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Lyr Req: The Lampton Worm? / The Lambton Worm


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Geoff Cornwall 24 Jun 98 - 05:08 PM
Frank McGrath 24 Jun 98 - 05:30 PM
Bruce O. 24 Jun 98 - 05:58 PM
Jerry Friedman 25 Jun 98 - 02:42 PM
Frank McGrath 25 Jun 98 - 03:05 PM
dick greenhaus 26 Jun 98 - 12:07 AM
Geoff Cornwall 28 Jun 98 - 02:44 PM
Ralph Butts 28 Jun 98 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,stuart shields 23 Apr 03 - 10:05 AM
dick greenhaus 23 Apr 03 - 10:12 AM
MMario 23 Apr 03 - 10:14 AM
red max 23 Apr 03 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,TheBigPinkLad 23 Apr 03 - 06:50 PM
GUEST, 23 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 23 Apr 03 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Foley 06 Jan 11 - 06:50 PM
GUEST 16 Jul 11 - 01:32 AM
Max 16 Jul 11 - 02:23 AM
foggers 16 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM
Sian H 16 Jul 11 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 16 Jul 11 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Oz 12 May 12 - 10:53 PM
Dave Hanson 13 May 12 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,Ian Grey 10 Feb 13 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 10 Feb 13 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,JHW(cookie on old computer)again 10 Feb 13 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,George Henderson 07 Mar 13 - 09:13 AM
breezy 07 Mar 13 - 01:04 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 08 Mar 13 - 06:32 AM
breezy 08 Mar 13 - 07:10 AM
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Subject: The Lampton Worm
From: Geoff Cornwall
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 05:08 PM

I'm looking for the words of a traditional English song called "The Lampton Worm" which I came across about 30 years ago in the Newcastle upon Tyne area of North-East England. Can anyone help, please?

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Subject: add: The Lambton Worm (Geordie version)^^^
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 05:30 PM

My great friend and dyed in the wool Geordie, George Henderson has this song as one of his favourites among 170 or so songs he sings. He's delighted to pass it on. Enjoy.

Lambton Worm

One Sundays morn yung Lambton went a fishin' in the Wear,
He catched a fish upon his hyuk he thowt lucked varry queor,
Noo whatna kind o' fish it wse yung Lanbton good na tell,
He wes na fash to carry it yem, so he hoyed it doon the well.

Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aall an arful story,
Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aboot the worm.

Well Lambton felt inclined te gan an' fight in foreign wars,
He joined a troop o' lads htat cared for neither woonds nor scars,
An' off he went te Palestine where queor things him befell,
An' varry soon forgot aboot the queor worm doon the well.

Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aall an arful story,
Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aboot the worm.

This aaful worm it growed an growed it growed am aaful size,
It had a greet big heed and greet big teeth and greet big goggly eyes.
An' when at neet he craalled aboot te pick up bits o' news,
If it fell dry upon the road it milked a dozen coos.

Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aall an arful story,
Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aboot the worm.

This aaful worm it craalled aboot an' eat up lambs an' sheep.
It swalleed little bairns alive as they lay doon te sleep,
An' when that he had had enough an' eat aboot his fill,
He'd craal away an' lap his tail, ten times roond Penshar hill.

Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aall an arful story,
Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aboot the worm.

Well news o' this most aaful beast an' his queor gannin's on,
Soon crossed the seas an' reached the ears o' brave an' bould Sor John,
So yem he came an catched the beast an' cut it in twe halves,
An' that soon stopped it eatin' sheeps an' bairns an' lambs an' calves.

Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aall an arful story,
Wisht lads haad yer gobs, aa'll tell yis aboot the worm.

So noo ye knaa how aall the folks on both sides o' the Wear,
Lost lots o' sleep an' lots o' sheep an' lived in mortal fear,
So lets have one te bould Sor John. we saved the bairns from harm,
Saved lambs and calves by mekkin' halves o' the famous Lambton worm.

Noo lads aa'll haad me gob that's aall Aa knaa aboot the story,
Of Sor Johns clivvor job wi' the famous Lambton worm.^^^

Geordie Traditional / Learned from the singing of Brian Childs.

