When I wur nobbut ten year owd

T’Grandparents took me airt.

We wentter Whalley on the bus

Their fav’rite spot, no dairt


As we walked raind the Abbey

I ‘eard story after story

An’, ‘onestly,Ah seemed ter see

The site in all its glory.


When t’monks med Whalley thrive an’ grow      

Fer centuries they ‘eld sway

Then ‘Enry th’Eighth come to the throne

An’ swept ‘em all away.


St Mary’s, t’parish church wur next

I stood in the graveyard theer

Readin’ out folk’s ‘eadstones

An’ wonderin’ if they’d ‘ear


I kept quiet inside t’church itself

(I didn’t even cough)

Until mi grandad med mi laugh

An’ grandma towd me off!


Fer ‘e ‘ad whispered in mi ear

‘Yon winder of stained glass

Is theer to honour Samuel Brookes

Nicknamed ‘Owd Stink o’ Brass’!


Then off ter ‘Whalley Arches’

To look up at the trains

Steamin’ over t’viaduct

… That mem’ry never wains


Some said a secret passage ran

From th’Abbey ter t’Dog Inn

I know grandad believed it

‘Cos that wur where e’d bin…


… While me an’ grandma ‘ad a brew

When ‘e come back ‘e said

‘I couldn’t find yon passage

So I ‘ad a pint instead.’


Then grandad towd me summat

(I’ve remembered every word)

 ‘In eighteen-sixty-seven’, ‘e said

‘A great event occurred


Aye, in the world o’ cricket

This village is renowned

First ever ‘Roses Match’ wur played

At Station Road’s owd ground!’


‘E also talked o’ t’Speedway

Dean’s Pleasure Park‘ad t’track

Wi only two bikes racin’

‘E’d been there long years back.


We went ter see ‘Alms-‘ouses’

An’ theer, mi gran towd me

Yon row of tiny cottages

As pretty as could be


Wurbuilt fer t’ poor o’ parish

They wur ones who got ‘em

Thanks to a wealthy gentleman

Kind-hearted Adam Cottam


Last month I went ter London

I stayed wi’ friends down theer

They ‘ad ter show me raind the place

Fer I’d get lost, I fear!


We goester t’National Gall’ry

In theer I chance ter see

A portrait of owd Cottam

…‘E seems ter smile at me


Fer a moment I’m a child agen

An’ ‘ear mi grandma say

‘Come wi’ me an’ grandad

It’s our Whalley trip terday’







© Mervyn Hadfield 2016