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Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family

katlaughing 11 Mar 01 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Alan B 11 Mar 01 - 03:44 PM
Morticia 11 Mar 01 - 04:41 PM
katlaughing 11 Mar 01 - 05:54 PM
Sorcha 11 Mar 01 - 06:07 PM
Nynia 11 Mar 01 - 06:57 PM
Dave Wynn 11 Mar 01 - 07:05 PM
Dave Wynn 11 Mar 01 - 07:09 PM
Nynia 11 Mar 01 - 07:28 PM
Sorcha 11 Mar 01 - 08:05 PM
Cobble 11 Mar 01 - 08:34 PM
Julia 11 Mar 01 - 09:04 PM
Sorcha 11 Mar 01 - 09:31 PM
katlaughing 12 Mar 01 - 12:07 AM
katlaughing 12 Mar 01 - 12:12 AM
jeffp 12 Mar 01 - 10:46 AM
LR Mole 12 Mar 01 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Piotr Miloslaw Jerzy Klima 05 Jul 01 - 03:56 PM
MMario 05 Jul 01 - 04:14 PM
GUEST 05 Jul 01 - 10:01 PM
Angie 06 Jul 01 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Red 11 Sep 08 - 03:58 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 08 - 06:20 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Sep 08 - 10:53 AM
Jim Dixon 13 Sep 08 - 12:31 PM
Jim McLean 13 Sep 08 - 01:04 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Sep 08 - 01:47 PM
Charley Noble 13 Sep 08 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,John420 17 Oct 08 - 09:28 AM
MAG 17 Oct 08 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Trout Dancer 11 Feb 09 - 01:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Feb 09 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Lionel McClelland 05 May 09 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 02:03 PM
BobKnight 05 May 09 - 03:03 PM
Diva 06 May 09 - 01:12 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 10 - 07:57 AM
Cuilionn 29 Jan 10 - 09:09 AM
Gutcher 31 Jan 10 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Kidney 06 Feb 10 - 11:45 AM
GUEST 18 Nov 13 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 19 Nov 13 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,gutcher 19 Nov 13 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 19 Nov 13 - 09:57 AM
Gutcher 19 Nov 13 - 11:21 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Nov 13 - 04:40 AM
Gutcher 20 Nov 13 - 05:22 AM
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Subject: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 02:56 PM

Wow, just heard this gruesome, but very tuneful song on Hober Radio. The group was the Big Blow and the Bushwackers and I am sure I heard a digeridoo.

Song was about meeting a man named McTeague, then (I think) him telling about an "incestous in-bred family" in 14th centruy Scotland who preyed on travellers and ate them, after plying them with shelter and food! It later went on to say King James then sent 400 men who did the family in...anybody know this one?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: GUEST,Alan B
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 03:44 PM

Don't know the song, but I've heard the story. Factual as far as I remember


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Morticia
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 04:41 PM

The song is based on a true ( plus or minus some embellishments if I'm any judge) account in scottish folk lore of Seaney Bean and his family who robbed and ate unwary travellers.....didn't do a lot for the tourist industry and therefore they were captured and hung if memory serves.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 05:54 PM

Thanks, I got the impression that is was based on a real family. BTW, the spelling I gave is how it was listed, wondered if it was right or not.

Morticia, I thought I heard them sing the women had all been burned in the fireplace but not before something or other...but I don't remember hearing anything in the song about hanging...not that the song has to be totally accurate, nor my hearing!**BG**

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 06:07 PM

I did a search for "Seany Bean" and got nothing. Search for McTeague was a billion hits. I'll look again using "Swaney" Please hold........


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Nynia
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 06:57 PM

Hi Kat, the folktale of Sawney Bean has appeared in various places over the last three hundred years.

Popular opinion would place the Bean's cave at Bennane Head, three miles north of Ballantrae, on the South West coast of Scotland. There are however claims that he lived in various other locations such as Galloway.

The first written account appears to have been in broadsheets dated around 1700 at the time of James VI. Thoughout the ages it has appeared in many collections such as "Historical and Traditionary Tales connected with the Sourh Of Scotland" which is probably better known as "Nicholson's tales", and Alan Temperley's "Tales Of Galloway"(Mainstraem Publishing Company, Edinburgh, 1986). Nicholson suggests that Bean dates from two centuries earlier, during the reign of James I.

