The Story of Sammy Buttercup
Who was Sammy Buttercup?
George Newbrook, better known under his nom de plume of ‘Sammy Buttercup’ was a prolific writer of Lancashire Sketches. His humorous productions appeared in newspapers and literary supplements week by week up to the time of his death.
Over 130 of his Lancashire Sketches were printed in the Leigh Chronicle, including ‘Grond Dooins at Croft’ and ‘Little Billy’ as well as a series under the title ‘Th’ Jubilee Debatin’ Club’ which also appeared in the Liverpool Weekly Post.
Sammy was in great request for recitations and comic sketches at local parties and social gatherings where his ready wit but quiet and unassuming manner made him invariably a universal favourite.
He sadly died on 20th February 1890. After his burial the Liverpool Daily Post wrote –
Yesterday, the mortal remains of George Newbrook, better known throughout Lancashire, and, indeed, the whole of the United Kingdom, as Sammy Buttercup, were interred in the churchyard of Croft, near Warrington.
Sammy has been ailing for a considerable time, the first symptoms of what has proved to be a fatal illness showing themselves so long ago as September last. He continued to grow weaker, and gradually lost the use of his eyesight, and became unable to read or write. He rallied somewhat towards the end of January, but catching cold early in the present month, he relapsed, and died on the 20th inst.
Sammy was born in Manchester on the 5th March 1835, and had thus almost completed his fifty-fifth year. He is survived by a widow and a grown-up family.
Widely known as Sammy’s writings were, few could claim to have a personal acquaintance with him; indeed, his personality was a mystery to many. A quiet, unassuming man, one would not readily suppose that his was the hand that wrote so many mirth-provoking tales.
In the small cottage at Croft where Sammy spent the latter days of his life, he composed some of the wittiest anecdotes. Brimful of that humour which pleases best of all, because it came naturally and without any apparent effort, Sammy’s favourite couplet
“Grief to our coffin adds a nail, no doubt;
Whilst every grin, so merry, draws one out.”
Expresses in small compass his own genial and lovable disposition. He was a great reader, and thought much on what he read; yet this passion for reading and writing with which he was possessed contributed in no small degree to his untimely death.
He moved in a very lowly sphere of life, and thus it is that his writings will endear him in the memory of that class in particular. He was not lacking in conversational powers, as an hour’s conversation with him would amply testify. His mind was stored with a large amount of general knowledge, from which he could draw to an unlimited extent.
Our Croft correspondent writes: - “A well-known person has been removed by the band of death from amongst the inhabitants of Croft, Mr. George Newbrook, the original “Sammy Buttercup” and Lancashire sketch writer, having died at his residence at Millhouse Brow, Croft, about 20 minutes past 11 o’clock on Thursday morning last, at the age of 54 years. Some months ago he broke a blood vessel, and was confined to his house for a short time, and was attended to by Dr. Sephton, of Culcheth, when he recovered a little, though he has never been in very good health since. He was, however, taken worse a few weeks ago, and gradually became weaker, and died as stated.
He was a man of very quiet disposition, and will be regretted by a large circle of friends amongst whom he visited. His funeral took place at Christ Church, Croft, on Sunday afternoon last, the ceremony being performed by the rector, the Rev. T. P. Kirkman. Several friends from Leigh and Croft were present to witness the funeral ceremony at the church.
LEIGH CHRONICLE & WEEKLY DISTRICT ADVERTISER
Cheyvonne Bower is a local historian with a passion for the past.