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Origins: A gallant ship from England

GUEST,Julia L 25 Feb 21 - 03:15 PM
cnd 25 Feb 21 - 05:17 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 21 - 05:20 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 21 - 05:25 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 21 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Julia L 25 Feb 21 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,# 25 Feb 21 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Julia L 25 Feb 21 - 11:24 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 21 - 10:47 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 21 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Julia L 26 Feb 21 - 03:18 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 21 - 04:29 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Feb 21 - 06:06 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Feb 21 - 10:34 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Feb 21 - 10:47 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Feb 21 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,ju 28 Feb 21 - 06:22 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 21 - 09:48 AM
Reinhard 01 Mar 21 - 09:56 AM
Les from Hull 01 Mar 21 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,# 01 Mar 21 - 04:32 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 21 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,# 01 Mar 21 - 06:22 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Mar 21 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Julia L 02 Mar 21 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Julia L 02 Mar 21 - 10:50 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Mar 21 - 01:23 PM
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Subject: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 03:15 PM

Anyone care to have a stab at the origin of this? It's not the Battle of Stonington..

From Mrs. Seth Thornton, Southwest Harbor, ME 1928 from an orderly book belonging to John Boyd, Fort Cumberland Nova Scotia in 1759.

A Galant Ship from England came
Lancht of the Stocks Bound to the main
Hit Kell was oak hir sids was bocks
This Galant Ship Lancht of the stocks

Lancht of the Stocks bound to the Main
full fifty Guns on hir deck Lay upon
Besids five hundred Valant men
Ware picket and chosen every one

We Waid our ankers to the bow
and throw the otion we did Plow
five sail of french Men we did chance
As we were Plowing through the Deep

it being late when we did meet
Night Coming on and oure Lives was sweet
We put it by till Brack of Day
And then we began our bludy fray

etc


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: cnd
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 05:17 PM

There's a ballad in the Madden Ballads collection with the following info:

A gallant sea-fight.
Pitts, J., 6, Great St. Andrew St., Seven Dials.
First line: A gallant ship from England came.
Reel: 04, Frame 2746

There's also an entry for it in the VWML but the layout of their website confuses me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 05:20 PM

This is quite a scarce sea song! The broadside is titled 'A gallant Sea Fight' and it's Roud 1424. The only other oral version I know of is sung by Walter Pardon on various recordings. The broadside is by Pitts of London c1840 but there is a slightly longer version printed in York by Kendrew probably earlier. In the final verse 3 ships are named that fought off the French, the Orange, The Loo and the Unity, but the style smacks of a generic piece rather than based on a real event.

Could you please give further details.
Where is this orderly book? And could you please give the remainder of this version?


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 05:25 PM

I have a copy of that Pitts/Madden version and the Kendrew version. And Walter's version is in Folk Music Journal 12 p181 which I have.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 05:29 PM

The above follows the Pitts broadside very closely.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 07:00 PM

Hi Steve-
here's all I have

I found this while doing research for my upcoming book documenting seafaring songs sung in Maine pre-1950. It showed up in the papers of Phillips Barry at Harvard, but he has possession of material collected by Fanny Hardy Eckstorm (Minstrelsy of Maine 1927) with whom he wrote "British Ballads from Maine" 1929. Not sure what is an "orderly book", nor where said book may now reside.

Mrs. Seth Thornton, Southwest Harbor, ME 1928 from an orderly book belonging to John Boyd, Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1759. Mrs. Thornton says she remembers hearing bits of it around Southwest Harbor in her childhood.


A Galant Ship from England came
Lancht of the Stocks Bound to the main
Hit Kell was oak hir sids was bocks
This Galant Ship Lancht of the stocks

Lancht of the Stocks bound to the Main
full fifty Guns on hir deck Lay upon
Besids five hundred Valant men
Ware picket and chosen every one

We Waid our ankers to the bow
and throw the otion we did Plow
five sail of french Men we did chance
As we were Plowing through the Deep

it being late when we did meet
Night Coming on and oure Lives was sweet
We put it by till Brack of Day
And then we began our bludy fray

the first brod Side we received from tham
Proved Dradful Sore unto oure men
We had no less than fifty one
Killed and wounded by their Guns

the first that Spock was oure botswan bold
fit one fit one my brave harts of Gold
fit on fit on my brave boys sais he
whilst we are a sailing on the Sees

Oure Cptain being a Corraggis man
Upon the Quarter Deck did stand
He spoke unto oure Cabin boy
Go up above and Se what you can spy
And then Com Down a medately.


