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This website Forum is provided to allow discussion concerning the local history of the Newton-le-Willows & Earlestown area.
(Any posts made to this forum not related to the local history of this area, or that are deemed unsuitable, will be moderated or deleted.)
Does anyone have any poetry about Newton, or written by poets that lived in Newton?
Here's a starter for 10 to kick things off.
Arthur James Thorp who in 1912 lived at Picton Villa, 60 High Street - he was a telephone operator. This poem was published in the Earlestown Guardian on 28th April 1912 and was sold for 1d a copy to raise money for Titanic victims, this raised £3 2s. 6d. he received a thank you letter from the Bishop of Liverpool which was also published in the Earlestown Guardian.
The Wreck of the Titanic
On her maiden voyage she went—
To America’s shore was bent;
Filled from bow to stern was she
With precious souls all full of glee—
Some on duty, some on pleasure,
All enjoying life at leisure.
Outward bound—esteemed by all—
Her Captain stood at duty’s call,
And when she left Southampton’s quay
A finer ship there ne’er could be;
Whilst those on shore gave great acclaim
As she left old England’s main.
All went well, when near her goal
A crash was heard, Death soon took toll.
The Ship had struck a huge iceberg;
To those on board it meant their dirge.
Alas! too soon she sank from sight,
’Mid cries for help at dead of night.
Nobler deeds were never done—
To save the women and their own,
The men’s self-sacrifice sublime
Will live until the end of time;
For one and all proved heroes true—
The Captain, men, and women too.
To illustrious Marconi,
Whose genius will immortal be,
The homage of the world is due;
For, but for him, God only knew
How many souls would have survived
Had the Carpathia not arrived.
From the loss of the Titanic,
Which has caused such grief-wide panic,
No truer lesson can be taught
How lowly may proud man be brought.
To us let it a warning be,
That God, not man, doth rule the sea.
Theres a few of J H Lanes Poems in the front of the website, in the archive, and somewhere in the forum, there are some poems posted a few years ago written by one of the forum users.
Heres one by J H Lane..
FULL sixty years ago, a pretty vale
(Now hidden neath the waters of the lake)
Extended, in a winding course, from where
The railway arches span the road and brook,
To Castle Hill, and thence, diverging, ran
Eastwards to Golborne Dale, and westwards joined
The little sylvan valley of the Dene.
Adown each vale a rippling streamlet flowed,
Which, at the hill commingling, journeyed on
Twixt flowery banks, and murmured past the spot
Where now the strong embankment separates
The winding lake and willow-shaded brook,
Until it reached the now dismantled mill,
And, through the mill-race rushing, turned the wheel
That ground the millers corn. Thence issuing,
The stream meandered on to Red Bank farm,
Where Cromwells army put the Scots to flight
What time the Civil Wars made streams of blood
To flow throughout the land ; then glided on,
Past sainted Oswalds favoured seat, to lose
At length its waters in the Merseys tide.
Along this pretty vale (so ancients tell)
The villagers, on summer eves, would stroll
To Castle Hill, and there, beneath the oaks,
Would sit and listen to the throstles lay
Or trill of lark ascending to the skies ;
And also there the country swain would make
His loving plaint to maiden at his side.
But soon a change came oer this lovely scene?
Full many a load of boulders, wood, and clay
Was tumbled in the vale, and slowly rose
The strong embankment now with trees and shrubs
And many-coloured rhododendrons crowned.
The noise of woodmans axe and falling trees
Resounded through the dell ; the willows tall
(Which gave the little town its pretty name)
Were felled; the stream oerflowed its banks and clomb
The valleys sides ; and, to ! the lake was made.
But, ere the embankment settled firm and strong,
Torrential rains descended, and the lake,
In swollen pride, high oer the outlets dashed,
Ploughing a channel through the quaking dam;
Whilst apprehension filled the little town!
Then suddenly the rainy torrent ceased,
The lake subsided, and the breach was closed.
Then with the finny tribe the lake was stocked?
The dace with silvery scales, the prickly perch,
The greedy pike, the ample-sided bream,
The gaily-speckled trout, the slippery eel,
And little rounded gudgeon found a home
Within its waters, and fast multiplied.
The lake became well known for miles around,
And many a goodly catch of fish repaid
The anglers silent watch and patient skill.
The banks were pleasantly diversified.
With leas and little woods, in which the oak,
The beech, the sycamore, the birch, the ash,
The willow, rowan, thorn, and cherry-tree
In season flourished. Scattered here and there,
The modest primrose nestled near the fern,
Whence dewy eyes of violets shyly peeped;
And hyacinths an azure carpet spread
Beneath the beechs verdant canopy;
The foxglove reared its stately stem aloft
Bedecked with drooping bells of pinky hue;
And hawthorn white its fragrance shed around;
While from the edge, the brambles spreading shoots,
With snowy bloom arrayed, oerhung the stream,
To change in time to luscious jetty fruit.
All in the trees the feathered songsters sang?
