Read

Topic:
Jim outlines a typical year in sheep farming.
Speaker:
Jim Wade (b.1885; male, retired farmer)
Date:
1953
Duration:
3'55"
Shelfmark:
C908/44/C9 © University of Leeds


Transcript for Read

Jim: If thou, if, if thou’re on a low-down holding, like, not on the hill, thou’ll use half-bred sheep. Say, a cross between a Wensleydale1 and a, a, a, a Wensleydale-Kerry2, or a Wensleydale, they’ll not have horns on.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: See. Now they’re bigger sheep, generally, is these. And they’re low, they’re what they call low-down sheep.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: The half-bred one. And, uh, they don’t, they, they, they, they’re not wandering sheep, like the hill sheep are. Well, if thou’s any ewes as is too, getting too old to, to stop, thou draws them out afore their, their mating time comes: what they call tupping time. Now then, if thou’re bound to, if thou knows thy holding’ll get, ‘ll make some fat lambs sharp, some good land, thou’ll put thy tup to soon, see. Thou’ll put thy tup to thy ewes soon.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: Well, thou’ll get them tupped. And how thou tells thou’st tupped them, as it’s tupped them, thou rubs his belly with some raddle. See, well he marks all the ewes as he’s been on to, and so and so. Thou gets to know faces, and thou see, they’re getting all my sheep tupped. Uh, well now then they, they, they’ll run on, they’ll happen get, tup them till their lambs come in, say, early February. Well, thou’ll hae to, thou’ll just hae to, if there’s some weather like this comes, thou’ll hae to corn thy sheep a bit — thou’ll take some troughs out and give them a bit of provand, the ewes, so, so’s they’ll hae plenty of milk when the lamb comes, dost thou see — a good condition.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: Well, uh, thou, thou, I, I, where I were, thou, thou’d draw, if thou’d, if thou’d February lambs, thou’d be selling fat lambs by Whitsuntide.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: As they wanted them then. Of course they didn’t want them as big a lumps as they do now.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: Thou’d to get a, a, a, a for, a forty-eight, a forty-eight pound carcass, like, gross weight, by, by two or three, by, single lambs, say by Whitsuntide.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: There, well they get top price for them. Well now then, after thou’s getten thy lambs away, after thy, all thy lambs is fat, like, thy, thy, thy sheep’s fallow then till, thou’d move, thou’d get them away on the hill if thou could, to get their feet cleaned.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: Walk about in the heather and, and that, for a, a-two-or-three weeks. Send them up to a hill farmer.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: And get their feet, get them cleaned up and

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: before tupping time — backend of the summer.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: Well, that, that, that’s, what thou were, say thou were carrying thirty, thirty breeding ewes, that’s the lot, that’s the twelve-month’s job, is fat lamb.

Stanley: Hmm. But you take the wool, don’t you?

Jim: Oh, if I did it, I’d clip afore hay-time.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: See, thou gets some, and we get them jobs done afore hay-time.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: All the sheep clipped.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: Then of course thou’d hae the wool to take to the, when the wool buyer come, because he’d land to Clitheroe3, thou knows and he’d have a [inaudible]4 out at Clitheroe.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: See, and all them selling their lamb, their wool before.

Stanley: Hmm.

Jim: He’d land into Clitheroe, say, at a Friday when there weren’t a sale on.

Stanley: Hmm.

Notes

  1. Wensleydale refers to a traditional breed of long-woolled sheep
  2. Kerry refers to a traditional breed of thick-fleeced Welsh hill sheep, distinguished by black markings near their muzzle and feet
  3. Clitheroe is a market town to the north of Read
  4. [inaudible] indicates a passage or phrase where the speaker’s exact words are unclear

Commentary for Read

Lancashire dialect

Jim is clearly a speaker of traditional Lancashire dialect. Above all, he is a rhotic speaker — he pronounces the <r> sound after a vowel. Listen to the way Jim pronounces the words horns, bigger, are, sharp, marks, early, weather, corn, where, were, course, forty, carcass, there, their, farm, before, summer, afore and weren’t. In fact, this was formerly a feature of speech throughout the UK and it remains very much a part of the English spoken in Scotland and Ireland. In present-day England, however, it is increasingly restricted to the West Country, the extreme South West and a rapidly shrinking area of Lancashire to the north of Manchester. In this part of Lancashire speakers might still differentiate between words such as paw, pour and poor, while in other parts of the country they are homophones.

Jim also makes frequent use of the second person pronouns thou (‘you’) and thy (‘your’). Listen, for instance, to the statements thou’ll use half-bred sheep, thou’ll hae to corn thy sheep and thou’d get them away on the hill if thou could. In earlier forms of English thou was simply the singular form for ‘you’, while ye was the plural form — a little like ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ in modern French. As in French, over time the ‘tu’ form came to be used to express familiarity, so that thou was used when addressing friends, family, juniors or social inferiors. This distinction persists in broad dialect in parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire to this day, although it is unlikely that younger speakers use it as much. Elsewhere in England, thou disappeared from popular speech, although it remained in formal use for much longer, as is demonstrated by its retention in religious contexts, such as prayers, even now.