Phillips Barry compares this with "Captain Glen" from the Forget-me-not-songster.
There is a note that says "The manuscript list of "First lines of street ballots by J. Cattling April 23, 1748 in the Harvard Univ. Library contains…

A 605: A Gallant Ship from England Came

This is also the first line to the Battle of Stonington circa 1812


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,#
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 07:15 PM

Here's the song being sung on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEDMkm95cU0


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 11:24 PM

Very Interesting! It seems that Walter Pardon sang "A Ship to Old England Came" at home in Knapton, Norfolk, on 11 May 1974, when he was recorded by Bill Leader and Peter Bellamy. It has since been recorded by Martin Carthy and others who trace it to Napoleanic times.

Yet, I have this manuscript that claims to be taken from a journal written in Nova Scotia in 1759. And we have some leads that give a 1748 date...
Not unusual, really, in this genre. Then there is the "To" old England vs "from" old England. In any case, the ship is gallant, as are the sailors, so that's good enough for a song from any era!


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 10:47 AM

Excellent stuff! We are frequently pushing back the dates of these ballads. I'll do a study of all 4 versions when I get chance and check out the veracity of the 3 named vessels. 1759 is no big surprise as during the 18th century we seem to have been constantly at war with the French, or our privateers constantly battling other vessels.

Phillips Barry may have been thrown off the scent as Captain Glen does indeed have the same first line.

BTW please let us all know when your book is available. Sounds right up our street.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 01:11 PM

I think we can discount 'Captain Glen'. The earliest reference I have is for c1770 and none of the broadside versions I have actually have that as the first line. It's the second line that is like the above song. First line of the 'Captain Glen' versions usually runs 'There was a ship and a ship of fame', and its 'New York Trader' spin-off starts with 'To a New York trader I did belong'.

Unless we come up with yet another ballad with that first line then I'm happy with the 1748 date.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 03:18 PM

Thanks so much, Steve! I listened to the tune on the link the guest provided and I'm suspicious that it's a modern one. What do you think?
best- Julia


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 04:29 PM

With most broadside ballads the singers simply set their own tunes to them or used set tunes for that particular stanzaic form. As we only have the one tune currently we have nothing to compare it with other than other ballads. I'll have a listen and see if I can pick out a related tune. Jim Carroll might have had an opinion on Walter's tune but he's currently banned from here unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 06:06 PM

I've just compared the 4 extant texts and there are clear signs of an earlier version. The NS text has different lines in common with both broadsides at different places, which would suggest that all 4 are derived from something earlier. Looking up the ship names doesn't help much. The Dreadnought mentioned in the earlier of the 2 broadsides is a generic name found from the 16th century up to the modern day. The only 'Orange' I can find (Orange Prize) related to 1666, likewise 'Unity' but the style and content is hardly that early.
The only Loo I can find was a hospital ship in 1718, but in 1718 there was a Dreadnought engaged in such skirmishes, taking prizes, likewise 1744/45.
I'll post the earlier of the 2 broadsides tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Feb 21 - 10:34 AM

Here you go, Julia.

York Publications, British Library No.53

A Gallant Sea Fight

Printed for J. Kendrew, Colliergate, and Johnson, Goodramgate (York c1800, slip)

There was a ship from England came, (A gallant ship..)
Launch'd off the stocks, bound to the main,
Her keel was oak, and her sides were box,
A gallant ship launch'd off the stocks.

Launch'd off the stocks, bound to the main,
Full fifty guns on her deck lay plain, (Decks plain)
Besides five hundred valiant men, (550)
Were pick'd and chosen every one.

We weigh'd our anchors unto the bow,
And on the ocean we did plow, (through the oceans)
As we were plowing the ocean deep,    (sailing through the deep)
Five sail of Frenchmen we chanc'd to meet. (5 jolly F)

It being late when we did meet,
Night coming on, our lives were sweet
We did prepare till the break of day, (We put it off till ...)
And then began the bloody fray.

The first broadside that they did send, (they gave us then)
Which proved fatal in the end; (Full sore it was to every man)
We had not less than thirty men (There were no less than 50 men)
Kill'd and wounded by them then. (by the gun)

We did salute them with the same,
Powder and ball so thick it came; (they)
Our captain, like a valiant man, (being a)
He on the quarter-deck did stand. (Upon the q-d he came)

Fight on, fight on, brave boys, said he, (my boys)
While we are seamen on the sea;
It shan't be said that we will run, ( .never shall be said we run)
While we have life to discharge one gun. (so long as we can fire a gun)

O then bespoke our boatswain bold (Oh! then our Boatswain strait did cry)
Unto our captain's cabin boy, (Captain's little boy)
Go, get you up, and see what you can espy, (Go up aloft immediately)
And come you down immediately. (And see there what you can espy)

This little boy went up so high, (Cabin boy)
Powder and ball so thick did fly,
Sure our good God had a hand in this, (the great God)
That from him did all danger miss. (And did the boy from the...)