There is a full account of the accademic investigations made into this tale in "The Polar Twins" by Edward J Cowan and Douglas Gifford (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2000). This investigation found no evidence in the way of Judicial records etc to suggest unfortunately that there ever was a Sawney Bean. As the tale was first seen in broadsheet form the truth may in fact be that it was simply a properganda ploy by the English, "the Scots eat babies"

The only song that I know of about Sawney Bean was written by Lionel McClelland of Black-Eyed Biddy. I think it was on their first LP, I don't have it but Jon knows Lionel so might be able to help.

If you want to read a version of the tale you can find it in the Galloway Tales section of Seanachaidh (be kind I've just started the site recently) Click here

Hope this is of help.


Nynia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 07:05 PM

Been to Ballantrae in search if this very tale....had liver and onions for lunch......

Spot.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 07:09 PM

On a slightly more serious note. The drive from Stranraer to Girvan (where this years folk festival is 3rd May to 6th May I think!!) is the one of the most scenic drives in GB (or should I say UK? or perhaps Scotland for the SNP sensitive's). En route is Ballantrae....!!

Spot.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Nynia
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 07:28 PM

Hi Spot, about one and a half / two miles North of Ballantrae the road climbs over a headland (it used to hug the cliff edge) this is the supposed location of the cave.

The wee Kirkcudbright Centipede is already lacing her clogs in rediness for you visit, by the way.

Nynia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:05 PM

Well, I found lots of stuff about the band, (now dis-banded, by the way), lots of stuff about the didg, but no lyrics at all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Cobble
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:34 PM

There is, I think models of the Beans in the wax works in Edinburgh, if they are still there. I saw them a few years back, "SHUDDER".

Cobble.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAWNEY BEAN (Lionele MacClelland)
From: Julia
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 09:04 PM

Sawney Bean was indeed written by Lionele MacClelland. He recorded it last July for on a special project for the Dunfries Galloway Arts Association. They have at least 400 CDs on hand over there. I probably have the only copy this side of the Atlantic. There are also many rare songs indigenous to southwestern Scotland on the CD as well as 10 instrumental tracks of new music in the style of the region written by a couple of Yanks from Maine. If you want to get a copy, you might email Susie Kelly [suekelly@lineone.net] at the DGAA.

Here is the lyric. The spelling is as found in the Kist, a Scots language resource book for elementary school kids in the lowlands.

SAWNEY BEAN
(Lionele MacClelland)

Oh, go ye not by Gallowa'.
Come bide awhile, my freend.
I'll tell ye o the dangers there.
Beware o Sawney Bean.

There's naebody kens that he bides there
For his face is seldom seen,
But tae meet his eye is tae meet your fate
At the hands o Sawney Bean.

For Sawney he has taen a wife
And he's hungry bairns tae wean,
And he's raised them up on the flesh o men
In the cave o Sawney Bean.

And Sawney he's been well endowed
Wi dochters young and lean,
And thay aa hae taen their father's seed
In the caves o Sawney Bean.

And Sawney's sons are young and strang
And their blades are sharp and keen
Tae spill the blood o travelers
Wha meet wi Sawney Bean.

So if ye ride fae there tae here
Be wary in between
Lest they catch your horse an spill your blood
In the cave o Sawney Bean.

They'll hing ye up an cut your throat
An they'll pick your carcass clean
An then yase yer banes tae quiet the weans
In the cave o Sawney Bean.

But fear ye not, oor captain rides
On an errand o the queen
And he carries the write o fire and sword
For the head o Sawney Bean.

They've hung them high in Edinburgh toon
An likewise aa thei kin
An the wind blaws cauld on aa their banes
An tae hell they aa hae gaen.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 09:31 PM

Good On ya, Julia!! kat will be so pleased.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 12:07 AM

That is great, Julia, thanks! BUT, not the words to the one I heard. Still, a great one, though. Thank you.

Nynia, perhaps the band I heard had it wrong, but do remember hearing something about the 14th century, which I know doesn't jibe with any of the info you or anyone else has provided and I know the song mentioned 400 men sent by King James.

So, perhaps the band had it wrong, or they just put it the way they wanted. Regardless...I think I'll do some more searching.

Thanks for all of your efforts, everyone!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 12:12 AM

Gruesome, too, isn't it, even if made up! Thanks, again!

