after B.Colgrave and C.E.Wright, 'An Elizabethan poem about Durham' in Durham University Journal vol.32 (n.s.1) 1940, 161-168.
Source: BL Harleian MS 7578 ff.106a-110b– songs and music in late 16th century hand; provenance: Durham.


Alone walking
and oft musing
all be a rewersyde…          riverside

Preparations for the Market

“Of wens byen they,          whence
I pray yow saye;
what craftesmen
trust yow they be?”
“Name them now, let se,"
there came þat tyme
& many mo
with marghandes also          merchants
both freshe & gaye –
for the morow
was the marked day -          market
frome ewery willag
ther besyde
þat markyd tyde:
fat swyne & shepe
otes, bygg,          barley
both ry & whete,
pigges, ge[s]e          geese
& copons fat,
butter, chese,
nuttes, scrabes & egges          crabapples
with lekes          leeks
both grene & grete
& cheryes frome Dentone;
frome Medusleye -
þat cumethe among -          with them
& harowes strong,
spades, shewlys & gades          shovels and goads*
ryght lon[g]e.*          long
Nor to presume for sell
whylles they hawe hrong*          until...rung
the corne bell:
'tynkell tong tynkell tong
tynkell tong ty to
tynkell tonge'

Getting to the Market

To ax a mare          ask for/hire
& other gere
“0 yet! 0 yet! 0 yet! 0 yet!*          make way!
Lo, a gret bay mare!
She is slyt in the ryght eyre;
a meby monthe she came          maybe
frome Whytbarne Rake
towardes the feldes
of Kimleworth of Kimleworth.”
“Tell vs, let se, for glade wold we.”
“Where to?” quoth he;
“I am here.
Saye what yow wyll.”
“Yt is Sainte Cudbardes day.”
“Yff yt so be
I holde,” quoth he.          agree/confirm


Then came Peres of Pelton,          Piers
Jenken and Daway;          Davy
sade Olywer,          said
“Abyde, abyde,
and I vill bere
yow company
vnto þat place!”
Thus dede thay pace;
fast dyde thay thryng
& sume dyde cry
“Alas my lege,          leg
ware, ware the kny[f]!
softe! fy for shame!
make Winne go bake!”          back
I trust not þat thay
showtyde all then
for a fray,
both Sandy, Jake,
Dyke & Wyllye;
ther browes fast bled:
þat was no play.


Ther was Hogge of Howgton          Hodge*
with one showe of,          shoe off
& at the table
sone was he set,
one hyght to call -          aloud
he wold not let -          cease
“Gyfe me þat dyshe
with þat rede fyshe!          salmon
for o[ur]* Tybe & Gony!*"          our Tibby & ?Johnny*
Bothe lames & youes          lambs and ewes
this day for the & me.

Selling coal

In Sylwer Strete
as I came bye,
we hard colyares crye:          colliers
“By coles, by!          buy
By coles, by!
By coles, by!
By coles, by!
By coles, by!
By coles, by!
By coles, by!
By coles, by!
By coles, by!
By coles, by!*
Frome Brandan More
& Ranton also
frome Feryfurth
& eke Brasede
& thes are of Fendon,
a lytell her bysyde;          nearby
pene fardynd;          penny farthing
masteres, ye pay no lese,          will pay no less
Ye pay no les!”
They are raweris          robbers
rych & of great plenty.

Durham City

Nott far from þe cete:          the city
woodes, medowes
great & fayr
& holsom of ayre
in all this realm
non such truly;
a strong palis,          palace
a goodly moott;          moat
but one place
to enter save only
with a boott;          boat
upon a cragges rock
it standith pleasantly.

In the Bailey

Now will we go
the Bayly to:
þerof sumthyng
now for to syng,
“In lusty May,
the North Bayly
att Elvett
heer dyd mett.”
Ther was dysgysyng,          'guising'
piping & dansyng
& as we cam nere
which thus begane:
“Robyne, Robyn, Robyne
and many man
haith a fayre wyfe
þat doth him lytill good.
Robyn, Robyn, Robyn,
& joly Roben, lend þou
me the bowe.”
Through every street
thus can they go
& every man
his horne dyd blowe:
'tro tro tro tro ro ro
ro ro ro ro tro ro tro tro
tro ro ro tro tro tro
tro ro ro
ro ro tro tro ro ro ro
ro ro tro ro row...'

A Song

The maydens came:

“When I was in my mothers bower
I hade all þat I wolde.          wanted
The Bayly berith the bell away,          is best
The lylle, the rose, the rose I lay.

“The sylver is whit, rede is the golde
The robes thay lay in fold.
The Baylly berith the bell away.
The lylly, the rose, the rose I lay.

“And through the glasse wyndow shines the sone.          sun
How shuld I love & I so young?
The Bayly berith the bell away,
The lylly, the rose, the rose I lay.
The Bayly beryth the bell away…”

Loyal conclusion

For to report it were now tedius;
we will therfor now syng no more
of þe games ioius.          joyous
Ryght myghty & famus,
Elizabeth our quen pryncis,
prepotent & ek victorius,
& ek victorius, victorius,
vertuus & bening:
lett vs pray all
to Cryst eternall
which is the Hevenly Kyng:
after þis lyfe grant them
a place eternally to syng.

Notes (BG)

MS þt resolved to þat; MS wt resolved to with;
sectional titles, punctuation and capital letters editorial;
the metrics of the piece are unclear; rhyme is present, but unpredictably. I follow Colgrave in dividing into short lines, but there are apparently no manuscript indications as to lineation;
gaye – MS: g gaye;
lon[g]e – MS: lone;
ge[s]e - MS: gete (yet, also)
Medomsley – an early base of iron work, so contrasted with Denton?
gad – a goad (a tapering rod) or a gad (a wedge of punch used by miners);
presume – MS: presune;
rong – MS: hong;
hogge - Colgrave as a proper name, 'Hodge of Houghton' - or could it be the hog that was served up? If so, 'one hyght' might be rendered, 'someone hastened'
Tibby and Johnny (or Gony) - surely the names of cats
'by coles by' - like the later 'to ro ro ro' this suggests a sung canon;
it bears the bell – wins – thus later in Thomas Wilson's 'Oiling of Dickey's wig'; cf. "Newcassel's sel' still bears the bell" John Ross Songs of the Tyne, early 19th century, p.22

Notes (Colgrave in situ)

St Cuthbert's Day was both 20 March and 4 September; the mention of fruit suggests the latter date, though May is mentioned in the text;
the song about Robin is also recorded in Ritson 'Ancient songs' 1790 p.166.

Notes (Madeleine Hope Dodds 'Some notes on 'An Elizabethan poem about Durham'' DUJ vol.33 (n.s.2) 1940-1941)

o yet – yet=gate or roadway – compare slogans in The Denham Tracts;
whyt barne = Whitburn;
ona tybe and gony = our Tibby and Johnny, though gony can = 'simpleton' (Colgrave interprets as 'for wench and simpleton');
the song about Robin and the maidens' song suggests competing bands of lads and lasses, and areas (North Bailey versus Bailey?);
glass window i.e. the great rose window in the Cathedral?