In this song a man climbs high up into the spire of St. Nicholas Church in Newcastle. He describes to the reader the amazing things he sees - he claims to be able to see all the way to Yorkshire and London! St. Nicholas Church was originally built in the fourteenth century and was surmounted by its famous lantern spire in the fifteenth century. Much of the interior furnishing dates back to the time of the creation of the new Diocese in 1882. The building has one of the oldest surviving lantern towers in the country and is one of Britain's smallest cathedrals. The entry fee for the spire quoted in the song was half a crown, over six pounds by today's standards - quite a sum in 1829 when this song was printed!
The song forms part of a 24 page song book, published in 1829, that appears to be the only known work of Thomas Marshall. Marshall was born in Newcastle and served his apprenticeship as a brush-maker in Pilgrim Street. At the age of 21 this collection of his songs was published by William Fordyce of Dean Street, two of the songs, 'Euphy's coronation' and 'Blind Willie' going on to enjoy relative popularity for a number of years following. It is not clear if Marshall ceased composing after this, or simply if none of his other work has survived - certainly Thomas Allan in his 1891 edition of 'Allan's Tyneside songs' noted that 'if he wrote anything after this it is untraced, as nothing appears to have found its way into local collections'. Thomas Marshall died on 29th December, 1866 at his house in Shieldfield, Tyneside.