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Twisleton III

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Settle’s 2017 celebration of Tom Twisleton’s Centenary left his brother poet Henry Lea (1847-1905) in the shade. That was inevitable given Tom’s uniqueness as that rare breed of dialect poet. The two brothers started life up at Winskill two years apart sons of Frank Twisleton affectionately known as ‘The Craven Giant’, ardent in the Temperance cause. Henry’s poems are appended to most editions of ‘Poems in the Craven Dialect’ where we read: ‘Both brothers had the poetic soul, the poetic gift. In the one case it found its apt expression in the quaint and vigorous Craven dialect; in the other, in choice English and carefully polished lines’.
This is the first of 79 poems published by Henry Lea Twisleton, younger brother of Craven dialect poet Tom Twisleton, of which a great proportion reflect on the seasons. Henry moved to New Zealand around 1875 where he lived the rest of his life and where the seasons fall differently. Leaves especially fall less with a preponderance of ever-green over…

Twisleton II

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I remember sitting beside my father Greg listening to him reading our forbear Tom Twisleton’s poetic description of his own bairn ‘Bobby’ and the joys and challenges of having a baby in the house. After the verses above the poem continues ‘Who is it that can scream an’ rooar, or if he likes can laugh like stoor, an’ sometimes make girt dubs on t’ floor? Lile Bobby’. I was intrigued by baby Bobby ‘pooing ‘dubs’ on the floor’! Now Craven dialect is so little used I’m sorry Greg didn’t take up an invitation to read Tom’s poems on the BBC Home Service which preceded Radio 4. He’d certainly have read this one, probably read to him by his own dad and he’d have been pleased at Tom’s Centenary celebration organised two years ago.  
The power of money to make or break is captured in Craven dialect poet Tom Twisleton (1845-1917)’s poem ‘Brass’ which describes the humiliation that comes when folk run out of it. The poem starts by comparing ‘The chap without brass’ to ‘a cat without claws’ and tho…

Twisleton I

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Who’d be a Twisleton? You’re as misspelt as what I just wrote - ‘mispelled’ is American - but you find your cousins sooner because the name’s quite rare. Its etymology is settlement (‘tun’ in old English) on a river fork (‘twisla’). The river valley fork in question for me is between Kingsdale (River Doe) and Chapel le Dale (River Twiss) either side of Whernside mountain in the Yorkshire Dales. Yes, I’m a Dalesman historically though now I tread the Sussex Downs. The southern slopes of Whernside are named Twisleton Scars where stands the defiant cairn featured on the picture.
Twisleton Scars are recorded in Victoria County History as being held in 1316 by William of Twisleton who possessed lands below Ingleborough. Genealogical study affirms the continuity of life across generations and witnesses the unchanging traits of human nature. One of William’s relatives is named in a 1398 petition for the arrest of Thomas de Twyselton with others for breaking into Millom manor in Cumberland. A…