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Home » Learning About » Information and Resources » Culture and Heritage » Pembrokeshire English

Pembrokeshire English

While new settlers colonised South Pembrokeshire, plying their trades, setting up towns and villages and enclosing fields, the native Welsh remained in the north, beyond a ‘frontier’, labelled the Landsker Line in the early 20th century. The name of this ‘frontier’ comes from the Norse term for boundary being ‘sker’.

This divide is apparent to a degree today with South Pembrokeshire English being heard in Narberth and Welsh just three miles away in Clynderwen.

Roch Castle, which is part of the Landsker Line
Roch Castle, which is part of the Landsker Line​.

So the dialect of South Pembrokeshire is quite unique, being based on a bedrock of native Welsh, seasoned with Norse, to which, after the Normans arrived, was added a large helping of West Country English and some Flemish.

Here are some splendid words and phrases perhaps unique to the area:

all to clush/in a caffle – confused
all beleejers – leisurely
all for heat – miserable day in summer
all front – all show (of person)
angletwitch – earthworm
apple-flap – apple turnover
ba – boy
babaloobies – pebble/weathered stone copings
balshag – ragged person
bittie – small
brangel – brazen-faced woman
cackty – cowardly person
cack-handed - awkward, clumsy
cadge – scrounge
chopsy – overly talkative
capswabble – lies, nonsense
cobnobble – chastise, knock on the head
cockalorum – wand used by charmers/faith healers
drapsy – lazy person
dicky – poorly, uncertain
dimp – simpleton
empting – pouring with rain
en, un – him, it
enough blue sky to make a pair of drawers – signs of weather clearing
fantaddling – fussing
funkin – unkind person
furrable – pushy
furren – foreign, abroad
scaddly pluck – scramble e.g. for sweets
tammat – small load

…and many more, far too colourful for this webpage!

We also have surviving dialect words from the Welsh, which include:

cardydwyn – small person (pron. Ker-did-win)
clegyr – big stone (pron. Kleg-ar)
cluster – smack around ear (pron. Klis-ter)
heck / hercan – to limp

From the Vikings, who harried the area from the ninth to eleventh centuries we have:

sker - field boundary
haggard - stackyard
hagglestone - hailstone

The time spent by the Flemings in England before they arrived in Pembrokeshire, coupled with intermarriage led to the early decline of their language. A few words are still in use:-

droppel - doorstep
hadridge - wild charlock
slop - gap in hedge

Among many words of West Country origin are:-

culm – small coal
evil – hay fork
drang – passage
pill – tidal creek
lake – stream

I do hope that you read this page all beleegers so that you’re not all to clush. This is only a bittie example of the Southern Dialect and it’s honestly not cabswabble!