Our life in 1809 by Pat Wilson

Our life in 1809

In eighteen O’ nine I married a lass,
we lived in a one roomed cottage without any glass.
The roof was heather from Blanchland moor.
Times were hard and we were poor.

We separated the room with a thick green curtain,
there wasn’t much space of that it was certain.
Behind the curtain we had a bed to sleep.
and a narrow cupboard for clothes to keep.

The smoke from our fire kept the bugs out the thatch;
that fire cooked our food and heated water for a bath;
It kept us cosy and warm in winter and boiled water for tea.
Gathering fire wood was a daily chore for both her and me.

There was a window space with wooden shutters,
While a barrel outside gathered rain from the gutters.
Water from the well we shared with the folks next door
and Ladycross stone slabs were laid for our floor.

Our house had a garden where veggies were grown,
Carrots and beetroot in rows were sown.
We ate our potatoes, onions, beans and peas,
and honey we got from our hive of bees.

Out the back of our house we kept a few hens,
while ‘Rosy’ our milk cow slept in old pens.
The gift of a pig was given the day we wed
and all the house scraps to the pig was fed.

In a nearby stream there were fish a plenty,
catching a few meant our stomachs were rarely empty.
Rabbits were common and provided free meat for all;
Pigeon eggs were used although they’re really quite small

We grew currents, black and red & berries, goose and straw,
ate wild blackberries and mushrooms and whatever else we saw.
We had fruit trees of apple, pear and plum
And Hazel nuts were gathered when the squirrels left us some.

Wild cherries and crab-apples grew down the lane,
Blackbirds ate the raspberries so we often looked in vain.
Wild garlic and mint were added to our stew,
while nettles or sloes made an alternative brew.

Within twelve months we would increase in size;
our baby was expected, but twins were born to our surprise.
More space was needed we two were now four;
and so to a bigger house we moved, but only next door.

Pat Wilson 2014

The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467