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Lyric explanation-'cran' in Fisher's 'Final Trawl'

09 Jul 08 - 07:41 AM (#2384516)
Subject: Lyric explanation
From: kendall

Archie Fisher wrote a song about the sad condition of commercial fishing. He calls it, "The Final Trawl", and there is a word I don't know the meaning of. and the final trawl scarcely nets a cran..What is a cran?

09 Jul 08 - 07:44 AM (#2384522)
Subject: RE: Lyric explanation
From: Phil Edwards


A measure of capacity for fresh herrings as caught; fixed by the Fisheries Board at 37 gallons (about 750 fish).

Up to 1815 the cran was measured by heaping full a herring-barrel with the ends taken out, which was then lifted, leaving the heap on the ground or floor. In 1816, the Commissioners for the Herring Fishery fixed the capacity of the 'cran' at 42 gallons, Old Wine Measure, which in 1832 was raised to 45 gallons, 42 gallons when 'pined' being found insufficient to make a barrel of bung-packed herrings. In 1852 the contents were given in Imperial measure as 37 gals., making, when pined, a barrel of 30 gals.

You'll be wondering about 'pined' - I know I am.


To dry or cure (fish, meat, etc.) by exposure to the weather.

09 Jul 08 - 07:45 AM (#2384523)
Subject: RE: Lyric explanation
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie

From an online dictionary:

"Cran a measure of fish, about 750 herrings, 1797."

See also "The Shoals of Herring"
"With a hundred cran of the silver darlings, that we'd taken from the Shoals of herring"

09 Jul 08 - 08:52 AM (#2384595)
Subject: RE: Lyric explanation
From: Snuffy

We took crans, they take tons
And no-one bloody cares.

Cheap Boat, Jon Heslop

09 Jul 08 - 08:48 PM (#2385277)
Subject: RE: Lyric explanation-'cran' in Fisher's 'Final Tr
From: kendall

And there it is. Thanks for the explanation.
In our sardine fishery we use that old measure, the Hogshead. (17.5 bushels)

10 Jul 08 - 08:35 AM (#2385592)
Subject: RE: Lyric explanation-'cran' in Fisher's 'Final Trawl'
From: Richard Bridge

Plenty of posters here still do that..

07 Feb 21 - 07:10 PM (#4092055)
Subject: RE: Lyric explanation-'cran' in Fisher's 'Final Trawl'
From: Joe Offer

These are the lyrics in the Digital Tradition. I listened to an Archie Fisher recording on a compilation called People and Songs of the Sea, and noted what Archie sang below in italics - but I don't know the date of this recording. I'm sure Archie recorded this song several times and may have had differences in various recordings, but this is what I hear on the recording I have. I heard Archie sing this at an Archie Fisher concert hosted by Celtaddict in Connecticut, and I wish I could remember when that was. He said he hadn't sung it in many years, and decided he needed to start singing it again. I heard him sing it again in September 2019 when I was on a Jim Malcolm tour of the Borders of Scotland. To me, it's the ultimate Archie Fisher song - but "Witch of the West-mere-lands" is a close second.

by Archie Fisher

Now it's three long years since we made her pay
Sing haul away, my laddie-o
And the owners say that she's had her day
And sing haul away, my laddie-o

So pull (heave?) away for the final trawl
It's an easy pull, for the catch is small

Now its (Then stow?) stow your gear lads and batten down
Then I'll turn (Then I'll take) the wheel, lads, and turn her round

And we'll join "The Venture" and "The Morning Star"
Riding High and empty behind (towards?) the bar

For (Now?) I'd rather beach her on the skerry rock
Than to see her torched on (in?) the breakers dock

And when I die, you can stow me down
In her rusty hold, where the breakers sound

Then I'll make the haven and the Fiddler's Green (Then I'd make the haven of Fiddler's Green ?)
Where the grub is good and the bunks are clean

I fished (But I fished?) a lifetime, boy and man
An (And) the final trawl scarcely nets a cran

@sailor @work
filename[ FINTRAWL

08 Feb 21 - 04:04 AM (#4092078)
Subject: RE: Lyric explanation-'cran' in Fisher's 'Final Trawl'
From: r.padgett

I got my words from Cilla and Artie's album which is very similar to Joe's noted words ~ Archie's words original will be different too!


Likely words will be substituted and or changed with different singers