Category Archives: ballads

Hanging a Monkey as a French Spy During the Napoleonic Wars

What do you know of the Hartlepool Monkey and the “Monkey Hangers”? I certainly knew nothing of the tale until I stumbled across it. Legend says that a shipwrecked monkey was hanged as a French spy during the Napoleonic Wars … Continue reading

Posted in ballads, British history, Georgian England, history, legends, Living in the Regency, Napoleonic Wars | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Whiskey in the Jar,” a Traditional Irish Ballad

A traditional Irish song, “Whiskey in the Jar,” is about a Rapparee or Highwayman, whose wife/lover betrayed him. It is a widely popular tune that had know a number of professional recordings including: Séamus Ennis, Burl Ives, The Highwaymen, the … Continue reading

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Men of Harlech (Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech), a Welsh Military March

 “Men of Harlech” (Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech) is a traditional military march and is said to chronicle the seven-year long siege of Harlech Castle in the 1460s. The incident is considered the longest known siege in British history. The garrison was commanded … Continue reading

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A Gest of Robyn Hode, a Robin Hood Folk Ballad

In 1560, William Copeland printed the fragments of the various Robin Hood folk dramas. The “plays” were likely performed by mummers and strolling players for a century or more before Copeland printed them. A Gest of Robyn Hode A Gest … Continue reading

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18th Century Folk Tune: “English Country Garden”

English Country Garden is well known in the United Kingdom, English Country Gardens was originally a Morris tune (that is a tune usually played on the accordion or violin to accompany traditional English Morris dancing).  The tune was collected by … Continue reading

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17th Century Ballad, ‘The Oak and the Ash’ or ‘The North Country Maid’

 This familiar song can be found in a black-letter copy also in the Roxburgh Collection. Isla Cameron and Louis Killen sang The Oak and the Ash in 1961 on their Prestige album The Waters of Tyne. It has a familiar … Continue reading

Posted in Act of Parliament, ballads, customs and tradiitons, dancing, music | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at, Yorkshire Unofficial Anthem

The traditional English folk song, ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at,’comes from the County of Yorkshire, and it is written in Yorkshire dialect. In The Yorkshire Dictionary (Arnold Kellett, 2002) says the dialect used in the song is representative of the area … Continue reading

Posted in ballads, British history, customs and tradiitons, Great Britain, history, legends, music | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments