27 February 2013

John Collier / Tim Bobbin in Rochdale (Greater Manchester)

A self-portrait of John Collier, aka Tim Bobbin (1708–86).
The grave of Tim Bobbin stands in St Chad's graveyard in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Born John Collier in Church Lane, Urmston, Lancashire (a town where there is now a pub named after him), Bobbin worked as a school teacher in Milnrow. As his family grew he added to his income by writing satirical poetry in the Lancashire dialect. He published a great number of books, often selling them in Rochdale pubs, his most famous being A View of the Lancashire Dialect; or, Tummus and Mary (1746). Other dialect poets recognized their debt to him. He later expanded his talents to painting.
Samuel Bamford wrote a poem called 'Tim Bobbin' Grave' which features Bobbin briefly rising from the dead to drink a swift gallon (eight pints) before settling back down in his grave:
'I stoode beside Tim Bobbin' grave
'At looks o'er Ratchda' teawn;
An' th' owd lad 'woke within his yerth,
An' sed, "Wheer arto' beawn?"
"Awm gooin' into th' Packer-streeet,
As far as th' Gowden Bell,
To taste o' Daniel, Kesmus ale."
TIM.––"I cud like o saup mysel'."
"An' by this hont o' my reet arm,
If fro' that hole theaw'll reawk,
Theaw'st have a saup o'th' best breawn ale
'At ever lips did seawk."
The greawnd it sturr'd beneath my feet,
An' then I yerd o groan;
He shook the dust fro' off his skull,
An rowlt away the stone.
I brought him op o deep breawn jug,
'At o gallon did contain;
An' he took it at one blessed draught,
An laid him deawn again!'
Bobbin in 1773, when he was 64.

Below are links to Tim Bobbin's works and to some of my other posts on Lancashire dialect writers.
The Works of Tim Bobbin, ed. by John Corry
Tim Bobbin in Urmston
The Lancashire Dialect Writers' Memorial, Rochdale
Ben Brierley in Failsworth and Harpurhey

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