He spy'd three ships to the windward lay, (saw)
Came bearing down and made no stay; (bowling)
Came bearing down and made no stay,
Until they came to the bloody fray.

The first broadside that they did fire,
They thought to have made us their prize entire
But we made the French dogs protest
That English boys will make no jest. (lads)

If I must name these three ships to you, (those ships)
First was the Orange, the next the Looe, (Loo)
the third it was the Dreadnought gay, (The next it was the Unity)
That ended all the bloody fray. (Who made the Frenchmen quickly fly)

We took those French ships that day,
And had them unto Plymouth straitway,
While the music play'd and the bells did ring,
For joy we had brought those fine ships in.

The Pitts broadside lacks the last stanza, and sts 10&11 are shunted into one. The brackets contain the most significant differences to the Kendrew slip. The Pitts sheet is a broadside of 2 ballads and my copy comes from the Madden Collection. My reference is 2246 but the correct reference can be obtained from the VWML Roud Indexes. Both have the same title.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Feb 21 - 10:47 AM

The numbers involved in this skirmish are not fully clear. One assumes a single ship of the line, unnamed but fairly new, taking on 5 French ships, size not mentioned. 3 more British ships arrive and then the 4 defeat and capture the 5 French. What sort of valour was employed, other than the cabin boy's we don't know because we don't know the relative size or ordinance of the vessels. Odds are it recounts a real event but placing it in history would be difficult without more info.

Perhaps one of our naval historians will tell us what size/type of vessel the first ship mentioned is based on the 500/550 men. 50 guns doesn't seem very many. A frigate? A second rater?


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 07:45 AM

4th rate with 2 gun decks according to Mr Fromull, our resident naval historian.

Found 2 more versions in the Roud Indexes, one English collected by Francis Collinson but no other details, and more remarkable in a c1780 American manuscript. More details to follow. In the same manuscript in another song, mention of the 'Orange' being driven onshore, so that might help to date it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,ju
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 06:22 PM

Steve- you are a wonder! Yes this is definitely the same song.

Eckstorm says the manuscript came from one John Boyd who was serving in 1759 at Fort Cumberland Nova Scotia .   
The fort was/is located at the headwaters of the Bay of Fundy near what is now Amherst NS.It is now a national park.   
Originally built by the French from 1751 to 1752, it was called Fort Beauséjour. They surrendered it to the British in 1755 after their defeat in the Battle of Fort Beauséjour, during the Seven Years' War. The British renamed the structure as Fort Cumberland. The fort was strategically important throughout the Anglo-French rivalry of 1749–63, known as the French and Indian Wars by British colonists. Less than a generation later, it was the site of the 1776 Battle of Fort Cumberland, when the British forces repulsed sympathisers of the American Revolution.

No doubt, the song was a favorite among the English soldiers there as it celebrates an English victory made possible by the young cabin boy. The date of its presence at the fort may help narrow down the actual event celebrated.

Thanks so much for your research- you seem to have access to a wealth of information!

I will try to contact the Canadian park service and see of they have records of soldiers there in 1759. Maybe we can find John Boyd and his "orderly book"!


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 09:48 AM

This is without checking but I'm pretty certain 'Orderly' was a position in the army, not a rank as such, and this may be what the 'orderly book' means. Of course it could just mean a book for keeping things orderly or writing down orders. The other manuscript version was from a book that contained other types of info so the Boyd one might be similar. The New Bedford/Nantucket whaling journals famous for containing lots of songs from the 18thc also of course contained all sorts of other information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Reinhard
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 09:56 AM

Orderly book: a book kept at military headquarters in which orders and instructions received from higher authority are recorded (Merriam-Webster)

Orderly: A batman or an orderly is a soldier or airman assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant. (Wikipedia)


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Les from Hull
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 03:34 PM

Just to reiterate, a 50 gun ship with 500 men is unlikely. A Royal Navy ship of 50 guns had an established crew of 350. A 50gun privateer would be about the largest privateer ever recorded. Also I cannot find any action in the Seven Years War or the War of the Austrian Succession that the song could relate to. The ship names apart from Dreadnought are unknown.

