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Title : Beggar's wedding

Format : chapbook ; song

Composer : Stephenson, William, Jun. (b.1797 d.1838)

Production details : publisher : J. Ross
Royal Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear

Date : 1846 (circa)

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Collection name : Songs of the Tyne; being a collection of popular local songs. No.7


Comic song using a clever metre in the rhyme. Contains interesting references to Gateshead characters 'Old Sandy the Piper' and 'Black Jack'. Allan's Tyneside songs reveals that it appeared in the 'Tyneside Minstrel' of 1824.

The author of the song, William Stephenson, Jun., was born in Gateshead on 2nd September, 1797. A printer by trade, Stephenson published a collection of local songs entitled the 'Tyneside Minstrel' in 1824. Along with a number of other songs, Stephenson published his father's poems and songs in 1832 and ended his life as an auctioneer. William Stephenson died on 20th May, 1838 aged forty years.

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.7 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 W.R. Walker of the Royal Arcade, sometime between 1857-66.

The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'The beggar's wedding' to 'Callerforney', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as J. Bagnall and would have been extremely popular among the local population.


Collection description : Popular Tyneside songs published in chapbook form.

Melody used : Quayside shaver

First line:When timber-legg'd Harry crook'd Jenny did marry

Subject heading : leisure, entertainment and sport & festivities

Keywords : entertainment & weddings

Period : 1841-1860

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