BTW, even though disbanded, you can hear some nice audio samples of the band's Celtic music w/didgeridoo...soudns relaly neat, just click here. The song I asked about is on their "Off Kilter" cd.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: jeffp
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 10:46 AM

I'm really sorry to hear the Big Blow has disbanded. I had the pleasure of seeing them one time at the Takoma Park Folk Festival and immediately bought 2 CDs and a T-shirt. They put on a very energetic show without a guitar in sight! Their instrumentation included mandolin, flute, pennywhistle, tuba, didge, drums (of all sorts), keyboards, and others which I can't remember. They piled a bunch of strange hats on the front of the stage and changed hats for each song.

At the end of the show, they invited all of the kids in the audience to come on down to the stage, put hats on their heads, rhythm instruments in their hands, and had them play along. I wish I had had a video camera with me.

I can recommend "Off Kilter - a Celtic Outerlude" for anyone who likes "Celtic" music with a severe twist.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: LR Mole
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 03:07 PM

With sawney beans and a nice chianti.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAWNEY BEAN (trad. Scottish)
From: GUEST,Piotr Miloslaw Jerzy Klima
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 03:56 PM

Here's a different version, as recorded by Sol Invictus on a few different occasions in the early 90s.

SAWNEY BEAN
(traditional)

A family inbred like serpents entwined
Had no heart and little mind
A clan of madness, a terrible scene
They cursed the earth, the Sawney Bean

Lurking in the fog, a fearsome brood
Poor traveling folk they caught and slew
No graves have the victims of these ghouls and fiends
Those taken and eaten by the Sawney Bean

From their flesh they made a meal
Their skins the floor for their bairns to kneel
Their skulls a table from which to feed
Alas, the victims of the Sawney Bean

They lived by the sword, were felled by the axe
And I say naught wrong with that
But in their hellish cave worse than any dream
Cursed with the stench of the Sawney Bean

Some are haunted by the tolling bell
Some by the fiery pits of Hell
But what haunts me is what we did see
When we entered the larder of the Sawney Bean


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: MMario
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 04:14 PM

tune? tunes?


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Subject: Tune Add: SAWNEY BEAN (trad. Scottish)
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 10:01 PM

Unfortunately, the vocals on the Sol Invictus versions make transcribing the melody an exercise in conjecture. I know the chords are (the same for each line): one measure (4 beats) of E minor, one of C, one of B minor, half of G, half of F# minor.

In the version on "Trees In Winter", Ian Read mostly sings around E for one measure, something involving G for another, and then is done with the line. The "Black Europe" official bootleg version is sung rather differently by Tony Wakeford. He goes more or less:

(in E minor - one sharp)
F2E2E2F2|G2A2G4|z8|z8|
E2E2E2F2|G8|F2z6|z8|
F2E2E2F2|G2A2G4|z8|z8|
E2E2E2G2|z8|z8|G1G1G2F1F1F2|

Both the rhythm and melody vary considerably between verses, but that's my conjecture as to he might have been intending to sing. If anybody has a better or more accurate melody, I am definitely interested.
Hope my attempt at abc notation is OK - I just quickly read the primer.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: Angie
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 11:25 AM

I heard it years ago, Blackeyed Biddy recorded it and I met them at Girvan where they very kindly sang it for me...fabulous song


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Swaney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: GUEST,Red
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 03:58 PM

Actually   NOT factual   written by an englishman as anti Scotish propaganda - best recording of this song is by ThisTribe - a real punk folk version with balls.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannabilstic family
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 06:20 PM

2001 to 2008. What a jump. It is true, I had the liver and onions and if you were to go to Ballantrae you would believe it too. I have now (since 2001) moved to South West Scotland where we have retired and ballantrae is but a 30 mile drive.

Sawney Bean did exist. He killed and ate hundreds: the richest source of protein on the planet is human beans (deliberate) and if the half who starved ate the half who overate we would have a balance........... See Soylent Green.

Dave (ex Spot the Dog) W( Retired living on the A75 on dark and windy nights with a hot stove and good apetite)

Q woo-woo music and fade out.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Sep 08 - 10:53 AM

Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
    Alexander "Sawney" Bean(e) was the legendary head of a 48-member clan in 15th- or 16th-century Scotland, reportedly executed for the mass murder and cannibalisation of over 30 to 40 people.

