Northumbrian Minstrelsy

Northumbrian Minstrelsy
Author John Collingwood Bruce and John Stokoe
Country United Kingdom
Language English, many in Geordie dialect
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 206 pages

Northumbrian Minstrelsy is a book of 18th and 19th century North East of England folk songs and pipe music, intended to be a lasting historical record. The book was edited by John Stokoe and the Rev John Collingwood Bruce LL.D., F.S.A., and published by and on behalf of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1882. It was reprinted in 1965 by Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsyslvania, with a foreword by A. L. Lloyd.


Northumbrian Minstrelsy was written with the intention of providing a historical record of some of the North Country songs and music. "A book for the collection and preservation of the old music and poetry of the North of England" was what Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland had suggested.

The book is divided into two sections; the first giving the lyrics (with some music) of local, now historical songs, and the second part giving the music to many Northumbrian smallpipes tunes with very few lyrics. The book was edited by John Stokoe and the Rev John Collingwood Bruce, with the help of committee members, and published by and behalf, of the Ancient Melodies Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1882.[1]


The project first started in 1855 after Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland, patron of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne expressed a desire that the Society should turn its attention to the collection and preservation of the old music and poetry of the North East of England. A committee was appointed, consisting of Robert White, John Clerevaulx Fenwick, and William Kell (1797–1862); with Bruce, a member of the society, acting in an ex-officio role.

Robert White, was a farmer's son from Kirk Yetholm, Northumberland, worked all his life in a brass foundry in Newcastle. He was an avid researcher into Northumberland legends, folk lore and folk songs, writing regularly for local newspapers on local matters. John Clerevaulx Fenwick was the son of a lay-preacher, a lawyer by profession, a lover of pipe-music and author of a small (18-page) book "A few remarks upon bagpipes and pipe music". William Kell was the first Town Clerk of Gateshead, elected 1836 to 1854, and also a pipe-music lover, and collector of music relating to the Northumbrian smallpipes. Bruce was a pillar of society: a headmaster, a Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, a founder of the Y.M.C.A., a workhouse guardian, a respected antiquary, etc., etc., and consequently gave much credence to the committee and its work. He was possibly an influence in the omission of slightly bawdy ballads from the final works.

In 1857, after two years there was still no book, and the delays caused some embarrassment to members of the committee. The reasons given in the committee’s apologies included the fact that they did not want to credit any of the work as "Northumbrian" if it were not. As time went on, Kell (1862) and White (1870) died, and Fenwick moved his law practice to London. In the meantime, John Stokoe had been appointed to the Committee. He had for many years been transcribing and copying out, by hand, many songs, lyrics and/or music, and had collected a large number.

The committee now had numerous other sources to choose from, including Joseph Ritson's Bishopric Garland and Northumberland Garland, John Bell's Rhymes of Northern Bards and Joseph Crawhall II's Tunes for the Northumbrian small Pipes. These then, together with the collected papers of its committee members, were the main sources of Northumbrian Minstrelsy, but works from other similar compilations were considered and used. There appears to have been relatively little collecting in the field.

When John Stokoe joined the team on the committee, the work moved forward. The various sources and manuscripts were sifted, collated and ordered. A final selection was made, enabling publication too ccur finally in 1882.

The publication

Northumbrian Minstrelsy[2] is a book of Border ballads, Northumbrian and Tyneside folk songs and Northumbrian pipe music consisting of over 200 pages. It contains 132 song lyrics and over 100 pieces of music, and was published in 1882. It is divided into the two sections; the first song lyrics, the second pipe music where only a handful of pieces have lyrics. There is little in the way of biographies of the writers of the music or lyrics, but some information on the histories of the events and a considerable amount on the history of the music.

The selection however has been made from the point of musical and prose quality rather than the popularity of the (sometimes slightly coarse) songs of the period. In addition several of the songs have been "modified" from the original versions for inclusion in this book.


Note – The page numbers refer to those in the 1965 reprinted edition, and may differ from the original 100+ year old edition.

