Lancashire Life

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LONDON:
PETTER AND GALPIN, LA BELLE SAUVAGE YARD
LUDGATE HILL.




"Oft, from the forest, wildings he did bring."
                                                                                              S
PENCER.



PREFACE.
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IN this little volume, relating, principally, to a district with which the writer is intimately acquainted, he has gathered up a few points of local interest, and, in connection with these, he has endeavoured to embody something of the traits of present life in South Lancashire with descriptions of its scenery, and with such gleanings from its local history as bore upon the subject, and, under the circumstances, were available to him.  How far he has succeeded in combining a volume of local matter, which may be instructive or interesting, he is willing to leave to the judgment of those readers who know the country and the people it deals with.  He is conscious that, in comparison with the fertile field of strong peculiarities which Lancashire presents to writers who are able to gather it up, and to use it well, this volume is fragmentary and discursive; yet he believes that, so far as it goes, it will not be wholly unacceptable to native readers.

    The historical information interspersed throughout the volume, has been gathered from so many sources that it would be a matter of considerable difficulty to give a complete and detailed acknowledgment of it.  In every important case, however, this acknowledgment has been given, with some degree of care, as fully and clearly as possible, in the course of the work.  Some of this historical matter may prove to be ill-chosen, if not ill-used—perhaps in some cases it might have been obtained in a better form, and even more correctly given—but the writer has, at least, the satisfaction of knowing that, with such light as he had, and with such elements as were convenient to him, he has been guided, in his selection of that kind of information, by a desire to obtain the most correct and the most applicable matter which was available to him.

    A book which is purely local in its character and bearing, as this is, cannot be expected to have much interest for persons unconnected with the district which it relates to.  If there is any hope of its being read at all, that hope is centred there.  The subjects it treats upon being local, and the language used in it being often the vernacular of a particular part of the county, these circumstances combine to narrow its circle of acquaintance.  But, in order to make that part of it which is given in the dialect as intelligible as possible to all readers not intimate with that form of native language, some care has been taken to explain such words as are unusually ambiguous in form, or in meaning.  And, here it may be noticed, that persons who know little or nothing of the dialect of Lancashire, are apt to think of it as one in form and sound throughout the county, and expect it to assume one unvaried feature whenever it is represented in writing.  This is a mistake, for there often exist considerable shades of difference—even in places not more than eight or ten miles apart—in the expression, and in the form of words which mean the same thing; and, sometimes, the language of a very limited locality, though bearing the same general characteristics as the dialect of the county in general, is rendered still more perceptibly distinctive in features, by idioms and proverbs peculiar to that particular spot.  In this volume, however, the writer has taken care to give the dialect, as well as he could, in such a form as would convey to the mind of the general reader a correct idea of the mode of pronunciation, and the signification of the idioms, used in the immediate locality which he happens to be writing about.

    Lancashire has had some learnčd writers who have written upon themes generally and locally interesting.  But the successful delineation of the quaint and racy features of its humble life has fallen to the lot of very few.  John Collier, our sound-hearted and clear-headed native humourist of the last century, left behind him some exquisite glimpses of the manner of life in his own nook of Lancashire, at that time.  The little which he wrote, although so eccentric and peculiar in character as to be almost unintelligible to the general reader, contains such evidence of genius and so many rare touches of nature, that to those who can discern the riches hidden under its quaint vernacular garb, it wears a perennial charm, in some degree akin to that which characterises the writings of such men as Cervantes and De Foe.  And, in our own day, Samuel Bamford—emphatically a native man—has, with felicitous truth, transferred to his pages some living pictures of Lancashire life, which will probably be read with more interest even than now, long after the writer has been gathered to his fathers.  There are others who have illustrated some of the conditions of social existence in Lancashire, in a graphic manner, with more polish and more learning; but, for native force and truth, John Collier and Samuel Bamford are, probably, the foremost of all genuine expositors of the characteristics of the Lancashire people.

    In conclusion, all that has hitherto been done in this way, is small in amount, compared with that which is left undone.  The past, and still more the disappearing present, of this important district teem with significant features, which, if caught up and truthfully represented, might, perhaps, be useful to the next generation.


E.W.

Manchester.



CONTENTS.
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PAGE

RAMBLE FROM BURY TO ROCHDALE

11.

THE COTTAGE OF TIM BOBBIN, AND THE VILLAGE OF

MILNROW

40.

HIGHWAYS AND BYEWAYS, FROM ROCHDALE TO THE

 

TOP OF BLACKSTONE EDGE

75.

THE TOWN OF HEYWOOD, AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD

144.

THE GRAVE OF GRISLEHURST BOGGART

192.

BOGGART HO' CLOUGH

211.

ROSTHERNE MERE

235.

 


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