Waugh: Sketches of Lancashire Life (3)

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HIGHWAYS AND BYEWAYS, FROM ROCHDALE
TO THE TOP OF BLACKSTONE EDGE (con't.)


I well remember that the following were among their favourites:—"Oh, Nanny, wilt thou gang wi' me?" "Jockey to the Fair," "Old Towler," "The Banks of the Dee," "Black Eyed Susan," "Highland Mary," "The Dawning of the Day," "The Garden Gate," and "The Woodpecker."  There are, also, a few rough, humorous songs in the Lancashire dialect, which are very common among them.  The best of these are the rudely-characteristic ballads called "Jone o' Greenfelt," and "The Songs of the Wilsons," of which the following, known by the name of "Johnny Green's Wedding," and "Description of Manchester College," by Alexander Wilson, is sufficient to show the manner, and characteristics of the remainder of these popular local songs:—


"Neaw lads, wheer are yo beawn so fast?
Yo happun ha no yerd what's past:
Aw gettun wed sin aw'r here th' last,
    Just three week sin come Sunday.
Aw ax'd th' owd folk, an aw wur reet,
So Nan an me agreed tat neet,
At iv we could mak boath eends meet,
    We'd be wed o' Ayster Monday.

"That morn', as prim as pewter quarts,
Aw th' wenches coom, an browt t' sweethearts;
Aw fund we're loike to ha' three carts,—
    Twur shrunk as Eccles wakes, mon;
We donna eawr tits i' ribbins to,—
One red, one green, an tone wur blue;
So hey! lads, hey! away we flew,
    Loike a race for th' Ledger stakes, mon.

"Reight merrily we drove, full bat;
An eh! heaw Duke an Dobbin swat;
Owd Grizzle wur so lawm an fat,
    Fro' soide to soide hoo jow'd um:
Deawn Withy Grove at last we coom,
An stopt at th' Seven Stars by gum,
An drunk as mich warm ale an rum,
    As 'ud dreawn o' th' foik i' Owdham.

"When th' shot wur paid, an th' drink wur done,
Up Fennel-street, to th' church for fun,
We doanced loike morris-doancers dun,
    To th' best o' aw my knowledge;
So th' job wur done, i' hauve a crack;
Boh eh! what fun to get th' first smack,
So neaw, my lads, 'fore we gwon back,
    Says aw, 'We'n look at th' College.'

"We see'd a clock-case first, good laws!
Where Deoth stands up wi' great lung claws;
His legs, an wings, an lantern jaws,
    They really look't quite feorink.
There's snakes an watchbills, just like pikes,
At Hunt an aw th' reformin' tikes,
An thee, an me, an Sam o' Mikes,
    Once took a blanketeerink.

"Eh!  lorjus days, booath far an woide,
Theer's yards o' books at every stroide,
Fro' top to bothum, eend, an soide,
    Sich plecks there's very few so:
Aw axt him iv they wur'n to sell,
For Nan loikes readink vastly well;
Boh th' measter wur eawt, so he could naw tell,
    Or aw'd a bowt her Robinson Crusoe.

"Theer's a trumpet speyks an maks a din,
An a shute o' clooas made o' tin,
For folk to go a feightink in,
    Just like thoose chaps o' Boneys;
An theer's a table carved so queer,
Wi' as mony planks as days i'th year,
An crinkum-crankums here an theer,
    Like th' clooas-press at my gronny's.

"Theer's Oliver Crumill's bombs an balls,
An Frenchmen's guns they'd tean i' squalls,
An swords, as lunk as me, o' th' walls,
    An bows an arrows too, mon:
Aw didna moind his fearfo words,
Nor skeletons o' men an burds;
Bob aw fair hate th' seet o' greyt lung swords,
    Sin th' feight at Peterloo, mon.

"We seed a wooden cock likewise;
Boh dang it, mon, these college boys,
They tell a pack o' starin' loies,
    As sure as teaw'rt a sinner:
'That cock, when it smells roast beef, 'll crow,'
Says he; 'Bob,' aw said, 'teaw lies, aw know,
An aw con prove it plainly so,
    Aw've a peawnd i' my hat for th' dinner.'

"Boh th' hairy mon had miss's my thowt,
An th' clog fair crackt by th' thunner bowt,
An th' woman noather lawmt nor nowt,
    Theaw ne'er seed loike sin t'ur born, mon.
Theer's crocodiles, an things, indeed,
Aw colours, mak, shap, size, an breed
An if aw moot tell toan hauve aw see'd,
    We moot sit an smook till morn, mon.

"Then deawn Lung Millgate we did steer,
To owd Mike Wilson's goods-shop theer,
To bey eawr Nan a rockink cheer,
    An pots, an spoons, an ladles:
Nan bowt a glass for looking in,
A tin Dutch o'on for cookin' in;
Aw bowt a cheer for smookink in,
    An Nan axed th' price o' th' cradles.

"Then th' fiddler struck up 'Th' Honey Moon,'
An off we set for Owdham soon;
We made owd Grizzle trot to th' tune,
    Every yard o' th' way, mon.
At neet, oytch lad an bonny lass,
Laws! heaw they doanc'd an drunk their glass;
So toyrt wur Nan an me, by th' mass,
    At we lee till twelve th' next day, mon."


    When the horn sounded to gather the harriers, or the "foomart dogs," the weaver lads used to let go their "pickin'-pegs," roll up their aprons, and follow the chase afoot, with all the keen relish of their forefathers, returning hungry, tired, and pleased at night, to relate the adventures of the day.  Sometimes they sallied from the village, in jovial companies, attended by one or more of their champions, to have a drinking-bout, and challenge "th' cocks o' th' clod" in some neighbouring hamlet.  Such expeditions often led to a series of single combats, in which rude bodily strength and pluck were the principal elements of success; sometimes a general melée, or "Welsh main," took place; often ending in painful journies, with broken bones, over the moors, to the "Whitworth Doctors."  As far as rough sports and rough manners went, "the dule" seemed to have "thrut his club" specially over Smallbridge in those days.  That man was lucky who could walk through the village without being assaulted by something more inconvenient than mere looks of ignorant wonder, and a hearty pelting of coarse jokes; especially if he happened to wear the appearance of a "teawn's buck."  They had a kind of contempt for "teawn's folk," as an inferior race, especially in body.  If town's people had more intelligence than was common in the country, these villagers often affected to consider it a knavish cleverness; and if they seemed externally clean, they looked upon it as an hypocritical concealment of the filth beneath.  If they were well dressed, the old prevailing doubt arose, as to its being "o' paid for;" and if one appeared among them who had no settled home or connections, and whose demeanour they did not like, he had "done summat wrung somewheer, or elze he'd ne'er ha' bin o' that shap."  In fact, it was hardly possible for people bred in a town to be as clean, strong, or honest, as those bred in the country.  Town's folk had nothing wholesome about them; they were "o' offal an' bhoylin-pieces."  When they visited Manchester, or any of the great towns about, they generally took a supply of eatables with them for the journey; "coud frog-i'-th'-hole puddin," or "fayberry cake," or "sodden moufin an' cheese," or such liked homely buttery-stuff; for if they had occasion to enter any strange house in such places, to satisfy their hunger, they often ate with a jealous anxiety about the authenticity of the animal they were feeding upon, every mouthful went down among painful speculations as to what the quadruped was when alive, and what particular reason it had for departing this life.  Burns alludes affectionately to "the halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food;" and oatmeal porridge, and oat-cake, enter largely into the diet of country people in this part of Lancashire.  They used to pride themselves in the name of "the Havercake Lads."  A regiment raised in Lancashire during the last war bore this name.  This oat-cake is baked upon a peculiar kind of stone slab, called a "back-stone;" and the cry of "Havercake Back-stones" is a familiar sound in Rochdale, and the villages around it, at this day.  Oatmeal porridge forms an important element of a genuine Lancashire breakfast in the country.  I have often noticed the air of satisfaction with which a Lancashire housewife has filled up the great breakfast bowl with hot, well-boiled oatmeal porridge, and, clapping the pan on the floor, said, "Theer, lads, pultiz yo'r stomachs wi' thoose!"  And the hungry, hearty youngsters have gathered hastily round their old dish, welcoming it with the joyous ejaculation of "That's th' mak'!"  The thick unleavened oat-cake, called "Jannock," is scarcely ever seen in South-east Lancashire now; but it used to be highly esteemed.  The common expression, "That's noan Jannock," applied to anything which is not what it ought to be, commemorates the fame of this wholesome old cake of theirs.  But they have no inclination to an exclusively vegetarian diet; in fact, they generally express a decided relish for "summate at's deed ov a knife;" and, like their ancient progenitors, the Saxons, they naturally prefer heavy meals, and long draughts, to any kind of light epicurean nicety.

    There are many old prejudices and overdone jealousies still cherished by the country people of South-east Lancashire, as is their old belief in witches, witch-doctors, and "Planet-rulers;" but they are declining, through increasing communion with the rest of the world.  And then these things show only the unfavourable side of their character; for they are hospitable, open-handed, frank, and benevolent by nature.  How oft have I seen them vehemently defend the downcast and the stranger; or shut up ungenerous suspicions, and open all the sluices of their native kindness by the simple expression, "He's somebody's chylt!"

    "Owd Roddle" is a broken-down village fuddler, in Smallbridge; perpetually racking his brains about "another gill."  His appearance is more that of an Indian Fakeer than an English country gentleman.  He is as "concayted as a whisket" in some things, but not in eating or drinking; for he will "seawk lamp-hoyle through a bacco-pipe iv onybody'll give him a droight o' ale to wesh it deawn wi'; an' as for heytin', he'll heyt mortal thing—dhyed or alive—iv he con get his teeth into't."  A native of Smallbridge was asked, lately, what "Roddle" did for his living, and he replied, "Whaw, he wheels coals, and trails abeawt wi' his clogs loce, an' mays a foo' ov hissel' for ale."  Yet utterly lost as Roddle is himself in person and habits, he is strongly imbued with the old prejudices against town's people.  To him, the whitest linen worn by a townsman, is only what the country folk call a "French White."  A well-dressed person from Rochdale chanced one day, unwittingly, to awaken "Roddle's" ire, who, eyeing him from head to foot, with a critical sneer, said, "Shap off whoam, as fast as the con, an' get tat buff shurt sceawr't a bit, wilto; an' thy skin an' o'; for theawr't wick wi' varmin; an' keep o' thy own clod, whol tho con turn eawt some bit like."  "But," continued my informant, "aw'm a bit partial to th' offal divul for o' that; he's so much gam in him, and aw like a foo i' my heart!  Eh! he used to be as limber as a treawt when he're young; but neaw he's as wambley an' slamp as a barrow full o' warp sizin'. Th' tother mornin' aw walked up to him for a bit ov a crack as uzal, but th' owd lad had gettin his toppin cut off close to his yed; an' he wacker't an' stare't like a twichelt dog; an' gran at mo like mad.  Aw're fore't to dray back a bit, at th' furst, he glooart so flaysome.  It're very frosty, an' his e'en looked white and wild, an' as geawl't as a whelp.  Iv the dule had met Roddle at th' turn ov a lone that mornin' he'd a skriked hissel' eawt ov his wits, an' gwon dawn again.  Ir measther sauces me sometimes for talkin' to Roddle; but aw olez tell him at aw'st have a wort wi' th' poor owd twod when aw meet him, as what onobody says."

