> Folk Music > Songs > The Hunting of Arscott of Tetcott

The Hunting of Arscott of Tetcott

[ Roud 6902 ; VWML SBG/2/1/6 , SBG/3/2/37 ; Mudcat 30066 ; trad.]

Jim Causley sang The Hunting of Arscott of Tetcott in 2005 on his WildGoose CD Fruits of the Earth. He noted:

According to Sabine Baring-Gould, in its heyday this was one of the most popular Devonshire songs, second only to Widecombe Fair. It’s a fantastic story and the Arscott family still live in the manor at Tetcott to this day. I am always fascinated how these songs continue to be poignant in modern times.

Dave Lowry sang Arscott of Tetcott in 2023 on his WildGoose CD Songs of a Devon Man. Bill Crawford noted:

Published in Sabine Baring-Gould’s Songs of the West. Once widespread in the Tetcott area. It was certainly still sung by estate workers in the 1960s. Baring-Gould found or was given several versions and for publication ‘recast the conclusion of the song’. Dave used to sing it with the Oakleaves. This track has been included because it is important to Dave’s repertoire even though there is extraneous noise on the master recording.


Dave Lowry sings Arscott of Tetcott

In the month of November, in the year fifty-two,
Three jolly foxhunters, all Sons of the Blue,
They rode from Pencarrow, not fearing a wet coat,
To take their diversion with Arscott of Tetcott.

Chorus (after each verse):
Fol-de-rol, lol-de-rol, la-de, heigh-ho!
Fol-de-rol, lol-de-rol, la-de, heigh-ho!

The daylight was dawning, right radiant the morn,
When Arscott of Tetcott he winded his horn;
He blew such a flourish, so loud in the hall
As the rafters re-sounded, and danced to the call.

In the kitchen the servants, in the kennel the hounds,
In the stable the horses were roused by the sounds,
On Black-Bird in saddle sat Arscott, “Today
I will show you good sport, lads, Hark! follow, away!”

They tried in the coppice, from Becket to Thorn,
There were Ringwood and Rally, and Princess and Scorn;
Then out bounded Reynard and away they all went,
With the wind in their tails, on a beautiful scent.

“Hark, Vulcan!” said Arscott, “The best of good hounds!
Heigh Venus!” he shouted, “How nimbly she bounds!
And nothing re-echoes so sweet in the valley,
As the music of Rattler, of Fillpot, and Rally.”

They hunted o’er fallow, o’er field and on moor,
And never a hound, man or horse would give o’er.
Sly Reynard kept distance for many’s the mile,
And no one dismounted for gate or for stile.

“How far do you make it?” said Simon, the Son,
“The day that’s declining will shortly be run.”
“We’ll follow till Doomsday,” quoth Arscott before,
“Have you heard the Atlantic with menacing roar.”

Through Whitstone and Poundstock, St. Gennys they run,
As a fireball, red, in the sea set the sun.
Then out on Penkenner a-leap, and they go,
Full five hundred feet to the ocean below.

When the pale moon is shining as clear as the day,
John Arscott still hunteth the country, they say;
You may see him on Black-Bird, and hear, in full cry,
The pack from Pencarrow to Dazard go by.

When the wind it is howling, his horn you may hear,
And the bay of his hounds in their headlong career;
For Arscott of Tetcott loves hunting so well,
You’ll break for the pastime from Heaven or Hell.