No: 179; variant: 179A
- 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 die!
- And so is the men of Thirlwa ‘nd Williehaver,
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 enough;
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?
- Lord, send us peace into 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 eer they had
Was with the ‘Men’ of Thirlwa ‘nd Williehaver.
- They gatherd 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 weil-fed mear.
- So in the morning, before they came out,
So well, I wot, they broke their fast;
In the [forenoon they came] unto a bye fell,
Where some of them did eat their last.
- When they had eaten aye and done,
They sayd some captains here needs must be:
Then they choosed forth Harry Corbyl,
And ‘Symon Fell,’ and Martin Ridley.
- Then oer 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 is a journey taen;
They are so far out-oer yon fell
That some of them’s with the two earls,
And others fast in Barnard castell.
- ‘There we shal 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 over the Dry Rig,
Soon upon Saint Nicholas’ day.
- Then in at Rookhope-head they came,
They ran the forest but a mile;
They gatherd 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 belanged to great Rowley.
- That Rowley was the first man that did them spy;
With that he raised a mighty cry;
The cry it came down Rookhope burn,
And spread through Weardale hasteyly.
- Then word came to the bailif’s house,
At the East Gate, where he did dwell;
He was walkd 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 gard saddle him his horse in haste,
And neither forgot sword, jack, nor spear.
- The bailif 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 bailif 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 numberd to never a man
But forty [or] under fifty.
- The thieves was numberd a hundred men,
I wat they were not of the worst
That could be choosed out of Thirlwa ‘nd Williehaver,
. . . .
- But all that was in Rookhope-head,
And all that was i Nuketon Cleugh,
Where weardale men oertook 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 was taen.
- George Carrick and his brother Edie,
Them two, I wot, they were both slain;
Harry Corbyl and Lennie Carrick
Bore them company in their pain.
- One of our Weardale men was slain,
Rowland Emerson his name hight;
I trust to God his soul is well,
Because he ‘Fought’ unto the right.
- But thus they sayd: ‘We’ll not depart
While we have one; speed back again!’
And when they came amongst the dead men,
There they found George Carrick slain.
- And when they found George Carrick slain,
I wot it went well near their ‘Heart;’
Lord, let them never make a better end
That comes to play them sicken a ‘part!’
- I trust to God, no more they shal,
Except it be one for a great chance;
For God wil punish all those
With a great heavy pestilence.
- Thir limmer thieves, they have good hearts,
They nevir think to be oerthrown;
Three banners against Weardale men they bare,
As if the world had been all their own.
- Thir Weardale men, they have good hearts,
They are as stif as any tree;
For, if they’d every one been slain,
Never a foot back man would flee.
- And such a storm amongst them fell
As I think you never heard the like,
For he that bears his head so high,
He oft-times falls into the dyke.
- And now I do entreat you all,
As many as are persent here,
To pray for [the] singer of this song,
For he sings to make blithe your cheer.