    There is a race of hereditary sand-sellers, or "sond-knockers," in Smallbridge; a rough, uncouth, mountaineer breed, who live by crushing sandstone rock into powder, for sale in the town of Rochdale, and the villages about it.  This sand is used for strewing upon the flagged house floors, when the floor is clean washed; and while it is yet damp, the sand is ground over it by the motion of a heavy "scouring-stone," to which a long, strong, wooden handle is firmly fixed, by being fastened to an iron claw, which grasps the stone, and is imbedded into it by molten lead.  The motion of the "scouring-stone" works the flags into smoothness, and leaves an ornamental whiteness on the floor when it gets dry; it breeds dust, however, and much needless labour.  The people who knock this sand and sell it, have been known over the country side for many years by the name of "Th' Kitters," and the common local proverb, "We're o' ov a litter, like Kitter pigs," is used in Smallbridge, as an expression of friendship or of kinship, and an hospitable encouragement.  As regular as Saturday morning came, the sand-carts used to come into Rochdale heavily laden; and I remember that they were often drawn by horses which, like the steed of the crazy gentleman of Spain, were "many cornered," and, generally ill-conditioned; and in addition to that, sometimes afflicted by some of the more serious ills which horse-flesh is heir to.  They have better horses now, I believe, and they are better used.  The train of attendants which usually accompanied these sand-carts into the town was of a curious description.  Hardy, bull-necked, brown-faced drivers, generally dressed in strong fustian, which, if heavily plated with patches in particular quarters, was still mostly whole, but almost always well mauled, and soiled with the blended stains of sand, and spilt ale, and bacon fat, with clumsily stitched rips visible here and there.  The whole being a kind of tapestried chronicle of the wearer's way of living, his work, his fights, fuddles, and feasts.  Then they were often bareheaded, with their breeches ties flowing loose at the knees, and the shirt neck wide open, displaying a broad, hairy, weather-beaten chest; and the jovial-faced, Dutch-built women too, in blue lin aprons, blue woollen bedgowns, and clinkered shoon; and with round, wooden, peck and half-peck measures tucked under their arms, ready for "hawpuths" and "pennuths."  As the cart went slowly along, the women went from house to house, on each side of the road, and, laying one hand upon the door cheek, looked in with the old familiar inquiry, "Dun you want ony sond this mornin'?"  "Hah, yo may lhyev a hawputh.  Put it i' this can."  When they came to an old customer and acquaintance, sometimes a short conversation would follow in a strain such as this, "Well, an heaw are yo, owd craythur?"  "Whau, aw'm noan as haw should be by a dhyel.  Aw can heyt naut mon, an' aw connut tay my wynt."  "Aw dunnot wonder at tat; yo'n so mich reech abeawt here.  If yo'rn up at th' Smo'bridge, yo'dd'n be fit to heyt yirth-bobs an' scaplins, welly.  Mon, th' wynt's chlyen up theer, an' there's plenty on't, an' wi' can help irsels to't when we like'n.  Wi'n you come up o' seein' us?"  "Eh, never name it!  Aw's ne'er get eawt o' this hole till aw'm carried eawt th' feet foremost!"  "Come, wi'n ha' noan o' that mak o' talk!  Aw'd as lief as a keaw-price at yo'dd'n come.  Yo'n be welcome to th' best wi' ha'n, an wi'n may yo comfortable beside; an' bring yo deawn again i'th cart.  But ir Jem's gwon forrud wi'th sond.  Let's see; did'n yo gi' mo th' hawp'ny?  *   *   *  Oh, hah!  It'll be reet!  Neaw tay care o' yorsel', and keep yo'r heart eawt o' your clogs!"  When the cart came to a rut, or a rise in the road, all hands were summoned to the push, except one, who tugged and thumped at the horse, and another, who seized the spokes of the wheel, and, with set teeth and strained limbs, lent his aid to the "party of progress" in that way.  Sometimes a sturdy skulker would follow the cart, to help to push, and to serve out sand, but more for a share of the fun, and the pile of boiled brisket and cheese an' "moufln," lapt in a clout, and stowed away in the cart-box at starting, to be washed down with "bally-droights" of cold fourpenny at some favourite "co'in-shop" on the road.

    The old custom of distinguishing persons by Christian names alone, prevails generally in Smallbridge, as in all country parts of Lancashire, more or less.  It sometimes happens, in small country villages like this, that there are people almost unknown, even among their own neighbours, by their surnames.  Roby gives an instance of this kind in his "Traditions of Lancashire," where he mentions a woman, then living in the village of Whitworth, for whom it would be useless to inquire there by her proper name; but anybody in the village could have instantly directed you to "Susy o'Yem's o' Fairoffs, at th' top o' th' Rake," by which name she was intimately known.  Individuals are often met, whose surnames have almost dropt into oblivion by disuse, and who have been principally distinguished through life by the name of their residence, or some epithet, descriptive of a remarkable personal peculiarity, or some notable incident in their lives.  Such names as the following, which will be recognised in their locality, are constantly met, and the list of them might be authentically extended to any desirable degree: "Tum's o' Charles o' Billy's," or "Red Tum," "Bridfuut," "Corker," "Owd Fourpenny," "Tum o' Meawlo's," "Rantipow," and "Ab o' Pinder's," who fought a battle in the middle of the river Roch, at a great bull-bait in Rochdale, more than thirty years ago; "Bull Robin," "Jone o' Muzden's," "Owd Moreover," and "Bonny Meawth."  This last reminds me of the report of a young villager, near Smallbridge, respecting the size of the people's mouths in a neighbouring district.  "Thi'n th' bigg'st meawths i' yon country," said he, "at ever aw seed clapt under a lip!  Aw hove one on 'em his yure up, to see if his meawt went o' reawnd; but he knockt mo into th' slutch."  Many of these quaint names rise in my memory as I write: "Owd Dragon," "Paul o' Bill's," "Plunge," "Ben o' Robin's o' Bob's o' th' Brid-stuffers, o' Buersil Yed," "Collop," "Tolloll," "Pratty Strider," "Lither Dick," and "Reawnt Legs,"—


"Reawnt Legs he wur a cunnin' owd twod,
 He made a mule draw a four-horse lwod."


And then there was "Johnny Baa Lamb," a noted character in Rochdale twelve years ago.  He was low in stature, rather stout, and very knock-knee'd; and his face was one paradise of never-fading ale-blossoms.  Johnny's life was spent in helping about the slaughter-houses, and roaming from alehouse to alehouse, where, between his comical appearance, his drunken humour, his imitations of the tones of sheep, lambs, and other animals, and his old song,—


                  "The mon and the mare,
                    Flew up in the air,
 An' aw think ad see 'em yet, yet, yet;"


the chorus of which he assisted by clattering a great poker on the hearth, he was a general favourite, and kept himself afloat in ale—the staple of his ambition—by being the butt of every tap-room, where his memory remains embarmed.  There was "Barfuut Sam," a carter, who never would wear any footgear; "Ab o' Slender's," "Broth," "Sthyem," "Scutcher," "Peawch," and "Dick-in-a-Minnit."  Most of these were as well known as the church clock.  And then there was "Daunt o' Peggy's," "Brunner," "Shin 'em," "Ayli o' Joe's o' Bet's o' Owd Bullfuut's," and "Fidler Bill," who is mentioned in the Lancashire song, "Hopper hop's eawt, an' Limper limp't in,"


"Then aw went to th' Peel's Arms to taste of their ale;
 They sup'n it so fast it never gwos stale!
 An' when aw'd set deawn, an' getten a gill,
Who should come in boh Fidler Bill.

 He rambles abeawt through boroughs an' teawns,
 A' sellin folk up as boh ow'n a few peawnds;"


and, then, there was "Jone o' Isaac's," the mower, "Pheyswad," and "Bedflock," who sowed blendspice in his garden for parsley seed; and "Owd Tet, i' Crook," an amiable and agèd country woman, who lately lived in a remote corner of the moors, above Smallbridge, and whose intended husband dying when she was young, she took it deeply to heart.  On being pressed to accept the hand of a neighbour, who knew her excellent qualities, she at last consented, assuring him, however, that her heart was gone, and all that she could promise him was that she could "spin, an' be gradely;" which saying has become a local proverb.  In the Forest of Rossendale I have met with a few names of more curious structure than even any of the previous ones, such as "Eb o' Peg's o' Puddin' Jane's," "Bet o' Owd Harry's o' Nathan's at th' Change," "Enoch o' Jem's o' Rutchot's up at th' Nook," "Harry o' Mon John's," "Ormerod o' Jem's o' Bob's," and "Henry o' Ann's o' Harry's o' Milley's o' Ruchot's o' John's o' Dick's, through th' ginnel, an' up th' steps, an' o'er Joseph's o' John's o' Steen's," which rather extraordinary cognomen was given to me by a gentleman, living near Newchurch, as authentic, and well-known in a neighbouring dale.  In a village, near Bolton, there was, a few years since, a letter-carrier, who had so long been exclusively known by a nickname, that he had transiently forgotten his proper name.  By an uncommon chance, however, he once received a letter directed to himself, but not remembering the owner, or anybody of that name, he carried the letter in his pocket for several days, till he happened to meet with a shrewd old villager one day, whom his neighbours looked upon as "learnt up," and able to explain everything—from ale, bull-dogs, and politics, to the geography of the moon and the mysteries of theology.  The postman showed his letter to this Delphic villager, inquiring whether he knew anybody of that name.  The old man looked an instant, then, giving the other a thump, he said, with a laugh, "Thea foo', it's thysel'!"  I have heard of many an instance in different parts of Lancashire, where some generic "John Smith," after being sought after in vain for a while, has been at last discovered concealed under some such guise as "Iron Jack," "Plunge," "Nuking," or " Bumper."  I remember an old student of the Pentateuch, in Rochdale, who used to take considerable pains in trying to drill sundry poor lads into a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.  The early part of the Bible was his favourite theme, and he interlarded his conversation with it to such a degree, that he won for himself the very distinguished title of "Th' Five Books o' Moses."

    In Collier's tale of "Tummus and Meary," he illustrates the personal nomenclature of these parts, in his own time, by the following passage, which, though it may appear very extraordinary in the eyes of people dwelling in the great cities and populous places of the south of England, yet does not exaggerate the actual custom of naming at present prevailing in the remoter parts of the county of Lancaster:—


"Meary.  True, Tummus; no marvel at o' wur so flayed; it wur so fearfo dark.

Tummus.  Heawe'er, aw resolv't mayth best on't, an up speck aw,
'Whooas tat?'  A lad's vhoyce answer's in a cryin din, 'Eh, law; dunnah ta meh.'  'Naw,' said aw, 'aw'll na tey tho, belady!  Whooas lad art to?'  'Whau,' said he, 'aw'm Jone o' Lall's o' Simmy's, o' Mariom's o' Dick's o' Nathan's, o' Lall's o' Simmy's i'th Hooms; an' aw'm goon' whoam'  'Odd,' thinks aw't mysel', 'theaw's a dree-or name ti'n me.'  An here, Meary, aw couldn't boh think what lung names some on use han; for thine and mine are meeterly; boh this lad's wur so mich dree-er, at aw thowt it dockt mine tone hawve.

Meary.  Preo, na; tell moh ha these lung names leet'n.

Tummus.  Um—m; lemme see.  Aw conno tell the greadly; boh aw think it's to tell folk by.

Meary.  Well, an hea did'n he go on with him?

Tummus.  Then (as aw thowt he talkt so awkertly) aw'd ash him for th' wonst, what uncuths he yerd sturrin'.  'Aw ye noan,' said he, 'but at Jack o' Ned's towd mo, at Sam o' Jack's o' Yed's Marler has wed Mall o' Nan's o' Sal's o' Peg's, at gus abeawt o' beggin' churn-milk, with a pitcher, with a lid on.' Then aw asht him wheer Jack o' Ned's wooant.  Says he, 'He's 'prentice weh Isaac o' Tim's o' Nick's o'th Hough-lone, an' he'd bin at Jamey's o' George's o' Peter's i'th Dingles, for hawve a peawnd o' traycle to seaws'n a beest-puddin' weh; an' his feyther an' moother wooan at Rossenda; boh his gronny's alive, an wooans weh his noant Margery, eh Grinfilt, at pleck wheer his noan moother coom fro.'  'Good lad,' says aw, 'boh heaw far's tis Littlebrough off, for aw aim't see it to-neet iv he con hit.'  Says t' lad, 'It's abeawt a mile; an' yo men keep straight forrud o' yor lift hont, as yoan happen do.'  So a-this'n we parted; boh aw mawkint, an' lost my gate again, snap."


