Fisherman, fisherman, do you recall the garths
where you caught the little silver salmon?
Fisherman, fisherman, do you recall the holme,
its treacherous fords and unpredictable tides,
how I held you in my arms midst the throes of a midnight sea,
how your flesh was warm and mine cold and strange?
Fisherman, fisherman, do you recall the tail of the woman
who slipped away and swam up river to lay our eggs?
Fisherman, fisherman, do you want to know my death
and the fate of our little silver children?
Fisherman, fisherman, where are you now,
now that the river is drained away?
Penwortham Holme was originally made up of three raised pieces of land in the middle of the river Ribble; Little Holme, Little Holme and Great Holme. In Penwortham in the Past, Alan Crosby shows a map where there are fish garths across the river to the south of the holmes, and between Great Holme and the east bank (1756).
An 1840’s map shows that Narrow Water, the stretch of the Ribble on the west side of the Holme has been drained. At this point in time, it is in use as a race course.
The holme is now divided in two by the A59 and its bridge over the Ribble to Preston. The south half is playing fields and the north half is allotments.
Last year, the Ribble flooded, submerging the playing fields, a reminder of the river’s tidal nature and the meaning of the word ‘holme,’ ‘a piece of flat ground by a river which is submerged in times of flood.’