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Title : Sandgate lass on the Ropery Banks

Format : chapbook ; song

Composer : Nunn, Robert (d.1853)

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.10


Woman's song about courting her young keelman. Interestingly Allan's Tyneside songs reveals that the Ropery Banks derived their name from the Ropery that was built on the first Ballast Hill that was formed outside the town.

The author of this song, Robert Nunn, was a slater by trade. Losing his sight in an industrial accident Nunn turned to music as a means to support his family. An accomplished fiddler and good singer, Nunn composed a number of well known local songs, which he sung with much success. Robert Nunn died at Queen Street, Newcastle on 2nd May, 1853 aged forty-five 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.10 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 'The skipper's dream' to 'maw wonderful wife', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as Robert Nunn and would have been extremely popular among the local population.


Collection description : Popular Tyneside songs published in chapbook form.

Melody used : Skipper's wedding

First line:On the Ropery-banks Jenny was sitting

Subject heading : love, marriage and courtship & women

Keywords : keelmen & love & courtship

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