So it seems it's just a fantasy. But there's nothing wrong with that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,#
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 04:32 PM

One can locate Dreadnought, HMS Looe, HMS Orange and HMS Unity/Unite in Wikipedia. From the dates given in Wiki, the Dreadnought is out of the picture. However, the same name was applied to the next ship when one was destroyed, sunk or de-commissioned. Start and end dates for the ships: Dreadnought, 1573 to 1648. HMS Looe, 1696 to 1759. HMS Orange, 1665-1673. HMS Unity/Unite, 1665 to 1673. (Some of the names appear again in WW I and I think WW II, but they are automatically out of the equation. In short, regarding the following stanza, I doubt the historical accuracy of it.

"If I must name these three ships to you, (those ships)
First was the Orange, the next the Looe, (Loo)
the third it was the Dreadnought gay, (The next it was the Unity)
That ended all the bloody fray. (Who made the Frenchmen quickly fly)"


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 05:44 PM

I will be transcribing the other manuscript version soon so we'll see what ship names that comes up with but in one of the other songs there is mention of the Orange being run ashore and I think it's dated. About 1750 is looking like a probable date.

When we look at ballads from a similar date that mention vessels they often can be traced back to a single real event. The Mars and Nottingham, and Princess Royal for example. The fact that later oral versions often changed the name of the ships, the dates, the ordnance, crew numbers, doesn't detract from this.

It is possible the ballad dates to the 17th century but unlikely and the style is very much mid 18thc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,#
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 06:22 PM

Thank you, Steve.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Mar 21 - 08:27 AM

All extant versions carry the hallmarks of oral tradition, even the 2 broadsides, so we shouldn't expect total fidelity to reality. On the other hand they are sufficiently close despite more than 250 years between the earliest and the latest. Taking into account their closeness in text this tells me that its origins lie not too far previous to the 1759 earliest. However, many c1750 printed ballads were straight copies of c1680 ballads so we can't be too prescriptive.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 02 Mar 21 - 10:47 AM

Hi Steve etc
I mentioned this but you may have overlooked it

"There is a note that says "The manuscript list of "First lines of street ballots by J. Cattling April 23, 1748 in the Harvard Univ. Library contains…

A 605: A Gallant Ship from England Came"

Are you able to locate this?

J


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 02 Mar 21 - 10:50 AM

Also, I did some digging regarding this note by Eckstorm
----------
This nameless seasong was sent in April 9, 1928 by Mrs. Seth Thornton,of Southwest Harbor (ME) with the statement that she obtained it from

Mr. O. T. Mason of Medway, Mass. "an antiquarian and historian of the town. He has the orderly book from which they were copied." It belonging to John Boyd and was made at Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1759. Mrs. Thornton says she remembers hearing bits of it around Southwest Harbor in her childhood. It clearly is a fragment only.
------------

So, Mr. Orion T. Mason was indeed an "antiquarian" of Medway MA and wrote a history of the "The handbook of Medway history : a condensed history of the town of Medway, Massachusetts" in 1913.
https://archive.org/details/handbookofmedway02maso/page/20/mode/2up
On Page 20 it says
"1759 Seventeen Medway men in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in Captain Adams' Company."

It seems our Last King was pressing and sending men from the New England colonies to serve in Nova Scotia.

Mrs Eckstorm may have John Boyd's name wrong because I only have found "James Boyden" in the muster rolls of the time. If this is he, he may have brought the orderly book back with him when he returned (which he did as records show his marriage and the birth of a son.) I have a message in to the Medway Historical Society asking if they might have the book indicated by Mr. Mason.

Thanks for all- julia


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Subject: RE: Origins: A gallant ship from England
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Mar 21 - 01:23 PM

Yes, I had forgotten about the 1748 ballad entry but I don't have access to this being on the wrong side of the pond. Presumably it is just a list of first lines but there is a strong probability it is our ballad, the other 2 being later. A more useful piece of info would have been a title. All of our titles other than the 1800/1830 broadsides are editorial. Pitts was in direct line of descent from the Dicey-Marshall dynasty of printers who started out in the early 18th century. The Diceys would have been favourites for having printed the earliest version and not everything of theirs has survived. The ballads of this era tended to have longer more descriptive titles. I have 2 Dicey catalogues 1754 and 1764 but no Gallant Ship. If we had an original title that would be a start.

The Fanning Manuscript version of 1779 also in Cambridge Mass. but at the American Antiquarian Society, differs very little from other versions (no title) even to the extent 50 guns 550 men, Orange, Looe and Unity.

A close search through the ECCO songsters might throw up something but I haven't got time at the moment.


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