The mellow-throated blackbird poured its lay;
The speckled-breasted throstle loudly piped;
The linnet and the chaffinch gaily chirped;
The robin and the sparrow swelled the choir,
And murmuring bees the harmony enhanced.
From intervening meadows larks arose,
Their throats aquiver with sweet melody;
And, hidden in the beeches of the park,
A colony of rooks did loudly caw;
The kingfisher, with undulating flight,
Skimmed oer the placid surface of the mere ;
The dusky martin made its summer home
Within the sandy burrows of the delf;
The swallow sought the shady nooks where flies
And gnats did most abound, and filled its crop
For callow offspring neath the cottage eaves.
From mong the rushes by the water-side,
The water-hen forsook her reedy nest,
And, with her brood of little fluffy chicks
Disporting in her wake, she fearfully
Set out upon her journey down the mere.
In unfrequented nook, the heron stood,
All silent and alert, ready to strike
The finny prey that rashly ventured near.
The swans, with arched wings, sailed proudly oer
The rippled deep, their stately, snowy forms.
Reflected in the limpid wave; and ducks,
With sallow broods surrounded, sought the reeds
And water-flags in quest of insect food.
From ferny covert near the hill, the cluck
Of startled pheasant smote the ear, and soon,
On whirring wings, she sped across the mere,
Fast followed by her brighter-plumaged mate,
To disappear among the bracken green ;
While from her burrow nigh the spreading thorn,
Whose snowy blossoms scent the morning breeze,
The timid, weasel-fearing rabbit stole
To feed upon the fragrant clover-buds
Or gambol with her young on daisied lea;
And neath the jutting margins of the lake,
The water-rat all unmolested roamed
In search ,of fish or anglers fallen bait.
Soon pleasure-boats were placed upon the lake,
And parsons with their Sunday-schools and choirs
Came picnicking from all the country round,
And sweetly sang their choruses and hymns;
And many a pleasant afternoon was spent
By friends on visit to the villagers,
Which brought no little trade into the town.
Such were the sights and sounds on Newton Lake,
On summer days, some fifty years ago ;
And then, on winter days, when Boreas
With icy breath had frozen all the lake,
How gaily rang the voices of the lads
And lasses as they skimmed the slippery floor!
And now, my fair one, come along with me,
And let us step into this little boat,
And, while you take the tiller-lines and steer,
Ill take the oars and row you round the lake,
And tell you stories of my youthful days,
When with my mates I strayed along its banks,
Across its surface sped with sail and oar,
Or bathed and angled in its waters deep.
Now, as we leave the little stage behind,
And point the prow towards the willowed brook,
Well notice on your right the meadow green.
T was here the little fleet of boats was kept
Upturned in winter. In the centre grew
A sturdy oak, round which a rope was lashed
That held a block to draw the boats ashore.
One autumn day four lads were busy there
Hauling the boats up high upon the bank,
And as they hauled the rope broke suddenly,
Precipitating two into the lake,
Whence they emerged, all dripping and subdued,
To scamper home and change their wet attire.
A little further on, and we have gained
The overflow?a well both wide and deep?
Down which, in time of flood, the water falls
And rushes through a tunnel, underneath
The strong embankment, to the brook beyond.
Upon the northern side two shafts appear,
With winding apparatus at the top
To raise an iron cover at their base
And liberate the water from below.
From these two upright shafts, some years ago,
A sloping bridge extended to the bank,
Oer which, when floods prevailed, the keeper walked,
With iron key, to raise the heavy door.
The bridge is gone, the heavy door is jammed
And rusted in the grooves, and so the lake,
From month to month, a higher level keeps
And cannot be reduced as heretofore.
Once, in the rainy season, when the lake
Was pouring deeply oer the outlets brim,
Two lads had ventured near, when suddenly
The current drew full half the boat across
The yawning gulf. In fear they climbed the bow
And scrambled on the bridge ; then, landing, ran
To tell the. keeper of the accident.
He, in a larger boat, with man and rope
Drew near, and fastening the rope astern
The imperilled craft, with strenuous oar pulled back
The boat that, left, might soon have toppled oer.
With lingering oar, now glide we by the darn,
And drink the breeze so redolent of bloom
Of white and crimson hawthorn and of shrub.
Soon we have reached the feeder of the mill?
A narrow tunnel running through the darn,
The mouth concealed by a heavy door
Set in a wooden frame, with winding gear
To lift or drop to suit the millers need.
Hard by a passage led into the road,
Where trippers often landed from the boats
To gain the station by.a shorter route.
And here my theme demands a sadder note
To claim your tender-hearted sympathy,
For near a love-lorn maiden drowned herself.
Ah me! t is two and forty years ago
The deed was done that moved the town to tears !
Not far removed a village damsel dwelt
In service with a kind old widower
And maiden relative. She happy seemed
Until she met a youth, who courted her
And her affections won. But she was told
That he was false and wooed another maid ;
And this so preyed upon poor Lizzies mind,
She sought to end her broken-hearted life.
She first a letter to her mistress wrote,
In which she told her grief and her intent,
And one to him whom she so dearly loved,
And then, in darkness, plunged into the lake.
