The Corner

The Derb Shires

Following my earlier posting about regimental ties, several readers have

sent me the link to the tie for the Derbyshire Yeomanry. It’s a nice

thought, and I appreciate it, but I have no connection at all with

Derbyshire. I spent a week there once on business, and I must say they

seemed like very odd folk to me. “Derbyshire born, Derbyshire bred–strong

in the arm, weak in the head,” as the saying goes. For the record: my Dad

was born in Lancashire to Lancashire people, but was raised in Shropshire

and spoke Shropshire dialect. My mother was a Staffordshire lass, from near

Cannock Chase, though her father originally came from Worcestershire. (When

my mother told her father she was going to marry a fellow from Shropshire,

he said: “Shropshire? Them’s neither Welsh nor English over there.”) I

myself was born and raised in Northamptonshire, on the banks of the Nene

(pronounced “Nen”). Northampton people are mild-mannered and

under-achieving, with a pleasantly self-deprecating style of humor. You can

buy bumper stickers that say: SORRY! I’M FROM NORTHAMPTON. The surname

“Derbyshire,” by the way, belongs to Lancashire. The great hearth-place of

the Derbyshires is Wigan, where in fact my father was born.

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