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LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & CO.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
N this volume, relating to a district with which the writer
is intimately acquainted, be has gathered up a few points of local interest, and, in connection with these, he has endeavoured to embody something of the traits of present life in South Lancashire with descriptions of its scenery, and with such gleanings from its local history as bore upon the subject, and, under the circumstances, were available to him. How far be has succeeded in writing a book which may be instructive or interesting, he is willing to leave to the judgment of those who know the country and the people it deals with. He is conscious that, in comparison with the fertile peculiarities which Lancashire presents to writers who are able to gather them up, and to use them well, this volume is fragmentary and discursive; yet be believes that, so far as it goes, it will not be wholly unacceptable to native readers.
I'le historical information, interspersed throughout the volume, has been gleaned from so many sources that it would be a matter of considerable difficulty to give a complete and detailed acknowledgment of it. In every important case, however, this acknowledgment has been given, with some degree of care, as fully and clearly as possible, in the course of the work. Some of this historical matter may prove to be ill-chosen, if not ill-used-perhaps in some cases it might have been obtained in a better form, and even more correctly given—but the writer has, at least, the satisfaction of knowing that, with such light as he had, and with such elements as were convenient to him, he has been guided, in his selection of that kind of information, by a desire to obtain the most correct and the most applicable matter which was available to him.
A book which is purely local in its character and bearing, as this is, cannot be expected to have much interest for persons unconnected with the district which it relates to. If there is any hope of its being read at all, that hope is centred there. The subjects it treats upon being local, and the language used in it being often the vernacular of a particular part of the county, these circumstances combine to narrow its circle of acquaintance. But, in order to make that part of it which is given in the dialect as intelligible as possible to all readers not intimate with that form of native language, some care has been taken to explain such words as are unusually ambiguous in form, or in meaning. And here it may be noticed, that persons who know little or nothing of the dialect of Lancashire, are apt to think of it as one in form and sound throughout the county, and expect it to assume one unvaried feature whenever it is represented in writing. This is a mistake, for there often exist considerable shades of difference—even in places not more than eight or ten miles apart—in the expression, and in the form of words which mean the same thing; and, sometimes, the language of a very limited locality, though bearing the same general characteristics as the dialect of the county in general,