The brook was vainly dragged, and then the mere
Was tried, and hereabouts the maid was found
With clenched hands and high uplifted arms,
As though her latest act was that of prayer.
With decent care, she in a cart was laid
And slowly taken to her childhoods home ;
And, as the silent form was borne within,
What words can tell the parents agony !
Come, dry your tears, and let as onward move
To other scenes! Upon the bank, above
This tiny bay, the little son of him
Who built the stately mansion on the cliff
Was one day fishing in the lake for pike,
And, as he drew the spinning bait ashore,
A sturdy fish from out his lair rushed up
And seized it. Then the fight began. The pike,
Well hooked and smarting, darted to and fro,
While gaily spun the reel till all the line
Was out and taut. The lad held bravely on,
But for a while the fish did stronger prove,
And pulled him from the bank into the lake.
At length the fishs efforts ceased, and then
The lad, with rod oer shoulder, dragged the pike
Behind him up the field into the house,
Where he received the praise that was his due.
A few yards onward, where the sloping cliff
Dips to the level of the flowery mead,
Once stood a donkey-house?used years ago
By two young fellows as a dressing-room !
You smile! But listen to the story first!
Two worthy scions of a noble race
Oft hither came to sail a little boat
Equipped with canvas, and a heavy stone
As ballast underneath the middle thwart.
And what more joyous, healthy sport than this-
To scud before the wind with bellied sail
On even keel ; or, tacking oft, to skim
The lake with starboard or with larboard list!
From Castle Hill they sped before the gale,
And, passing Redclyffe, tried to tack across,
When suddenly a stormy gust oerturned
The little craft and tossed them overboard.
The heavy ballast sank the little boat ;
But the young fellows quickly swam ashore,
And rushed into the donkey-house, and turned
The shaggy tenant out. Their sorry plight
Was told unto the lady of the house,
Who sent her husbands long-discarded clothes;
And there they doffed the wet and donned the dry.
With grappling-irons the little boat was raised,
And, after, ploughed the lake for many years.
Yet other scenes demand our notice here :
See where the sandy soil above the cliff
Is thickly honeycombed with tiny holes!
And see the martins darting in and out
In loving tendance on their progeny !
Now let us rest betwixt these little isles,
Whereon the ducks did nest and hatch their broods,
And view the quarry whence, methinks, was hewn
The stone to build the chapel that once stood
Where stands our noble church upon the hill.
The chapel then the name of "Rokeden" bore?
That is, "a rocky valley filled with trees,"
Which fittingly described the ancient vill
Built on the borders of the rocky dene.
When I was young, this stony delf was kept
A trim parterre, with flowers of many hues?
The haunt of bird and bee and butterfly.
And when, in prentice days, I studied
French At evenings with a local dominie,
In reading "Teleuiaque" by Fenelon,
I pictured in my mind this fairy scene
As beautiful Calypsos island grot !
A few more strokes, and presently we reach
A spot where, when the lake was drained to build
The archway oer the brook at Golborne Dale,
We youngsters found a spacious mussel-bed ;
And much we wondered whence these mussels came,
And why so many in the lake were found.
Now, let me pull across this narrow creek,
And skirt the bank of leafy willow-trees ;
And soon we round a shallow point whereon
A parson with some ladies ran his boat,
And knew not how to float her off again.
With oar in hand, he stepped into the bow
And pushed with all his might, without avail.
At length he called for help, and then was told
To get into the stern, which done, the boat,
With lightened prow, slipped off the shallow point?
Which long thereafter bore his name of " Brown."
Along this bank, how oft, in schoolboy days,
With silent oar I ve rowed thee, Doctor I,eete,--
Thou ruthless slayer of the greedy pike !
With memorys eye I see thee now, erect,
Alert, with rod in hand, ready to strike
Did but the tip of tail or fin appear.
I see the fishs splash as, pricked, he darts
From right to left, then downward plunges ;
And hear the music of the spinning reel
As, yard by yard, the line unwinding speeds !
Thou lettst him run his reckless, mad career,
Knowing full well his struggles soon will cease.
I hear thy voice, "Unship your oars and lay
Them in the boat ; stand ready with the net!"
With tightened.line thou drawest him to the boat,
And soon the great twelve-pounder lies full length
Beneath the thwart. " Put back to land!" thou sayest;"
And I will pack him up, and send him off To
Disley as a present to the Squire ! "
We gain the field betwixt the little woods,
Directly opposite the southern end
Of that small wood which runs to Castle Hill.
How often we have rested on this bank,
In swimming over from the other side,
Before we crossed again to dress ourselves!
In fancy I can see their faces now
The faces of my mates of long ago.
Where are those happy lads whom once I knew?-
A few are settled in Canadian wilds ;
And some departed to the larger towns
To win their way to fame and opulence ;
Whilst two or three have joined the vagrant train
And wander seeking work from town to town;
A few are sleeping in the churchs shade,
And others drifted far beyond the ken
Of anxious friend or grieving relative.
Such changes Time bath wrought with those I knew.
The noisy plash of oars hath frighted now
The water-kingfisher with vest of blue.