   
A curious instance of the prevalence of nicknames in this district occurred, a few years since, about a mile from Smallbridge.  A country lass had got married out of a certain fold in that part, and going down to Rochdale soon after, a female acquaintance said to her, "Whau Sally, thea's getten wed, hasn't to?"  "Yigh," said Sally, "aw have."  "Well, an' what's te felley code?" replied the other.  "Whau," said Sally, "some folk co's him 'Jone o' Nancy's lad, at th' Pleawm Hawse,' but his gradely name's 'Clog-Bant."'  We sometimes hear of a son who bears the same Christian name as his father, as "Jamie o' James's," and "Sol ov Owd Sol's o' th' Hout Broo," and I have often heard a witless nursery rhyme, which runs―


"Owd Tum an' yung Tum,
     An' Owd Tum's son;
 Yung Tum'll be a Tum
     When Owed Tum's done:"


but the poor people of Lancashire sometimes have a superstitious fear of giving the son the same Christian name as the father.

    The ancient rural festival of "Rushbearing," in the month of August, used to make a famous stir in Smallbridge; but the observance of it seems to decline, or, at least assumes a soberer form, as the village gradually acquires additional means for mental enlightenment.  A great number of local proverbs, and quaint sayings, are continually being thrown up by the population there, which, in spite of their rude garb, show, like nuggets of mental gold, what undeveloped riches lie hidden in the human mind, even in Smallbridge.  They are wonderfully apt at the discernment and at the delineation of character.  It is very common for them to utter graphic sentences like the following:—"He's one o' thoose at'll lend onybody a shillin', iv thi'n give him fourteen pence to stick to."  One of them said, with expressive surprise, on receiving a present of game from his son in Yorkshire, "It isn't so oft at th' kittlin' brings th' owd cat a meawse, but it has done this time."  There are two or three out of a whole troop of anecdotes told of the natives of this quarter which have the air of nature about them sufficiently to indicate what some of the characteristics of these villagers were in past years.  Two young men were slowly taking their road, late one night, out at the town end, after the fair, when one of them lingering behind the other, his comrade shouted to him to "Come on!"  "Stop an' rosin!" said the loiterer, "aw hannut faughten yet!"  "Well," replied the other, with cool indifference, "Get faughten, an' let's go whoam!"  In the Rev. W. Gaskell's lectures on the Lancashire dialect, he says, "The following dialogue is reported to have taken place, between two individuals on meeting:—'Han yo bin to Bowton?'  'Yigh.'  'Han yo faughten?'  'Yigh.'  'Han yo lickt'n?'  'Yigh; an' aw browten a bit'n him whoam i' my pocket!'"  "Owd Bun" was a collier, and a comical country blade dwelling near Smallbridge.  He was illiterate, and rough as a hedgehog.  Bun had often heard of cucumbers, but had never tasted one.  Out of curiosity he bought a large one, curved like a moslem scymitar; and, reckless of all culinary guidance, he cut it into slices lengthwise, and then fried the long, cold, indigestible green slabs, all together, in bacon fat.  He ate his fill of them, too; for nothing which mortal stomach would hold came amiss to Bun.  When he had finished his curious collops, and wiped the grease from his mouth with the back of his hand, he said, "By th' mon, fine folk'll heyt aught!  Aw'd sanur o' had a potito!"  They tell a tale, too, of the difficulties of a poor factory lass who had been newly married, which is not without its hints.  Her husband told her to boil him some eggs, and to "bhoyle 'em soft."  He went out awhile, and on his return, they were boiling, but not ready.  He waited long, and then shouted, "Are thoose eggs noan ready yet?"  "Naw," said she, "they are nut; for sitho, aw've bhoyled'em aboon an heawur, un thir no softer yet."  Now he did not care much for this; but when he saw her take the child's nightcap off its head to boil his dumpling in one morning, he declared that "he couldn't ston it."

    Leaving Smallbridge, we rattled out at the end of the village, past the Red Lion, and up to the top of the slope, where, after a run of about two hundred yards, we descended into the hollow where the sign of the old "Green Gate" stands.  In the season of the year, people passing that way in a morning will often see the door-way crowded with hunting dogs, and a sturdy rout of country rabble, waiting to follow the chase, afoot, through the neighbouring hills.  Rising again immediately, we crossed another knoll, and down again we came to the foot of the brow, where four roads meet, close by the "Green Mon Inn," which stands opposite to the deserted little hamlet of Wuerdale, perching with lone, distressed look, upon a little ridge near the roadside, like an old beggar craving charity.  On we went, enjoying the romantic variety of the scene, as the green ups and downs of the valley opened out to view, with its scattered farms and mills, all clip in by the hills, which began to cluster near.

    About half a mile further on, where the road begins to slant suddenly towards Featherstall, Stubley Hall stands, not more than twenty yards from the roadside, and rather below the level of it.  A much older hall than the present one must have stood here prior to the 13th century, for in 1322, and 1323, mention is made of Nicholas and John de Stubley.  (His. Whalley.)  It subsequently came into the possession of the Holt family, of Grislehurst and Castleton; a branch of the Holts, of Sale, Ashton, Cheshire.  Some of this family fought in the Scottish wars, and also in favour of the royal cause at Edgehill, Newbury, Marston Moor, &c., and were named in Charles's projected order of the Royal Oak.  There was a Judge Holt, of the Holts of Sale; and a James Holt, whose mother was co-heiress to Sir James de Sutton; he was killed on Flodden Field.  Mary, the daughter of James Holt, the last of the family who resided at Castleton, in this parish, married Samuel, brother of the famous Humphrey Cheetham.  The Castleton estate came into Humphrey's hands in 1744.  The manor of Spotland was granted by Henry VIII. to Thomas Holt, who was knighted in Scotland by Edward, Earl of Hertford, in the thirty-sixth year of the reign of that king.  The Holts were the principal landowners in the parish of Rochdale at the close of the sixteenth century.  John Holt held the manor of Spotland, with its appurtenances; also fourscore messuages, three mills, one thousand acres of inclosed land, three hundred acres of meadow, one thousand acres of pasture, and forty acres of woods, in Huddersfield, Spotland, and Butterworth; besides a claim to hold of his majesty, as of his duchy of Lancaster, one third of the manor of Rochdale.  The arms of the Holts are described as "Argent on a band engrailed sable, three fleur-de-lys of the first.  Crest, a spear head proper.  Motto, 'Ut saner vulnera."  The present hall at Stubley was built by Robert Holt, about the year 1525.  Dr. Whittaker notices this house, which is of considerable size, forming three sides of a square.  It is now inhabited by several families; and much of the rich old carved oak, and other relics of its former importance, have been removed from the interior.

    From the top of the slope near Stubley, we now saw the spire of Littleborough Church, and the village itself, prettily situated at the head of the vale, and close to the foot of the hills which divide Lancashire and Yorkshire.  The bold mole of the Manchester and Leeds Railway runs through the village.  On the top of Blackstone, and about half a mile to the south of "Joe Falconer's," the well-known old sheltering spot for travellers over that bleak region, we could now more distinctly see the regular streak of green which marks the line of the Roman road till it disappears upon the summit of the Edge.

    Featherstall is a flourishing little hamlet of comfortable cottages at the bottom of the brow in the high-road near Stubley Hall, warmed by the "Rising Sun," and another, an old fashioned public-house, apparently as old as the present Stubley Hall.  The inhabitants are principally employed at the mills and collieries in the neighbourhood.  The open space in the centre of the village is generally strewn with scattered hay and other horse-meat, and the lights from the public-houses gleam forth into the clear watering troughs in front as the traveller goes through at night.  A rough old road leads out of the centre of the place, northward, over Calder Moor and the hills, towards Todmorden.  From Featherstone the approach to Littleborough is lined with mills, meadows, and tenter-fields on the north side; and on the south two or three fine green fields divide the highway from the railway, and a few yards on the other side of the railway the line of the Rochdale Canal runs parallel with both.  And thus these three roads run nearly close together past Littleborough, and all through the vale of Todmorden, up to Sowerby Bridge, a distance of twelve miles; and, for a considerable part of the way, the river forms a fourth companion to the three roads, the four together filling the entire bottom of the valley in some places; and, in addition to that, may be seen, in other parts, the old pack-horse roads leading down from the moorland steeps into the hollow.  Carts, boats, railway trains, and sometimes pack-horses, seem to comment upon one another as they pass and re-pass, and form a continual and palpable lecture on modes of transit, such as is not often met with in such distinct shape.  Littleborough consists principally of one irregular street, winding over a slight elevation, and down to its centre near the railway station, at the water-side, and thence across the bridge, up towards Blackstone Edge.  It is a substantial, healthy-looking village, prettily situated in a romantic spot.  There are many poor working people in the village, but there is hardly anything like dirt or squalor to be seen there, except, perhaps, a little of that migratory kind, which is unavoidable in all great thoroughfares, and which remains here for a night, on its way, at a roadside receptacle which I noticed at the western end of the village, where I saw on a little board certain ominous hieroglyphics about "Loggins for travelers."  The lands in the valley all round Littleborough have the appearance of fine meadow and pasture; and, taken with the still better cultivated and ornamented grounds, and woods and gardens, about the mansions of some of the opulent people of the neighbourhood, the whole looks beautifully verdant, compared with the bleak hills which look down upon the vale.  The old Royal Oak Inn, in the middle of the village, is pointed out as a house which John Collier used to frequent when he visited the neighbourhood, and where he fixed the scene of Tummus's misadventure in the inn, where he so unadvisedly "Eet like a Yorsharmon, and clear't th' stoo," after he had been to the justice with his bandeyhewit, "Nip," and where the encounter took place between "Mezzilt Face" and "Wythen Kibbo":―


    "Aw went in, an fund at two fat throddy folk wooant theer; an they'd some o'th warst fratchingst company at e'er eh saigh; for they'rn warrying, banning, and co'in one another 'leawsy eawls,' as thick as leet.  Heawe'er aw poo'd a cricket, an keawr't moh deawn i'th nook, o' side o'th hob.  Aw'd no soyner done so, boh a feaw, seawr-lookt felley, with a wythen kibbo he had in his hont, slapt a sort ov a wither, mezzilt-face't mon, sitch a thwang o'th scawp, at he varry reecht again with it, an deawn he coom o'th harstone, an his heeod i'th esshole.  His scrunt wig feel off, an a hontle o' whot corks feel into't, an brunt and frizzlt it so, at when he awst don it an unlucky carron gen it a poo, an it slipt o'er his sow, an it lee like a howmbark on his shilders.  Aw glendurt like a stickt tup, for fear ov a dust mysel', and crope fur into th' chimney.  Oytch body thowt at mezzil-face would mey a flittin' on't, an dee in a crack; so some on um cried eawt, 'a doctor, a doctor,' whol others made'n th' landlort go saddle th' tit to fotch one.  While this wur eh doin', some on um had leet ov a kin ov a doctor at wooant a bit off, an shew'd him th' mon o'th harstone.  He laid howd on his arm to feel his pulse aw geawse, an poo'd as if he'd sin dyeth poo'in' at th' tother arm, an wur resolve't o'er-poo him.  After lookin' dawkinly-wise a bit, he geet fro his whirly booans, an said to um aw, 'Whol his heart bhyets an his blood sarcilates, there's hopes, boh whon that stops, its whoo-up with him i'faith.'  Mezzil-face hearin summot o' 'whoo-up,' started to his feet, flote noan, boh gran like a foomart-dog, an seet at t' black, swarffy tyke weh bwoth neaves, an wawtud him o'er into th' galker,full o' new drink, wortchin'.  He begun o' pawsin' an peylin him nto't so at aw wur blended together, snap.  'Sflesh, Meary; theaw'd ha weet teh, to sin heaw'th gobbin wurawtert, when at tey pood'n him eawt; an what a hobthurst he look't weh aw that berm abeawt him.  He kept dryin' his een, boh he moot as weel ha' sowt um in his hinder-end till th' londlady had made an heawer's labyer on him at th' pump. When he coom in again, he glooart awvishly at mezzil-face, an mezzil-face glendurt as wrythenly at him again; boh noather warrit, nor thrapt.  So they seet um deawn, an then thi' londlady coom in, an would mev um't pay for th' lumber at teyd'n done hur.  'Meh drink's war be a creawn,' said hoe, 'beside, there's two tumblers, three quiftin pots, an four pipes masht, an a whol papper o' bacco shed.'  This made um 't glendur ar tone tother again; boh black tyke's passion wur coolt at th' pump, an th' wythen kibbo had quite'nt tother, so at teh camm'd little or noan, boh agreed t'pay aw meeon; then seet'n um deawn, an wur friends again in a snift."


