The origins of colonial accents can be traced back to where most of the settlers came from. As such, the West Country of England contributed largely to the accents of the Eastern United States and much of the West Indies. By contrast, the settlers in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were an incredibly mixed bunch, with the largest language group coming from the militia who were from the region in and around London, hence their accents continue to sound like a mix of London and in particular, Kent.
This is a poem included in Rural Rides of the Country Churchgoer, from the early-mid 19th century, by newspaper publisher of Irish origin, Joseph Leech. He travelled the region doing reviews of local vicars, anonymously, with his horse John Bunyan, so the regions clerics were allegedly living in fear of his reviews. This is by him, to himself I guess, in the guise of a simple local yokel. I love it.
Caleb Clodpoll Writes a Poem
Good zur- I bee a zimple country wite-
I rede a bit, and meake a shift to rite.
When I wur young I wurnt zent much to skool,
An that’s th’ razun I be zich a vool:
But I wur alwiz meade my Church to tend.
Caze Mother zed it wood my mannurs mend.
And zo it did: vor you’ll be pleaz’sd to hear
I still on Zundys do at Church appear,
I love old Mothur church – indeed I doo -
An I do love the voke az love her too:
Zo ye’ll nat wonder I’ve regard vor yoo.
I like to rede wat in the “Times” yoo zay
About yer trips upon th’ Sabbath day
Too diffrunt churches in yer naiborood-
An I beleve yeel do a deal o’ good.
But that zays nothin – wat I want too tell
Iz, that yeel plaze out voke oncommon well,
If yoo at our rite purty little place
Zome Zundy, ere ’tis long, wool show yer face,
Weeve got a vine old Church, and Castel too,
Wich I be zure ye wood bee glad too vue.
The poortly hostess az doo kip th’ Swan
will treat you zur jist like a gentelman :
John Bunyin too, athin hur snug warm stabel,
Of corm may yet as mutch az hee be abel.
But stop – kind zur, I humbly ax yer pardun -
Praps yeel be axed to dinnur wi’ th’ Warden!
Yeel nat hav, az at Winterburn to goa
Our ov yer way a haaf a mile or zoa
Arter th’ Wardun’s rezedens too zurch,
Vor yoo woool vind his ouze close by th’ church.
Hees a good sort of man, an I’ve no dout
If yee do call yeel get a good “blow out.”
Wen ye doo cum, I hope ye wont refuze
Too gi’ us timely notis in the’ nuze.
I goot our skoolmastur too luck this o’er -
But I doo think ’tis woos an twur afore:
He put a lot o’ dots and grut long strokes,
Becaze a zed twood zute th’ larnid vokes.
But yeel ixcuze, I knaw, theze simple letter -
I wood a rit it, if I cood, much better.