Edward Hunt's Forest of Dean Miscellany

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George Ridler's Oven


Gloucestershire Dialect (1874)

extract from: Dictionary Of Archaic And Provincial Words (1874)

by James Orchard Halliwell




It has been already remarked that the organic forms of the Gloucestershire dialect have remained unchanged for centuries, and are to be traced in Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle. Many Anglo-Saxon words are here preserved in great purity. “He geunne it him,” he gave it him, the verb geunne being in general use amongst the peasantry. The dialect is more similar to that of Somersetshire than of the adjoining counties, though not so strongly marked as a Western dialect. They change o into a, s into z, f into v, t into d, p into b, short a into i or aoy, long e into eea, long i into ey, long o into ooa. The A.-S. (Anglo-Saxon - EH) termination en is still preserved; thee is used for thou and you; thilk is in constant use; her is put for she, she for her, I for me, and ou for he, she, or it. Communications of Gloucestershire words have been received from the Rev. H. T. Ellacombe, Miss Shipton, and Mr. E.Wright.


George Ridler's Oven

The stwons that built George Ridler's oven,
   And thauy qeum from the Bleakeney's quaar;
And George he wur a jolly old mon,
   And his yead it graw'd above his yare.


One thing of George Ridler I must commend,
   And that war not a notable theng;
He mead his braags avoore he died,
   Wi' any dree brothers his zons zs'hou'd zeng.


There's Dick the treble and John the mean,
   Let every mon zing in his auwn pleace;
And George he wur the elder brother,
   And therevoore he would zing the beass.


Mine hostess's moid (and her neaum 'twur Nell),
   A pretty wench, and I lov'd her well;
I lov'd her well, good reauzon why
   Because zshe lov'd my dog and I


My dog is good to catch a hen,
   A duck, or goose is vood for men;
And where good company I spy,
   O thether gwoes my dog and I.


My mwother told I when I wur young,
   If I did vollow the strong-beer pwoot;
That drenk would pruv my auverdrow,
   And meauk me wear a thzread-bare cwoat.


My dog has gotten zltch a trick,
   To visit moids when thauy be zick;
When thauy be zick and like to die,
   O thether gwoes my dog and I.


When I have dree zispences under my thumb,
   O then I be welcome wherever I come;
But when I have none, O then I pass by,
   'Tis poverty pearts good company.


If I should die, as it may hap,
   My greauve shall be under the good yeal tap,
In vouled earms there wool us lie,
   Cheek by jowl my dog and I.



  These lines are taken from:
                "Dictionary Of Archaic And Provincial Words"
                by James Orchard Halliwell"
                London: John Russell Smith, 36, Soho Square (1874)






Glossary of Gloucestershire Dialect (1890)

extract from:

A glossary of dialect & archaic words used in the County of Gloucester.

Collected and compiled by J. Drummond Robertson, M.A.




A few more specimens in illustration of the Dialect of Gloucestershire at later dates will, it is hoped, not prove unacceptable. Amongst these the old Gloucestershire Ballad, “George Ridler's Oven,” must always find a foremost place. It has been sought to assign a political origin to this old song, and to attribute it to the malcontent Royalists in the time of the Commonwealth. This is not the place to consider the question, and I will only refer those who may be interested in the matter to the account given in the introduction to “Legends, Tales, & Songs in the Dialect of the Peasantry of Gloucestershire,” published by Mr. C. H. Savory, of Cirencester. [N.D.] The song is, undoubtedly, of considerable antiquity. The copy from which I transcribe it was evidently written down towards the end ot the last century, and I am indebted for the loan of it to Mr. Charles King, of Gloucester, whose father owned it a great number of years ago. This version differs slightly from that quoted by Halliwell, and from Mr. Savory's.

It runs thus:

George Ridler's Oven

“A Right Famous old Gloucestershire Ballad, Corrected according to the Fragments of a Manuscript Copy found in the Speech House in the Forest of Dean several Centuries ago, and now revived to be sung at the Anniversary and Monthly Meetings of the Gloucestershire Society, a charitable Institution, held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, London.”


                              1.

The Stwons that built George Ridler's Oven,
  And thauy keum from the Bleakeney's Quaar,
And George he wur a Jolly old Mon,
   And his yead it grawd above his yare.


                              2.

One thing of George Ridler I must commend,
   And that wur vor a notable Theng,
He meud his Braags avoore he died,
   Wi any dree Brothers his Zons zhoud zeng.


                              3.

There's Dick the Treble, and John the Beass—
   Let every Mon zing in his auwn Pleace—
And George he war the Elder Brother,
   And therevoore he should zing the Tenor.


                              4.

Mine Hostess's Maid and her Neaum 'twas Nell—
   A pretty Wench, and I lov'd her well;
I lov'd her well, good Reauzon why,
   Becase zshe lov'd my Dog and I.


                              5.

My Dog is good to Catch a Hen;
   A Duck or Goose is vood for Men;
And where good Company I spy,
   O thether gwoes my Dog and I.


                              6.

My Mwother told I when I vvur young,
    If I did vollow the strong Beer Pwoot,
That Drink would pruv my auverdraw,
   And meauk me wear a thread bare Cwoat.


                              7.

My Dog has gotten zitch a trick,
   To visit Maids when thauy be zick;
When thauy be zick and like to die,
   O thether gwoes my Dog and I.


                              8.

When I have dree zixpences under my Thumb,
   O then I be welcome wherever I come;
But when I have none, O then I pass by,
   'Tis Poverty pearts good Company.


                              9.

If I should die, as it may hap,
   My Greauve shall be under ye good yeal Tap;
In voulded Earmes there wool us lie,
   Cheek by Jowl my Dog and I.



  These lines are taken from:
                "A glossary of dialect & archaic words used in the
                County of Gloucester"
                Collected and compiled by  J. Drummond Robertson, M.A.
                Edited by Lord Moreton
                Published for the English Dialect Society
                by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co. (1890)



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 For other articles featuring the Forest Dialect,
          click on one of the links below:

          Forest Dialect
          George Ridler's Oven
          Harry Beddington
          Jolter
          Vorester
          Yarleton Hill
          Zurree! : Forest Talk



          Learn Forest Speak (BBC)
          Forest Talk - Keith Morgan (BBC)


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Edward Hunt