The Salamanca Corpus: The Bishoprick Garland or a Collection of Legends, Songs, Ballads, &c. …(1834)



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Rookhope Ryde.
Rookhope stands in a pleasant place,

If the false thieves wad let it be,

But away they steal our goods apace,

And ever an ill death may they dee!*


And so is the men of Thirlwall † and Willie-haver,

And all their companies thereabout,

That is minded to do mischief,

And at their stealing stands not out.


But yet we will not slander them all,

For there is of them good enow;

It is a sore consumed tree

That on it bears not one fresh bough.


Lord God! is not this a pitiful case,

That men dare not drive their goods to t’fell,

But limmer thieves drives them away,

That fears neither heaven nor hell?

* So in the ballad of “Northumberland betrayed by Douglas,”— “And ever an ill death may they dye.”—Percy.
† Thirlwall, is said by Fordun to be a name given to the Picts or Roman wall, from its having been thirled or perforated by the Scots and Picts.
Willie-haver, or Willeva, is a small district or township in the parish of Lanercost, near Bewcastle, in Cumberland.—Ritson.
“Warn Willeva, and Spear Edom,

And see the morn they meet me a’.”—Hobbie Noble.


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Lord send us peace unto the Realm,

That every man may live on his own!

I trust to God, if it be his will,

That Weardale men may never be overthrown.


For great troubles they’ve had in hand,

With borderers pricking hither and thither;

But the greatest fray that e’er they had

Was with the men of Thirlwall and Willie-haver.


They gathered together so royally,

The stoutest men and the best in gear;

And he that rade not on a horse,

I wat he rade on a weel-fed mear.


So in the morning, before they came out,

So weel I wot they broke their fast;

In the forenoon they came into a bye fell,

Where some of them did eat their last.


When they had eaten, aye and done,

They say’d some Captains here needs must be;

Then they choosed forth Harry Corbyl,

And Symon Fell, and Martin Ridley.


Then o’er the moss, where as they came,

With many a brank and whew,

One of them could to another say,

I think this day we are men enew.


For Weardale-men, have a journey ta’en,

They are so far out o’er yon fell,


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That some of them’s with the two Earls,*

And others fast in Barnard Castell.


There we shall get gear enough,

For there is nane but women at hame;

The sorrowful fend that they can make,

Is loudly cries as they were slain.


Then in at Rookhope-head they came,

And there they thought tul a’ had their prey,

But they were spy’d coming o’er the Dry-rig,

Soon upon Saint Nicholas’ day.


Then in at Rookhope-head they carne,

They ran the forest but a mile;

They gather’d together in four hours,

Six hundred sheep within a while.


And horses I trow they gat,

But either ane or twa,

And they gat them all but ane

That belang’d to great Rowley.


That Rowley was the first man that did them spy,

With that he rais’d a mighty cry;

The cry it came down Rookhope burn,

And spread through Weardale hasteyly.


Then word came to the bailiff’s house

At the East-gate,† where he did dwell;

* The Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, who took up arms for the purpose of liberating the Queen of Scots, and restoring the old religion.

See—The Rising of the Northe.

† Now a few straggling houses, where, no doubt, the Eastgate of the forest

d
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He had walk’d out to the Smale-burns,

Which stands above the hanging-well,


His wife was wae, when she heard tell,

So well she wist her husband wanted gear;

She gar’d saddle him his horse in haste,

And neither forget sword, jack, *nor spear.


The bailiff got wit before his gear came,

That such news was in the land;

He was sore troubled in his heart,

That on no earth that he could stand.


His brother was hurt three days before,

With limmer thieves that did him prick;

Nineteen bloody wounds lay him upon,

What ferly was’t, that he lay sick?


But yet the bailiff shrinked nought,

But fast after them he did hye,

And so did all his neighbours near,

That went to bear him company.


But when the bailiff was gathered,

And all his company,

They were numbered to never a man

But forty [or] under fifty.


formerly stood, in contradistinction to Westgate at the opposite side of the forest of Weardale.

The mention of the bailiff’s house at the Eastgate is (if such proof were wanting) strongly indicative of the authenticity of the ballad. The family of Emerson, of Eastgath, held under the Bishop, and long exercised the office of bailiff of Wolsingham, and of Forrester, &c. —Surtees.


* A jacket or short coat, plated or institched with small pieces of iron. —Ritson.
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The theeves were number’d a hundred men,

I wat they were not of the worst;

That could be choosed out of Thirlwall, and Willie-haver,

[I trow they were the very first.]*


But all that was in Rookhope-head,

And all that was i’ Nuketon-cleugh,

Where Weardale-men o’ertook the thieves,

And there they gave them fighting eneugh.


So sore, they made them fain to flee,

As many was a’ out of hand,

And, for tul have been at home again,

They would have been in iron bands.


And for the space of long seven years,

As sore they mighten a’ had their lives,

But there was never one of them

That ever thought to have seen their wives.


About the time the fray began,

I trow it lasted but an hour,

Till many a man lay weaponless,

And was sore wounded in that stour.


Also before that hour was done,

Four of the thieves were slain,

Besides, all those that wounded were,

And eleven prisoners there were ta’en.


George Carrick, and his brother Edie,

Them two, I wot, they were both slain;

* The reciter, from his advanced age, could not recollect the original line, thus imperfectly supplied.—Ritson.
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Harry Corbyl, and Lennie Carrick,

Bore them company in their pain.


One of our Weardale-men was slain,




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