Tyne Of Harrow


Also called Allan Tyne Of Harrow this is our first number to feature accompaniment, with Jon adding fiddle to an English version of a song that is possibly originally Irish in origin and known there as Valentine O’ Hara who is from Tara or Tarra. Mudcat again comes up with the goods and despite one or two minor lyrical differences, you’ll find an excellent transcript here. The thread gets into the minutiae of the words , but the debate about which version came first is intriguing. I’m almost convinced by the Anglicising of the name from Valentine to Allantine and someone believes to have read a report of Valentine’s execution, which if true gives the best historical provenance.  But typically the waters are muddied, by claims for Ewan MacColl uncovering the earlier English version, not to mention the possibility of that version actually being Scottish. I believe it’s Ewan’s version via Peter Bellamy that Jon is using here. Further intrigue comes from the use of mondegreen to describe the change in translation and I’m now the wiser to learn that the etymology is the misinterpretation of ‘laid him on the green’ to ‘Lady Mondegreen.’ It’s, as always, up to you if you want to get into the debate or just enjoy the music, but having stirred the pot, I’ll bow out.  If like me you’re also learning something every day, however,  it can only be a good thing.



28 Responses to “Tyne Of Harrow”

  1. Andrew Smith says:

    What a marvellous website! It reminds me of Ralph Vaughan Williams who began folk song collecting in Essex in 1903: “But the collector of folk songs gives them back once again to the world. Will they not perhaps make their way back once more to the mouths of the people?” (RVW, 1902. Lifted from ‘That Precious Legacy’ Ralph Vaughan Williams and Essex folksong, written by Sue Cubbin and published by Essex Record Office in 2006).

  2. Rachel says:

    This just keeps getting better. I’ve been dying to know what this tune was since ‘Songs from the Floodplain’. For them that aren’t aware, Jon used this tune with original words of his own, called ‘Dancing in the Factory’, on that album. The sleeve just says ‘melody traditional’ though, so it’s good to finally know what it is. There’s a very different feeling between the two, to say the least and I think ‘Dancing’ has an added chorus, doesn’t it? Love both songs any way.

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    Thank you, Rachel, for the above info as ‘Songs from the Floodplain’ has long been on my’ to buy’ list’. Lovely to hear the accompanying fiddle on this song.

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    And I’m loving re-visiting the previous days’ songs for their comments. Worth going back time and again to see what new gems of knowledge have been added. I really know next to nothing, but that’s OK. I’m feeling all the songs as much as everyone else.

  5. Frazer says:

    For comparison, Frank Harte’s version of Valentine O’Hara is at

  6. Elly says:

    Beautiful! And this project is made of extreme win in general.

    Must start learning some of the songs soon myself…

  7. Piers Cawley says:

    So, because of some of the specifics in the ballad, I went searching for references to highwaymen called ‘Tyne’, victims called Arkinson/Arkinstone/Warren in the proceedings of the Old Bailey and failed to turn up anyone who looked like Allan Tyne of Harrow or Valentine O’Hara. More’s the pity.

    Plenty of other good stuff in there though.

  8. Piers Cawley says:

    Oh yes, the Earl of Warren mentioned in this song is a descendant of William of Warrenne who stars in “The Land”. Amazing the things one learns while browsing the Internet.

  9. nev perry says:

    Great!, a song about highwaymen and robbers. a month or two ago there was a BBC radio 4 program about the history of the high court assizes and the records going back some two hundred years or more, and much of the program was devoted to the life and times of highwaymen and the things they got up to and the sentencing they recieved. Not everyone it seems who were caught recieved death sentences many were transported. some of the court appearences were attended by mostly women who in most instances had secret yearnings for the villain in the dock and his daring do. Much like today some women will secretly admire the bad guy.

  10. Old Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Down here in Surrey we had our fair share of Highwaymen who plagued Bagshot Heath through which ran the main coaching road from London to Penzance (A30/A303).
    One was well known as the Golden Farmer and a pub called after him- “The Jolly Farmer” was used by many a traveller as a marker on their journey to the west. It stands at the Old Bagshot toll gate where the A30 divides…one branch to Penzance ..the other to Portsmouth……the M3 has now taken most of the traffic off this old coaching road.
    A clerical gentleman……parson Darby from Blackwater, supplemented his stipend by being part time highwayman……….the Yateley morris men have his masked horse as their “Animal” (yateleymorrismen.org.uk)

  11. Diana says:

    What an exciting tale it has everything. I recognise the tune though, I think it is the one Jon sings to “Dancing in the Factory” – I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. Lovely it fits perfectly. I will have to check when I have finished here.