Quick ! note his waving flight as on he wings
To settle in you hyacinthine bloom !
He sallies forth alone, perchance to lure
Us from the spot where, on her tunnelled nest,
His duller-vested mate serenely sits.
We pass along this wooded slope, and soon
We gain the eastern turn to Golborne Dale.
Ha! what is this dense mass that blocks our way?
This pleasant reach of water once was clear
Of all this filthy mass of mud and weeds;
But let us disembark, and stroll along
The southern bank as far as Golborne Bridge,
And I will tell you how the lake was spoiled.
The time the lake was made, a limpid brook
(Yclept " The Millingford "-) meandering flowed
From north of Ashton; past the Golborne mills,
Under the railway arch, into the lake.
The brooklets bed was deeper then than now,
And often I have pushed my boat beneath
The arch, emerging at the Golborne side.
The brook was stocked with fish, and many a creel
Was filled there from in olden days; but now
The water of the brook is foul and black,
In which swims nought but fever-spreading rat.
First boiling water from the Golborne mills,
At intervals, was turned into the brook,
Which killed the fish full half-way down the reach.
Yes, bream and dace and perch and little pike,
In dozens, I have seen, parboiled, upturned,
And floating there?to be devoured by rats!
This flushing of the brook brought down the mud
And sediment into the lake ; then mills
And works along the brook contributed,
Unchecked, their refuse to the muddied stream;
Then, thirty years or more ago, a cry
Against the lakes pollution roused to action
Our board of Makerfield Commissioners.
Forthwith a deputation was arranged
To sail the lake from end to end, and sniff
The water here and there, and samples take
For test by chemical analysis;
And then the matter slept, to be aroused,
From time to time, to fall asleep again!
Retrace we now this path along the bank,
And note, with gladdened eye, yon noble beech
With boughs depending oer the sullied stream.
Think you, my dear, that Nature eer designed
Those beautiful light-green serrated leaves
Should shade the waters of a sewage-farm ?
Ah no ! The stream was once so pure and clear
That you could see the pebbles in its bed.
I still remember well, one summer noon,
Repairing here to angle for the perch,
And, such the clearness of the stream,
I saw The fishes ope their mouths to seize the worm !
And note that cutting in the stony bank,
Just large enough to hold a boat for two ;
T was called " The Lovers Nook "; and I have seen
Some charming pictures in that little spot,
The while the laughing ripples lapped the boat;
But now the slimy waters cannot lap,
Or sing their erstwhile pleasing melody
To happy lovers in the shady nook !
Anear this nook was once a fenced pool,
Wherein, in summer-time, the farmer washed
His fleecy flock ere they were sheared for wool;
To-day no farmer comes to wash his sheep?
The fence is vanished and the pool is dry.
Give me your hand, and let us re-embark,
And I will row along this northern bank.
Here note the little passage through the trees,
With steps to mount into the field above.
A stage was here, to which was locked a boat
Belonging to the tenant at the hall.
Above the steps was erst a pebbled road
Which crossed the valley, either side the stream,
And pointed towards the early British town
Of Lowton in the east. A little on
We pass the boat-house built into the lake,
And row beneath the pretty bridge which leads
To Golborne Hall. Still on we glide along
These tall ancestral trees, wherein the rooks
Have made their dwellings long ere we were born.
And view with pride this pretty sylvan scene
Which stretches hence unto the dam above!
We reach the brook that runs from out the dam
And empties in the lake. Those bulrushes
And waterflags have been the nesting-place
Of swans for many years, yet, strange to say,
No cygnets have been seen upon the lake !
Oh ! mark, my dear, as round we turn our craft,
That lovely bank of hyacinths in bloom,
Beside that gnarled oak which hath withstood
The stormy blasts of nigh a century.
There have I found the cowslip and the primrose,
When, as a boy, I roamed these fields among.
We pass beneath the bridge, and stay a while
At Castle Hill, on which one tree is seen,
Where formerly ten venerable oaks
Twined mighty branches round its verdant crest.
The hill has lost its past rotundity,
For seventy years ago its grassy sides
Were tunnelled, and straight downward from the crest
A shaft was sunk into the level mead ;
And there the miners found a chamber small,
Half-circular in form, wherein were laid,
On little tiers of oak, the calcined bones
Of one deemed worthy honoured sepulture.
T is said a ghostly lady clad in white,
At midnights witching hour or twilight gray,
Was seen to flit all silently around
The barrow old ; but since the sacred spot
Was desecrated by the pick and spade,
Her nightly flittings round the hill have ceased.
Beneath the hill, where late a withered oak
Oerhung the lake, a rocky cave was scooped,
Which bore the name of Robin Hood, the bold.
With sturdy pull and feathered oars, we glide
Beside this sloping bank of rugged oaks,
Whose withered limbs proclaim their hoary age.
The hedge that fenced it from the level field
Has been removed. How often I have scanned
This hedge in search of nests, and from the bank
Have culled the wilding flowers that grew below !
We skim along the dipping meadow land
And reach the little creek of rushes tall?