    This house used to be a great resort on Saturday nights and fair days and holidays, and it was often crammed with the villagers and the neighbours from the surrounding hill-sides, and no small addition from Rochdale and Todmorden.  The windows were generally thrown open at such times; and, standing at some distance from the place, one might perhaps be able, in some degree, to sort the roar of wassailry going on inside.  But if he wished to know what were the component parts of the wild medley of melodies, all gushing out from the house in one tremendous discord, he would have to draw under the windows, where he might hear:—


"Our hounds they were staunch, and our horses were good
 As ever broke cover, or dashed in a wood;
               Tally ho! hark forward, huzza; tally ho!"


Whilst, in another corner of the same room, a knot of strong-lunged roysterers joined, at the top of their voices, in the following chorus, beating time to it with fists and feet, and anything else which was heavy and handy:―


        "Then heigho, heigho!
        Sing heigho,' cried he;
 'Does my wife's first husband remember me?'
        Fal de ral, de ral, de ral, de rido!"


    In another room he would probably hear "Boyne Water" trolled out in a loud voice:―


"The horse were the first that ventured o'er;
     The foot soon followed after:
 But brave Duke Schomberg was no more,
     At the crossing o' Boyne water."


Whilst another musical tippler, in an opposite corner, sang, for his own special amusement, the following quaint fragment:―


"Owd shoon an' stockin's!
 An' slippers at's made o' red leather!"


    In another quarter you might hear the fiddle playing the animated strains of the "Liverpool hornpipe," or "The Divul rove his Shurt," while a lot of nimble, hearty youngsters, in wooden clogs, battered the hearthstone to the tune.  In a large room above, the lights flared in the wind, as the lads and lasses flitted to and fro in the "Haymaker," "Sir Roger de Coverley," or "The Triumph;" or threaded through a reel, and set till the whole house shook; whilst from other parts of the place you would be sure to hear, louder than all else, the clatter of pots, and hunting-cries; the thundering hurly-burly of drunken anger, or the crash of furniture, mingling with the boisterous tones of drunken fun.  Whoever entered this house at such a time, in the hope of finding a quiet corner, where he could be still, and look round upon the curious mixture of quaint, rough character, would very likely find that he had planted himself in the very retreat chosen by a drunken, maudlin fellow, who, with one eye closed, sat uttering, by fits, noisy salutations of affection to the pitcher of ale before him; or, with one leg over the other, his arms folded, and his head veering lazily with drunken langour, first to one side, and then to the other, poured forth a stream of unconnected jargon, in this style:—"Nea then; yollo chops!  What's to do wi' thee?  Arto findin' things eawt?  Whether wilto have a pipe o' bacco, or a bat o' th ribs?  Aw ve summate i'th inside o' my box; but it looks like a brunt ratton bi Guy!  Help thysel' an' dray up, whol aw hearken tho thi catechism. *  *  *  Con te tell me what natur belungs to?—that's the phoynt!  Come, oppen eawt!  Aw'm ready for tho.  *  *  *  An' iv thea's naut to say, turn thi yed; aw dunnut like to be stare't at wi' a bigger foo' nor mysel'.  *  *  *  Sup; an' gi' me houd!  *  *  *  There's a lot o' nice, level lads i' this cote, isn't there? *  *  *  Aw'll tell tho what, owd dog; th' world swarms wi' foos, donna i' o' maks o' clooas; an' aw deawt it olez will do; for, as fast as th' owd uns dee'n off, there's fresh uns comes.  An, by th' mass, th' latter lot dunnut mend thoose at's gwon; for o' at te're so brawsen wi' wit.  It'd mend it a bit iv oytch body'd wortch for their livin', an' do as they should'n do.  Hah, thae may look as fause as to likes; but thea'ret one o'th rook; an' thae'll dee in a bit, as sure as thea'ret livin', owd craytur.  Thae'rt to white abeawt th' ear-roots to carry a gray toppin whoam, aw deawt.  Gray yure's heavy, mon; it brings um o' to th' floor.  But thir't to leet for heavy wark, my lad. *  *  *  *  *  Behave thysel'; an' fill thi bally when tho's a choance, for thea looks clemmed.  Arto leet gi'n?  Cose, i' the art, thea'd betthur awter, or elze thae'll be lyin' o' thi back between two bworts, wi' thi meawth full o' sond, afore th' hawve o' thi time's up.  *  *  Sitho at yon bletherin', keaw-lipped slotch wi' th' quart in his hond!  He's a breet-lookin' brid, is'nt he?  Aw dar say thae thinks thysel' bwoth hon'somer an' fauser nor him.  Thae may think so, but—aw know.  Thae'rt no betthur nor porritch—i'tho're look't up; for o' at to's sich a pratty waiscut on.  What breed arto?  There's summit i' that.  But, it myhens naut; yo're o' alike at th' bothom!  There's ir Jammy; he's as big a wastril as ever stare't up a lone.  He ax't me to lend him ov ir lads, yesterday.  'Lend te a lad o' mine,' aw said, 'naw, bi' th' heart!  Aw wouldn't lend te a dog to catch a ratton wi'!  *  *  Hello! my ale's done!


'Then he doffed his shoon,
 An' he look't i' th o'on


Aw'll go toaurd ir Mally, aw think.  Hey, Blossom!  Beauty!  Beawncer!  Bluebell!  For shame o' thausel', Bluebell!  By, dogs; by!  Yo-ho!  Come back, yo thieves!  Come back, aw tell yo!"  And so on, in a drunken jumble, for hours together.

    Littleborough is the last village the traveller leaves on the Lancashire side of Blackstone Edge; and an high-road from Manchester to Leeds passes over the top of these moorland hills, gently ascending all the way from Littleborough, by a circuitous route, to the summit—nearly three miles.  A substantial hostelrie stands prominently upon the brow of the hill, called "The White House," and sometimes "Joe Falconer's," from the name of an eccentric landlord who kept the house in the old coaching time.  This house can be seen from the valleys on the Lancashire side for many miles.  It was a celebrated baiting-place for the great stream of travellers which went over these hills, before the railway drifted it through the vale of Todmorden.  The division stone of the counties of York and Lancaster, stands about half a mile beyond this old inn.  Littleborough itself is prettily situated by a little stream, in the hollow of the valley, at the foot of this wild range of sterile mountains, and at the entrance of the Todmorden valley.  It is surrounded by scenery which, though varied in character, is often highly picturesque, but never tame.  Dark vast moorlands, lofty and lonesome; craggy glens, woody sloughs, and green valleys, full of busy life; with picturesque lakes, and little streams which tumble from the hills.  The village has many advantages of situation, both for pleasure and manufacture.  Useful stone and coal, and good water, are abundant all round it; and it is fast thriving by the increase of it woollen and cotton manufacture there.  It is still a great thoroughfare for Lancashire and Yorkshire; and a favourite resort for botanists, geologists, sportsmen, and not unfrequently of invalids.  Northward from the village, there are many romantic moorland cloughs, but, perhaps, the finest of these is the one called "Long Clough," at the head of which is a remarkably fine spring, called "Blue Pots Spring."  The artificial lake of "Hollingworth" is about half a mile from the Village, on the south side; and there is a beautiful walk leading up to its bank, through the shady, secluded dough called "Cleggswood."  This lake, when at its height, is three miles round.  It supplies the Rochdale Canal with water, and is well stocked with fish.  Its elevation places it far above the bustle of the valley below, where the highways and byeways, the iron-ways and water-ways, interweaving thickly about the scene, are alive with the large traffic and labour of this important district.  The valley is throng with the river, the railway, the canal, and excellent high-roads; and a hardy and industrious population, which generally finds abundant employment at the woollen and cotton mills, in the coal mines and stone delphs, or on the dairy and sheep farms of this picturesque border region of South-east Lancashire.  The shelvy banks of "Hollingworth " consist of irregular tiers and slopes of pasture, meadow, and moor lands.  The latter are, in some directions, abrupt, lofty, and vast, especially on the eastern side, where the sterile, rugged mass of Blackstone Edge shuts out the view; whilst a wild brotherhood of dark, heathery hills, belonging to the same range, wind about the scene in a fine semicircle, which stretches far away, out of sight, in the north-west.  But the landscape upon the immediate borders of the lake, is of a rural, romantic, and serene character, though touched here and there with moorland bleakness and sterility; and there is hardly anything in sight over the expansive range of vision to remind a spectator that he is surrounded by the most populous and active manufacturing district in the world.  But the distant rumble of train after train, thundering through the neighbouring valley, and the shrill railway whistle, rising up clear over the green hill to the north of the water, are amply sufficient to dispel any pastoral reverie which the mere sight of this pretty lake and its surrounding scenery may lead to.  On every holiday, in summer time, the green country around the margin of this water is animated by numerous companies of visitors from the hill sides, and the populous villages and towns of the neighbouring valleys.  A little steamer plies upon it; and boats may be hired at the Fisherman's Inn, and other places around the banks.  The scattered farm-houses of the vicinity, and the two or three country inns near to the borders of the lake, are merry with roaming pleasure parties.  In winter, the landscape about "Hollingworth" is very bleak, wild, and lonesome; and the water is sometimes so completely frozen over that a horse and light vehicle may be driven across it, from bank to bank, a mile's distance.  It is a favourite resort for crowds of skaters, from all parts of the surrounding districts; though the ice is often dangerously uneven in some places, by reason of the strong springs, and other causes.  Many lamentable accidents have happened through incautious skating upon insecure localities in the ice of this water.  Going home late one night in the depth of winter, to my residence by the side of this lake, I found the wintry midnight scene—which, at that season of the year was always wildly dark and starless, when there was no moon, and the wind was low—dimly illumined in the distance by a sombre gleam of lights upon the lake; and the clear, echoing sound of pick-axes breaking up the ice, fell with a startling significance upon the ear.  Our dog, "Captain," did not come out to meet me, when I whistled, as usual; and I hurried by a short cut over the fields, and through the wood, towards the spot where the lights were visible.  There I found a silent company of neighbouring farmers and weavers, standing upon the bank, close to the water, with one or two of the wealthy employers from the village of Littleborough, who had drags in their hands, and were giving directions to a number of workmen employed in breaking a channel through the ice for the passage of a boat to a part of the water where, on the evening of the same day, the ice had broken in with the weight of three fine young men belonging to the neighbourhood; whose bodies this melancholy midnight gathering were working by lantern-light to recover from the water.  I remained upon the spot until two of the corpses were brought to the bank, and removed in a cart to the farm-house where I resided, previous to being conveyed to their own homes in the distant town, later on in the morning, and while it was yet dark.  I shall never forget the appearance of these fine fresh-looking youths, as they lay stretched out side by side, cold and stiff, in their skating gear, upon a large table, in the long passage which led up to my bed-chamber.

