Some Yorkshire dialect


Yorkshire folk have a number of superstitions, for example it is said to be lucky when a new moon is first seen, to curtsey three times and to turn a coin. In Yorkshire the moon is also able to tell a damsel who is to become her sweetheart. This first dialect poem was written by Brenda H English

 Bonny New Meean

Gleasin’ by the clouds, on t’hill,

Gliskin’ down alang, ti t’gill,

Ower t’beck thoo casts thy een.

Canst tha see a lonesome weean,

Iv a gown o’ grey duffil?

Thrice Ah’ve curtsied, by t’swirril,

An Ah’ve tonned me last booadil,

Canst tha spy ma, all allean,

Bonny New Meean?


Whisper ti ma, down by t’rill,

Tell ma truly if Ah will

Get a bonny lad upteean.

Ah’s stood ‘ere, as still as steean,

But Ah finns thoo bad ti skill,

Bonny New Meean.


There’s a rustlin’, i’ t’ garsil:

Mebbe nowt but t’ beck, a-swill.

Noo a glift o’ t’ bonny meean

Glinkin’, like a siller speean,

Whiles Ah’s looki’ down intil

T’beck. But Ah’s a dotteril

If it isn’t Jimmy Gill

Mirrored there! Ah’s fit to sweean!

Bonny New Meean!


Ah tonns round, an’ Jimmy Gill

There, ahint ma, i’ t’ garsil,

Weean’t let on ‘ow lang ‘e’s beean

Felted there, a watchin’ t’ meean

Noo we’re both off, up t’whirril,

Bonny New Meean!


Other folk who wrote in dialect were Muriel Carr and her brother F. Austin Hyde who was our next door neighbour

when I was a small child.  Here are some of their poems and a few memories…….

The First Born

Ah niver thowt nowt mich ti babies,

Ah reckon they all leaked  aboot t’same,

But Ah’ve change i’ mi thinkin’ a good bit

Sen’ the Lord sent us our lathle bairn.


Its si bonny, ya knaw, an’ sea lahtle!

All t’others Ah’ve seen leaked si plain.

Ah’se not saying it just ‘cos its oors, ya know,

But its ‘andsome is oor lahtle bairn.


Folk tell me “It’s wond’rous like you John.”

An’ some ses “It’s picter o’ Jane.”

Ah pray we may so live that oor lives

Are a pattern fer oor lahtle bairn.


An’ Ah thinks ti mysen varry often,

When Ah’se cracking me steans oot i’d lane,

“What blessing yan gets ‘at yan disn’t desarve”

Sike blessings as oor lahtle bairn.


The Orphan

Poor lahtle motherless foal.

Thoo leaks si forlorn by thy sen,

Shut up all day lang i’ yon stall

Ah’ve comed in ti see tha agen!

For thoo’s sea like a bairn i’ thy ways,

An’ thoo misses thy mother Ah doot,

‘Ere drink this, an yan o’ these days

If he lives  he shall ‘ev a run oot.

Thy mother was best mare we ‘ad,

Ah couldn’t ha’ thowt she wad dee,

Just noo when things is si bad,

Sea they handed thoo ower ti me.

An’ Ah comes ti tha noo an’ agen

An’ Ah puts tha warm staw i’ thy stall

For thoo’s sea like a bairn i’ thy ways,

Thoo poor lahtle motherless foal.

These two poems were written by Muriel A Carr, sister to F Austin Hyde who was headmaster of Lady Lumley’s Grammar School Pickering for 20 years, from 1930. Austin Hyde’s grandfather was from Snainton and this was where he worked during school holidays and developed his appreciation and love of the Yorkshire dialect, becoming Secretary of the Dialect Society and writing poems for publication ….this one appeared in the School Magazine in 1935:

Just ‘cos my mother, when Ah was a bairn

Knit conny lahtle woollen socks for me,

An’ kept ’em lang i’ t’bottom of a drawer,

An’ viewed ’em oft, wi’ happy tear dimm’d e’e,

Ah mun remember t’bairns.


Jus t ‘cos my feyther, when Ah was a lad,

Bowt me sthrang beats, bellussed ti’d fowerth lace,

‘At kept me dryshod when Ah plashed i’d beck

Further than ony other lad i’d place,

Ah mun remember t’bairns.


