Yorkshire People:


What makes the Yorkshire people so different? Why do they love Yorkshire so much? Why do they call it 'God's Own County'? And why do some even believe that Yorkshire ought to be a country in its own right? I believe that this type of thinking comes from many factors, not just one, such as the beautiful countryside, the eventful history and the rich culture which is an accumulated product of various different civilisations who have directly controlled its history, including; the Celts (Brigantes and Parisii), Romans, Angles, Norse Vikings and Normans amongst others.

The Yorkshire Dialect:
Tyke is a colloquialism used to identify the Yorkshire dialect, as well as a term some Yorkshiremen affectionately use to describe themselves, especially in the West Riding; originally 'Tyke' was used as a highly derogatory adjective, meaning "a crude uncouth ill-bred person lacking culture or refinement" and southerners used the term against Yorkshiremen, but in defiance of the negative connotations it was adopted locally and has now took on a new meaning, defining their pride from being a yorkshire person born and bred, and a loved child can often be referred to as a"Tyke".

A good example of true Tyke can be seen in the traditional Yorkshire song On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at. There are no dialect boundaries in Yorkshire, or indeed anywhere in England; spoken Tyke, for instance, does not suddenly change when you cross a border or go from town to town; a dialect changes subtley as you move from place to place; however having said that, there are certain dialects that are definitely associated with places in Yorkshire and it is often fairly easy to identify where a person comes from through their speech alone and this is especially true for the older generation living in and around Yorkshire.


The Tweed Flat Cap is associated with the stereotypical Yorkshireman and up until the 1970s, most Yorkshiremen would have no more left the house without a tweed flat cap than they would have without trousers; this may well have been just a status symbol, but regardless of the fact most, if not all, manual workers and miners passed through the factory, or pit, gates wearing flat caps; Yorkshiremen were proud of their caps and would often get compliments on theirs, such as "By 'eck lad, thi'l look a reet bobby dazzler in thi cap! ".

However, the Yorkshire flat cap has declined over recent years and it took a terrible knock with the closure of the JW Myers factory, the world's biggest cap maker, at Holbeck in Leeds; its heyday was in the 1920s but after 111 years, production was switched to the Chinese city of Panyu. Kangol.

One of the most common stereotypes of a Yorkshire person is being tight with money, there is a British saying that "A Yorkshireman is a Scotsman with all the generosity squeezed out of him", which references how Scots are also stereotyped as being tight but not as tight as Yorkshire people; this stereotype can also be seen in the following Yorkshireman's Motto:

Yorkshire Motto:
'Ear all, see all, say nowt;
Eyt all, sup all, pay nowt;
And if ivver tha does owt fer nowt;
Do it fer thissen.
'Hear all, see all, say nothing;
Eat all, drink all, pay nothing;
And if ever you do anything for nothing;
Do it for yourself.

Been stereotyped as mean probably came from pure necessity, for hundreds of years, even up to the present day in some former mining areas, the large majority of Yorkshire people were manual workers with large families and they did not have a lot of money, meaning that they had to make do with whatever they had and had to make it stretch out until the next payday.

Therefore, it wasn't meanness, it was thrift and frugality; it was basically a question of survival; the Yorkshire people had to learn how to make money last and would think twice before wasting it, or giving it away; they believed that charity started at home and that feeding and clothing the family came first.

Yorkshire people are also often stereotyped as being friendly but 'bloody-minded', showing true'Yorkshire-stubborness' and being 'argumentative'; and there may be some truth in this because throughout the history of the area, going back to the time of the Romans, the tribal Brigantes, the Norman period and the Wars of the Roses, the region has seen a number of rebellions against non-Yorkshire or non-Northern rulers.

Another stereotype often heard in connection with Yorkshire workers is the proverb "Where there’s muck, there’s brass"; this refers to the widely held view that where one is willing to do undesirable work, there is plenty of money to be made.

Other typical Yorkshire sayings include:

Clumsiness or Awkwardness: 'Like orse muck', 'allus int road!' or 'As handy as a duck wi a much fork.'

Laziness: 'Ees that idle ee thinks manual labour's a Spanish Socialist.' or 'There's more work in a Beecham's pill.'

Someone who talks too much: 'Tha talks like an alfpenny book baht leaves' or 'Tha knows some clog iron'.

Restlessness: 'As fidgetty as a fly in a bottle.'.

Someone really stupid is: 'Ten pence t' t'shilling', 'Ee couldn't it t'barn door sat ont'sneck.', 'If is brains were dynamite they wouldn't blow is cap off!' or 'As thick as two short planks'.

Someone considered weak: 'Ee's as strong as chip 'oil vinegar'.

Not good looking: 'Ee's a face like a busted clog'.

Hungry: 'He'd eat t'oven door if it were buttered'.

Nervy: 'Tha's as edgy as a crocodile in an andbag factory.'.

Words of advice: 'Tha munt ever be t'main man at a weddin or a funeral', 'There's nowt so queer as folk' or 'T'truth nivver urt any-one'.

And one of my favourites: An elderly Yorshireman will often beam with pride when evoking memories of being a happy youth, when they could "go to t'pub on t'bus and still have brass left for chips wi' bits on t'way 'ome.".

Ferret Legging - A Yorkshire Sport:
According to Marlene Blackburn of the Richmond Ferret Rescue League, this sport seems to have become popular among Yorkshire coal miners in the 1970s; apparently ferret legging originated in public houses "where patrons would bet on who could keep a ferret in his pants the longest."; the sport may alternatively have originated during the time when only the relatively wealthy in England were allowed to keep ferrets, which were used for hunting, forcing poachers to hide their illicit ferrets in their trousers to avoid detection by gamekeepers, although, this was also done to keep the animals warm in cold weather.

Retired miner Reg Mellor, from Barnsley, set a new world record time of five hours and twenty-six minutes on 5 July 1981 at the Annual Pennine Show at Holmfirth, Yorkshire; he had practised the sport since his youth, but had received no recognition until he set the new world record; Mellor, who had hunted with ferrets in the dales outside of Barnsley for many years, had grown accustomed to keeping them in his trousers to keep them warm and dry when out working in the rain; Mellor's trick was to ensure that the ferrets were well-fed before they were inserted into his trousers.


Go back.