    The margin of the lake is adorned with patches of sloping wood in some places; and the hills stand round the scene in picturesque disorder.  At certain seasons of the year large flocks of wild fowl may be seen resting upon its waters.  There are other artificial lakes, or reservoirs, farther up in the hills; but the position and beauty of Hollingworth make it a universal favourite with all visitors to the district.


"When westling winds and slaughtering guns
    Bring autumn's pleasant weather,"


the Littleborough inns are throng with sportsmen, equipped for the grouse shooting; for which sport the moors of the neighbourhood are famous.  Littleborough has a modern look from the railway station, near to which the neat new church stands, on a slight elevation, about the centre of the place, and upon the site of the old one.  Yet, though the village has quite a modern appearance, everything known of its history shows that it is a settlement of considerable antiquity, perhaps, as early as the time of Agricola, the Roman.

    The old chapel at Littleborough, which was a primitive building in appearance, was licensed for mass, by the Abbot of Whalley, A.D. 1476.  It remained in its original architectural state, until it became dangerously ruinous in some parts, and was taken down about thirty years ago, to make way for the present church.  The Gentleman's Magazine, for 1844, p. 182, contains an interesting description of the new church.

    In the immediate vicinity of Littleborough there are several interesting old houses, now standing upon sites where families of importance in past times settled very early.  Some of these old families have become extinct in the male line; the property of others has changed hands, like Scholefield Hall, Stubley Hall, Lightowlers, and Windy Bank.  Few of these old families have held together and flourished through the mutations of time like the family of Newall, of Town House, near Littleborough, respecting which I find the following passage in the Gentleman's Magazine, June, 1844, p. 593, which serves to elucidate the character and position of a large portion of the ancient landlords of the parish of Rochdale:—


    "The family of Newall is one of those ancient families who have for centuries resided on their paternal estate, but in the retirement of respectable life holding the rank of yeomanry, which, in former times, and particularly in the age when the Newalls first settled in Lancashire, formed no unimportant portion of society—sufficiently elevated beyond the humbler classes to preserve a tolerable degree of influence and authority amongst them; while they were sheltered in their retirement from those political storms which distracted the higher circles of the community, and which led to the ruin of many of the best families of the kingdom, and to the confiscation of their estates."


Burke's Visitation of Seats and Arms, contains a long account of the Newalls, of Town House, Hare Hill, and Wellington Lodge, Littleborough, an influential family in this neighbourhood during several centuries past; and still owners and occupiers of their old estates, as well as extensive woollen manufacturers, near Littleborough.

    The following arms, illustrative of the connections of the Newall family, are placed, with others, in the window of Littleborough chapel:--

    KYRKESHAGH, of Town House: Or, on a chief per pale gules and sable three bezants.

    LITHOLRES, of Litholres:  Vert, a lion rampant, or semé of calthraps sable.

    NEWALL, of Town House: Quarterly, first and fourth, Per pale gules and azure, three covered cups within an orle or; second, Kyrshagh: third, Litholres.

    CHADWICK, of Healey: Quarterly, first, Chadwick, Gules, an inescutcheon within an orle of martlets argent: second, Kyrkeshagh: third, Healey, GUles, four lozenges engrailed in bend ermine: fourth, Butterworth, Argent, a lion couchant azure, between four ducal coronets gules.

    BUCKLEY, of Howarth Parva: a chevron between three bull's heads caboshed argent; quartering Butterworth. (The Chadwicks of Healey quarter Buckley of Buckley. Coll. Arm.)

    HOLT, of Stubley: Argent on a bend engrailed sable three fleurs-de-lis of the field. (Also quartered by the Chadwicks, Coll, Arm.)

    BELFIELD, of Cleggswood: Ermine, on a chief qu. a lable of five points ar.

    Ten other shields contain the arms of the ancient families of the district, as Bamford of Shore, Ingham of Cleggswood, Halliweil of Pike House, &c., and those used by the bishop of the diocese, the clergy connected with the parish, and some of the gentry of the neighbourhood.

    The present mansion of Town House was built about sixty years ago, on the site of the old house.  There are several portraits of ancient members of the family there, with a model and drawings of the old mansion; and many other interesting ancient relics belonging to the Newalls.

    As we left Littleborough, I began, once more, silently to speculate upon the claims set up for it as having been a Roman station; but my thoughts had no firmer footing than the probabilities put forth by Dr. Whittaker, and some other writers, who have, perhaps, followed him.  Yet, the fact that the silver arms of a small Roman statue of Victory, with an inscription thereon, was dug up in the neighbourhood some time ago, together with the direction of the Roman road as marked in the late ordnance map, and the visible remains of a small, triangular-shaped Roman entrenchment, on each side of the road, on the summit of Blackstone Edge, seem to support the probabilities which gave rise to the opinion, and may yet enable the antiquarians of Lancashire to give us something more certain about the matter than I can pretend to.

    Passing under the railway arch near the church, and leaving the long, narrow, woody glen of Cleggswood on the right hand, we began to ascend the hills by the winding road which crosses the Rochdale canal, and leads through a little hamlet called "Th' Durn," consisting of an old substantial house or two by the roadside, and a compact body of plain cottages, with a foundry in the middle.  "Th' Durn" is situated on one of the shelves of land which the high-road crosses in the ascent of Blackstone Edge; and overlooks the vale in the direction of Todmorden.  It is shaded on the south by a steep hill, clothed with fir, and stunted oaks.  Over that hill-top, on the summit of a wild and lonely eminence, lifted out from the din and travel of mankind, stand two or three remarkable old folds, called "Th' Whittaker," "Th' Turner," and "Th' Sheep Bonk," like so many eagles' nests, overlooking, on the east, great heathery solitudes lying between there and Blackstone Edge, the silent domain of moor fowl, and scattered black-faced sheep; seldom trodden by human feet, except a wandering gamekeeper or two, and a few sturdy sportsmen, in August.  Looking forth from this wild natural observatory, about where "Th' Whittaker" stands, the view to westward takes in a very extensive and interesting landscape.  The vale of the Roach is under the eye in that direction, with its pretty sinuosities, its receding dells, and indescribable varieties of undulation; nearly surrounded by hills, of different height and aspect.  "Distance lends" some "enchantment enchantment to the view," as the eye wanders over the array of nature spread out below—green cultivated dells, waving patches of wood, broad pleasant pastures; the clear lake of "Hollingworth" rippling below; old farmhouses, some prettily embowered in their native green, and scattered about the pleasant little knolls and cloughs, by the side of brooklets that shine silverly in the distance; the blue smoke curling up quietly and distinctly, from each little hamlet and village; dotted with mills, collieries, tenterfields, and manifold evidences of the great native industry and growing manufacturing vigour of the district.  In these valleys, all nature seems to yield tribute to the energy of the inhabitants, and rural life and manufacture seem to work into each other's hands with amity and advantage.  Standing on this spot, with these things spread out before me, I have been forcibly struck with the belief, that this comparatively unfavourable region for agriculture, would not have been so well cultivated even as it is now, but for the introduction of the manufacturing system.  Far west, the eye rests upon the town of Rochdale, with its clusters of chimneys, and hovering canopy of smoke; the small square tower of its old church, and the steeples of St. Stephen's and St. James's, with some of the town-clad ridges of Wardleworth and Castleton, clearly seen, if the day be fine.  On a still Sunday afternoon, in the summer time, I have sat upon the hill-top at "Whittaker," listening to the distant sound of Rochdale bells, that notable peal of eight, the music of which I shall never forget; and which I would back for a trifle against any bells in England for sweetness.  And, at such quiet times, as evening came on, when "Lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea," I have almost fancied, in the Sabbatical calm of the hour, that I could hear the fine Sunday chime of Rochdale Old Church, "My soul, praise the Lord," come floating up the vale, in the twilight, with a wonderful charm of peace and solemnity in the sound.  Immediately above "Th' Durn," the high-road leading up to Blackstone Edge rises again as we pass by the old public-house at the right hand of the road, called "Th' Wet Rake," or "Weet Rake."  This house stands at the foot of a steep and stony path, leading up to "Windy Bank," an old, substantial, little stone hall, once inhabited by an ancient family of the neighbourhood.  Windy Bank stands upon the edge of a high, rocky eminence, rising almost perpendicularly from the roadside by which we had to go.  I remember many years ago beings smitten with the lonely charm of this romantic perch, and making some efforts to get part of it to reside in for awhile.  There used to be a carter in Rochdale, known by the name of "Owd Woggy," who upset his cart in the rough, craggy road, called "Windy Bonk Steele."  He returned to his master in the town with the tidings.  "Woggy" always stammered badly in his speech, but in this case he was worse than usual, and his looks told more than his tongue.  His master watched in vain awhile, for "Woggy's" painful delivery, in the usual way, but tired at last, he said, "Sing it, mon, wilto?" when "Wog"' immediately sang out, with a fluent and melodious voice,


"Aw've wauted wi' th' cart at th' Wyndy Bonk Steele,
     An' aw've broken th' tone wheel."


As we wound round the foot of the rook on the top of which "Windy Bank" perches, we found the high-road rutty and uneven, being covered with the gritty, perishable, sandstone rock from the hills, broken up and ploughed into slushy gutters by the stone-wagons from the quarries thereabouts.  Pike House, the seat of the old local family of Halliwell—one one of whom endowed the Free School at Littleborough—stands near to the north side of the road here; and, at a short distance behind, there is an interesting house, formerly of some importance, with its quaint fold attached, called "Lightowlers."  Driving on, close by the edge of the deep clough, called "Sladen Hollow," a hundred yards more brought us to the "Moor Cock Inn," formerly a much more lively place than now, as a shelter and refreshing place for travellers, when this mountain road was the great thoroughfare between Lancashire and Yorkshire.  The "Moor Cock" was the last house but one on the Lancashire side of Blackstone Edge.  The house has a rude, wholesome look still, but is little frequented.  Few folk go up that road in these days, except stone-getters, sand-knockers, shepherds, sportsmen, and a few curious wanderers.  We agreed to leave the drag at the "Moor Cock," and walk up Blackstone Edge on foot.  "Gray Bobby" was evidently pleased with the prospect of a feed and a rest, for it is tough work upon these hill sides.  He seemed to look round with a thoughtful eye, and pricked his ears to the tread of the brisk young mountaineer—albeit he had a lame leg and a crutch—who came forth to loose his traces and lead him to the stable.  As "Bobby" looked at the stable, I could almost imagine him saying to himself, "There's no place like home;" it looked so rough.  In the house we found three or four hardy-looking men; brown-faced, broad shouldered moor farmers or shepherds, apparently, who did a little weaving.  Their strong, sagacious dogs, lounged about the floor.  Such men, in such places, generally receive strangers as if they were "fain to see aught at's wick."  They happened to have a liberal newspaper among them, and free trade was the topic of their talk, as it was almost everywhere at that time.  Their conversation showed by its simple, and sensible, earnestness, that there were men, even up there, who knew who paid the piper for the great protection delusion, and who looked upon it as a downright aristocratic swindle in all its bearings.  I have often been amused by the plain, blunt, shrewd discourse of country people in the manufacturing districts, respecting the difference in the condition and feelings of the people in the reigns of "George o' owd George's," and his brother, "Bill o' George's," and the condition and hopes of the people now, in the reign of the pratty little woman at coom a seein' us latly."  In previous reigns, the tone of their loyalty might have been, at the best, summed up in what "Jone o Greenfelt" says of his wife, "Margit:"—


        "Hoo's naut ogen th' king,
          But hoo likes a fair thing,
 An' hoo says hoo con tell when hoo's hurt."