Page Title Songwriter Tune Comments Notes Ref
vForeword by A L Lloyd
iiicopy of cover
iiicomment onThomas Doubleday
ivcomment onthe bag of the bagpipes
vcomment onthe reed of the bagpipes
ivcomment onthe drone
xiiThe two Sections
1Chevy Chase – (ancient ballad of)history of and comments on
1Chevy Chase – (ancient ballad of)
3Chevy Chase – (ancient ballad of) The first FitChevy Chase
10Chevy Chase – (modern ballad of)may be Richard ShealeChevy Chaseaccording to Mr Chappell
10a mention ofWilliam Chappell
17Battle of Otterburn – (The)Chevy Chasea variation on Chevy Chase – about a battle fought 9 August 1388
25Bewick and the Graeme, theTranscribed by Sir Walter Scotttaken from the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border" possibly 16th century
29comment on "The Bewick and the Graeme" and chivalry
31Brave Earl Brand and the King of England's Daughter – (The)
33comment on The close relationship between the last song and many others
34Hughie the GraemeGraeme Clan
35short bioJoseph Ritson
36short bioGraeme Clan
37Jock o' the Sydefirst published 1784 in the Hawick Museum, a provincial miscellany, by John Elliott, Esq., of Reidheugh
41short bioJock o' the Sydemaybe a nephew of the Laird of Mangerton,
42Death of Parcy Reed – (The)
46short bioParcy Reed
48Outlandish Knight – (The)
50short bioOutlanderssomeone from the Outlands or Debatable Lands
51Fair Flower of Northumberland – (The)Thomas Deloney or T.D. The English version – there is a Scottish version by Kinlock
55short bioThomas Deloney or T.D. alias the "ballading silk weaver" who died c1600
55short bioKinlock,A Scottish version of "Fair Flower of Northumberland"
56Laidley Worm (The) (of Spindleston Heugh)(this version by Robert Lamb, Vicar of Norham)from an old MSS
60short bioReverend Robert LambeVicar of Norham
60comment onThe Worm O Spindleston Heugh
61Binnorie, or, the Cruel Sister,first published as broadsheet by Mr. Rimbault c 1656.
63a mention of Mr. Rimbault printer
63comment on history of Binnorie
64Lord Beichan
69comment onversions of "Lord Beichan"
71Derwentwater's Farewell
72short bioJames Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater
73comment on Derwentwater's Farewell
75comment onDerwentwater
76Lay the Bent to the Bonny Broom
78comment onsimple melodies
79Whittingham Fair[3]
81Blow the Winds, I-ho
82Keach I' the Creel – (The)
84O I hae seen the Roses blaw
86O the Oak and the Ash and the Bonny Ivy TreeGoddesses ** The tune is in Sir James Hawkins' "The Dancing Muster," 1650, under this title
87comment onhistory of song "Oak Ash and Bonny Ivy
88Bonny at Morn
89Water of Tyne (The)
90Willow Tree or Rue ard Thyme – (The)attributed to Mrs Francis Habergham, of Habergham, Lancashire (died 1703)according to William Chappell
90Rue ard Thyme – (The)attributed to Mrs Francis Habergham, of Habergham, Lancashire (died 1703)Alternative title of "Willow Tree"
91short bioWilliam Chappell
91comment onhistory of "The Willow Tree"
92Sair Fail'd, HinneyActually titled "Sair Fyel'd, Hinny" in the book
93I Drew my Ship into a Harbour
94Miller and His Sons – (The)
95comment onThe Miller in poetry and satire
96Shoemaker – (The)
97My Love is Newly Listedno lyrics – music only – first published when Thomas Doubleday placed it in "Blackwood Magazine" 1821
97a mention ofThomas Doubleday
97comment onhistory of My Love is newly listed
98Broom, Green Broom
100O the Bonny Fisher Lad
102Hexhamshire Lass – (The)
104Mode o' Wooing – (The)
107Northumberland Bagpipes – (The)
108a mention ofWilliam Chappell
108comment onpipes
109Durham Old Women
110Aboot the Bush, Willy
111Christmas Day in the MorningTraditional Carol
112Elsie MarleyElsie Marleyto its own tuneAn Alewife at Pictree, near Chester-le-Street
113short bioElsie (or Alice) Marleyfirst published by Joseph Ritson in "Bishopric Garland" 1784
113comment on short history on "Elsie Marley"
115Bobby ShaftoeTraditional
116Up the Raw
117Dol Li A
118Broom Buzzems – (or Buy Broom Busoms)
