Rishton's Dialect

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Please note that Lancashire dialect is subject to regional variations, and this section aims to demonstrate Rishtons dialect, not the whole of Lancashire's, although a lot of the words and phrases found here to apply to the Shire.

"Professional Northerner"

"Someone who has spent most of his/her adult life away from the North yet has a habit of talking in an exaggerated Northern accent - especially after a couple of drinks, or when in the company of other so-called Northerners. Expresses inflated pride in a county he rarely visits and talks nostalgically about Pendle witches, Thwaites beer, crumbly Lancashire cheese, etc. Watches Blackburn Rovers when they are on the telly and even attends the occasional (away) game - something he/she signally failed to do when they actually lived at home."

........Mick Jackson (author)

Our surnames are more than just a name. This alone can tell us so much about a persons history, and the families background. Names such as Miller, Woods, and Aspen, all names still found in the town, tell us their occupations or places where they came from. Any look at any historical book shows the same names in the town over many generations.

In the entire County, surnames relate to small towns and areas, Whalley, Worsley, Haworth and Walmsley being just a few which are still in the town of Rishton. All these names date back many centuries.

As the Anglos moved West from the Pennines, they chose settlement sites above the rivers. These were called "TUNS", Accrington, Rishton and Tunstall all reflecting this, amongst others. These words were derived from Northumbrian Anglo Saxon, and later Mercian Anglo Saxons who were led by Penda, their blood thirsty pagan king who killed the Christian King Oswald (Oswaldtwistle), brought with them a new vocabulary.

Most experts consider the River Ribble was firstly a territorial, and later a language barrier between Northumbria and Mercia, later there was a second boundary between the Anglo Saxons and the Norseman.

It is this that gives us our "twang" - so unique and fascinating - changing from one river bank to the next. Even the small streams were boundaries, as found round Rishton.

The Anglo Saxons established their settlements quickly, in contrast to the Norsemen who were more mobile and tended to feel secure before establishing a settlement.

The earliest large Viking settlements known were at York and Dublin, with an intermediate camp on the Isle of Man. This was about 905 A.D. and The area known as Lancashire was on a direct line between these two cities. The Ribble was used by Vikings who had been evicted from Ireland, after an uprising by the native Irish. Our twang was greatly influenced by these marches in the 9th and 10th Centuries.

A look at the map of the area reveals a strong Scandinavian influence, the Flyde once was known as Amounderness. Agmundr was the name of the Norseman, and ness was a headland butting into the sea, as in Furness. Other Norse names include Wray, Arkholme, and Arnside, along with the valleys of Hindburn and Roeburn.

The adoption of the name of the father is evident in the shire. Ty-son, Gun-son and Ben-son being a few examples of Scandinavian names. It appeared that the Danes and Saxons lived in piece with one another, some village names becoming joined, Ribby with Wrea, and Westby with Plumton being just two examples.

Variations for Rishton are quite welcome and warmly received on any of the Dialect pages, so if you know of any, please let me know.

The A to ZAn A to Z of our Dialect
Lancashire PhrasesTry pronoucing these local phrases to see how Lancashire you are.
Local PhrasesCommon saying that we use and their meaning and origin.


Lancashire Dialect - Completely Lanky

Lankie Twang by Ron Freethy, Published by Countryside Books 2002, ISBN 1-85306-770-9.

Trouble at mill, Lancashire, dialect, recipes (Site no longer exists - http://www.btinternet.com/~troubleatmill/speak.htm)

Lancashire Monologues & Stories (Website no longer exists - http://www.mdempsey.freeserve.co.uk/)

Cotton Town Dialect page - http://www.cottontimes.co.uk/