Robert Allen (poet)

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Robert Allen was a Northumberland born farmer and poet.


Allen completed his military service, and after gaining farm experience at a farm near Prendwick (11 miles west of Alnwick), Northumberland, moved in 1950 to Redesmouth Farm, Redesmouth, near Bellingham, which was owned by his father Colonel Allen of Haydon Bridge.

When he retired, he and his wife Angela, moved into a new house named "The Glebe" in Bellingham. Robert had always had an interest in his local dialect, which he called "Big hoose terk", the gentle and polite dialect used when talking to the vicar, rather than the more common and normal "village talk" and also in poetry, and his retirement allowed him the time to put the two together and write down the results.

He then produced three audio tapes of his poems "The Canniest Place on Earth", "Ridin' High" and "The Lang Pack", and eventually, in 1994, he published the whole in a book Canny Bit Verse,[1] illustrated by local poet/illustrator and neighbouring farmer Henry Brewis.

Both Robert Allen and his wife died in the early 2000s.[2]



  • Bonnie North Tyne
  • Canny Welcome (A)
  • Cautionary Tale (A)
  • Corbie Crow (The)
  • Costly chimney cowl (The)
  • End O’ Lambin Day
  • Grittor (The)
  • Lot Of It Aboot (A)
  • Owld Farmor’s Advice (The)
  • Owld Men’s Thowts
  • Spuggies
  • Whee’s Deed Collum (The)


  • God’s Bairn A Northumbrian version of the Christmas story


  • Canny Bit Verse[3] The contents of three audio cassettes of Northumbrian dialect verse translated into a single book of poems, which between them praise the valley of the North Tyne, talk about local village cricket, or tell of sad occurrences as in the whee's deid (obituary) column, and according to the sales details "and for those who don't know their cushat (wood pigeon) from their shavie (chaffinch), there's a glossary of dialect words"[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Northumbrian Language Society". Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Woolshed 1 – 19 December 2008".
  3. ^ Allen, Robert (1994). Canny Bit Verse: Illustrator Henry Brewis. R Allen. p. 128. ISBN 9780952464907.
  4. ^ "Canny Bit Verse - the book". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013.

External links[edit]