119short bioWilliam Purvis
120A You A, Hinny Burdnamed as "A U Hinny Burd" in this book
121Ca' Hawkie through the watterThe title given is "Water" in this book
122Anti-Gallican Privateer (The)
123comment onThe ship, first to sail fitted and manned from Newcastle
124Adam Buckham, O!
125Captain Bover
125short bioThomas Doubleday
125short bioCaptain Bover
126Here's the Tender coming
127Liberty for the SailorsJohn Stobbsa Shields song for the days of the Press-gangTune-Br
128Sailors are a' at the Bar (The)Actually titled "The Sailors are all at the Bar" in book
128a mention ofJohn Bell
128Lad wi' the Trousers on
129Twelve Days of Christmas – (The)
129comment onhistory of "Twelve Days of Christmas"
132Ma' Canny HinnyActually titled "Maw Canny Hinny" in this book
134Robin Spraggon's Auld Grey Maretranscribed by Mr Fairless
135comment on days gone by
136short bioMr. Fairless of Hexham
137Sword Dancers' Song – (The)no lyrics – music only
137Kitty Bo-bo,no lyrics – music only
138(Weel May) The Keel RowTraditional
139comment on history of "The Keel Row"
140Northern Minstrel's Budget – (The)Henry Robson
143short bioHenry Robson
145Part II – Small pipe tunes
the following tunes are music only except where a comment to the contrary is given.
145Chevy Chase – (pipe tune)Chevy Chase
146Wylam AwayWylam Awayreferred to as "Gingling Geordie" in an old ms of 1694
146Cockle GeordieCockle Geordie
147I saw My Love passing by MeI saw My Love passing by Metwo lines of lyrics discovered
147Jockey lay up in the Hay LoftJockey lay up in the Hay Loft
148Pelton Lonnin'Pelton Lonnin'two verses also located, Title actually given as "Felton" but verses say "Pelton"
148Kye's Come Home (The)Pelton Lonnin'two verses also located
148a mention ofCuthbert Sharpgiven as "Pelton Lonin" in "Bishoprick Garland"
149Stay a Wee Bit, Bonnie LadStay a Wee Bit, Bonnie Lad
149Broken-legged Chicken – (The)The Broken-legged Chicken
150Bonny Pit Laddie – (The)Bonny Pit Laddietwo verses given
150Bonny Keel Laddie – (The)Bonny Pit Laddiethree verses given
151Dorrington LadsDorrington Lads[4]
151Blackett o' WylamBlacket o' Wylamerroneously spelt "Blacket" in this book
152Peacock followed the hen (The)William MidfordThe Peacock followed the Hentwo verses givenTune-Cr
152history of tune"The Peacock followed the Hen"
152Meggy's FootMeggy's Foot
154Because he was a Bonny LadBecause he was a Bonny Ladone chorus given
154Fair Maid of Whickham – (The)Fair Maid of Whickham – (The)
155My Dearie Sits Ower Late Up – or My Bonnie Bay Mare and IMy Dearie Sits Ower Late Upfour verses given
155history of tune"My Dearie Sits Ower Late Up"
156Newburn LadsNewburn Ladsalso known as "The Braw Lads o' Jethart"
156a mention ofThomas Doubleday
156Cut and Dry DollyCut and Dry Dolly
157I'll have Her in Spite of Her MinnieI'll have Her in Spite of Her Minnie
157Lads of AInwick – (The)The Lads of AInwick
158Sir John Fenwick's the Flower amang themSir John Fenwick's the Flower amang them"Sir John Fenwick's the Flower amang them"
158history of tune
159Sir John Fenwick's the Flower amang them (newer lyrics)Sir John Fenwick's the Flower amang themone chorus given
159Cuddie ClauderCuddie Clauder
160All the Night I lay awakeAll the Night I lay awake
160Ail Hands upon DeckAil Hands upon Deck
161Noble Squire DacreNoble Squire Dacre
161short bioThe Dacre Family
162Go to Berwick, JohnnieGo to Berwick, Johnnie
162Parks o' Yester – (The)Parks o' Yester – (The)
163Wedding o' Blyth – (The) – or Blue's gaen oot o' the FashionWedding o' Blyth
163Blue's gaen oot o' the FashionWedding o' BlythAlternative title of "The Wedding o' Blyth"
163a mention ofThomas Doubledaytranscribed the tune "Wedding o' Blyth" with one verse
163Lousy Cutter – (The)Wedding o' Blythtwo verses given
164Black Cock of Whickham – (The)The Black Cock of Whickham
164Coffee and Tea – or Jamie Allen's FancyCoffee and Tea
164Jamie Allen's FancyAlternative title of "Coffee and Tea"
164Jamie Allen's FancyCoffee and Teaalternative name vof "Coffee and Tea"
