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Chevy Chase

[ Roud 223 ; Child 162 ; Ballad Index C162 ; trad.]

J. Collingwood Bruce, John Stokoe: Northumbrian Minstrelsy David Herd: Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. Frank Kidson: Traditional Tunes James Kinsley: The Oxford Book of Ballads John Stokoe: Songs and Ballads of Northern England

Bob Davenport sang Chevy Chase in 1964 on his album with Isla Cameron, Jack Amrstong and The Rakes, Northumbrian Minstrelsy.

Jack Armstreong and Patricia Jennings played Chevy Chase on small pipes during the concert presented by the EFDSS at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 4 June 1965. The concert’s recording was released in the same year on the EMI/HMV album Folksound of Britain.

Colis Ross played Chevy Chase in 1971 on the BBC album Northumbrian Folk.

Gordeanna McCulloch sang a very short Chevy Chase, accompanied by Lowland pipes, on her 1978 Topic album with The Clutha, Sheath and Knife. She noted:

This shortened form of the ancient ballad (Child number 162) is set here to a traditional variant of the tune preserved for several hundred years in the repertoire of Northumbrian pipers. History is vague as to the actual battle described in the ballad, but The Complaynt of Scotland published circa 1550 mentions the song as being sung by shepherds.


Gordeanna McCulloch sings Chevy Chase

Earl Percy of Northumberland
A vow to God did make,
His pleasure in the Scottish woods
Three simmer’s days to take.

These tidings to Earl Douglas came,
In Scotland where he lay.
“By my faith,” the doughty Douglas cried,
“I will stop him if I may.”

Earl Percy out of Bamborough came
And brought a great army,
With fifteen hundred archers bold,
Were chosen from shires three.

The English archers bent their bows,
Their aim it was full true.
At the first flight of shafts they sent
Full fourscore Scots they slew.

This battle began in Cheviot
An hour before the noon
And when the evensong bell was rung,
The battle was not half done.

They went their way, on either side,
By the light of stars and moon,
And many had no strength to stand
The Cheviot Hills abune.