The home of amber-headed dragon-flies.
A copious stream of water from the drains
Of many fields here flowed into the lake,
At which the fishes found a feeding-place
A spot well known to village fishermen.
A few more yards, and we have gained the place
From which we started just an hour ago ;
And, as I help you land, may I express
My thanks for your delightful company,
And hope my musings have not failed to please !
Some more to be found here..
Inspired, I decided to transcribe the rest of the Lane poems.
TUNE “THE MEETING OF THE WATERS.”
To my heart there is no dearer spot upon earth,
Than Newton-le-Willows, the place of my birth!
Oh! The world has allurements to tempt us to roam,
But it cannot supply the endearments of home.
Dear Newton! I’ll sing of thy sylvan retreats,
Of thy lanes, and thy tree-shaded dwellings and streets,
Of thy bridge o’er the brook with its vista of bloom —
A vision of beauty and store of perfume!
I will sing of thy ancient, historical hall,
(Near the old ruined mill with its miniature fall) —
The strangers delight from the railway espied,
And to home-loving native the pleasure and pride.
I will sing of thy beautiful breeze-rippled lake,
Where in childhood we made the glad echoes awake,
And sailed on its bosom, and fished in its stream,
And disported ourselves in the warm sunny beam.
I will sing of thy hill by the side of the mere,
To which we resorted as evening drew near,
Where we fervently told of the depth of our love,
While the moon mildly beamed thro’ the branches above.
I will sing of thy schools, to our infancy dear,
And the teachers whose memories we love and revere,
Who did idleness censure and industry praise,
And exhorted us ever to shun evil ways.
I will sing of thy church — it is good to be there,
To join in its service of praise and of prayer,
And to list to the parson expounding the Word,
Or persuading to piety those who have erred.
Sweet Newton-le-Willows! how fain would I rest ,
Mid thy beautiful scenes with the friends I love best ,
And, spending our moments in labours of love,
Gain a foretaste below of the pleasures above.
Acrostic on a Newton Worthy.
For twenty-eight years Master of the Dean school.
Died on the 5th October, 1875.
GOD-FEARING man! For well-nigh thirty years,
Esteemed by all thy scholars and compeers!
Oh! If thy spirit view the things of earth,
Receive this late memorial to thy worth!
Great gifts were thine, enhanced by love of work —
Early or late, thou duty didst not shirk!
A Franklin thou for wise proverbial lore
Regarnered from Divine and classic store!
Music to thee a cordial pleasure proved!
In thee religion found a saint beloved!
The dear old church, that shadows now thy grave,
Awoke full of its echoes to thy stave.
God-fearing man! the master, friend, and sage!
Esteemed by all who knew thee — good GEORGE ARMITAGE!
Rev. Herbert Monk, M.A., for 28 years Vicar of St. Peter’s,
Newton-in-Makerfield. Died Sunday, Nov. 6th, 1898.
How calmly beautiful in death he lay —
Our sympathetic friend of yesterday!
The pastor who for eight and twenty years
Participated in our smiles and tears.
No more within the church he loved so well,
His earnest voice will eloquently dwell,
On heavenly themes, nor we devoutly hear,
Of holy truths from one we held so dear.
No more his long-familiar form will pace,
The well-known paths, and we no longer trace
The kindly smile, and hear the sweet “good-day!”
That greeted us whene’er he crossed our way.
The poor have lost in him a pastor dear;
The rich, a cheerful and benign compeer;
The sick, a minister to all their needs;
And all will miss his charitable deeds.
He resteth now where he so oft hath read
The sweetly solemn service o’er the dead;
And may the faithful work accomplished here
Ensure his welcome to a happier sphere!
O WINWICK bells! O Winwick bells!
How sweetly clear your music swells,
Across the meadows, o’er the mere,
And softly falls upon mine ear!
How oft, in childhood’s happy days,
I’ve listened to your tuneful lays,
Inviting all the village train
To worship in the holy fane!
And here, reclined near Castle Hill,
Your cadences can soothe me still,
Dispelling all unworthy dreams,
And leading on to higher themes.
And thus, until life’s latest day,
May ye exert your gentle sway;
And memory’s glance be backward cast
On Winwick and her storied past!
The Legend of the Bloody Stone.
After Longfellow’s “Hiawatha.”
SHOULD you ask me whence this story,
Whence this legend and tradition,
Of the celebrated boulder
Lying in the road to Winwick,
I should answer, I should tell you —
“In the annals of the Bradshaighs,
In the Hall of Haigh near Wigan,
May be found the sum and substance
Of this old romantic story”: —
Long ago, when Edward Second
Sat upon the throne of England,*
In a fair and lordly mansion,
In the middle of a forest,
Near the ancient town of Wigan,
Dwelt the knight, Sir William Bradshaigh,
With his wife, the Lady Mabel —
He a brave and gallant soldier,
She a sweet and gentle lady.
Happily they lived together
With their children and retainers.
But this happy, peaceful union
Suddenly was rudely broken;
At the call of king and country,
Girt he on his knightly armour.
And departed with an army
To the fateful wars in Scotland.
