tu, stops me.  Some on 'em hes left barns behint 'em 'at m'appen wodn't like tà see the'r for-elders' neeàms mix't up wi' sic a bit o' Forness "Linch lã!"  An' ye knã weel anuff 'at an' ãld fella like me wodn't like tà hort the'r pride.  But. for my part, I see nowte at o' i' t' affair 'at any yan on 'em need be'sham't on - du ye?

For those who may not have previously encountered a dialect specific to a rural locality, such as that portrayed above, it must be appreciated that whilst the aural character of speech approximated closely to the textual syntax used to express it here, those who spoke in dialect still communicated in writing by the use of normal English.  The above does not represent a variant of their written English.

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