Just ‘cos, thank God, it’s niver come ti me

Ti feel wet causey wi caud frozzen feet,

Nor knaw what ‘wet-shod’ ivery day i’d week

Can mean ‘mid slush an’ snaw an’ frost an’ sleet,

An mun remember t’bairns.

Francis Austin Hyde  was a native of Driffield and was educated at Bridlington Grammar School. He then went to the University of Leeds to gain a BA degree in 1910 and an MA in History in 1914. He taught at Woodhouse Grove School until 1915 when he joined the Royal Air Force. Post-war he was at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, then returned to Woodhouse Grove in 1921 as the Second Master.

He was headmaster of Lady Lumley’s from 1930 to 1950. In his first years my mother was a pupil there until she left to find work in Pickering as her widowed mother could no longer afford the school fees.  She remembered Mr Hyde as an inspiring teacher. After the end of WWII, in 1946, my parents married and bought the house adjacent to Mr and Mrs Hyde, a semi -detached brick house in Beacon Park (second avenue) in Pickering… it was well located for Mr Hyde,  he could look across the road to see his beloved stone built school and pop across very quickly.

My father had been a pilot in WWII and no doubt he and Mr Hyde exchanged reminiscences about war time flying.

Mr Hyde was a Methodist lay preacher and did not approve of swearing. One day when I was about four years old we had been away near Hutton-le-Hole to enjoy a picnic by a beck. My father stood on an ants nest and was covered in ants and badly stung… a few swear words were uttered as he jumped around trying to dislodge the small biting beasts. Next day Mr Hyde asked me where we’d been and had we enjoyed the day and poor Mum was terrified I’d repeat some of Dad’s language!

Mr Hyde wrote the Lady Lumley’s School song and asked his friend Norman Strafford, a Hull musician,  to compose the music. I can still remember the words to the whole song, all three verses. I was in Highfield house, not mentioned in the song as it was a new house which had to be formed when numbers increased in the days when the school became ‘bi-lateral’ around 1958.  Sadly the pupils no longer sing the middle verse but I can’t see why “Feversham! Acland! The Gold and the Green” has not been replaced by “Feversham! Acland! And later Highfield”, then all three verses could still be sung.

“School on the hillside twixt moor land and wold land

Whence shone the light of the Beacon of old.

Take now the praise of thy sons and thy daughters

Ne’er shall the flame of their fealty grow cold.

Homage we yield to thee, loyalty vow to thee.

School on the Beacon our home on the hill.


School of our work, of our play, of our laughter,

Memories are stored for the years yet unseen:

Friendships cemented, games stoutly contested,

Feversham! Acland! The Gold and the Green!

Homage we yield to thee, loyalty vow to thee.

School on the Beacon our home on the hill.


When we go forth to the world and its duties,

Done the last task, our last “Khairete” sung.

Grateful and proud shall we gladly look backward,

Keep through our life’s work  this song on our tongue.

Homage we yield to thee, loyalty vow to thee.

School on the Beacon our home on the hill.”

Austin Hyde retired in 1950 and on his final assembly one of the children wrote “We stood silently before him as he read to us, for the last time, the lesson he had read to us so many times before, and there seemed a special significance in the words……

“Finally bretheren whatsoever things are true,

Whatsoever things are honest,

Whatsoever things are just,

Whatsoever things are pure,

Whatsoever things are lovely,

Whatsoever things are of good report,

If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,

Think on these things.”

(Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, Ch IV, verse 8)

We had one of the first television sets to appear in town.  I have a memory of our house being packed with friends and neighbours, including Mr and Mrs Hyde, as we watched the grainy black and white images of the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth.

Mr Hyde thought our TV was interfering with his new radio but he subsequently realised it was the honey extractors which he had housed in his attic. A keen bee keeper, he often showed honey at the local shows. His wife Jessie (Gilchrist Anderson) would make displays using Plaster of Paris dolls and she used to borrow the moulds I had which were different from her own.

Both Mr Hyde and my father loved cricket so often Mr Hyde would come to our house and watch the television broadcasts. Mum often left him alone in the house watching the Test matches while she was away shopping or at a local auction or visiting family and friends.

Mr Hyde died in 1965 and, as Head  Boy and Girl,  Denis Heath and I represented Lady Lumley’s School at his funeral. To me Mr Hyde was not just a name and a photograph on the wall….. he’d been a neighbour and friend for most of my life.

And my very favourite of the poems he wrote is about an old working horse…….

Depper, Awd Mare by F Austin Hyde

Hev I ony awd ‘osses young fellow frey ‘Ull?

Thoo’s willin’ tae buy em? Gie value i’ full?

Why yis, I ha’e yan, i’ this paddock doon ‘ere.

“Co’up, then! Coom on, then! Coom, Depper awd meer!”

No she dizn’t coom gallopin’, bud then, you see

A mare’s a bit wankle-like, tonned twenty-three.

Thoo’ll mebbe not be quite sae frisky thisen

When thoo’s seen thi great grandsons grow up to be men!

Weel, what will I tak for her? Why noo, she’s fat,

An’ they tell me you give a bit extra far that.

Bud I might as well tell tha, thoo’ll not buy that meer

If thoo stands there an’ bids me fra noo tae next year!

She was t’fost foal I ‘ad when I corn upo’d place

An’ fost she’s been allus, i’ shaft, pole or thrace.

She’s ploughed, drilled an’ harrowed, rolled, scuffled an’ led,

An’ mothered Beaut, Boxer, Prince, Cobby an’ Ned.

If threshin’ machine gat stuck fast on its way

Young ‘osses wad plunge, rahve an’ tew hauf o’d day.

Bud afoor it gat shiften, it allus was ” ‘Ere,

Away thoo gans Thoddy, an’ fetch us t’owd meer!”

When stacks was a fire, afoor motor-car days

She galloped tae Driffiend when t’spot was ablaze.

Ower field, ditch an’ hedgerow for t’gainest way doon,

Saved buildings, an hoos and three pikes, I’ll be boon!

When t’missus was  badly, when t’baby was born

‘Twas a life an’ death jonny for t’doctor that morn.

An’ though she’d been workin’ at plough all day lang

T’meer galloped as tho’ she knew summat was wrang.

Wi’ never a whip, not a jerk on her rein

She went like a whirlwind an’ com back again

Wi’ t’doctor an’ nuss, just i’ time tae save life –

Aye Depper, I owe thoo baith dowter an’ wife.

On friends at’s sae faithful we doan’t turn wer backs,

Nor send ’em for slaughter tae d’foreigner’s axe,

Nor let ’em be worked tae their death across t’sea,

Wheer niver a Yorkshire voice shouts “Wahve!” nor “Gee!”

No, noo ‘at she’s neither young, bonny nor sound

She awns t’lahtle paddock, it’s pensioner’s ground.

An’ stall i’ yon stable, hay, beddin’ an’ corn,

I reckon she’s addled a spot of her awn!

An’ when yon day comes ‘at we do ha’e tae pairt,

She’ll gan in a way ‘at’ll not brek her hairt,

An t’land ‘at she’s worked on an’ loved twenty year

At last’ll lig leet on my faithful awd meer!



wankle like =  stiff and unsteady

thisen = yourself

corn upo’d = took over

rahve an’ tew = rive and toil

Thoddy = Third horseman (most junior)

gainest = nearest

hoos = house

pikes = haystacks

boon = bound

wer = our

lig leet = lie lightly


And to finish…. the Yorkshireman’s Grace

Before the meal:

Thank you God and make us able

To eight as much as what’s on’t table

Then God if thy bounty beckons

We’ll leave room enough for ‘seconds’,


After the meal:

Thank you God

For what we’ve getten

If moor ‘ad been cut

Moor ‘ad been etten



“Still More Rhymes from a Yorkshire Village” by Irene Sutcliffe and Brenda H English, published 1934 by Horne and Sons, Whitby.

“The History of Lady Lumley’s School and Foundation” by John T Smith ISBN 0 9516352 0 4

“Yorkshire Verse” by Muriel A Carr, 47 Potter Hill, Pickering, 29 May 1955, printed by Coates and Whitaker Ltd, Bridlington.

“Depper Awd Mare” transcribed from “Yorkshire Dialect”  by John Waddington-Feather , 2002, available on Google books at

“Yorkshireman’s Grace” from Brian Jepson, Yorksgen Genealogical Mailing list 30 May 2016.

Full names of Mr and Mrs Hyde were in the ‘Yorkshire Post’ of 7 August 1943