Very tender was the parting
Of the knight and Lady Mabel;
Many promises he made her
Of a quick and safe returning;
Many tears she wept in secret,
Many prayers she offered for him.
Soon came tidings of a battle
And defeat of Edward’s army;
But no tidings of Sir William
Came to cheer the Lady Mabel.
Oft, methinks, she sought the summit
Of her fair and lordly mansion,
Whence a view of many counties
Greets the eye in cloudless weather;
Often turned her vision northwards
For the slowly marching southwards
Of a sad, defeated army;
But the valiant knight returned not,
And the sorrowing Lady Mabel
Thought him captured or departed
To the land where war is known not,
Whither she in time would follow.
In her loneliness and sorrow,
Came a knight from Wales to woo her,
Sought her hand in holy wedlock,
Sought the mansion of the Bradshaighs;
Pressed his suit with so much fervour
That at length the lady yielded,
And ere long the twain were married.
Now, when ten long years had vanished
Since the day Sir William parted
From his wife, the Lady Mabel,
To the Hall of Haigh near Wigan,
In the habit of a palmer,
Came a sad and lonely stranger,
With the poor, to beg for succour.
But his voice and mien and features
Woke the fleeting recollections,
And the trembling Lady Mabel
Recognized him as her husband
And the father of her children;
And a wave of joy o’erwhelmed her.
And a sense of shame possessed her,
Till she wept for joy and sorrow.
Then the Welshman and usurper
Beat the weeping Lady Mabel;
Whereupon the knight, Sir William,
Made him known to all his tenants,
To his vassals and retainers;
Round him gathered his supporters,
Armed with weapons long discarded;
Then, led onward by Sir William,
Madly rushed they to the mansion
To set free the Lady Mabel.
Frightened by the noise and clamour
Of the fast-approaching army,
Quickly rose the Welsh usurper,
Quickly sprang upon his charger,
And in terror fled for safety.
Seeing this, the bold Sir William
Mounts and hotly follows after.
Such a race, methinks, was never —
Craven fear pursued by vengeance!
Very fleet the Welshman’s charger,
But Sir William’s horse was fleeter.
Thro’ the darksome, echoing forest.
Thro’ the ancient town of Wigan,
By the Roman road to Winwick,
Over fields and brooks and hedges,
Sped the flier and pursuer,
Till at Newton Park they halted,
Where Sir William pierced and slew him.
Such the substance of the story
In the annals of the Bradshaighs,
In the Hall of Haigh near Wigan.
For the murder of the Welshman,
Outlawed was Sir William Bradshaigh;
And his wife, the Lady Mabel,
For her crime did weekly penance,
Walking, bare-legged and bare-footed,
From her fair and lordly mansion
To a cross near ancient Wigan,
Which still bears the name of Mabel.
When their punishment was ended,
Happily they lived together
With their children and retainers.
In the parish church of Wigan
Stands a tomb, and sculptured on it
Are the figures of the Bradshaighs —
He, cross-legged, in knightly armour,
By his side the Lady Mabel
With her hands in prayer uplifted;
And thereon, in antique carving,
Are the knights in deadly combat.
On this boulder, in the roadway
To the ancient church of Winwick,
Children spit, and then in fancy
See the stains of blood upon it,
Little knowing that the boulder
Marks the spot of the encounter
Of the knights, as here related;
All unknowing of the story
In the annals of the Bradshaighs,
In the Hall of Haigh near Wigan.
For some reason when I was reading this, I found myself singing it to the tune of "O Tannenbaum" or ( 'Oh Fir Tree' )
You know the one, 'Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree'.
Or for the Socialists out there, (we'll keep) 'The Red Flag' (flying here)
You will be trying this now, lol
Well spotted podstar, I hadn't noticed before. Lane must have been humming the tune when he wrote it.
Here's another poem,again about a disaster at sea.
The Loss of the “Empress of Ireland.”
Composed and Written by WILLIAM HENRY ALLMAN,
18, Crown Street, Earlestown. (1914)
Once more with grief our hearts are torn,
As we hear of the sudden wreck
Of the “Empress of Ireland,”
And those souls upon her deck.
Our thoughts fly back two years ago,
When our Nation had cause to mourn;
The loss of the great “Titanic” brought
To many a heart a wound.
But this sad news has opened wide
The wound in many a heart—
For some who lost their loved ones then
Once more have had to part
With some dear one—Husband or Wife—
Whiche’er the case may be;
Their hearts are now with sorrow filled
For those lost souls at sea.
’Twas night as the “Empress” left the port
And bid farewell to Quebec,
With over a thousand souls on board
Who occupied her deck.
Steadily she ploughed her way—
Of disaster no fear or dread
E'er entered the hearts of those who now
Are numbered with the dead.
But as she went upon her way
A heavy mist had spread,
Just as the look-out at his post
Reported “Lights ahead!”
The danger signals then were given
And slowly she steamed ahead—
When suddenly there came the crash
Which strewed the sea with dead.
So sudden was that awful crash,
Received in her portside,
To lower the boats all efforts failed,
Though hard those brave men tried.