Frank McGrath & George Henderson
Nenagh Singers Circle

(PS. Louis Killen, if you are out there somewhere, George sends his very best regards.)

Different from what's in the Digital Tradition, but this version wasn't added to the DT.
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Bruce O.
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 05:58 PM

There's an earlier thread on this, 'Lair of the White Worm'.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 25 Jun 98 - 02:42 PM

How is that "aa" supposed to be pronounced?

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 25 Jun 98 - 03:05 PM

I'm no expert on Geordie dialect and George Henderson was the one who did the transcription but;

"aa" is pronounced as in bAA, bAA black sheep.....
as opposed to the "a" sound in "all", "ball", "that", "cat"...etc.

Frank McGrath

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Jun 98 - 12:07 AM

In the Digital Tradition database, it's the Lambton
worm. A search on "worm" finds it jes' fine.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Geoff Cornwall
Date: 28 Jun 98 - 02:44 PM

Many thanks to you all. Especially to Frank McGrath. It's like having an old friend back again!

It will certainly be enjoyed.


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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 28 Jun 98 - 05:31 PM

Great lyric. Does anyone have a recorded music source?


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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,stuart shields
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 10:05 AM

hi im looking for the music for the lampton worm if any one can help it would be appreciated

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 10:12 AM

Bill Sables recorded it on a CD called "Bridging the Gap" Available from CAMSCO, of course.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: MMario
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 10:14 AM

Stuart - Lambton Worm is in the Digital tradition - and there is a midi of the music on The Mudcat midi page

(The midi also has a link on the lyric page)

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: red max
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 10:16 AM

It's the opening track of Spriguns of Tolgus's excellent "Jack with a feather" album. The Northeast band Hedgehog Pie's self-titled album has been reissued with this and a few other cuts from the Lampton Worm musical added as extras, but it's a crappy burnt-from-vinyl CD

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,TheBigPinkLad
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 06:50 PM

Bryan Ferry (he of Roxxy Music and making girls swoon fame) sings it as his contribution to the Northumbrian Anthology. It's canny man.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM

Here's some little known background on the following line:

He'd craal away an' lap his tail, ten times roond Penshar hill.

It is usually thought that the 'Penshaw Hill' mentioned in the song is the hill now called Penshaw Hill, upon which, many years ago, Lord Lambton built a mock Greek Temple (now referred to as Penshaw Monument).

Not so! I recall my grandmother telling me (some 50 years ago) that the real 'Penshaw Hill' of the song is about a mile away on the other bank of the River Wear - just next to Fatfield Bridge. This small hill (known of old as Worm Hill) is where the Worm wrapped its tail ... and there is allegedly a path around the base of this small hill where - to this day - the grass still refuses to grow!

I must go and check that out one day.

Brian Childs


... the line in question is usually phrased locally as:

He'd ha'ad away an' wrap his tail ten times roon Penshaw Hill.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 09:49 PM

From my beuk of Newcassel Sangs
click here

The Lambton Worm

                                                   One Sunday morn young Lambton
                                                    Went a-fishin' in the Wear;
                                                   An' catched a fish upon his huek,
                                                    He thowt leuk't varry queer,
                                                    But whatt'n a kind a fish it was
                                                    Young Lambton couldn't tell.
                                                   He waddn't fash to carry it hyem,
                                                      So he hoyed it in a well.

                                                    Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
                                                   Aa'll tell ye aall and aaful story,
                                                    Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
                                                    An' Aal tell ye 'bout the worm.

                                                   Noo Lambton felt inclined to gan
                                                      An' fight in foreign wars.
                                                 He joined a troop o' Knights that cared
                                                    For neither wounds nor scars,

                                                    An' off he went to Palestine
                                                    Where queer things him befel,
                                                    An' varry seun forgot aboot
                                                    The queer worm i' the well.


                                              But the worm got fat an' growed an' growed,
                                                      An' growed an aaful size;
                                                 He'd greet big teeth, a greet big gob,
                                                    An' greet big goggle eyes.
                                                   An' when at neets he craaled aboot
                                                      To pick up bits o'news,
                                                    If he felt dry upon the road,
                                                      He milked a dozen coos.


