Death of an Old Mare Near Skelton.
A Victorian Yorkshire Dialect Poem.
The following poem has been kindly contributed by the Judson family of Saltburn, Norman, Anne and Neil.
Norman's mother Alice ran the Royal George from 1941 to 1961 with her husband, George Judson.
She was a Great Great Niece of Stephen Emmerson, the Miners' Friend, who worked Hollybush Farm in Victorian times. See page 76 of Skelton stories.
One of the farmers in the poem is Stephen, who is regaled by another Skelton farmer, Harry about the death of his favourite horse.
The lad who "killed" it comes from nearby "Moasam" [Moorsholm].
Harry recalls riding back from "Gisbro Market" somewhat inebriated.
He swears the dead horse is not going to be fed to the Cleveland Foxhounds, which in these times were kept at the Kennels, just to the East of Skelton Castle.
The "vet" mentioned is named Barker and there is a reference in this website to a Lancelot Barker, veterinary surgeon, leaving employment in Skelton in 1876 and examining the horses that worked in the Ironstone Mines.
The letter "h" is probably included purely to aid the aspiration to full comprehension.
Good morning Stephen, what thou wad likely hear
That I've lately lost me poor oad mear,
Thou noes we thout a lot about her
And vary queer we sal feel wedout her;
For she was a faverite wiv us all,
But nu, poor thing, she's gean tit wall.
I'l asear thee, Stephen, toad mears' dead.
For ah left t'lads pulling t'skin ower her head.
Why realy, Harry, when iver did she dee,
Thou faily dis astonish me,
Hes thee onny notion waht toad mear aild,
When ah saw here last ah sear ah thout she's fail'd;
But thou sees poor Fanny's gitten vary oad
And t'weather its bin awfull coad,
And thou's had her out when there was nea cation.
That wad cause inflamation, belly wark or palbetation.
Now, hod on Stephen, thou's quiet rang,
Ah deant like to hear a man take bang,
For I've olas used her vary canny,
Ah's just gine te tell thee what killed poor owd Fanny.
Thou noes it foad garth she used to lie
And its's nicely sheltered, beath warm and dry,
But we've a lad that nivver tacks nea heed
An' he thout he'd give t'owd mear a feed.
A great heap of caff he hugged her out,
T'lad thout he was dein reet there is nea dout,
T'owd mear began to rive and eat
She seamd te like it, t'was better oaf on't weat;
She rave and eat as lang as she thout fit,
Till she realy cud nut eat another bit;
She brast her sel as near as macks nea matter,
Te mack t'job worse she drank a lot o' watter.
Ah sent for Barker stight away, at yance
But for t'owd mear's life ah new there was nea chance,
For by her manner ah cud plainly see
T'owd mear was vary sean gine to dee,
For she laid herself down uppon sum hay
Gav about three kicks and deed strite away;
Why, Herry, it wad nealy set thee mad
It's a wonder thous didend kill that lad.
It's a strang bad job and ah's deepet sorry,
T'owd mear's seaned to dee in sike a horry,
What ivver did the poor wife say,
Ah no she'd be in a despert way;
For you've had so monny heavy losses
Beath among your beas and sheep and hosses,
But keep up the pecker there's yet a chance
And the luck may ton mebby all at yanc.
Ah't tell thee Stephen when ah seed t'owd mear was dead
I thout ah sud gon out o' me head;
Ah scarse dos tell t'wife wat was t'matter,
Ah was vary sear she wad start to chatter,
But I'll not tell thee all that she did say
For ah was glad when ah got meself away
Up to Skelton, where ah cud me spirits cheer,
But ah realy can't forgit me poor owd mear.
Me poor owd Fanny thou's dead and gean,
And mony a rare hard day-wark thous as dean;
Te Gisbro' market mony a time thou's gean
An brout me back beath leat and sean,
And if be chance ah lost me seat
Thou wad stop, thou wad not gan another feat,
Until sike times as ah gat on agean,
And then thou teak me reet strite heam.
Thou's led monny a lead of sticks and coals,
Besides thou's bred sam rare good foals,
As good as ivver was kept be man,
Ah'l nivver git the like agean its ten te yan;
On meself ah nivver sal reflect,
For thou was nut killed throu mi neglect.
That lad from Moasam, ther's nobet him to bleam,
Ah'v reet good mind te send him heam.
Thy shoes, poor Fanny, sall be polished breet,
An hung up it kitchen fare e'seet,
And when at these shoes we git a glance
It will bring thee tiv our minds at yanc;
And thy skin it will come in fost rate,
For all our shun's in a awfull state
So I'll send the skin and git it tan'd
By a good and trusty hand.
We'll hev leather then to serve for years
Beath to mack us shun and mend our gears
As lang as there's a bit of skin to see
We allas sal remember thee;
Nu the carcas ah deant mean to sell,
But ware te put it I realy can nut tell,
Agean't coup cart ware t'owd yow did dee,
That's best please that ah can see.
But t'wife she telled me plump and plane,
Ah mud tack her away and glad and fain,
She say's, why Harry, nu just leak here,
If thou digs a greave and burrys t'mear;
The Foxes will sean find out the spot,
And thou noes round hear there is a regular lot,
And a blooming row they'd kick up neet be neet,
We sud scarse ivver git a wink of sleep.
Upon her greave they will scrat and bark
and te hev her out they will set to wark,
They will nivver rist there is nea doubt,
Untill they git t'owd mear out;
And when her beans they've finished picking,
They'd want desert they'll likely cop a chicken,
For thou noes they'll com at height at day
Snatch up an owd hen and walk stright away
They weant let me burry t'owd mear at yam
And te tack her tit kennels foaks wad cry out sham,
They wad say it leaked sea varry queer,
Ah ad nea respect at all for't poor owd mear;
Nea doubt but they their lips wad smack
And her poor owd beans was hev te crack,
But Cleveland Hounds sall nivver teast
A single bite of this faithful beast.
Nu ah wish that poor wod-keeper John
Just tiv our house was tack a ton
And tack away this poor owd mear,
For nivver mare div I want to see her;
John's a canny chap onny boddy noes,
I hope he'll keep her flesh fret dogs and croes,
Te speak wat ah think just reet and square
Her carcas must be worth a hare.
So Stephen ah'v nea mare to say,
I'll mount t'owd cuddy and set away,
I hope me luck will tack a ton,
For I've had a varry dowly gitting on.
Som thing gan rang nearly ivery week
Either amang me hosses, beas or sheep,
Or rels there's tax or ses te pay
Sea good morning Stephen, ah mun away.
Good morning, Harry, an thou may depend
On me if ivver thou sad want a frend,
and thous'l see that Stephen will nivver lack,
But allas will stand at the back.
If ivver thou happen to get jammed
Cum strite tive our house and deant be shammed,
For I'll help thee throu ah sear ah will,
And Stephen will be Stephen still
By JAMES GARBUTT.