I posted this to an earlier thread on shanties which may not do anything other than muddy the waters, but is an interesting theory on the origin of the NAME:
"Can't help with this ,but the thread reminds me that Cliff Hall of the Spinners always claimed shanties were West Indian in origin. His explanation (possibly a wind-up to annoy the shanty purists) was that the WI fishermen had temporary shelters (shanties, as in shanty town) on the beach where they gutted their fish (and no doubt smoked some wacky woodbines) which were on rollers made of tree trunks. When a storm was threatened they hauled them up into the trees for safety from tidal waves etc., singing the type of song we associate with capstan work on ships.[and, of course, the Spinners used to sing "Sally Racket" among other shanties so this thread hasn't crept too far!] "
Hugh Jones, the Spinners chantey expert and now a solo singer, is an occasional visitor to the Mudcat so might have a view on this. Cliff, I gather, is travelling the world in his retirement.