..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 ( Translation )


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The Story of Mab's Cross

Sir William Bradshaw of Haigh.
A knight of some renown.
Married a young girl from Blackrod and Haigh.
On the outskirts of old Wigan town.

Sir William, he had to go away.
To fight in some war.
It may have been Bannockburn.
Or it could have been further afar.

Now, it's said he was taken prisoner.
But what we don't know is, how long.
All that we know is, he never came home.
About that they can't be far wrong.

Anyway, ten years went past.
And William never came home.
And Mabel, thinking him dead.
Started seeing this other man.

Apparently, there had been a rebellion.
Against Edward the second, no doubt.
And this welshman called Osmund.
Was in his good books for helping him out.

He reakoned he'd been granted possession.
Of Haigh Hall, Well…that’s what he said.
And Mabel, she had to move out.
Unless she accepted to wed.

Now… to save herself and her children.
From beggery and financial ruin.
She had to use her head and feminine whiles.
In short… just watch what she's doing.

She was forced to marry the welshman.
Lady Osmund Nevill…her title.
She could'nt do anything about it.
Safety of the family was vital.

At the end of ten years or so.
She was giving out bread, one fine day.
When one man approached,for his piece of bread.
And revealed he was William of Haigh.

Now, Mabel she recognised William.
In shock, she let out a cry.
And Osmund, when he heard about it.
He grabbed her and smacked her in the eye.

Now William he bided his time.
His bite was worse than his bark.
And then he waylaid this Osmund.
And killed him outside Newton Park.

The troubles of William and Mabel.
Were not over, one has to say.
For slaying the welsh knight at Newton.
He was outlawed a year and a day.

Now, Mabel for unwitted bigamy.
Even in spite of her loss.
Had to walk barefoot from Haigh Hall to Wigan.
Each week to a place called Mab's Cross.

When his outlawry was ended.
William went back to his kin.
And when he died Mabel ordered.
A chantry building for him.

Eventually she died as well.
And in that chantry, both lay.
You can see it if you go to Wigan.
For theyre tombs are still there today

Wigan Dialect Copyright © 1998 Jeff Unsworth

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