Follow by Email

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

William Barnes, On Somerset, A Paper Given in Wincanton, 1869



With many thanks to Louisa Gillett, Office Manager, Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, Somerset Heritage Centre.

From The Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society For The Year 1870, Part II

"In Somerset men, as men of Wessex, there may be a little British blood, though I believe there may be less of it in Somerset than in Dorset...Then another proof that Somerset people are children of the West-Saxon settlers, is that they have, down to the Ax, the Wessex folk-speech, for Somerset differs from Dorset only a little in vowel sounds, while in grammatical form and words it is the same" - William Barnes.











See also:

THE DIALECT OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND PARTICULARLY SOMERSETSHIRE, JAMES JENNINGS (pdf)

"In preparing this second edition of my relative’s work, I have incorporated the results of observations made by me during several years’ residence in Somersetshire, in the centre of the district. I have also availed myself by kind permission, of hints and suggestions in two papers, entitled ”Somersetshire Dialect,” read by T. S. Baynes in 1856, and reprinted from the Taunton Courier, in London, in 1861. During the forty years which have elapsed since the first edition, very much light has been thrown on the subject of Provincial Dialects, and after all much remains to be discovered. I consider with Mr. Baynes that there is more of the pure Anglo-Saxon in the west of England dialect, as this district was the seat of classical Anglo-Saxon, which first rose here to a national tongue, and lasted longer in a great measure owing to its distance from the Metropolis, from which cause also it was less subject to modern modification".

See POEMS AND OTHER PIECES EXEMPLIFYING THE DIALECT OF THE COUNTY OF SOMERSETSHIRE, from page 75.


Font at Yarlington Church, William Barnes



St. Michael's Tower, Glastonbury Tor;
 a sculptured stone, William Barnes

From the invaluable William Barnes, The Somerset Engravings, Laurence Keen, 1989


 A Glossary of the Dorset Dialect with a Grammar of its Word Shapening and Wording, 1886:

"The forms of folk speech do not change at the map boundaries of the Counties, but rather at ridges and streams...there is no perceptible change of speech within the three miles between Gillingham, Dorset, and Mere, Wilts" - and Wincanton, Somerset, he might have added.

"It once seemed to me, that, as the Britons were much mingled with the English in Dorset, and as we Dorset men have therefore some British blood, the mingled thought of the English and Saxon mind in the West, might have taken the unmoulded tense-forms, from some such analogy, as we even now will give unusual forms of words. I have heard a child, who had most likely learnt that his zung or sung, should be sang, take brang, as the past-tense of bring". 

See also


On County Dialects





No comments:

Post a Comment