(Selected verses in regular English.)
At number one, in Bolton's Yard, my granny keeps a school,
But hasn't many scholars yet, she's only one or two;
They say the old woman's rather cross; well, well, it may be so;
I know she box'd me roundly once, and pull'd my ears an aw'.
At number three, right facing the pump, Ned Grimshaw keeps a
He has Eccles-cakes and ginger-bread, and treacle-beer, and
He sells oatcakes as well, does Ned; he has both soft and hard,
And everybody buys of him that lives in Bolton's Yard.
At number five, I live myself, with old Susannah Grimes,
But do not like her very well, she turns me out sometimes;
And when I'm in, there's ne'er a light, I have to cower in the dark,
I cannot pay my lodging brass, because I'm out of wark.
At number seven, there's nobody lives; they left there yesterday,
The bailiff's came and mark'd their things, and took them all
They took them in a donkey cart; I know not where they went
I reckon they've been ta'en and sold because they owed some
At number nine, th' old cobbler lives, th' old chap that mends my
He's getting very weak and done, he'll have to leave us soon;
He reads his Bible every day, and sings just like a lark,
He says he's practising for heaven; he's nearly done his wark.
At number 'leven my uncle lives, I call him Uncle Tum,
He goes to concerts up and down, and plays a kettle-drum;
In bands of music, and such things, he seems to take a pride,
And always makes as big a noise, as all in the place beside.
And now I've done, I'll say good-bye, and leave you for a while,
I know I haven't told my tale in such a first-rate style.
If you're well pleased, I'm satisfied, and ask for no reward,
For telling who my neighbours are who live in Bolton's Yard.
"Bowton's Yard" is known
throughout Lancashire and the neighbouring counties. Some of
Samuel Laycock's songs require acting or gesture as well as singing
to bring out their proper effect. The above version supposes
that adjacent houses had alternate numbers, in the customary way.
At any rate, the licence taken in shortening the poem is a
concession to the modern demand for brevity.
(The verses complete in Lancashire dialect.)
At number one, i' Bowton's Yard, mi granny keeps a schoo',
But hasn't mony scholars yet, hoo's only one or two;
They sen th' owd woman's rayther cross, well, well, it may be so;
Aw know hoo box'd me gradely once, an' poo'd mi ears an' o.
At number two lives widow Burns hoo weshes clooas for folk;
Their Billy, that's her son, goes reawnd a beggin' wi' a poke;
They sen hoo cooarts wi' Sam o Ned's, 't 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
He's Eccles-cakes, an' ginger-bread, an' treacle-beer, an' pop;
He sells oat-cakes an' o, does Ned, he has boath soft an' hard,
An' everybody buys of him 'at lives i' Bowton's Yard.
At number four Jack Blunderick lives; he goes to th' mill an'
An' then at th' week-end, when he's time, he pows* a bit, an'
He's badly off, is Jack, poor lad, he's rayther lawm, an' then
His wife's had childer very fast 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 aw'm in there's ne'er no leet, aw have to ceawer i' th'
Aw conno' pay mi lodgin' brass, becose aw'm eawt o' wark.
At number six next dur to us, an' close o' th' side o' th' speawt,
Owd Susy Collins sells smo' drink, but hoos welly allis beawt;
But heaw it is that is the case, aw'm 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-baylies coom an' mark'd their things, an' took 'em aw
They took 'em in a donkey-cart aw know nowt wheer they
Aw reckon they'n bin ta'en an' sowd becose they ow'd some rent.
At number eight they're Yawshur folk there's only th' men an'
Aw think aw ne'er seed noicer folk nor these i' o my loife;
Yo'll never yer 'em foin' eawt loike lots o' married folk,
They allis seem good-temper'd loike, an' ready wi' a joke.
At number nine th' owd cobbler lives, th' owd chap 'at mends my
He's gettin' very weak an' done, he'll ha' to leave 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'
He's allis plenty o' summat t' eat, an' lots o' brass an' o;
An' when he rides an' walks abeawt he's dress'd up very fine,
Bu' 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 drum;
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-colour'd, an' he's pale;
But aw ne'er touch it, for aw know it's ruin'd mony a bard,
Aw'm th' only chap as doesn't drink 'at lives i' Bowton's Yard.
An' neaw aw've done aw'll say good-bye, an' leave yo' for a
Aw know aw haven't towel mi tale i' sich a first-rate style.
Iv yo're weel pleas'd aw'm satisfied, an' ax for no reward,
For tellin' who mi nayburs is, 'at lives i' Bowton's Yard.
* Pows, cuts hair.