                                                   This feorful worm wad often feed
                                                    On calves an' lambs an' sheep,
                                                    An' swally little bairns alive
                                                    When they laid doon to sleep.
                                                    An' when he'd eaten aal he cud
                                                      An' he had has he's fill,
                                                   He craaled away an' lapped his tail
                                                   Seven times roond Pensher Hill.


                                                   The news of this most aaful worm
                                                      An' his queer gannins on
                                                 Seun crossed the seas, gat to the ears
                                                    Of brave an' bowld Sir John.
                                                 So hyem he cam an' catched the beast
                                                    An' cut 'im in three halves,
                                                 An' that seun stopped he's eatin' bairns,
                                                    An' sheep an' lambs and calves.


                                                   So noo ye knaa hoo aall the folks
                                                    On byeth sides of the Wear
                                                   Lost lots o' sheep an' lots o' sleep
                                                      An' lived in mortal feor.
                                                   So let's hev one to brave Sir John
                                                    That kept the bairns frae harm
                                                Saved coos an' calves by myekin' haalves
                                                    O' the famis Lambton Worm


                                                    Noo lads, Aa'll haad me gob,
                                                 That's aall Aa knaa aboot the story
                                                      Of Sir John's clivvor job
                                                   Wi' the aaful Lambton Worm!


Further history of the Lambton Worm

Source: The Book of Ballads - Ancient and modern, London, Virtue, Spalding, and Co

"This ballad is taken from 'the Local Historian's Table-book,' where it is given as 'revised by the author,' the Rev. J. Watson, having apparently been first published in 'Tait's Edinburgh
Magazine.' It is founded upon a 'family legend,' current in the county of Durham, 'the authority of which,' says Mr Brockett, in his 'glossary of North Country Words,' 'the inhabitants will
not allow it to be questioned.' 'The lapse of three centuries,' he adds, 'has so completely enveloped in obscurity the particular details, that it is impossible to give a narration which could
in any way be considered as complete.' In the Table-book, however, is given a 'history,' said to have been 'gleaned with much patient and laborious investigation, from the viva voce
narration's of sundry elders of both sexes on the banks of the Wear in the immediate neighbourhood of the scene of the action.' This 'history' is almost identical with the story of the
ballad; the allusions in which can be found explained in the notes. With regard to the origin of the Legend, Which has been 'preserved and repeated almost without variation for
centuries,' it is conjectured in the 'Table-book' to have 'arisen from the circumstance of an invasion from a foreign foe, some successful chieftain, with well-disciplined bands, destroying
and laying waste with fire and sword, whose advance over unequal ground would convey to the fears of the peasantry the appearance of a rolling serpent; and the power of re-uniting is
readily accounted for by the ordinary evolutions of military tactics. And by the knight's 'destroying this legion by his single arm,' is supposed to be signified that he was 'the head and
chief in the onslaught.'"



T'Is the joyful Easter morn,
And the bells ring loud and clear,
Sounding the holy day of rest
Through the quiet vale of Wear.

Forth at its sound, from his stately hail,
Hath the Lord of Lambton come,
With knight and squire in rich attire,
Page, seneschal, and groom.

The white-hair'd peasant and his dame,
Have left their woodland cot;
Children of toil and poverty,
Their cares and toil forgot.

And buxom youth and bashful maid,
In holiday array,
Thro' verdant glade and greenwood shade,
To Brigford bend their way.

And soon within its sacred dome
Their wandering steps are stayed;
The bell is rung, the mass is sung,
And the solemn prayer is prayed.

But why did Lambton's youthful heir,
Not mingle with the throng?
And why did he not bend his knee,
Nor join in the holy song?

0, Lambton' s heir is a wicked man!
Alike in word and deed;
lie makes a jest of psalm and priest,
Of the Ave and the Creed.

He loves the fight, he loves the chase
He loves each kind of sin;
But the holy church, from year to year,
He is not found within.