The scenes which met the human gaze
Would cause us each to weep,
As we think of that struggling human mass
Going down in the angry deep.
The people rushed upon the deck,
Some were engaged in prayer;
Whilst others were heard to utter cries
That rang through the cold night air.
Some mothers were seen to clasp their babes
And Husbands embrace their Wives,
Whilst Children to the wreckage clung,
In order to save their lives.
Such scenes as these could never fail
To wound the loving heart
Of those dear souls whom God has willed
Should thus be set apart.
For many there are who in sorrow dwell,
And gaze at the vacant chair,
And pray for God to comfort them
In this hour of dark despair.
So let us ever bear in mind
That we can ne'er replace
Within those hearts that missing link—
Their sorrows we cannot trace.
But we can all combine in prayer,
Whilst hearts with sorrow wail,
We know that God can meet all needs
When human efforts fail.
does no-one else have any?
this must be a minority interest within a minority interest
I'll keep posting until either I run out, or someone begs me to stop.
A NATION’S CRY.
Tune: 164, A. and M.
O Lord Jehovah, hear our cry,
We come to Thee—for mercy sue;
We come repentant—make us clean;
Renew our faith, with hope imbue.
For we forgot Thee, Lord Most High,
Thy Holy Name did not revere,
When clothed with satisfaction’s pride,
And peace, our England’s peace was here.
Thine arm has smitten us full sore.
And we would cry, “O spare us now!”
Our sins rise up for very shame;
Before Thy throne we prostrate bow.
Our brothers’ blood for vengeance cries,
Our brothers’ blood from over seas;
Can we stand by with helpless hands,
With dimmed sight and feeble knees.
Shall men reproach our faithlessness,
And learn that we for them ne’er prayed;
That deadly sing are rampant still?
We know, O Lord, “the plague was stayed.”
Forgive our coldness: warm our hearts:
Send forth a living prayer from each:
May peace once more be quickly known,
O Gracious Lord, Thee we beseech.
O Father, hear our earnest prayer,
O Mediator, Christ the Blest,
Present our offerings, else they’re nought
And give the Spirit’s promised rest.
E. PARKER, A.C.P.
69, Cross Lane, Earlestown.
Obvious not written about Newton or by a poet from here;
But here's my contribution to the thread, by Shelley, that was attributed to the late Mrs. Maria W Goslin.
who did so much for this township and for the Salvation Army.
A lovely soul, formed to be blessed, and bless
A well of steel and happiness;
A lute, which those whom love has thought to play,
Make Music on to cheer the roughest day.
Ever to the fore in discovering the music,
Even when pain and sickness laid her low,
Her cheerfulness was still proverbial.
And now she has gone to her reward, her bright
spirit still seems to hover around and –
“She being dead, yet speaketh,”
I am sure I remember a poem somewhere in the website, that is on a grave stone in St Peters, concerning a railway engineer?
Cannot find it though
Could this be it?
To the Memory of Peers Naylor, Engineer, who departed this life 10th Dec 1842 aged 29 years.
My engine is now cold and still,
No water does my boiler fill;
My coke affords its flame no more,
My days of usefulness are o’er.
My wheels deny there noted speed,
No more my guiding hand they heed.
My whistle, too, has lost its tone,
Its shrill and thrilling are gone.
My valves are thrown open wide,
My flanges all refuse to guide.
My clacks, also, though once so strong,
Refuse to aid the busy throng.
No more I feel each urging breath,
My steam is now condensed in death.
Life’s railway’s o’er, each station past,
In death I’m stopped, and death at last.
Farewell, dear friends, and cease to weep,
In Christ I’m safe; in Him I sleep.
Wasn't written about Newton, or by a Newton Poet, but as it's carved in stone, I think I can let you off
The original epitaph is in Whickham Churchyard, Durham, to commemorate one Thomas Scaife, killed November 10th, 1840, at Bromsgrove Station, by the explosion of a locomotive. John Blaydon, a Schoolmaster at Blaydon-on-Tyne, was the author of the epitaph.
Here's another one
ST. GEORGE'S DAY, 1916.
St. George for England! England and St. George!
The ancient call comes thundering down the age.
And English hearts beat with the same fierce pride—
Blood-kin indeed are we to those who died—
Heroes immortalises on Shakespeare’s page
St. George for England! In our mind’s clear eye
The stainless knight, mounted on milk white steed,
Clad in bright armour, passes on his way
The maid to save, the dragon fierce to slay—
The Champion of his Country in her need
St. George for England! Right opposed to might:
Courage and high resolve 'gainst craft and lust.
Love, freedom, purity, the knight inspire,
The hideous dragon, breathing venomed fire,
Trampled and pierced, lies vanquished in the dust!
St. George for England! Fiercer still to-day
The dragon-foe clamours for guiltless blood!
St. George—the type of all that we hold dear—
Waves us to victory with his shining spear,
Shows us the end—evil o’ercome by good!
St. George for England! We the red rose wear—
Imperial flower of an Imperial race!