165Keelman Ower Land – (The)The Keelman Ower Land
165Small Coals an' Little MoneySmall Coals an' Little Money
166Shew's the Way to WallingtonShew's the Way to Wallington
166Shew's the Way to WallingtonMr Anderson, a miller at WallingtonShew's the Way to Wallington5 verses given
167short bioMr Anderson, a miller at Wallington
167Jockey stays lang at the FairJockey stays lang at the Fair
168Stagshaw Bank FairStagshaw Bank Fair
168We'll all away to SunnisideWe'll all away to Sunniside
169Miller's Wife o' Blaydon – (The)The Miller's Wife o' Blaydonthree verses given
170Holey Halfpenny – (The)The Holey Halfpenny
170Hoop Her and Gird HerHoop Her and Gird Her
171Fenwick o' BywellFenwick o' Bywellalso known as "Newmarket Races" and "Galloping ower the Cow Hill" and similar to Irish air "Garryowen"
171history of tuneFenwick o' Bywell
172Drucken Moll KnoxDrucken Moll Knox
172Lass and the Money is all my own – (The)The Lass and the Money is all my own
173Canny Hobbie Elliotor Canny Hobby Elliott
173comment onThomas Doubleday
173comment onJohn Bellnamed as "Hobby Elliott"
173Peacock's MarchJohn PeacockPeacock's March
174Peacock's TuneJohn PeacockPeacock's Tune
174short bioJohn Peacock
175Peacock's FancyJohn PeacockPeacock's Fancy
175FootieJohn PeacockPeacock's Fancya mention only
175Pipers' Maggot or FancyPipers' Maggot or Fancy
176Green Brechans o' BrantonGreen Brechans o' Branton
176Jackey LaytonJackey Layton
177Till the Tide comes inTill the Tide comes in
177short bioCuthbert Sharp
177Till the Tide comes inHenry RobsonTill the Tide comes in
177Lamshaw's FancyLamshaw's Fancy
178Morpeth LassesMorpeth Lasses
178Major – (The)The Major
179Andrew CarrAndrew Carrtwo verses given
179Follow Her over the BorderFollow Her over the Border
180Little FishieLittle Fishie
180Leazes HoppingLeazes Hopping
181Cooper o' Stannerton Heugh – (The)The Cooper o' Stannerton Heugh
181Mile to Ride – (A)A Mile to Ridealso known as Stannerton (or Stamfordham) Hopping, Stanhope, Weardale and The Fleet's a coming
181Stannerton (or Stamfordham) HoppingA Mile to Ridealternative name of "A Mile to Ride"
181StanhopeA Mile to Ridealternative name of "A Mile to Ride"
181WeardaleA Mile to Ridealternative name of "A Mile to Ride"
181Fleet's a coming – (The)A Mile to Ridealternative name of "A Mile to Ride"
182Sandhill CornerSandhill Corner
182Lang stay'd awayLang stay'd away
183Blaw the Wind southerlyBlaw the Wind southerlyone verse given – usually spelt as "Blow the Wind Southerly"
183comment onCuthbert Sharp
183history of tuneBlaw the Wind southerly
183Cuckold come out o' the AmreyCuckold come out o' the Amrey
184Ower the BorderOwer the Border
184Sunderland LassesSunderland Lasses
185New Highland LaddieNew Highland Laddie
186Little wot ye wha's comingLittle wot ye wha's coming
186history of tune
186Little wot ye wha's comingLittle wot ye wha's cominga mention of Scottish version listing clans
186Little wot ye wha's comingLittle wot ye wha's cominga mention of English version with two lines preserved
187Fairly shot of Her
188Black and the Grey – (The)Black and the Grey – (The)
189Rantin' Roarin' Willie – or Mitford Galloway – (The)Rantin' Roarin' Willie – or Mitford Galloway – (The)
189Mitford Galloway (The)alternative name of "Rantin' Roarin' Willie"
189history of tune
189Mitford Galloway (The)Thomas WhittleRantin' Roarin' Willie – or Mitford Galloway – (The)
189short bioThomas Whittle
190Hen's March – (The)
191Blanchland Races


See also


  1. "Northumbrian Minstrelsy by Bruce and Stokoe, 1882".
  2. Full title – "Northumbrian Minstrelsy – A collection of the ballads, melodies and small pipe tunes of Northumbria – Edited by the Rev. John Collingwood Bruce LL.D, D.C.L.,F.S.A. and John Stokoe – Published by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne – 1882"
  3. "Farne archives – Whittingham Fair".
  4. "Farne archives Dorrington Lads".
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