    The story appears in The Newgate Calendar, a crime catalogue of the notorious Newgate Prison in London. While historians tend to believe that Sawney Bean never existed, his story has passed into legend and is part of the Edinburgh tourism industry.
There's lots more information and links.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Sep 08 - 12:31 PM

Songs about Sawney Bean:

SAWNEY BEAN and SAWNEY BEANE (2 different tracks on the same album) performed by the Dead Raven Choir on "Cask Strength Black Metal," Supernal Music CD 046, 2007.

BALLAD OF SAWNEY BEAN, written by Lionel McClelland, performed by Blackeyed Biddy on "High Spirits," Dunkeld CD 14, 1994. Here's an excerpt:
    Come bide a while, my frien. I'll tell ye o' the dangers there.
    Beware o' Sawney Bean.
    There's nae that kens that he bides there, for his face is seldom seen,
    But tae meet as I hae wi' yer fate….
THE SAWNEY BEANE CLAN, written by Chapman, McKenzie & Robertson, and performed by The Real McKenzies (a Vancouver BC-based pop/folk/punk band) on "The Real McKenzies" (Social Bomb CD 11580, 2008) and on "Pissed tae th' Gills: A Drunken Live Tribute to Robbie Burns" (Plastic Bomb CD 17630, 2005).

SAWNEY BEAN / SAWNEY'S DEATH DANCE, composed and performed by Snakefinger's Vestal Virgins on "Night of Desirable Objects," T.E.C. Tones CD 93532, 1986. An excerpt:
    …the day was dull and bleak,
    I met an old seafaring man. His name was Jack McTeague.
    He told to me a story about a robber mean
    Who lived in a cave on the Scottish coast and his name was Sawney Bean.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Sep 08 - 01:04 PM

If you go here http://www.electricscotland.com/bordertales/vol1story105.htm
you can read the story about Christie Cleek, a forerunner of Sawney Bean. I have it in Wilson's Tales of the Borders.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BALLAD OF SAWNEY BEAN (Snakefinger)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Sep 08 - 01:47 PM

Copied from another forum: http://blogonomicon.eponym.com/blog/Poetry

THE BALLAD OF SAWNEY BEAN
(Snakefinger)

When I come down from Liverpool, the day was dull and bleak;
I met an old seafarin' man, his name was Jack McTeague.
He told to me a story about a robber mean,
Who lived in a cave on the Scottish coast, and his name was Sawney Beane.

'Twas in the reign of Jolly James, in 1424,
His incestuously inbred family patrolled the Galloway shore.
They robbed the innocent travelers, but worse than that they did,
For they feasted on roasted, murdered men, and then their bones they hid.

So good King James, he heard of this, and he sent 400 men.
On hooks in the cave they found human flesh, and they took the family in.
The women they burned in the public square, but not before they'd seen
The men bleeding to death with no hands and feet, with their leader Sawney Beane.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Sep 08 - 03:51 PM

Jim-

Looks as if you've nailed another one.

It could use a rousing chorus such as fol-di-didle-all-day!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,John420
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 09:28 AM

From October 11 to November 30 go to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia, TX. See the Cannibal Tudors @ the Sea Devil Tavern for a daily rendition of the tale of Seaney Beane.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: MAG
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 05:44 PM

There is a description of the Sawney Bean story in Sharon McCrumb's *Paying the Piper:* she does these fun mysteries. One of the characters is a murder buff who regales the other members of his party with the tale. He does say they were burned at the stake rather than hung. Book is circa 1985.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,Trout Dancer
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:49 PM

Let's hear it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 02:39 PM

A wonderfully gory tale, sure to entrance children.
Sadly, no reputable historians give credence to the story.

A good version here:
Sawney


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,Lionel McClelland
Date: 05 May 09 - 01:23 PM

My name is Lionel McClelland I wrote this ballad in the eighties and recorded it in the nineties There is much debate as to how much is true and how much is fiction, but Alexander Bean did indeed exist.
good material for a song though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:03 PM

There's an identical folktale from Clovelly down to the detail.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: BobKnight
Date: 05 May 09 - 03:03 PM

James the sixth of Scotland became James the first of England on the Death of Elizabeth the first of England. So, the date of 1700 previously given is wrong. I can't remember the exact year he gained the English throne, but probably around 1603-4 ish. As regards the other dates given there was a series of James's in Scotland, so it would have been James the 2-3rd for the 15th Century date.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Diva
Date: 06 May 09 - 01:12 PM

Union of The Crowns 1603

I was in Lionel's company at Girvan Folk Festival this weekend and he has written some cracking songs


