When we were growing up, my grandad quite often told us about the illegal game hunters that plied their trade by night in Marston and the surrounding area, he rather admired them, even though the wronged Mr Gibbon mentioned in this poem was his good friend! You may also come across some rustic language here, this is the old Cheshire dialect which is now more or less extinct.
Heigh Ho! The Marston Poacher
A craftsman of the land.
A large but shadowy gentleman
The king of the poaching band.
His cloth cap low and black boots high
His jacket specially tailored
To carry his night’s catch, feather and fur
Heavy enough to make a giant labour.
Oh dewy grass you serve me well
And cloudy sky above,
Fresh wind blowing in my face
This is the night I love.
No one to see in the murky gloom
As I peg my net securely,
Across the dip to the water’s edge
Mester Rappit now you see me.
Hooray for Arley and Tabley too
For these estates support my living
And since they are rich and I am poor
It is well that they are giving.
Their rabbits fine and hares like dogs
Pheasant and partridge sit adating,
I’ve opened my bag and slit my pouch
So dunna keep me waiting.
Eeh! Mr Gibbon, you gotten some ducks
Down the woodfield laying many an egg.
I’ve got a customer on Ollershaw Lane
Who for half a dozen has begged.
And that cock pheasant in the canal field
Now you canna shoot him dead,
Cos I’ve got him in my waistcoat
Just knocked him in the head.
Williamson’s Wood, Williamson’s Wood
And what is flying in there,
Why sixteen dozen pigeons
And three and six a pair.
By Budworth Church the field on the bank
A crouching down with care
The rabbit’s cousin who plays in March,
To Pickmere three jugged hair.
With that, I feel the time has come
To relate a story strange to you.
I know the man and like him well
But could his tale be true?
I’ve been and looked and taken stock
Moved about Marbury wood and the Mere.
His story is strange, but possible it is,
So it is time that you should hear…