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Title : Laidley worm of Spindleston-Heugh.

Also known as : Northumberland garland; or, Newcastle nightingale. A matchless collection of famous songs. ;

Format : song

Composer : unknown ; Compiler : Ritson, Joseph (b.1752 d.1803)

Production details : publisher : R. Triphook
St. James's Street ; London

Date : 1810

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Collection name : Northern garlands

 

This ballad was reputed to have been written in 1270 by a Duncan Frasier, of Cheviot. In classic fairy-tale style the song tells the tale of a young princess who is transformed into a serpent by her jealous stepmother, the new queen. Fortunately the princess is rescued on her brother's return, and the pair seek their revenge by transforming the queen into a toad. The song was first printed by Robert Lambe, vicar of Norham.

This song is taken from 'The Northumberland Garland', one of 4 volumes of songs collected by Joseph Ritson in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century and published under the collective title of 'The Northern Garlands'. The book was published in London by R. Triphook in 1810 and is held by the Robinson Library of Newcastle University. The 4 volumes are entitled respectively, - 'The Bishopric Garland; or Durham Minstrel', 'The Yorkshire Garland', 'The Northumberland Garland', and 'The North Country Chorister' and were sold previous to the publication of The Northern Garlands as separate publications. The Northumberland Garland was first published in Newcastle in 1793 and reprinted in London in 1809.

The collector, Joseph Ritson, was born on the 2nd October, 1752 at Stockton-upon-Tees. After studying law under a Ralph Bradley Esq., Ritson settled in London where he commenced practice as a surveyor. He did however 'keep an affection for the north which prompted him to compile, between 1783 and 1802 several collections of verse relating to Durham, Yorkshire and Northumberland. Here were printed, sometimes for the first time, but in most cases from broadsides and other printed sources, 'Elsie Marley', 'Rookhope Ryde', 'The Battle of Otterburn' ... [etc.] (Frank Rutherford; The collecting and publishing of Northumbrian folk-song; Archaeologia Aeliana 4 XLII). This is not only an important collection in its own right, but was also one of the main sources used in the compilation of the Northumbrian Minstrelsy, the first large-scale regional survey of song to be made in Britain.

 

Collection description : Songs collected by Joseph Ritson

First line:The king is gone from Bambrough Castle

Subject heading : ballads

Keywords : legends

Period : 1801-1840

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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