The Folk-Lore Journal/Volume 1/Yorkshire Local Rhymes and Sayings


[See Folk-Lore Record, vol. i. pp. 160-175; vol. iii. pt. 2, pp. 174-177.]

The following local sayings picked from an article, "Yorkshire Rhymes and Proverbs," contributed by Mr. William Andrews to Old Yorkshire, vol. i. pp. 263-269, deserve to be stored with those already housed in the garners of the Folk-Lore Society.

(58.) Addleborough. Concerning Addleborough Hill, where there are remains of a Druidical circle, it is asserted with perhaps more reason than rhyme—

"Druid, Roman, Scandinavia,
Stone raise on Addleboro'."

(59.) Cleveland Villages:

"Halton, Rudby, Entrepen,
Far more rogues than honest men."

(60.) Cottingham, near Hull. Here are some intermittent springs called Keldgate, which are supposed to be in some way dependent on the Derwent, twenty miles away. The saying runs: —

"When Derwent flows
Then Keldgate goes."

(61.) Wharfe and Aire:

—"Wharfe is clear and the Aire lithe;
Where the Aire drowns one, Wharfe drowns five."

(62.) Weather Rhymes:

"When the clouds are on the hills
They'll come down by the mills."


"When the mist comes from the hill
Then good weather it doth spill.
When the mist comes from the sea,
Then good weather it will be."

"When Ingleborougn wears a hat,
Ribblesdale 'll hear o' that."

(65.) Market Weighton:

"Market Weighton,
Robert Leighton,[1]
A brick church,
A wooden steeple,
A drunken priest,
And wicked people."

A variant of (13) is

"Pendle Hill, Penygent, and little Ingleborough,
Are three such hills as you'll not find by seeking England thorough."

Mr. Andrews refers us to Robert Chambers's Popular Rhymes of Scotland, p. 223, for yet another version of No. (1), a version ascribed to True Thomas:—

"York was, London is, and Edinburgh will be
The biggest o' the three."

The story of the saddler of Bawtry, who was hanged for leaving his liquor (24) is thus told in Notes and Queries (6th S. vi. 335) from a MS. left by a native of Bawtry, who was born 1732:—

"A traveller, who had a good deal of cash in his saddle-bags, was robbed soon after leaving Bawtry on his way to Doncaster, viz. near the King's Wood in Bawtry Lane, a place at that time noted for robberies and even murders. He had had the saddler at Bawtry to stuff his saddle, which hurt his horse's back. Returning to Bawtry with his pitiable tale, he asked for the saddler; but lo! no saddler was to be found. The traveller had given him part of a tankard of ale, which was found untouched standing in a manger in the stable. Now the saddler being a well-known thirsty blade, it was thought surprising that he forsook the friendly draught, and the sagacity of the multitude immediately suspected him to be the guilty person, and on this circumstance the poor saddler was immediately taken into custody, detained, and sent to York Castle, where he lay till the following assizes, when he was tried and acquitted." Seeing that this saddler was acquitted and not hanged, it would hardly seem as if the old inhabitant of Bawtry had "put the saddle on the right horse."

E. G.

  1. A sometime well-known farmer in the district.