Possibly written by William Mitford, this song refers to a popular venue for day trippers to Marsden Rock. Built into the cliff face at Marsden the pub was run by landlord Peter Allen, famous for keeping pigeons, pigs and a pair of tame ravens. A popular subject for local song smiths there are a number of songs about this little pub in the cliff.
Similar to the cheap press of today these poorly printed books and broadsides catered for popular tastes, being sold by chapmen in the country and booksellers in the town. Usually sold for no more than a penny, the production of these little books and broadsides were extremely profitable for most printers. Sold in bulk the material required little proof-reading, was widely plagiarised, and badly printed.
Newcastle was the second largest producer of chapbooks in the country at the time of this book's publication. 'Songs of the Tyne' were a short series of chapbooks printed by, J. Ross of the Royal Arcade. This book forms no.5 of the 'Songs of the Tyne' series and was printed some time between 1847 and 1852. A number of the songs however, can be dated to the early nineteenth century, some such as 'The pitman's courtship' appearing as early as 1816. The 'Songs of the Tyne' series were reprinted by J. Walker of the Royal Arcade, sometime between 1857-66.
The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'Famed Filly Fair' to 'Marsden Rock House', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as J. Bagnall and would have been extremely popular among the local population.