And Lambton's heir, at the matin prayer,
Or the vesper, is not seen;
And on this day of rest and peace
He hath donned his coat of green;

And with his creel slung on his back,
His light rod in his hand,
Down by the side of the shady Wear
He took his lonely stand.

There was no sound hut the rushing stream,
The little birds were still,
As if they knew that Lambton's heir,
Was doing a deed of ill.

Many a salmon and speckled trout
Through the quiet waters glide
But they all sought the deepest pools,
Their golden scales to hide.

The soft. west wind just rippled the brook,
And the clouds flew gently by,
And gleamed the sun, — 'twas a lovely day
To the eager fisher's eye.

He threw his line, of the costly twine,
Across the gentle stream;
Upon its top the dun-flies drop
Lightly as childhood's dream.

Again, again, — but all in vain,
In the shallow or the deep
No trout rose to his cunning bait
He heard no salmon leap.

And now he wandered east the stream,
And now he wandered west;
He sought each bank or hanging bush,
Which fishes love the best.

But vain was all his skilful art;
Vain was each deep disguise;
Vain was alike the varied bait,
And vain the mimic flies.

When, tired and vexed, the castle hell,
Rung out the hour of dine,
"Now," said the Lambton's youthful heir.
"A weary lot is mine.

For six long hours, this April morn,
My line in vain I've cast;
But one more throw; come weal come wo,
For this shall be the last."

He took from his bag a maggot worm,
That bait of high renown
His line is wheeled quickly through the air,
Then sunk in the water down.

Wben he drew it out, his ready hand
With no quivering motion shook,
For neither salmon, trout nor ged,.
Had fastened on his hook.

But a little thing, a strange formed thing,
Like a piece of muddy weed
But like no fish that swims the stream.
Nor ought that crawls the mead.

'Twas scarce an inch and a half in length,
Its colour the darkest green
And on its rough and scaly back
Two little fins were seen.

It had a long and pointed snout,
Like the mouth of the slimy eel,
And its white and loosely hanging jaws,
Twelve pin-like teeth reveal.

It had sharp claws upon its feet,
Short ears upon its head,
A jointed tail, and quick bright eyes,
That gleamed of a fiery red.

"Art thou the prize," said the weary wight,
"For which I have spent my time;
For which I have toil'd till the hour of neon,
Since rang the matin chime?"

From the side of the deli, a crystal well
Sends its waters bubbling by;
"Rest there, thou ugly tiny elf,
Either to live or die."

He threw it in, and when next he came,
He saw, to his surprise,
It was a foot and a half in length;
It had grown so much in Size.
And its wings were long, far-stretched and strong.
And redder were its eyes.


But Lambton's heir is an altered man;
At the church on bended knee,
Three times a day he was wont to pray;
And now he's beyond the sea.

He has done penance for his sins,
He has drank of a sainted well,
He has joined the band from the holy Laud
To chase the infidel.

Where host met host, and strife raged most,
His sword flashed high and bright;
Where force met force, he winged his course,
The foremost in the fight.

Where he saw on high th' Oriflamine fly,
His onward path he bore,
And the Paynim Knight, and the Saracen,
Lay weltering in their gore.

Or in the joust, or tournament,
Of all that valiant hand,
When, with lance in rest, he forward prest,
Who could the shock withstand?

Pure was his fame, unstained his shield;
A merciful man was he;
The friend of the weak, he raised not his hand
'Gainst a fallen enemy.

Thus on the plains of Palestine,
He gained a mighty name,
And, full of honour and renown,
To the home of his childhood came.

But when he came to his father's lands,
No cattle were grazing there;
The grass in the mead was unmown and rough,
And the fields untilled and bare.

And when he came to his father's hail,
He wondered what might ail;
His sire but coolly welcomed him,
And his sisters' cheeks were pale.

"I come from the fight," said the Red-Cross Knight,
"I in savage lands did roam;
But where'er it be, they welcome me,
Save in my own loved home.

"Now why, now why, this frozen cheer?
What is it that may ail?
Why tremble thus my father dear?—
M3 sister, why so pale?"

