Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 3/Hunting at Extwistle Hall

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HUNTING AT EXTWISTLE HALL.

Most of our Lancashire gentry appear to have been fond of field-sports; and their prowess has frequently been made the subject of local songs and ballads. The late Mr Harland included one of these—"The Stonyhurst Buck Hunt"—in his "Early Lancashire Ballads;" and the following composition relates to the same "noble sport," by one of the Parkers of Extwistle, near Burnley. From some memoranda, in a copy of "Merlinus Liberatus," for 1699, the present owner of Extwistle and Cuerden considers "the Owd Squire" to have been Robert Parker, of Extwistle, who married a co-heiress of Christopher Banastre, of Banke, and by her obtained Cuerden. He kept a "Journal of Events," which includes the days he went hunting and killed "haires."

OWD SQUIRE PARKER O' EXTWISTLE HALL.

"Come all ye jolly sportsmen, give ear to me all,
An' I'll sing you of a huntin at Extwistle Hall.
Sich huntin, sich huntin, you never did see;
So come, jolly sportsmen, and listen unto me.
Sich huntin, sich huntin, you never did see;
So come, jolly sportsmen, and listen unto me.

"There were Squire Parker, and Holden o' th' Clough,
T' one mounted on Nudger, and t'other on Rough;
An' tantivy, tantivy, the bugles did call,
To join in that huntin fra Extwistle Hall.
Sich huntin, sich huntin, you never did see;
So come, jolly sportsmen, and listen unto me.

"They hunted fra Roggerham to Wyecoller Moor,
But t' buck kept ahead and made th' horses to snore;

There were th' Owd Dog and Pincher, but Rover bet all
That started that morning fra Extwistle Hall.
Sich huntin, sich huntin, you never did see;
So come, jolly sportsmen, and listen unto me.

"They hunted to Langridge, and then back again,
Till by Pendle Water the buck it were ta'en;
Some horses they stumbled, some riders did fall,
For they'd hunted beawt restin fra Extwistle Hall.
Sich huntin, such huntin, you never did see;
So come, jolly sportsmen, and listen unto me.

"Owd Nudger kept leadin, and let nought come near.
An' it neighed an' it marlocked when th' hunters did cheer;
So come, jolly sportsmen, an' join wi' me all
In a health to Squire Parker o' Extwistle Hall.
Sich huntin, sich huntin, you never did see;
So drink to Squire Parker, Rover, Nudger, an' me."

The above song was taken down from the singing of "Blacking Tommy," alias "Tommy o' Raddles," alias Thomas Walker, who can sing the song, but not recite it. The word beawt signifies without; and marlock is an expressive dialectical word signifying pranks, or playful tricks.