Our sister countries each an emblem chose
Shamrock, leek, thistle—but for us the rose
Stands like Old England, in the foremost place!
St. George for England! England and St. George!
Hark how the cry comes echoing from the past.
"Once more unto the breach!” King Henry cried—
And not in vain our gallant kinsmen died:
On that brave dust we built our Empire wide,
Impregnable, secure, while worlds shall last!
Spring View, Wargrave Road.
and another...must be something about disasters and wars that moves people to write poetry.
“What doest thou here, Elijah?"
Unconquered still! While yet another year
Trends ever on to its appointed end;
Once more the meadows break In daisy-snow,
In favoured spots the sweet wood-violets blow,
And daffodils to Spring's soft breezes bend,
Unconquered still, the ruthless hated foe!
The modem Ahab, steeped in guilt and blood;
And twenty moons have ceased to wax and wane,
And thousands of our noblest ones slain,
And thousands dying now in field and flood!
Unconquered still! We raise our eyes to Heaven,
And wring our hands in agonised despair,
The Lord of Hosts, has turned His face away,
So few and weak are we, who to Him pray;
It is but just, if He has ceased to care.
Ah, few and weak Indeed, we seem to be—
A feeble remnant of the favoured Race,
Fallen so sadly from Its high estate;
Careless and godless e’en with foe at gate;
For all our nation's sin, God hides His face.
And as the Prophet went in days of old
Into the cave, in deep despair, to die
(Forgetful of Jehovah's mighty power),
So we, in this our Country's blackest hour,
Say "None is left, O God, save only!”
Nay, nay, not so! Earthquake and wind are gone,
Our clearer eyes pierce through the cloudy veil;
The still small voice bids all our fears depart,
“Still have I left to Me, O doubting heart.
Seven thousand who have nobly done their part,
Nor kissed the lips, nor bowed the knee to Baal!”
And though our hearts are sick with hope deferred,
And though, unconquered still, the Hun fights on.
Seven thousand, thousand prayers before the throne,
From all the faithful ones claimed as His own,
Shall daily humbly rise, till all is done!
Spring View, Earlestown.
This one sent from a Newton lad back to his home town whilst serving in the armed forces.
Our Nation's flag is still unfurled
Beneath the foreign skies,
And crosses mark the blood-stained sod
Where many a hero lies.
Though waters deep divide our path,
And cannons loudly roar,
My thoughts fly fast to those I love
On dear Old England’s shore.
In Providence we place our trust,
His guidance we now seek;
Whilst heartless foes on helpless souls
Their vengeance oft do wreak.
But when again we all return,
And warlike horrors cease,
We’ll thank our God and pray that all
Shall live In perfect peace.
—Composed by your Chum, W. H. Allman, The Royal Engineers’ Navvy Poet.
DO YOUR DUTY—“YOUNG ONES.”
My King and Country called me,
So I answered like a man,
And If every lad had done the same
'Twould be "victory—began.”
'Tis nothing to be frightened of,
So why do you hold back?
"No?” You’d rather let the old men go
And do your blooming whack.
But if you only realized,
Your hearts would surely yield,
To avenge these babes and women
On the Belgian battle-field.
Private W.M. HAMPSON,
4th King’s Liverpool Regiment,
68 Houghton Street, Earlestown.
Here's one in Memory of E.B of Ribbleton House - which I take to be Emma Brown as mentioned in this thread http://newton-le-willows.com/history/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1770 and the poem is definitely about a teacher!
Earlestown Guardian – October 31st, 1919
IN LOVING MEMORY
E.B. RIBBLETON HOUSE
“A virtuous woman – her price is above rubies,
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
The children arise up and call her blessed.”
What shall we say of her, who sleeps at last,
With all life’s joys and sorrows left for aye,
Save that for duties nobly, bravely done,
She wears in Heaven the guerdon fairly won,
And tastes the glory of the Perfect Day?
O Friend : no higher praise can pen of mine
Trace for a tribute to a life held dear:
Than duty done, and high ideals held fast,
And childlike faith in Christ that at the last
Took you into God’s presence without fear!
And little children, grown to man’s estate,
Who fought and bled for Country and their King,
Can testify that when their faith grew dim,
Came stealing through their better thoughts a hymn,
You once had taught their childish lips to sing!
And with the words of “Tender Shepherd, hear,”
Came other mem’ries to their tired brain,
And long-forgotten prayers rose up once more,
From trembling lips, that only cursed before:
And filled with faith, and strength, they strove again!
Surely the souls she helped along life’s way,
Who went before her to the realms of light,
Met her with outstretched hands, and words of love,
And led her gladly to her place above,
Where earthly faith is lost in glorious sight.
And so we leave her in quiet grave;
The good fight fought–the race of life well run,
The faith well kept:-- and we who mourn here,
Know that for her, in loftier, wider sphere,
Life is not ended, but new life begun!
MARY DALE, 1 Wargrave Road
Change of Newton's Name
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Newton railway bridge
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Lawsons in Newton
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Newton Clockmaker, 1700s
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Newton Bank School High Street/Nat West Bank
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