"0! sad and woful has been our lot,
Whilst thou wast far away;
For a mighty dragon hath hither come
And taken up its stay;
At night or morn it sleepeth not,
But watcheth for its prey.

'Tis ten cloth yards in length ; its hue
Is of the darkest green
And on its rough and scaly hack,
Two strong black wings are seen.

It hath a long and pointed snout,
Like the mighty crocodile
And, from its grinning jaws, stand out
Its teeth in horrid file.

It hath on each round and webbed foot
Four sharp and hooked claws
And its jointed tail, with heavy trail
Over the ground it draws.

It hath two rough and hairy ears
Upon its bony head;
Its eyes shine like the winter sun,
Fearful, and darkly red.

Its roar is loud as the thunder's sound,
But shorter, and more shrill
It rolls, with many a heavy bound,
Onward from hill to hill.

And each morn, at the matin chime,
It seeks the lovely Wear;
And, at the noontide bell,
It gorges its fill, then seeks the hill
Where springs the crystal well.

No knight has e'er returned who dared
The monster to assail.
Though he struck off an ear or limb,
Or lopt its jointed tail,
Its severed limbs again unite,
Strong as the iron mail.

My horses, and sheep, and all my kin
The ravenous beast hath killed;
With oxen and deer, from far and near,
Its hungry maw is filled.
'Tis hence the mead is unrnown and long
And the corn-fields are untilled.

My son, to hail thee here in health,
My very heart is glad;
But thou hast heard our tale — and say.
Canst thou wonder that we're sad?"


And sorrowful was Larnbton's heir:
"My sinful act," said he,
"This curse hath on the country brought
Be it mine to set it free."

Deep in the dell, in a ruined hut,
Far from the homes of men,
There dwelt a witch the peasants called
Old Elspat of the Glen.

'Twas a dark night, and the stormy wind
Howled with a hollow moan,
As through tangled copsewood, bush, and briar
He sought the aged crone.

She sat on a low and three-legged stool,
Beside a dying fire;
As he lifted the latch she stirred the brands,
And the smoky flames blazed higher.

She was a woman weak and old,
Her form was bent and thin
Arid on her lean and shrivelled hand,
She rested her pointed chin.

He entered with fear, that dauntless man,
And spake of all his need;
He gave her gold; he asked her aid,
How best he might succeed.

"Clothe thee," said she, " in armour bright,
In mail of glittering sheen,
All studded o'er, behind and before,
With razors sharp and keen:

And take in thy hand the trusty brand
Which thou bore beyond the sea;
And make to the Virgin a solemn sow,
If she grant thee victory,
What meets thee first, when the strife is o'er,
Her offering shall be."

He went to the fight, in armour bright
Equipped from head to heel;
His gorget closed, and his vizor shut,
He seemed a form of steel.

But with razor blades, all sharp and keen,
The mail was studded o'er;
And his long tried and trusty brand
In his greaved hand he bore.

He made to the Virgin a solemn vow,
If she granted victory,
What met him first on his homeward path
Her sacrifice should be.

He told his sire, when he heard the horn,
To slip his favourite hound
"'Twill quickly seek its master's side
At the accustomed sound."

Forward he trod, with measured step,
To meet his foe, alone,
While the first beams of the morning sun
On his massy armour shone.

The monster slept on an island crag
Lulled by the rustling Wear,
Which eddy'd turbid at the base
Though elsewhere smooth and clear.

It lay in repose ; its wings were flat,
Its ears fell on its head,
Its legs stretched out and drooped its snout,
But its eyes were fiery red.

Little feared he, that armed knight,
As he left the rocky shore
And in his hand prepared for fight,
His unsheathed sword he bore.

As lie plunged in, the waters' splash
The monster startling hears
It spread its wings, and the valley rings,
Like the clash of a thousand spears.

It bristled up its scaly back,
Curled high its jointed tail,
And ready stood with grinning teeth,
The hero to assail

Then sprung at the knight with all its might,
And its foamy teeth it gnashed
With its jointed tail, like a thrasher's flail,
The flinty rocks it lashed.

But quick of eye, and swift of foot,
He guarded the attack
And dealt his brand with skilful hand
Upon the dragon's back.