    Muzza “pinch and punch the first day of the month”. Have I got it right? Interesting your comments on highwaymen – even a clerical gentleman as your so succintly put it , wasn’t above becoming a thief when it suited him.

  12. Old Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Diana….drat…you got me with the ppfdotm….I could have got everybody @12:15am..I was checking Facebook as per your prompt..although I do get notified of any comments via email(heaven knows how!)

  13. Diana says:

    @ Muzza: fancy me beating you to the punch, I was up earlier than you but I was also in bed when you were posting at l2.17am – have to get my beauty sleep you know.

    As long as you get all the comments I am content – it was lovely to see you yesterday I must admit – a rare sighting. Hope we kept you amused – see you do not know what you have been missing.

  14. Jane Ramsden says:

    Forgot ‘pinch and a pinch’ entirely! Wot is Ted’s head like?!!

    But @ Muzza: Your highwayman is a myth according to these Yateley history pages, which state the story first, then scroll down for link to the truth at the bottom of the page. Shame. I rather liked the romantic notion:


  15. Jane Ramsden says:

    But there are possible suspects! all make arresting reading! Lol:


  16. Diana says:

    @ Jane: Windows have just shut me down in the middle of this message. I know not why. Anyway back again.I was typing to say I think the story is fiction with perhaps a soupcon of truth in it somewhere. Anyway a coincidence arose – whilst reading Yateley history link came across a Claude Duval 1627-1670 – I am reading Jack Higgins latest book which also has a character named Claude Duval. Probably a commom enough name for Frenchmen but thought it strange to encounter it twice in one day.

  17. Diana says:

    @Jane – very interesting reading and a coincidence arises. Whilst reading the Yateley local history link came across a Frenchman called Claude Duval 1627-1670. As I am reading Jack Higgins latest book in it there is a character called – you guessed it Claude Duval also a Frenchman. A common enough name probably but to come across it twice in one day I thought strange.

    Methinks the story is fiction with pehaps a little tructh buried in it somewhere.

  18. Diana says:

    Well Jane both messages got through I think Windows must have got something wrong – anyway all is fine now – just two nearly identical messages – still I spelt truth right in one instance so cannot be all bad.

  19. Old Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Jane……all the historians missed the obvious “Miss Marple” solution…
    it was the horse that was doin’ all the thievin’….the parson was innocent!
    Further to my highwayman text above..here is a link to Gibbet lane….just a 100yds away from the old Jolly Farmer pub where the road splits.
    It is built up now but, ‘when I were a lad’ the lane was just track and connected to the A30 and it was quite a bleak place.
    @Diana..I will take a trip up to Gibbet lane and see if I can find the little tructh that you say must be buried somewhere there.

  20. Diana says:

    Oy Muzza enough of the cheek! I did admit I had spelt it incorrectly did I not? Do let me know if you find the tructh as that would be a shock. I like the sound of Gibbet Lane I really do.

  21. John Bryson says:

    A great song – I had the pleasure of seeing this performed live in Autumn 2016 at Hitchin Folk Club by Jim Moray – if you view the 2009 BBC Christmas sessions you will see Jim performing with Bellowhead

  22. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey UK) says:

    Whoa young Bryson………where have you been hiding !!!!

  23. John Bryson says:

    Leading a jetset life style Muzza!

    Stortfolk, the Bishop’s Stortford folk club which was founded 40 years ago and which I joined in 2009, has its last Thursday evening gig tonight. There is a farewell concert on Saturday July 15th which I will be attending.

    A sad day, but audiences have been dwindling for some time, and senior figures feel it is time to close.

    Far more people attend the Christmas Wassail than attend on a Thursday, and it is intended to keep that going as long as possible.

  24. John Bryson says:

    Around we go again – this is, in my opinion, a super song so well sung here by Jon.

  25. Daniel Kelly says:

    Recently spent some time researching this song after hearing it on Daoiri Farrell’s new CD. Documented the research here: http://www.folklounge.org/2019/03/stand-and-deliver/

    Bottom Line: I think the whole thing is made up.

  26. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ok my lovelies…PPFDOTM to all who clock in!….I know I’m early but I want to go to bed….or do I?
    perhaps I’m going off into the night for a bit of horse riding and thieving on the old A30!

  27. John Bryson says:

    You were keen last night Muzza – A30 is a busy road for a bit of your highwayman techniques!
    Great to start again and this is in the middle of three great songs – Rose in June, Tyne of Harrow and John’s version of The Hunt Is Up

  28. OldMuzza(NWSurreyUK) says:

    PPFDOTM…blimey ….July already…..First day of the WW1 Somme tragedy way back in 1916…I wonder if there was there a folk song to record it.

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