Yorkshire Day

Another year, another oath to the county of Yorkshire and another belt of rain coming through to soak us all, brass band, onlookers and Ammon Wrigley's statue. Pig Row nestles on the wet edge of the west riding a mere five miles from the county end. It is a little known fact that the traditional boundaries in England and Wales have never moved. The only things that have been created or have moved us as voters and tax payers are administrative boundaries. 

Yorkshire Day

Lydgate Brass Band

This means that Greater Manchester, Greater London and many other fine cities that have tacked Great onto themselves (Yorkshire has never felt the need to boast about its greatness) are not actually real places, they are merely administrative tags, like the overuse of metropolitan. The counties still exist as they have always done. That is why Rutland won back it's county status, purely because it never ceased to exist. These laws have never been repealed and cannot be done so by any parliament, only the Queen has the power to do so. This is one of those old laws that go back to our Anglo Saxon roots as a county, Yorkshire Day was born out of the Battle of Minden to celebrate the integrity of the county. So, as this is a distinct part of the area Pig Row is in, here is the declaration spoken on that day: '"I, (name), being a resident of the [West/North/East] Riding of Yorkshire [or City of York] declare: That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of 1134 years standing; That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire; That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women; That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status. These declarations made this Yorkshire Day [year]. God Save the Queen!' 

Ammon Wrigley

If that is too much for you, here is something very local, from the poet Ammon Wrigley sung by Gilbert Symes.

And a celebration of all things Yorkshire is not complete without a brass band. 

Finally, something that takes in the villages and hamlets that surround Pig Row, the Unofficial Guide To Saddleworth by H.P. Whitehead. It comes as no surprise to anyone that we are classed as Delphers:

Gather round ye lords of wit,

Who on the District Council sit,
Lift up your heads ye future mayors,
So weighted down by state affairs,
And list' to what I have to tell,
About the folk who round you dwell,
The folk who farm, and weave, and spin,
And help to bring the dollars in.

The Greenfield men are more than good,
They fetch the coal and chop the wood,
And ev'ry morn 'tis good to see,
They make their wives a cup of tea;
Then off to work to earn their bread,
Each with a halo round his head,
They're all house-trained and live to please,
They are the Lord's anointed these.

As Little Russia Delph is known,
With an Iron Curtain of its own,
Behind it there the tribes all meet,
Whilst joss-sticks burn and tom-toms beat,
And by the Camp fire's lurid light,
Strange things are done at dark of night,
What they are, they do not tell,
The curtain keeps its secrets well.

The folk in lonely Denshaw Vale,
No longer gnash their teeth and wail,
For now at last they've got their wish,
A shop that sells them chips and fish;
With lovely fritters golden brown,
And something nice to wash them down,
Such roaring times they never knew,
Since "Donty" made his cur-dog stew.

Dobcrossers think their village grand,
Where all are members of the band,
And ev'ry child aged over three,
Is taught to blow the Double B;
And bandsmen practice for Belle Vue,
By playing up the "Nichor Broo' ",
While Delphers laugh and shout "What-o,
This is the land of Puff and Blow".

In Diggle dark, a place way back,
That lies far off the beaten track,
The passing years do nothing mean,
They think Victoria still is queen,
Where man knows nought but toil and sleep,
And mingles with the mountain sheep,
The only thrill 'twixt earth and sky,
When Hanson bus goes flashing by.

In Uppermill they're quite refined,
Of lofty brow and cultured mind,
With art discussed in Cooling's pub,
By members of the music club,
They prove quite clever in their chats,
By Sometimes talking through their hats;
They cover all from flints to books,
But not as much as St. Chad's rooks.

Grasscroft's the mecca of success,
Where live the folk of good address;
And though they're not of royal line,
Some think they draw it pretty fine,
'Tis there they dwell these lords of all,
The great elect, the Oxford drawl,
And yet sometimes you can detect,
Just a touch of dialect.

Put this away in your archives,
A simple record of their lives,
That those who come in future years,
May know their little hopes and fears,
And as they read it line by line,
Of how they lived in forty nine,
I'll vouch the wondering reader says,
"How I'd have loved those good old days".