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 07:57 AM

do you think all the beane kin should have been exicuted some wouldnt no any differance being born into that enviroment


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Cuilionn
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 09:09 AM

One of his descendants ventured westward to Maine... Here he lures tourists into his cavernous mercantile establishment and skins them. (Old L.L. still tends to cannibalize his workforce from time to time, according to local eye-witness accounts.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Gutcher
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 03:24 PM

In the traditional tales of Scotland the lives of Alexander
   Bean & ? Christie {cleik} are linked by the following :--
   During the 20yrs.following the death of Bruce{1329} the South-
   -erons invaded annually carrying out a scorched earth policy as
   they advanced North each year.The Scots were wise & heeded the
   dying advice of Bruce & did not try to impede this advance but as
   the winter set in & the Southerons,cold & hungry,made for home
   they were picked off by guerrilla bands.
   After 19yrs.two years of very cold & wet seasons set in & the
   Scots, with no reserves of food, suffered a severe famine. during
   the 3rd.winter of this famine two bands of people resorted to
   cannibalism, One led by Christie operated at the Southern end of
   one of the passes which led through the Grampian mountains,the
   other in the South West, at the pass leading from Ayrshire to
   Gallowa was led by Bean.
   The King had been informed of these actions & with better
   weather setting in on the 3rd.year he sent men to bring these
   people to justice at Edinburgh.The band in the North had
   dispersed by the time the officers arrived & thus escaped justice.
   Bean & his band were captured & led off to Edinburgh.The people
   of Mid-Calder relieved the officers of their captives & put
   them to death.
   Cannibalism is not unknown in more modern times.See details of
   the last Franklin Artic expedition.
   If my memory serves me right Wyntoun [c.1395} gives details of
   the above.
   Joe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,Kidney
Date: 06 Feb 10 - 11:45 AM

Renaissance festival group "The Cannibal Tudors" plays a tale of Sawney Beane. This can be found on their myspace at www.thecannibaltudors.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 13 - 07:33 PM

Hi I just want to add to a comment earlier. I have lived in south west Scotland all my life and have been to the cave in question the legend of Sawney Bean is true. Someone put up what Wikipedia said and i just want to state that its not a reliable source at university we are always told not too quote from it. it gets a lot of information wrong.the English would like you to think it was propaganda and that they thought of the legend next they will be telling you that the loch ness monster was made up by them for propaganda (not sure if it exists or not though)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 02:24 AM

There is though apparently not a shred of evidence for the Sawney Bean story being true. The earliest mention of it in print is seemingly 18thC English sources during the time of the Jacobite Rebelion. No records at all of it within Scotland itself and if it were true then one would suspect someone somewhere would have written about it during the time of the supposed Edinburgh trials etc. Of course one can't prove a negative but suffice to say that if it were true there should be some record somewhere. One would think!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 07:13 AM

Any scholars out there with access to Wyntoun care to check what, if any, references re Christie Cleik and Sawney Bean are mentioned by that writer. Details of the famine years, 20yrs. after the death of The Bruce could also be checked in the same source to help date the time scale for the events/legends.
See my post above dated 31/1/10. it being noted that Wyntoun was writing at a period less than 50yrs. after the supposed events.

A plug for the fund raising efforts for Tobar an Duchlais, these,along with a large body of other stories and songs, can be included on their excellent site if sufficient funds are raised at this time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 09:57 AM

Wyntoun does not mention Sawney Bean. He very briefly mentions Christie in chapter xxxvii at line 5570 of the PDF from the link below. It does no more than mention a cannibal near Perth (ie St Johnston)called Crystene Klek who targets people to eat.

"A karle, thai sayd, wes nere there-by
That wald set settys comonwnaly
Chyldyr and women for to sla,
And swanys, that he mycht oure-ta,
And ete thame all, that he get mycht;
Crystene Klek tyl nane he hycht.
That sary lyff contenwynd he,
Qwhill wast but folk wes the cuntre"

It is possible that the much later legend of Bean in Ayrshire/Gallway had its roots in the story of Clek in Perthsire. The earliest there is any mention of Sawney Bean and his story is seemingly from the 18thC English sources. See the BBC Scotland link below.

There are no doubt variants but the usual story of Bean has him captured by a King James and taken to Edinburgh. That would need to be some date between 1424 and 1603. Much later than Bruce's time or the Perthsire story.

https://archive.org/details/orygynalecronyki02andruoft

http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/history/sawney_bean.shtml


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Gutcher
Date: 19 Nov 13 - 11:21 AM

Thanks Allan for the link to Wyntoun this should give me a winters reading.

