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Mashin' Days by James Bentley: INCLUDES sound recording and text"




"Mashing" is a Buckley dialect term for courting, used earlier this century when more people spoke this now forgotten language. I decided to write this verse after mixing with old Buckley residents and hearing their reminiscences. The custom of courting was related to a large extent to their social life, which consisted of visits to churches, chapels or any social event.


The references are to local landmarks existing at that time. Lane End led to the Dirty

Mile which stretched easterly from Buckley to Broughton. It was a dirt track. It was an established courting trail, where the youngters could get away from the grown-ups!


The gentleman who told me of this custom, Charlie Cunnah, was in his ninetieth year, around 1960.



An old gentleman, Mr Charles Cunnah of Drury, who died at the age of 91 years of age often called on me. He told me of incidents in his youth, and of old characters whom he had met. As a carter, he frequently visited local oil works with loads of material, and brought back barrels of paraffin, grease and lubricating oil for the collieries and brickworks. His memory of the inhabitants of the town at the turn of the century as well as the characteristics of certain personalities,was remarkable. I took notes of his many reminiscences along with tales and recollections of many more old Buckley-ites most of whom are no longer with us. The stories are often full of Buckley words and nicknames. I then attempted, as a result of a challenge by the late Dennis Griffiths to compose rhymes and ditties recording these incidents. The names used do not refer to any special person but are common names found in this town.





When I wur young, tahms weren't say bad

For we'd chapel on Sundays tay lissen tay "lad".

An' whilst he wor praychin an' most een wur closed,

I'd be scannin' balcony fur someone ah knows.


Who wor a pretty wench - who ah loved fair soft -

But things looked hopeless wi' her up t' loft

Wi her dad and her mam, an' her sisters three,

She'd got tay be sly,as they gawped down at me.


She trilled contralto, loud, clear an' sweet

An' I to her answered, baritone deep.

The hymnster's words of love untowd,

Were our intimate messages, brazen an' bowd.


When service were o'er, at front we would meet.

She'd shie fra' her parents and stand by my feet.

Then off down Mountain, an' o'er Duke's fields

We'd set off a mashin wi' a clean pair o' heels.


Down Lane End we'd strool and look at aw' shops.

New dresses in Roberts' wd gi her the hops,

And perfume in Miles' ud start monny a sake -

But me, on'y on "treedun", cud afford her a cake!


We'd lassakin down Mile entwined an' serene,

Oft gaze up at stars an' idly dream

Of a future together wi' brass untowd

'Til muck on our shoon showed we'd gone off rowd.


Then takkin a turn past Little Mountain pit

Longside copse, and up the Strip, sit o' Knowl Hill.

Admire view - belt down Goodie, past Canon Drew school

For night had gone late and times no foo'.


Ah'd tak her tay Trap,reet up tay her wom

Then nay more shumanikin - who's got a norrie owd mon-

An' a welt fra' that meggin is nay fair bait.

So nay more tayger - or I'll be tay late.


Author: Bentley, James


Year = 1970

Building = Religious

Event = Leisure

Extra = Visual Arts

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