I have heard them talk of some kings, and statesmen, "wi' kindling fury i' their breasts," in terms which would disturb the nerves of a city dandy a little.  And, in their "brews," and clubs, and little coteries which meet for the spread of such like information, they discuss the merits of political men and measures, and "Ferlie at the folk in Lunnon," in a shrewd, trenchant style, which would considerably astonish some members of the collective wisdom of the nation, could they but conveniently overhear it.  The people of Lancashire generally, are industrious collectors of political information from such sources as they can command; they possess great integrity of judgment, and independence of character, and cannot be long blinded to the difference between wise statesmen and political knaves,―or fools, who might be useful "to sceawr warps, or to wesh barrels eawt at th' back o'th' Bull's Yed; but are no moor fit to govern a nation nor Breawn at th' Shore, or Owd Batterlash, at beat th' wayter for runnin'."  They are an honest and a decent people, and would be governed by such.  A short time since, I was talking with an old politician, from Newton Heath, near Manchester, about monarchy, and he said, "Dun yo know what we ha'n oppo th' throne o' Englan' just meet neaw?  A mother an' her childher, mon; a mother an' her childher!  And a gradely dacent little woman, too, as ever bote off th' edge of a moufin.  That mends it a bit, doesn't it?" This populace evinces some sparks of perception of what is naturally due to themselves, as well as to their masters; and they only know how to be loyal to others who are truly loyal to themselves.

    When the lame ostler had attended to his charge, he came into the house and sat down with the rest.  Somehow, the conversation glided in the direction of Robert Burns, and we were exchanging quotations from his poems and songs, when one of us came to a premature halt in reciting a passage.  To our surprise, the young limper who had rubbed down "Grey Bobby," took up the broken thread, and finished the lines correctly, with good discretion and evident relish.  I fancied that we were having it all to ourselves: but the kind-hearted poet who "mourned the daisy's fate," had been at the "Moor Cock" before us, and touched a respondent chord in the heart of our ostler.  I forget who it is that says, "It is the heart which makes the life;" but it is true, and it is the heart which sings in Robert Burns, and the heart will stir to the sound all the world over.  How many political essays, and lectures, and election struggles, would it take to produce the humanising effect which the song, "A man's a man for a' that," has awakened?  It would sound well in the British houses of parliament, sung in vigorous chorus occasionally between the speeches.

    After resting ourselves about three-quarters of an hour in the Moor Cock, we started up the hill side, to a point of the road a little past the toll-bar and the old oil-mill in the hollow at the right hand.  Here we struck across the moor, now wading through the heather, now leaping over great ruts and holes, where blocks of stone had been got out; then squashing through a patch of deceitful, mossy swamp, and sinking into the soft wet turf, till we reached the old moss-covered pavement, which the ordnance surveyors have called a "Roman road."  It is entirely out of any ordinary route of travel.  A clearly-defined and regular line of road of about forty feet wide, and which we traced and walked upon up to the summit of the Edge, and down the Yorkshire side, a distance of nearly two miles from our starting place upon this track.  We could distinguish it clearly more than a mile beyond the place we stopped at, to a point where it crossed the road at Ripponden, and over the moor beyond, in a north-westerly direction, preserving the same general features as it exhibited in those parts where it was naked to the eye.  Here and there, we met with a hole in the road, where the great stones of the pavement had been taken out and carried away.  While we were resting on a bank at this old road side, one of the keepers of the moor came up with his dogs, and begged that we would be careful not to use any lights or matches whilst upon the moor, for fear of setting fire to the heath, which was inflammably dry.  I took occasion to ask him what was the nature of the path we were upon.  He said he did not know, but he had always heard it called "Th' Roman Road."  At a commanding point, where this massive old pavement reaches the edge of "Blackstone," from the Lancashire side, the rocky borders of the road rise equally, and rather abruptly, in two slight elevations, opposite each other, upon which we found certain moss-grown and weatherworn large blocks of stone, half buried in the growth of the moor.  There was a similarity in the general appearance, and a certain kind of order visible in the arrangement of these remains, which looked not unlikely to be the relics of some heavy ancient masonry, once standing upon these elevations; and at the spot which is marked, in the line of the "Roman Road," in the ordnance maps, as an "Entrenchment."

    The view along the summits of the vast moors, from any of the higher points of this mountain barrier between the two counties of Lancaster and York, looks primevally wild and grand towards the north and south; where dark masses of bleak solitude stretch away upon the horizon, as far as the eye can see.  In every other direction, the landscape takes in some cultivated lands upon the hill sides, and the bustle and beauty of many a pleasant green vale, lying low down among these sombre mountains; with many a picturesque and cultivated little dingle, and green ravine, higher up in the hills, in spots where farm-houses have stood for centuries; sometimes with quaint groups of cottages gathered round them, and clumps of trees spreading about, and shading the frolicsome current of a moorland rivulet, as it leaps from the craggy fissures of the hills.  In the valleys, the river winding through green meadows; mansions and mills, villages and churches, and numerous scattered cottages, whose little windows wink cheerfully through their screen of leaves―


"Old farms remote, and far apart, with intervening space
 Of black'ning rock, and barren down, and pasture's pleasant face;
 The white and winding road, that crept through village, glade, and glen,
 And o'er the dreary moorlands, far beyond the homes of men."


Standing upon these proud and rugged desolations, which look down upon the changeful life of man in the valleys at their feet with such an air of eternal strength and serenity, whilst the toiling swarms of Lancashire and Yorkshire are scattered over the wide landscapes beyond, in populous hives—the contrast is peculiarly strong; and I have wondered whether these old hills, which have seen the painted Celt stealthily tracking his prey through the woods and marshes below, and worshipping "in the eye of light," among wild fangs of giant rock, upon these mountain wildernesses—which have listened to the onward tread of the firm legions of old Rome; and have watched the brave and burly Saxon, swinging his heavy axe among the forest trees, and with patient labour slowly making these valleys into green and homely pasturages; and which still behold, with unaltered look, the restless, iron horses of modern days, which run about the hollows every hour, snorting fire and steam; I have wondered whether these old hills, at whose feet so many generations of brave men have come and gone upon the earth like swathes of grass, might not yet again see these native valleys of mine as desolate and stirless as themselves.  These moorland hills, the stern and bleak companions of the mist and cloud and rushing tempest, rise up one after another upon the scene, till they grow dim in the distant edge of the sky.  Lying upon my back, among the heather, I looked along the surface of the moors; and I shall long remember the peculiar loneliness of the landscape's aspect, seen in this way.  Nothing was in sight but a wild infinity of moors, and mountain tops, succeeding each other, like great heaving waves, of varied form.  Not a sign of life was visible over all the scene, except upon the moor where we were resting, and where, now and then, we could discern a black-faced sheep, lifting its head above the dark heather, and staring with a mingled expression of wonder and fear, at the new intruders upon its solitary pasturage.  Occasionally, a predatory bird might be seen upon these hills, sweeping across the lone expanse, like an highwayman of the skies; and, here and there, the moor-fowl sprang up from the cover, in whirring flight, and with that wild clucking cry, which, in the stillness of the scene, came upon the ears with a clearness and precision that made the profound solitude of its mountain lair more evident to the senses.  A rude shepherd's hut, too, could be seen sheltering near a cluster of rough crags upon the hill side, and hardly distinguishable from the numerous heather-grown mounds, and rocks of all sizes and shapes, which lay scattered irregularly over the surface of the moor.  But, in the distance, all seemed one continuous wilderness of silent, and untrodden mountain sterilities, as quiet as death.  The sky was cloudless and clear the whole day whilst we wandered upon the barren heights: and the blue dome looked down, grand and still, upon the lonely landscape, which was covered with a glorious sunshine.


                                "No stir of air was there ;
 Not so much life as on a summer day
 Robs not one light seed from the feathered grass,
 But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest,"


The heavens and the earth were two magnificent stillnesses, which appeared to gaze serenely and steadily at each other, with the calm dignity, and perfect understanding of ancient friends, whose deep and genuine, affinities can never be unsettled except by the omnipotent fiat of Him who first established them.  Looking horizontally along the moors, in this manner, nothing was visible to us of those picturesque and populous creases, lying deep between these great mountain ridges, and teeming with the industrious multitudes, and material wealth of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

    These hills form part of a continuous range, running across the island, in different elevations, and familiarly known as the "Backbone of England."  Looking southward and south-east, in the direction of the rocky waste called "Stanedge"—which is crossed by the high-road from Manchester to Huddersfield—and "Buckstones," which, according to oral tradition of the vales, was formerly an highwayman's haunt,—the whole country is one desolate and rocky moorland wild; and the romantic hills and valleys of Saddleworth, with the dim and distant summits of the Derbyshire mountains, bound the view.  Northward, the landscape has the same general appearance.  In this direction, Studley Pike lately stood upon the summit of a lofty moorland ridge, overlooking the beautiful valleys between Hebden Bridge and the picturesque little town of Todmorden being part of an extensive district famous for its hearty and comely breed of people, and for the charms of its scenery, in which wealth and comfortable industry are scattered throughout the most verdant and retired vales, interweaving among hills of a very wild and romantic character.  The sides of these hills often consist of great precipices of crag, which over-frown the green valleys; and of thick woods, through which little cascades tumble down from the mountains.  Studley Pike was a tall and massive stone tower, or pillar, erected to commemorate the restoration of peace, at the end of our wars with Napoleon.  Singularly, it came thundering to the ground, on the day of the recent declaration of war against Russia.

    On the west, the fine valley of the Roch, covered with wealthy towns and villages, stretches away out from this group of hills.  Pretty Littleborough nestles immediately at the foot of the mountain, and the eye wanders along the busy vale, from hamlet to hamlet, till it reaches the towns of Rochdale, Bury, Heywood, Middleton, and the smoky canopy of Manchester in the distance.  On a favourable day, many other large and more distant Lancashire towns may be distinctly seen.  On the east, or Yorkshire side, looking towards Halifax, the hills appear to be endless.  The valleys are smaller and more numerous, often lying in narrow gorges and woody ravines between the hills, hardly discernible from the distance.  The mountain sides have a more cultivated look; and hovering halos of smoke, rising up from the mountain hollows, with sometimes the tops of factory chimneys peering out from the vales, show where villages like Ripponden and Sowerby are situated.  On the distant edge of the horizon, a grey cloud hanging steadily beyond the green hill called "King Cross," marks the locality of the town of Halifax.  Green plots of inclosed and cultivated land are creeping up the steep moors; and comfortable farm-houses with little folds of cottages, built of the abundant stone of the district, are strewn about the lesser hills, giving life and beauty to the scene.