Somewhere in my extensive reading I have seen a 17th.C mention of the story of Sawney Bean giving a mid 14th.C. date for the widespread famine which led to the cannibalism. That reference relates how the people of the Calders [Mid]? distrained the Kings men and executed all the gang, which would explain why there is no record of their execution in Edinburgh.

As I have it from oral tradition, the story of Christie Cleik was used, before the time of a standing police force, by Scottish mothers to quieten their fractious bairns with the threat that Christie Cleik would get them if they did not behave. As the story was related it happened 20 years after the death of Bruce and ends years later with a Peter Gordon, a rich merchant in Dumfries, confessing to his wife and 2 daughters on his deathbed that he was Christie Cleik.
If you can get access to the unpublished archives in the SoSS you will find the full story there, it tells better than it writes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 04:40 AM

From Alan Temperley's Tales of Galloway
Jim Carroll

SAWNEY BEAN
Sawney Bean was the son of an East Lothian hedger and ditcher, born in the early fifteenth century, during the restless reign of King James I. He was from the start a wastrel, and his father's industrious manners being uncongenial to him, he left home and began wandering the countryside. He was a brute, a young man completely lacking in moral sense and apparently with a psychopathic instinct. Soon, with a woman whose character was as vicious as his own, he had established himself as a robber, and then a cannibal, in a cave on the western shore of Galloway.
At that time the greater part of the Scottish population lived in clachans and small villages scattered thinly among the mountains and rough wilderness, and somewhat more densely throughout the regions of good agriculture. Pockets of habitation sprang up, others were abandoned, the houses crumbled into earth and soon vanished beneath the long grass, whin thickets and birch copses that extended for miles in every direction. They were troubled times, and whilst the local forces kept order as they could, much of the country was remote, the roads were little better than potholed tracks, authority was largely centralised at a considerable distance, and in any case the court itself was in a state of great unrest. Many of the great Highland chiefs were executed in Inverness: ultimately the king himself was assassinated at Perth. The local landowners kept order among the poorer people as they were able, but whole tracts of land were beyond their jurisdiction and control, and there the footpads and lawless brigands did pretty much as they pleased.
In such a place, a lonely shore not far from the western road, Sawney Bean and his loving, fertile spouse settled down. They had a living family of fourteen, eight sons and six daughters; and from an early age, incestuously, eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters. Never did they mingle with other society, but were entirely sufficient unto themselves. In fact they lived like animals, by tooth and claw, and that seems the best way to visualise and understand them. For they lived greatly on human flesh, setting ambushes for single people and even small parties on the lonely tracks and roads of the district. Realising something of what would happen to them if they were caught, they were very careful, setting additional members of the family to either side of the spot where the ambush and slaughter were to take place, so that any victim escaping from the first assault would be caught and dragged down before he had gone many yards.
For a quarter of a century they inhabited the cave, and no-one ever escaped. Neither was any trace found. A poor workman, or a lady on horseback accompanied by servants, set out on a journey and did not arrive at their destination — that was all.
It is not quite accurate to say that nothing was ever seen again, for though the murderers grew to a family of considerable size, and there were many young stomachs to be filled, there were often some bits of their victims that were not eaten or wanted, and these were thrown into the sea at a good distance from the cave. Occasionally they were washed up further along the coast, causing great horror and speculation. Searches were carried out, but in that wild and waste land nothing was ever discovered.
For years it continued, and so great at length became the popular outcry that it reached the ears of the court far away in Edinburgh. Spies and investigators were sent into the south-west to find out the truth. The best they could discover was that people had sometimes stayed at inns on their travels, and in a number of instances the land¬lords were so trapped by circumstantial evidence concerning missing travellers that they were arrested and put to death. Travellers also were executed, on the flimsiest of evidence, they, like the innkeepers, protesting their innocence to the very end. But the authorities were determined that the outrages must cease, and hoped, by a ruthless repression, either to destroy those guilty or so frighten them that they would cease their activities. The only effect, however, was to scare away a lot of the innkeepers, so that there was nowhere for travellers to stay, and consequently fewer people came to the district. Cut off, to a large extent, and doubly frightened, many families moved to other areas. But still men and women continued to vanish. A number of the king's spies, searching the countryside, were never seen again.
As Sawney's family grew in size and strength, occasionally a group as large as five or six would disappear on the road — though they would never tackle more than two if they were mounted. The cannibals were unable to eat as much as this, and whilst some was thrown into the sea, quantities of limbs were pickled in brine or hung to dry from the roof of the cave — legs and arms, haunches, neck joints, ribs and backs. Though they did not bother particularly with their dress, and the now some of the larger sea caves were just accessible, black above the rocks and lapping water, or sea-rippled sand. No-one, they thought, would inhabit any place so awful, and did not even bother to search them, but continued along the shore. By chance, however, two or three of the bloodhounds entered one of the caverns and set up a tumult of baying. Some of the king's party followed and entered the dripping dungeon. Ahead of them a grim, twisting tunnel retreated into black¬ness. Bloodhounds strained at their leashes, and those running free pressed on ahead into the darkness and would not come back. Their baying and yelping was deafening in the confined space. Filled with foreboding the men retreated to the entrance and sent for torches.
Holding the blazing brands aloft, with swords at the ready, the soldiers and bold spirits from King James's court advanced into the tunnel. The tide, they saw from barnacles and sea-wrack, ran into it for two hundred yards. They advanced further, beyond the weedy pools, and still further, by many labyrinthine twists and turnings, until it seemed they must have travelled a full mile underground. Then the cave ahead opened out into a chamber.
As the flickering light of their torches touched the rocky walls and shadowy recesses of the roof they stopped, horrified. For there the ghastly, gibbet-like larder of human limbs and parts hung drying on cords and ropes; and pickled in barrels of brine against the walls were the inner organs, hands and feet, and still more human flesh. Clothes, taken from their victims, lay strewn and piled in the corners, with mildewed scabbards and thigh boots, and a welter of rusting swords and muskets. A rocky shelf nearby was piled high with glinting coin, and handfuls of other possessions, rings and watches and brooches, which fell in confusion to the ground. And beyond, where the tunnel resumed at the inner end of the chamber, were the first watchful, crouching, silent members of Sawney Bean's family.
After desperate fighting and pursuits, men and women acting like wild animals, the children writhing and struggling, biting and stabbing ferociously with bits of sharpened bone, the entire family was captured and bound. They numbered forty-eight. The king's men were appalled. The human remains were carried to the shore and buried in the sand. The valuable spoils were tumbled into sacks and money bags. Then, the cannibal family securely tied in single file, King James led his party inland, eastwards towards Edinburgh.
News of their progress went before them, and crowds gathered in the streets to see the cannibals pass through. They were not disappointed, for though they might be sullen, to the very last they acted like wild things.
In Edinburgh they were imprisoned in the Tolbooth. The following day, trial being considered unnecessary, they were taken to Leith and executed. Almost all died without showing the least sign of repentance, struggling and cursing their captors to the very end. The men were dismembered, their private parts, hands and feet being severed from their bodies so that they bled to death in a short time. The women, having been made witness of the men's fate, were burned alive in three fires.

