The Oxford Book of Local Verses Chosen by John Halloway (HC/DJ)
Local verses have been perpetuated in a particular place sometimes through the oral tradition, also through local use as work-songs or seasonal celebrations, and, more tangibly, in the form of inscriptions and engravings, in stone, wood, glass or metal. This collection celebrates the largely
anonymous but often inventive and gifted authors of the verses that appear preserved on village crosses, fountains, sundials, churches, house walls, bells, inn-signs, wells, caves and other monuments. It includes epitaphs, and also verses inscribed on moveable objects such as clocks and pottery,
silverware and books. Country charms and weather rhymes, children's games and farming songs add to the variety of tone and style.
When a North of England football team reached the championships in 1936 a local poet put pen to paper to wish his team luck; an inmate at Millbank scratched a few terse lines about English prisons on the bottom of his dinner-can; a Kent gunner petitioned for his discharge papers in verse; a
rhyme describing willow-pattern designs was inscribed on a piece of Staffordshire pottery: these and many more are among the 550 or so verses arranged under ten, mainly regional headings, covering the United Kingdom from South and South-West England to the Welsh Borders and the North.