Again, again, at the knight it flew;
The fight was long and sore;
He bravely stood, nor dropped his sword
Till he could strike no more.

It rose on high, and darkened the sky,
Then with a hideous yell,
A moment winnowed th' air with its wings,
And down like a mountain fell.

He stood prepared for the falling blow,
But mournful was his fate;
Awhile he reeled, then, staggering, fell
Beneath the monster's weight.

And round about its prostrate foe
Its fearful length it rolled,
And clasped him close, till his armour cracked
Within its scaly fold.

But pierced by the blades, from body and breast,
Fast did the red blood pour
Cut by the blades, piece fell by piece,
And quivered in the gore.

Piece fell by piece, foot fell by foot:
No more is the river clear,
But stained with blood, as the severed limbs
Rolled down the rushing Wear.

Piece fell by piece, and inch by inch,
From the body and the tail;
But the head still hung by the gory teeth
Tight fastened in the mail.

It panted long, and fast it breathed,
With many a bitter groan
Its eyes grew dim, it loosed its hold,
And fell like a lifeless stone.

Then loud he blew on his bugle-horn,
The blast of' victory
From rock to rock the sound was borne,
By Echo, glad and free;
For, burdened long by the dragon's roar,
She joy'd in her liberty.

But not his hound, with gladdened bound,
Comes leaping at the call
With feelings dire, he sees his sire
Rush from his ancient hall.

0! what can equal a father's love,
When harm to his son he fears
'Tis stronger than a sister's sigh
More deep than a mother's tears.

When Lambton's anxious listening lord
heard the bugle notes so wild,
He thought no more of his plighted word,
But ran to clasp his child.

"Strange is my lot,'' said the luckless wight,
"How sorrow and joy combine
When high in fame to my home I came,
My kindred did weep and pine.

This morn my triumph sees, and sees
Dishonour light on me:
For I had vowed to the holy Maid,
If she gave me victory,
What first I met, when the fight was o'er,
Her offering should be.

I thought to have slain my gallant hound,
Beneath my unwilling knife
But I cannot raise my hand on him
Who gave my being life !"

And heavy and sorrowful was his heart,
And he hath gone again
To seek advice of the wise woman,
Old Elspat of the Glen.

"Since thy solemn vow is unfulfilled,
Though greater be thy fame,
Than must a lofty chapel build
To the Virgin Mary's name.

On nine generations of thy race,
A heavy curse shall fall:
They may die in the fight, or in the chase,
But not in their native hall."

He builded there a chapel fair,
And rich endowment made,
Where morn and eve, by cowled monk,
In sable garb arrayed,
The bell was rung, the mass was sung,
And the solemn prayer was said.


Such is the tale which, in ages past,
On the dreary winter's eve,
In baron's ball, the harper blind,
In wildest strain, would weave
Till the peasants, trembling, nearer crept,
And each strange event believe.

Such is the tale which often yet,
Around the Christmas fire,
Is told to the merry wassail group,
By some old dame or sire.

But though they tell that the crystal well
Still flows by the lovely Wear,
And that the hill is verdant still,
His listeners shew no fear.

And though he tell that of Lambton's race
Nine ot them died at sea,
Or in the battle, or in the chase,
They shake their heads doubtingly.

And though he say there may still be seen
The mail worn by the knight,
Tho' the blades are blunt that once were keen,
And rusted that once were bright,
They do but shake their heads the more,
And laugh at him outright.

For knowledge to their view has spread
Her rich and varied store;
They learn and read, and take no heed,
Of legendary lore.

And pure religion hath o'er them shed
A holier heavenly ray;
And dragons and witches, and mail-clad knights,
Are vanished away;
As the creatures of darkness flee and hide,
From the light of the dawning day.

But Lambton's castle still stands by the Wear,
A tall and stately pile
And Lambton's name is a name of might,
'Mong the mightiest of our isle.
long may the sun of Prosperity
Upon the Lambtons smile!

