February 2012 saw the annual Cheltenham Folk Festival take place at venues across the town. The University Archives and Special Collections hold various materials on folk-related themes, including this month’s item which is a book on Legends, Tales and Songs in the Dialect of the Peasantry of Gloucestershire. Published c.1877, this volume lists various ballads, stories and a glossary of words in the Gloucestershire dialect. It forms part of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (BGAS) Library, which we act as custodians of.
Contents of the volume include the intriguing “George Ridler’s Oven”, “The Witch of Berkeley”, “The Moolberry Tree”, “The Tithe Pig” and “Gloucestershire Harvest Home Choruses” to name a few. The volume is one of a number of items currently of interest to first-year English and second-year History students who are looking at changing English and methods of historical enquiry respectively.
Below is a selection of words from the Gloucestershire dialect glossary. Do you recognise any?:
Barken, the homestead
Breeds, the brim of a hat
Buckling, the foul linen of a household collected for washing
Butty, a comrade in honour
Caddlement, a trifling occupation
Cess, a word used to call dogs to their food
Flump, applied to a heavy fall
Leech, a cow doctor
Paunch, to disembowel game
Piddle, to trifle, to do light work
Skurry, a flock in confused flight
Snite, to blow the nose
Spreathe, to have face or hands roughened by frost
Twissle, to turn around rapidly
Yopping or Yoppeting, a dog in full cry after game
We also have other material on folk-related subjects both from the BGAS Library and our Local Heritage Initiative (LHI) collection. Information on both collections can be found at our website www.glos.ac.uk/archives. Please get in touch with archive staff if you would like to come in and look at any material.