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Title : Cappy; or, the pitman's dog.

Format : chapbook ; song

Composer : Mitford, William (b.1788 d.1851)

Production details : publisher : J. Marshall
Old Flesh Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear

Date : 1814 (circa)

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Collection name : Newcastle songster; being a choice collection of songs, descriptive of the language and manners of the common people of Newcastle upon Tyne and the neighbourhood. Part III.


Song describing the capture of a pitman's beloved pet dog 'Cappy'. To be sung to the tune of 'Chapter of donkies'.

The 'highwayman fellow' responsible for Cappy's fate was one Thomas Carr, custodian of Newcastle Keep. He was described as a 'gross, vulgar fellow, with a patch on his cheek,' and the name of Cappy stuck to him permanently after the song appeared. The situation described in the song arose due to the high number of dogs in Newcastle at this time. The dogs had become such a problem that the Government had given the police permission for a huge round up. A similar raid was held again in 1860 when the dog population was thought to be beyond control.

The song was written by William Mitford, a member of the St. Crispin's gentle craft, and author of other famous Tyneside songs, 'Pitman's Courtship', 'Bewildered Skipper', and 'XYZ'. The song has also been printed in broadside form.

Newcastle was the second largest producer of chapbooks in the country at the time of this book's publication. 'The Newcastle Songster' was printed by J. Marshall, one of the most prominent chapbook printers in Newcastle during the early nineteenth century. This book forms part III of the 'Songster' series and is perhaps easier to date than parts I and II. Although it is not clear whether preceding parts of the 'Songster' were published before or after John Bell's 'Rhymes of the Northern Bards, 1812, the appearance of songs such as 'XYZ' in part III indicate the publication date to be no earlier than 1814.

The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'The Skipper's Wedding' to 'Newcastle Fair', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as John Selkirk and would have been extremely popular among the local population.


Collection description : Popular Tyneside songs published in chapbook form.

Melody used : Chapter of donkies

First line:In a town near Newcassel, a Pitman did dwell

Subject heading : local characters and strange events & law and order

Keywords : dogs & police & law

Period : 1801-1840

Subject : Carr, Thomas


Height : 14 cm

Width : 8 cm

Held by : Newcastle University

Copyright : Item reproduced by kind permission of Newcastle University


t :: 0191 433 8430

f :: 0191 433 8424

e :: libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East