    For native men, the moors of this neighbourhood, as well as the country seen from them, contain many objects of considerable interest.  The hills standing irregularly around; the rivers and streams; the lakes and pools below, and in the fissures of the mountains—we knew their names.  The lakes, or reservoirs, about Blackstone Edge, form remarkable features in its scenery.  One of these, "Blackstone Edge Reservoir," takes its name from the mountain upon whose summit it fills an extensive hollow.  This lake is upwards of two miles, close by the water's edge.  The scenery around it is a table-land, covered with heather, and rocks, and turfy swamps.  The other two, "White Lees" and "Hollingworth," lie lower, about half-way down the moors,—"White Lees" in a retired little glen, about a mile to the north-west of the "White House," on the top of Blackstone Edge; and "Hollingworth," the largest and most picturesque of the three, is situated about two miles south-west of the same spot.  Close by the side of the present high-road from Lancashire, over these hills into Yorkshire, this old hostelry, called the "Coach and Horses," better known as "Th' White House," is situated near the top of Blackstone Edge, looking towards Lancashire.  The division-stone of the two counties stands, also, by the road side, and about half a mile eastward of this public-house.  The high northern bank of the road, upon which the division-stone stands, shuts out from the view of the passing traveller, this gloomy, bleak-bordered lake, called "Blackstone Edge Reservoir"—a scene which "sky-lark never warbles o'er."  A solitary cart-road leads off the highway, at the eastern corner of the reservoir, and, crossing the moor in a north-easterly direction, goes down into a lone and picturesque spot, called "Crag Valley," or "The Vale of Turvin," for it is known by both names.  This valley winds irregularly through the heart of these moors, nearly four miles, emptying itself at Mytholmroyd into the famous vale of Todmorden.  Fifty years ago, "Crag Valley" was almost entirely a savage and unfrequented region, little known, and much feared.  Now, there are thriving clusters of rude population in it; and many comfortable and sometimes very pretty homesteads, where industrious people dwell, sprinkled in isolated situations about the sides of the glen.  Manufacture has crept up the margin of the stream.  "Turvin" is becoming a resort of adventurous ramblers from the border towns and villagers of the two counties, on account of the picturesque wildness of its scenery.  In some places, the stream of the valley dashes violently through deep and narrow gorges of ragged rock, overhung with thick wood; peeping through which, one unacquainted with the spot might be startled by the sight of a gloomy, precipitous steep, shrouded with trees, and the foaming water rushing wildly below over its fantastic channel of stone.  There are several mills in the length of the valley now; and, in places where level holms lie down in the hollow, by the water side, the land is beautifully green.  The vale is prettily wooded in many parts of its length; but the barren moorland hills overlook the whole length of lonely Turvin.  The inhabitants of this remote glen are even yet somewhat rugged in appearance and manner, like their hills.  In former times, the valley was notable among the people of the surrounding districts, as the rendezvous of coiners and robbers; and the phrase "a Turvin shilling," grew out of the once famous dexterity of these counterfeiting outlaws, who are said to have lurked a long time in impregnable security, in days gone by, among the dreary seclusions of this wild moorland glen.

    Approaching Turvin by the rough open road across the moor from the top of Blackstone Edge, it leads down into a deep corner of the valley, in which stands the new church of "St. John's in the Wilderness," built a few years ago, for the behoof of the straggling inhabitants of the neighbouring moors, and the little community of factory people which has followed the mills into this remote nook of the earth.  Near the church, there is a small fold of new cottages, occupied principally by factory operatives; and a clean-looking modern public-house,—a very welcome and useful convenience to anybody who is curious enough to ramble into this secluded corner.

    Upon the summit of one of the neighbouring mountains, there is a great platform of desolation, distinguished, even among this brotherhood of stony wastes, as "The Wilderness;" and I think that, whoever has visited the spot will be inclined to say that the roughest prophet that ever brooded over his inspired visions in the solitary places of the earth, could not well wish for a wilder Patmos than this savage moor-top.  On the right hand of the public-house, near St. John's Church, several rough roads lead in different directions.  The centre one goes up through a thick wood which clothes the mountain side, and on by winding and wearisome routes to this "cloud-capped" wilderness.  On a distant part of this bleak tract stand two remarkable Druidical remains, called "Th' Alder Stones," or, the "Altar Stones,"—sombre masses of blackening rock, upon which the Druid priests of our island performed their sacrificial rites, before the wild and fiery Celts of the district.  The position and formation of these two stones, which have each a sloping top, with a hollow in the middle, and a channel thence downward, seem to confirm the character generally attributed to them.

    Returning from "St. John's in the Wilderness," towards Blackstone Edge, a quaint and ancient stone building, called "Crag Hall," occupies a shady situation upon the hill side at the right hand of the vale, and at the edge of the wild tract called "Erringdale Moor."  This ancient hall contains many valuable specimens of carved oak furniture, which have been preserved, with the building, from the time of its old owners.  A few years ago, the keeper of Erringdale Moor dwelt in it, and kept the place in trim as a lodge, for the entertainment of the owners of the moor, and their sporting friends, in the grouse season.

    Between the moor-side, on which "Crag Hall" is situated, and the road up to the top of Blackstone Edge, a moorland stream runs along its rocky channel down in the deep gut of the hills.  I remember that many years ago I wandered for hours, one summer day, up this lonely water, in company with a young friend of mine.  In the course of our ramble upon the banks of the stream, little dreaming of any vestiges of human creation in that region, we came suddenly almost upon the roof of a substantial cottage, rudely, but firmly built of stone.  We descended the bank by a little steep, sloping path, leading to the door.  There was no smoke, no stir nor sound, either inside or out; but, through the clean windows, we saw a pair of handlooms, in good condition, with an unfinished piece upon them.  We knocked loudly and repeatedly, hoping to obtain some simple refreshment after our long, fatiguing stroll; but there was no answer.  We knocked again and again, and just as we were about to leave the lonely tenement, and take our way homewards—for the twilight was coming on, and we had nearly ten miles to go—we heard the approaching sound of a pair of clogs in the inside of the cottage; and the door was opened by a tall, strong man, well-boned and well-bodied, with hard, round limbs, and apparently about thirty-five years of age.  His light, clear-complexioned face was full of frankness and calm simplicity.  His head was large and well-formed, and covered with thick, bristling, brown hair, cut very short.  Yawning, and stretching his arms out, he accosted us at once—as unreservedly as if we were old friends, for whom he had been looking out some time—with, "Well, heaw are yo, to-day?"  We asked him for a drink of milk, or of water.  He invited us in, and set two chairs for us in a little kitchen, in which the furniture was rudely simple and sound, and everything in very good order, and cleaned to its height.  He brought forth brown pitchers full of buttermilk, plenty of thick oat-cakes, and the sweet butter, for which these hills are famous; and we feasted.  The cool of the evening was coming on, and there was no fire in his grate; so he fetched a great armful of dry heather from an inner room, and cramming it into the fire-place, put a light to it.  Up blazed the inflammable eilding with a crackling sound, making the room look cheerful as himself.  A few books lay upon the window-sill, which we asked leave to look at.  He handed them to us, commenting on them, in a shrewd and simple way, as he did so.  They were chiefly books on mathematics, a science which he began to discourse about with considerable enthusiasm.  Now, my young companion happened to have a great passion for that science; and he no sooner discovered this affinity between himself and our host, than to it they went pell-mell, with books and chalk, upon the clean flags; and I was bowled clean out of the conversation at once.  Leaving them to their problems, and circles, and triangles, I walked out upon the moor; and sitting upon a knoll above the house, wrote a little rhyme in my note-book, which some years after appeared in the corner of a Manchester newspaper.  When I returned, they were still at it, ding-dong, about something or another in differential calculus; and I had some difficulty in impressing upon the mind of my companion the important superficial area lying between us and our homes.  This lonely mathematician, it seemed, was a bachelor, and he got his living partly by weaving, and partly by watching the moor for the owners; and as I looked upon him I almost envied the man his strong frame, his sound judgment, his happy unsophisticated mind, and his serene and simple way of life.  He walked over the moor with us nearly two miles, without hat, conversing about his books, and the lonely manner of his life, with which he appeared to be perfectly contented.  Although our moorland hermit was a bachelor, there was no evidence of negligence about his person or clothing; but, under some circumstances, that fact alone would help to account for the man's happiness and orderliness.  At our parting, he pressed us earnestly to come over the moors again the first opportunity, and spend a day with him at his cottage.  I have hardly ever met with another man who seemed so strong and sound in body; and so frank, and sensible, and simple-hearted, as this humble mathematical eremite of the mountains.  That enthusiastic attachment to science, which so strongly distinguishes him in my remembrance, is a very common characteristic of the native working-people of Lancashire, among whom, in proportion to the population, there is an extraordinary number of well-read and practised mechanics, botanists, musicians, and mathematicians; and the booksellers, even in the country towns of the county, know that any standard works upon these subjects, and some upon divinity, are sure to find a large and ready sale among the operative classes.

    We wore the afternoon far away in rambling about the high and open part of Blackstone Edge, between the immense group of black rocks called "Robin Hood's Bed," and the solitary inn called the "White House," upon the Yorkshire road.  Wading through the fern and heather, and turfy swamps; climbing rocks, and bumping over deep gutters and ancient lodgments of dark-brown stagnant water, had made us so hungry and weary, that we made the best of our way, with a good will―often sinking among shaky patches of moorland bog—to this inn, while the sun was yet up above the distant hills.  Here, the keen appetite we had awakened upon the moors was amply satisfied; and we refreshed, and rested ourselves a while, conversing about the country around us, and exchanging anecdotes characteristic of its remarkable local characters, and reminiscences of our past adventures in the neighbourhood.  Many of these related to "Old Joe," the quaint gamekeeper, at Hollingworth, a kind of local "Leather Stocking," who has many a time rowed me about the lake in his fishing-boat, talking of dogs, and guns, and game, and telling the sporting exploits of his youth.

    When we came out of the inn, the sun had gone down beyond the hills upon the opposite side of the scene.  Night's shrouding shadows were climbing up the broad steeps; but their great, undulating summit-lines still showed in clear relief against the western sky, where the waning sunset's glory lingered.  In every other direction, the skirts of the landscape were fast fading from view.  Rochdale town, with its church towers and stacks of tall chimneys, had disappeared in the dusky distance.  The mountainous wastes stretching away, dark and still, on the north, south, and east, were melting into gloomy, indistinct masses; and, below the hills, quiet evening's dreamy shades were falling softly down, and folding away for the night all the hamleted valleys between the top of Blackstone Edge and the fading boundary of the scene.  Day's curtains were gently closing to, and the watchers of night beginning their golden vigil, and all the air seemed to be growing thick with dreams.  We descended from the moor-top by a rough, steep by-path, which diverges, on the right-hand side of the ordinary highway, a little below the "White House," and cuts off a mile of the distance between that point and the "Moor Cock," where we had left "Grey Bobby" and the "Whitechapel."  Far down, from scattered cots and folds which were slowly disappearing in the deepening twilight, little lights were beginning to glimmer.  That frontlet jewel of mild evening's forehead—"the star that bids the shepherd fold"—was glowing above us, and, here and there, dimmer twinklings of golden fire were stealing out from the blue expanse.  As we slowly picked our way down the rocky moor, the stillness of the dark tract around us seemed to deepen in the light declined; and there was no distinguishable sound in the neighbourhood of our path, except the clear gurgling and silvery trickling of indiscernible rills, which—like traits of genuine delicacy, deep-hidden in the characters of men of rugged exterior, only revealed in serene hours and to wakeful perceptions—were thus, unseen, doing their gentle spiriting, and unostentatiously beautifying the air of this rough solitude with their low sweet music.  From the farms below, the far-off bark of dogs and lowing of cattle, came floating up, mingled with the subdued rush and rattle of railway trains, sweeping along the distant valley.  Half an hour's active and erratic walk down the hill, brought us back to the "Moor Cock."  Limper, the ostler, got "Grey Bobby" from the stable, and put him into the harness.  Out came the folk of the house, to see us off.  Our frisky tit treated us to another romp, after which we drove steadily down the road, in the grey gloaming, and on through Littleborough and Smallbridge to Rochdale, by the light of the stars.


 
THE TOWN OF HEYWOOD, AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.


                           "Nature never did betray
 The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
 Through all the years of this our life, to lead
 From joy to joy."

 WORDSWORTH.


