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This is one of the most famous poems in Lancashire dialect. Bowton's Yard existed in Stalybridge near to the current Tesco's. The people described are based on real characters.


AT number one, i' Bowton's yard, mi gronny keeps a skoo,

But hasn't mony scholars yet, hoo's only one or two;

They sen th' owd woman's rather cross,—well, well, it may be so;

Aw know hoo box'd me rarely once, an' pood mi ears an' o.

At number two lives widow Burns—hoo weshes clooas for folk

Their Billy, that's her son, gets jobs at wheelin' coke;

They sen hoo coarts wi' Sam-o'-Neds, at lives at number three;

It may be so, aw conno tell, it matters nowt to me.

At number three, reet facin' th' pump, Ned Grimshaw keeps a shop;

He's Eccles-cakes, an' gingerbread, an' treacle beer, an' pop;

He sells oat-cakes an' o, does Ned, he has boath soft an' hard,

An' everybody buys off him 'at lives i' Bowton's yard.

At number four Jack Blunderick lives; he goes to th' mill an' wayves;

An' then, at th' week-end, when he's time, he pows a bit an' shaves;

He's badly off, is Jack, poor lad; he's rayther lawm, they sen,

An' his childer keep him deawn a bit—aw think they'n nine or ten.

At number five aw live mysel', wi' owd Susannah Grimes,

But dunno loike so very weel—hoo turns me eawt sometimes;

An' when awm in there's ne'er no leet, aw have to ceawer i' th' dark;

Aw conno pay mi lodgin' brass, becose awm eawt o' wark.

At number six, next dur to us, an' close o' th' side o' th' speawt,

Owd Susie Collins sells smo' drink, but hoo's welly allis beawt;

But heaw it is that is the case awm sure aw conno tell,

Hoo happen maks it very sweet, an' sups it o hersel!

At number seven there's nob'dy lives, they left it yesterday,

Th' bum-baylis coom an' mark'd their things, and took 'em o away;

They took 'em in a donkey-cart—aw know newt wheer they went—

Aw recon they'n bin ta'en and sowd becose they owed some rent.

At number eight—they're Yawshur folk—there's only th' mon an' woife,

Aw think aw ne'er seed nicer folk nor these i' o mi loife;

Yo'll never yer 'em foin' eawt, loike lots o' married folk,

They allis seem good-tempered like, an' ready wi' a joke.

At number nine th' owd cobbler lives—th' owd chap 'at mends my shoon,

He's getting very weak an' done, he'll ha' to leov us soon;

He reads his Bible every day, an sings just loike a lark,

He says he's practisin' for heaven—he's welly done his wark.

At number ten James Bowton lives—he's th' noicest heawse i' th' row;

He's allis plenty o' sum'at t' eat, an lots o' brass an' o;

An' when he rides an' walks abeawt he's dress'd up very fine,

But he isn't hawve as near to heaven as him at number nine.

At number 'leven mi uncle lives—aw co him uncle Tum,

He goes to concerts, up an' deawn, an' plays a kettle-drurn;

I' bands o' music, an' sich things, he seems to tak' a pride,

An' allis maks as big a noise as o i' th' place beside.

At number twelve, an' th' eend o' th' row, Joe Stiggins deals i' ale;

He's sixpenny, an' fourpenny, dark-coloured, an' he's pale;

But aw ne'er touch it, for aw know it's ruined mony a bard—

Awm th' only chap as doesn't drink 'at lives i' Bowton's yard.

An' neaw awve dune aw'll say good-bye, an' leave yo' for awhile;

Aw know aw have n't towd mi tale i' sich a first-rate style;

But iv yo're pleased awm satisfied, an' ax for no reward

For tellin' who mi nayburs are at live i' Bowton's yard.


Hoo - she

Sen - say

Wayves - weaves

Pow - cuts hair

Lawm - lame

Ceawer - sit

Smo' drink - low-alcohol beer

Bum-baylis - bailiffs

Sowd - sold

Shoon - shoes

Welly - nearly

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