THE WORME OF LAMBTON.- 'Orme or Worme, is, in the ancient Norse, the generic name for serpents.' (Inferno,' c.6 22,) and Aristo, ('OrlandoFurioso,' c. 46, 78) call the infernal serpent
of old, 'il ran verge,' that great worm;' and Milton, ('Paradise Lost,' Bk. ix, 1067,) makes Adam reproach Eve with having given 'ear to that false worm.' Cowper, 'Task,' Bk. vi.,) adopts the
same expression:-
'No foe to man
Lurks in the serpent now; the mother sees,
And smiles to see, her infants playful hand
Strecht forth to dally with the crested worm.'
Shakespeare, too, ('Cylembine, Act iii., Sc. 4,) speaks of slander's tongue as 'outvenoming all the worms of the Nile.' To these passages, quoted in 'The Local Historian's Table-book,' may
be added the following:- Shakespeare, ('Macbeth,' act iii., Sc. 4,) 'There the grown serpent lies: the worm that's fled,' &c. Massinger, ('Parliament of Love,' Act iv., Sc. 2.
'The sad father
That sees his son stung by a snake to death,
May with more justice stay his vengeful hand,
And let the worm escape,' &c.
'Piers Plowman,' (iii. 1. Ed. 1561,) speaks of 'Wyld wormes in woods;' and in the old ballad of 'Alison Gross,' (Jamieson's 'Popular Ballads and Songs,' ii., 187, Ed. 1806,) that ugliest witch of
the north countrie' turns one who would not be her 'lemman sae true' into 'an ugly worm, gard him toddle about the tree.' The word is also used in the same sense in the ballad, entitled
'The laidly Worm of Spindlestane Heughs.'
St. 27. 'A crystal well' - 'known at this day by the name of the Worm Well.'
St. 38. 'Red-cross Knight.' According to a curious entry in an old Ms. pedigree, lately in the possession of the family of Middleton, of Offerton, 'John Lambeton that slew ye worme was
Knight of Rhodes and Lord of Lambeton and Wod Apilton after the dethe of fower brothers, sans esshew malle.'
St. 46. 'The Hill' - still called 'The worm Hill, a considerable oval-shaped hill, 345 yards in circumference, and 52 in height, about a mile and a half from old Lambton Hall.'
St. 56. 'All studded o'er . . with razors.' 'At Lambton Castle is preserved a figure, evidently of great antiquity, which represents a knight' armed cap-a-pie, his visor raised and the back part
of his coat of mail closely inlaid with spear blades: with his left hand he holds the head of the worm, and with his right he appears to be drawing his sword out of his throat. The worm is
not represented as a reptile, but has ears, legs and wings.
St. 88. f popular tradition is to be trusted, 'this prediction was fulfilled, for it holds that during the period of 'the curse' none of the Lords of Lambton died in their beds. Be this as it may,
nine ascending generations from Henry Lambton, of Lambton, Esq., M.P., (elder brother to the late General Lambton,) would exactly reach Sir John Lambton, Knight of Rhodes. Sir Wm.
Lambton, who was Colonel of a regiment of foot in the service of Charles I., was slain at the bloody battle of Marston Moor, and his son William (his eldest son by his second wife)
received his death-wound at Wakefield, at the head of a troop of dragoons, in 1643. The fulfilment of the curse was inherent in the ninth of descent, and great anxiety prevailed during his
lifetime. amongst the hereditary depositaries of the tradition of the county, to know if the curse would hold good to the end. He died in his chariot, crossing the New-Bridge, thus giving
the last link to the chain of circumstantial tradition connected with the history of 'The Worme of Lambton.' - L .H. Table-book.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,Foley
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 06:50 PM

the well which lambton is supposed to have thrown the worm still exists near the site of "worm hill" not penshaw monument hill but as for the grass that refuses to grow that's not true I live near there and sledge down the hill every winter and in summer it's completely covered

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 01:32 AM

Why aye mann it's the wear not the tyne and we all know the wear goes to the sea!!!

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Max
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 02:23 AM

ya booger.

Love threads that span such time. It's as if a day hadn't passed.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: foggers
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM

Always brings a nostalgic smile for me - my dear departed dad was from Easington, and was not a singer though he loved folk music; this is the one song he would sing to us. I remember thinking that it was delightfully naughty cos as were told off in daily life if us wee girls used the word "gob", but it was alright to sing it with our dad!