ONE Saturday afternoon, about midsummer, I was invited by a friend to spend a day at his house, which is pleasantly situated in the green outskirts of the manufacturing town of Heywood.  The town has a monotonous, cotton-spinning look; yet, it is surrounded by a very pleasant country, and has some scenery of a highly-picturesque description in its immediate neighbourhood.  Several weeks previous to this invitation had been spent by me wholly amongst the bustle of our "Cotton Metropolis," and, during that time, I had often thought how sweetly the summer was murmuring with its "leafy lips" beyond the town, almost unseen by me except when I took a twopenny ride into a certain suburb and walked about an hour or two in a scene which the season seemed to smile upon almost in vain, and where the unsatisfactory verdure was broken up with daub-holes and rows of half-built cottages, and the air mixed with the aroma of brick-kilns and melting lime.  Sometimes, too, I stole down into "Smithy Door Market" on a Saturday morning, to smell at the fresh flowers and buy a "posey" for my button-hole; and I was always fain to see them, though they did look a bit mauled sometimes.  It reminded me of the time when I used to forage, with such glee about my native hedges, for bunches of the wild rose and branches of white-blossomed thorn.  But now, as the rosy time of the year grew towards its height, I began to hanker after those wild moors and noiseless glens of Lancashire, where, even yet, nature seems to have it all her own way.  I longed for the quiet green valleys, and their murmuring waters, the rustling trees, and the cloudless summer sky seen through fringed openings in the wild wood's leafy screen.  Somebody says, that "we always find better men in action than in repose;" and though there are contemplative spirits who instinctively shun the turmoil of towns, and, turning towards the tranquil sequestrations of nature, read a lofty significance in infinite forms and moods of beauty, yet the heat of the battle of life lies where men are clustered.  Great men can live greatly anywhere.  But ordinary people must be content to snatch at any means likely to improve or relieve their lot; and it will do any careworn inhabitant of the town good to "consider the lilies of the field" a little, now and then.  Country folk come to town to enliven the monotony of their lives, and town's folk go to the country for refreshment and repose.  To each the change may be beneficial, at least I thought so; and, as light as any leaf upon tree, hailed my journey, for none of Robin Hood's men ever went to the greenwood with more pleasure than I do.

    It was nearly three when we passed the "Old Church," on our way to Hunt's Bank Station.  The college lads, in their quaint blue suits, and little flat woollen caps, were frolicking about the quadrangle of that ancient edifice which helps to keep alive the honourable name of Humphrey Chetham.  The twopenny omnibuses were rushing by, with full loads.  I said "full loads," but there are omnibuses running out of Manchester, which I never yet knew to be so full that they would not "just hold another," especially on wet nights, and holidays.  But on we went, talking about anything which was uppermost; and in a few minutes we were seated in the train, and darting over the tops of that miserable human jungle known by the inappropriate name of "Angel Meadow."  The railway runs close by a little hopeful oasis in this moral desert, the "Ragged School," at the end of Ashley Lane; and, from the carriage window, we could see "Charter Street,"—that notable den of Manchester outcasts.  These two significant neighbours—"Charter Street," and the "Ragged School,"—comment eloquently upon one another.  Here, all is mental and moral malaria, and the wild revelry of the place sounds like a forlorn cry for help.  There the same human elements are trained, by a little judicious, timely culture, towards honour and usefulness.  Any thoughtful man, with an unsophisticated mind, looking upon the two, might at least be allowed simply to say, "Why not do enough of this to cure that?"  On the brow of Red Bank, the tower and gables of St. Chad's catholic church overlook the swarming hive of ignorance, toil and squalor, which fills the valley of the Irk; and which presents a fine field for those who desire to spread the gospel among the heathen, and enfranchise the slave.  And if it be true that the poor are "the riches of the church of Christ," there is an inheritance there worth looking after by any church which claims the title.  Up rose a grove of tall chimneys from the dusky streets lining the banks of that little slouchy stream, creeping through the hollow, slow and slab, towards its confluence with the Irwell, at Hunt's Bank, where it washes the base of those rocks upon which, five hundred years ago, stood the "Baron's Hall" or manor-house of the old lords of Manchester.  On the same spot, soon after the erection of the old Collegiate Church, that quaint quadrangular edifice was built as a residence for the Warden and Fellows which afterwards became, in the turns of an eventful fortune, a mansion of the Earls of Derby, a garrison, a prison, an hospital, and a college.  By the time we had taken a few reluctant sniffs of the curiously-compounded air of that melancholy waste, we began to ascend the incline, and lost sight of the Irk, with its factories, dyehouses, brick-fields, tan-pits, and gas-works; and the unhappy mixture of stench, squalor, smoke, hard work, ignorance, and sin, which makes up the landscape on its borders; and, after a short stoppage at the Miles Platting station, our eyes were wandering over the summer fields as we whirled along.  Nature was driest in her richest robes, and every green thing looked lush with the bounty and beauty of an unusually fine season.  As we looked abroad on this wide array of "the splendour of the field, and the glory of the flower," it was exhilarating to see the sprouting honeysuckle, and the peace-breathing palm, of holy memory; and there, too, creeping about the hedges—all covered with fresh leaves and prickles—was that old acquaintance of life's morning, the rambling bramble, small which will be putting forth "its white rose" about the time that country folk begin to house their hay; and when village lads in Lancashire are gathering gear to decorate their rush-carts with.  Clustering primroses were there, and the celandine with burnished leaves of gold; and wild violets prancked with gay colours; with troops of other wild flowers, some full in view, others dimly seen as we swept on; and a world of floral summer beauty thickly embroidering the green mantle of the landscape, though beyond the range of discriminating vision; but clear to the eye of memory and imagination, which assured us that these stars of the earth were making their old haunts beautiful again.  The buttercup was in the fields, holding its pale gold chalice up to catch the evening dews.  Here and there grew a tuft of slender-stemmed white lilies, graceful and chaste; and then a sweep of blue-bells, tinging the hedge sides and the moist slopes under the trees, with their azure hue—as blue as a patch of sky—and swinging the fine incense from their pendent petals into the sauntering summer wind.  Then came the tall, gaudy foxglove, and thick bushes of the golden-blossomed furze, covered with bright, brave, gleaming spears, upon the banks of the line.  Oh, rich summer!  Time of blossoms, and honey-dews; and flowers of every colour!  Thy hush fields are rich with clover and herb-grass!  Thy daylights glow with glory; thy soft, gray twilights are full of dreamy sights and sounds; and the finest odours of the year perfume the air, when


"The butterfly flits from the flowering tree;
 And the cowslip and blue-bell are bent by the bee!"


The throstle sang loud and clear in the trees and little dells near the line as we rolled along; and the blithe "layrock" made the air tremble between heaven and the green meadows with his thrilling lyric.  That tall, white flower, which country folk call "posset," spread out its curdy top among the variety of elegant summer grasses, quietly swaying to and fro with the wind.  And then the daisy was there!  There is no flower so well becomes the hand of a child as the daisy does!  That little, simple, "crimson-tippet" companion of the lark, immortalised in the kind poet's plaintive wail!  Tiny floral jewel of the fields of England, favourite of the child and of the poet!  Daisies lay like snow,—a scattered drift of summer's snow,—upon the green landscape; and the hedges were white with the scented blossom of the thorn.  To eyes a little tired of the wide-spread city's smoky hives of brick—


                              "Where stoop the sons of care,
 O'er plains of mischief, till their souls turn grey"--


it was refreshing to peer about over the green and beautiful summer expanse, which lay smiling at the skies, towards the blue hills of South Lancashire, rising up on the edge of the horizon, solemn and serene.  Every season has a beauty of its own, and so has every scene.  Nature is full of variety in her features and moods; and full of expression in her variations.  These fine "shapes, and sounds, and shifting elements," both in detail and combination, are beholden to the mind that contemplates them; but their arrangement teems with significant originality, and at every moment, and in every place, they wear a new aspect of beauty, that


"Sole permanence in being's ceaseless flow."


My own general impression of the natural charms of this part of Lancashire is, perhaps, in some respects a little warmer and more accepting than that of an experienced and unbiassed stranger would be; for the wheels are beautiful which roll me towards the country where I first pulled the wild flowers and harkened to the lark.  In this district, there are none of those rich depths of soil which, with little labour and filth, burst forth in full crops of heavy corn.  But the land is mostly clothed with pastoral verdure, and fine meadows; and the farming is almost entirely of the dairy kind.  It is a country of green hills and vales, and clusters of dusky mills, surrounded by their busy radiations of industrial life; and, except on the wild, high moorland regions, there is very little land now, even of the old mosses and morasses, which is not inclosed, and in progress of cultivation.  The scenery has features of natural beauty peculiar to itself.  It consists of a succession of ever-varying undulations, full of green, sequestered coughs, and clefts, and shady corners; threaded by many a little meandering stream, which looks up at the skies through over-lapping verdure from its green hollow; and which


                       "Changes oft its varied lapse,
 And ever as it winds, enchantment follows,
 And new beauties rise."


Travellers from the midland and southern counties of England often notice the remarkable scarcity of trees in this quarter.  The native woods were chiefly oak, ash, birch, beech, and yew, —very useful timbers.  But when the time came that Lancashire began to strip some of its old customs and ornaments for a vigorous fulfilment of its manufacturing destiny, every useful thing upon the soil was seized, and applied to the absorbing purposes of the new time.  The land itself began to be wanted for other ends than to grow trees upon.  And then, when old landlords happened to be pressed for money, the timber of their estates—daily becoming more valuable for manufacturing necessities—sometimes presented the readiest way of raising it.  Their lands often followed in the same track.  And now, the landscape looks bald.  Trees are scanty and small, except at a few such places as Hopwood Hall, and Chadderton Hall; and a few thin, isolated clumps, like that which crests the top of "Tandle Hills."  In that part of this district which lies between "Boggart Ho' Clough" near the old village of Blackley on the west, the town of Middleton on the east, and the Manchester and Leeds railway line on the south, there is a large and bare platform of level land, called "Th' White Moss."  It is rather elevated above the surrounding country; and it is quite removed from any of the great highways of the neighbourhood, which, nevertheless, wind near to the borders of-this secluded moss in some places, with their restless streams of business.  In former days, this tract has been a densely-wooded and unfrequented wild; and, even within these twenty years last past, it was one great, unreclaimed marsh, in whose peaty swamps the massive relics of its once heavy woods lay buried.  Since that time, nearly two hundred acres of the moss have been brought into cultivation; and it is said that this part of it now produces as fine crops as any land in the neighbourhood.  In turning up the bog, enormous roots and branches of old trees, principally oaks, are often met with.  Very fine oaks, beeches, firs, and sometimes yew trees, of a size very seldom met with in this part of Lancashire in these days, have frequently been found embedded in this morass, at a depth of five or six feet.  Samuel Bamford, in his description of the "White Moss," says—"The stems and huge branches of trees were often laid bare by the diggers, in cultivating it.  Nearly all the trees have been found lying from west to east, or from west to south.  They consist of oaks, beeches, alders, and one or two fine yews.  The roots of many of them are matted and guarded, presenting interesting subjects for reflection on the state of this region in unrecorded ages.  Some of these trees are in part charred when found.  One tremendous oak, lying on the north-west side of the moss, has been traced to fifteen yards in length, and is twelve feet round."  This solitary moss was one of those lonely places to which the people of these districts sometimes found it necessary to retreat, in order to hold their political meetings in safety, during that hard and eventful period of Lancashire history which fell between the years 1815 and 1821.  It was a time of great suffering and danger in these manufacturing parts.  The working people were often driven into riot and disorder by the desperation of extreme distress; which distress and disorder was often increased by the discreditable espionage, and ruthless public severities employed by the authorities to crush political discussion among the populace.  Of the gallant band of reformers which led the van of the popular struggle, many a humble and previously-unnoted pioneer of liberty has left an heroic mark upon the history of that time.  Some of these are still living; others have been many a year laid in their quiet graves,—but their memories will long be cherished among a people who know well how to esteem men who sincerely love freedom and justice, and are able to do and to suffer for them, in a brave spirit.



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