..Wigan Dialect

A Collection of Lancashire Dialect Poems, Photographs, Phrases & Sayings from around the Wigan area. By Jeff Unsworth

The Story of Mab's Cross

( To read the translation of this poem click here )

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The Story of Mab's Cross


Poem inspired by the account written by
Frank Hird 1910

Sir William Bradshaw of Haigh.
A knight of some reneawn.
Wed a young wench fer Blackrod & Haigh.
On theawtskirts of owd Wiggin Teawn.

Sir William…He a't go away.
Fo't feight in some ere waar.
It met er bin Bakkle er Bannockburn.
Or it could er bin further afar.

Neaw, it's said he wuz tak'n pris'ner.
But what we don't know is, eaw lung.
Aw we know is he ney'er come wom.
Abeawt that thi cor'nt be far wrung.

Anyroad…Ten ear went past.
Un William, He ney'er come wom.
Un Mabel think'in him dee'ud.
Startid knock'in abeawt wi this mon.

Apparently. There'd bin a rebellion.
Agen Edward the second, no deawt.
Un this ere welsh mon cawed Osmund.
Wuz in his good books,for help'in him eawt.

He reakoned he'd bin granted possession.
Of Haigh Hall. Well that’s worr he said.
Un Mabel her at fot move eawt.
Unless her accepted fot wed.

Neaw… fot save her'sel and her childer.
From beggery un financial ruin.
Her at use her noggin un feminine whiles.
In short…just waatch worr hers doin.

Her wuz forced into marryin't Welshmon.
Lady Osmund Nevill, her title.
Her could'nt do nowt abeawt it.
Safety er't fam'ly were vital.

At theend er ten year or so.
Her were dolin eawt bread, one fine day.
When one mon approached for his shive of bread.
Un revealed, he was William of Haigh.

Neaw, Mabel her recognised William.
In shock, her lerr eawt a scream.
Un Osmund when he heard abeawt it.
He grabbed her and smacked her reawnd th'een.

Neaw, William, He bided his time.
His bite, wuz wuss than his bark.
Un then he waylaid Welshmon, Osmund.
Un kil't him eawtside Newton Park.

The troubles of William and Mabel.
Were nor ore, one as't for say.
For slay'in the welsh knight at Newton.
William was eawtlawed a year and a day.

Neaw, Mabel for unwitted bigamy.
Even in spite of her loss.
Aa't walk barefoot from Haigh Hall to Wiggin.
Each wik, to a place cawd Mab's Cross.

When his outlawry was ended.
William went back to his kin.
Un when he dee'd, Mabel ordered.
A chantry building for him.

Eventually, her dee'd an aw.
Un in that chantry, both lay.
Yo con see it, if yo go't Wiggin.
Cos theyre tombs are still thee'r today.


Wigan Dialect Copyright © 1998 Jeff Unsworth

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