FOOTNOTE
The first written account of Sawney Bean's family seems to have been a broadsheet dated about 1700. Interestingly, for the time, this claims that the king was James VI and I — remembered as the witch persecutor and rooter-out of evil. The key version, however, appeared in Historical and Traditionary Tales connected with the South of Scotland — better known as 'Nicholson's Tales' (1843). This sets the story two centuries earlier, in the suitably more remote reign of James I.
There is some disagreement, too, in the location of the cave. Several have been proposed, but that most commonly accepted is below Bennane Head, three miles to the north of Ballantrae — eight miles from the Wigtownshire border. Nicholson, however, describes it as 'a cave by the seaside on the shore of the county of Galloway', and since it is among the most famous of the local tales, it is included in this collection.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sawney Bean - cannibalistic family
From: Gutcher
Date: 20 Nov 13 - 05:22 AM

That part of Ayrshire called Carrick was counted as part of Galloway down to the end of the 14th. C.. Kennedys Pass and the supposed site of Sawney Beans cave are in Carrick.
I note a mistake in my last post, the name that Christie had assumed after removing from the foot of the Grampians to Dumfries was Peter Maxwell and not Gordon as given.
Christie, a butcher from Perth, was given the bye-name Cleik due to his fitting a cleik to a long pole which enabled him to pull a rider off his horse thus giving his gang both the rider and the horse to eat.


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