Song about a pitmens' Christmas ritual.
The 'tyup' in the title was in fact the last corve of coal drawn from the pit at the end of the year. In former days it was customary for a tup's horn to be sent up from the pit with every twentieth corf of coal, as a means of counting the loads. The last corf or coals drawn from the pit on the final working day of the year was called the tup. The drawing of this tup involved great ceremony. The pit boys would stand at the bottom of the pit shaft with candles and after the horns of the tup were placed on top of the corf, every boy would place his lighted candle in the coal. The onsetter would then shout up the shaft 'send away' and the blazing tup would be drawn from the shaft. Corfs or corves had all but disappeared by the mid nineteenth century and so would have been a thing of the past by the time this song was written.
The songs forms part of a collection held by Newcastle City Library. The collection comprises much of the original material collected by Thomas Allan for the publication of 'Allan's Tyneside songs'. From original Ned Corvan manuscripts to photographs of Joe Wilson, and correspondence from local figures such as Joseph Cowen, the collection provides a genuinely fascinating glimpse of some of the region's best known composers. The material dates from 1860 to 1890, spanning the dates of the various publications of the book in 1862, 1863, 1864, 1872, 1873 and 1891.