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Sian H
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 08:19 AM

A great song and often sung 'down south' in Sussex by Newcastle ex-pat - known as Geordie Bill to many. Everyone in the pub joins in. Great reading about the possible stories behind the song.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 05:43 PM

The last time I went to Penshaw (Monument) Hill, we walked the trails left by the worm's tail around the hill. No kiddin'!


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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,Oz
Date: 12 May 12 - 10:53 PM

In what is probably another thread, someone from Allendale Town in Northumberland, west/southwest of Newcastle, posted some lyrics, and in doing so solved a problem I have long had: the printed lyrics say, "Then Lambton felt inclined to gan and fight in foreign wars. So he jined a troupe of knights that cared for neither wounds nor scars."

I sing this song to myself all the time and used to inflict it on my children. But I have never known whether "neither" was "NEETHER" or "NIGHTHER". The parent from Allendale's First School says, "NOWTHER." I like that. I don't know if it's right, but it sure solves the problem. (And, having spent a lovely night in Allendale a few years ago, I long ago decided that if I had it to do over again, I'd send my kids to Allendale First School -- a lovely town, a lovely county, and I think a first-rate school).

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 13 May 12 - 03:22 AM

Not actually a traditional song, it was written by C M Leumaine in the 1860s

Dave H

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,Ian Grey
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 10:51 AM

"Not actually a traditional song, it was written by C M Leumaine in the 1860s"

1867 for a Pantomime at the newly opened Tyne Theatre & Opera House.

It has been traditional in Pantos to have an audience singalong whilst the stage crew furiously assemble the grand staircase for the Finale' walkdown, but I don't know how far back that tradition goes.

I wonder if at the Tyne they lowered the words and divided the audience in half? ;-)

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 12:06 PM

I sang this at Faith Petric's folk club/soup kitchen in Haight Ashbury a few weeks after 9/11. It's a very welcoming place, with local itinerants and dropouts availing of Faith's excellent free soup & stuff. In the other room there was a lot of patriotic stuff of course, but I decided to stick to the given theme of Ghosts, Halloween, mythical beasts etc. These are not my strong point, but I thought the song would be appropriate. The audience in that place were a very alternative crowd and don't think their understanding of my Geordie accent was exactly comprehensive. So after I'd finished there was kind of stunned silence and this chap in the corner with a ponytail, beard and reefer in his hand led the applause by saying 'Cool, man'- a moment I've always treasured!

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,JHW(cookie on old computer)again
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 05:24 PM

#1 Peasant (ten years ago!) thanks for that great ballad which tells the whole tale; the way he manages to slay the beast and the curse falling on the Lamptons being entirely missing from the regular song.

The curse still works. The once proud Wearside brewery Vaux came up with a Lampton's beer. They are no more.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: GUEST,George Henderson
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 09:13 AM

The song as it is currently sung was penned by CM Leumaine but he clearly drew from the old ballad depicted in #1Peasant's research.

Great work which enlightens everyone and shows that the legend goes back as far as the crusades.

Somebody should have told John Lambton that it doesn't pay to miss mass.

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: breezy
Date: 07 Mar 13 - 01:04 PM

drifting from this fascinating thread for a moment
The mention of Allendale earlier
Is it the home of The Rose of same?

1964 was a 1st year year student at college in Leeds and a kind final year student wrote the 'Worm' song for me, me being just finding my interest in folk song.

Very friendly folk those Geordies

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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 08 Mar 13 - 06:32 AM

Maybe the least likely contender breezy! It's more often spelled Allandale in the published broadsides (and is in the sheet music at Levy). See this thread for discussion of the song's origins: Origins: The Rose of Allendale / Allandale.

Have you been hibernating?


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Subject: RE: The Lampton Worm
From: breezy
Date: 08 Mar 13 - 07:10 AM

Tanks Mick

Doing me usual thing but its raining ear but got me a gig this aft

Been to Barbados ,rode the jitneys, got the cap !

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