Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Songs to Old Tunes

Now I'll give you a toast, lads, to all the fell packs,
To masters, to huntsmen and whips of aw macks,
You can have your athletics and games of all sorts,
But this hunting is surely the greatest of sports.
    Tally Ho! Tally Ho! Tally Ho!
    Hark For'ard good hounds, Tally Ho!

A perfectly good tune whose words have become non-PC through no fault of their own. Look at all the hunting songs we Cumbrians have, that are just being wasted... well what does a writer do? She writes some new words. And if Maddy Prior can sing about the Uppies and Downies at Workington, then I can sing about an agricultural show.

This one goes to the tune of "The Six Fell Packs": here's the original on Ron Black's site,

Crosby Ravensworth Show

The heather is bright on the top of the Scar.
The family packs in the seats of the car.
There's Granddad and Grannie, the kids and the hound
and we're all on the road, Crosby-Ravensworth-bound.
Let it rain, let it shine, let it blow -
we're going to Ravensworth Show.

Now Granddad and Grannie they go every year
to catch up with crack and to share some good cheer;
they've got to the age where they're thin in the thatch
and the most of their talk is hatch, match and dispatch.
Let it rain, let it shine, let it blow -
we're all at the Ravensworth Show.

The Industry tent is where mother is bound
which leaves me out here with the kids and the hound.
I’d bet on the ferrets, which pipe they would run -
but they sleep in their burrow and hide from the sun!
Let it rain, let it shine, let it blow -
we're all at the Ravensworth Show.

The ponies are trotting to show at their best,
where beauty and manners are part of the test;
the cattle lie dozing, the sheep stand in pens,
there's a tent for the rabbits, the ducks and the hens.
Let it rain, let it shine, let it blow -
they're all at the Ravensworth Show.

We sit on the benches to eat an ice cream
or hot dogs that give off a savoury steam
with onions and ketchup. The hound licks his lips
so we give him the crusts and the last of the chips.
Let it rain, let it shine, let it blow -
pig-out at the Ravensworth Show.

The big bouncy castle is where the kids play;
they take off their shoes and go bounding away;
the dog wants to join them and leaps like a clown,
but Granddad and Grannie just want a sit-down.
Let it rain, let it shine, let it blow -
we're tired at the Ravensworth Show.

The sunshine has fled and it's going to shower;
if you don't like the weather just wait half an hour.
It was fun in the sun through the sideshows to roam,
but now we're wet through so I think we'll go home.
Let it rain, let it shine, let it blow -
we've been to the Ravensworth Show.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Appleby's Horse Fairs

Ponies and Horses sold in Appleby

Mrs Gowling of the Upper Eden History Society directed me to Appleby's Records of the Ancient Corporation, Memoranda/Minute book, Volume 1 (WSMB/A) in the County Record Office in Kendal. Sales entries are scattered through the volume, which though titled 1614-1661 actually contains some information from the 1590s - and not all of the entries are chronological!It looks like the clerk simply picked an empty page wherever he could to record the day's trading.

Three ponies sold at Appleby in the early 17th C were like our modern Fell pony in size and colour:
1623: Sold the same day in open market by John Toppin of Castle Sowerby in the County of Cumberland, yeoman, to Peter Taylor of Dufton in the Co. of Westmorland - one little mayre coullor blacke bay (? slit or bitted or other ear mark?) in the inner eire. Paye sume xxxiij s iiij d 33s 4d
1626: sould the same day in open market by Wm Story of the said ... in the parish of Eske in the County of Cumberland, one little mayre coullor blacke browne and saddle claimed to Rowland Hardman of Crosby in the Co. of Westmorland, xxvii s 27s
8 October 1648: Sould the same daye by William Gask to Robert Nicholson of Marrton, in county of Westmorland, one little nagg, colour bay, with one cutt in the far eare, of the age of 9 yeares, for the prise and somme of 31 shilliings 31s
Some of these entries may refer to the Appleby Horse Fair in June, but there are records of horses being sold throughout the year, month by month. Some entries record sales and swaps between men from very much further afield than the farms around Appleby; we see direct evidence of trade between Scotland (Dumfries), Northern England (Chester, York), and even South-west England (Somerset); and men moving their business from Northern England across to Ireland (Downpatrick) to buy and sell horses.
4 June 1638: Sould the same daye by one John Make M??? in the countie of (? Armagh?) in the kingdome of Irelande to Launcelot Harrison of Kirkbythore in the Countie of Westmorland, one white gray nagge 6 yeares.

Civil War (1641–1651)

The buying, selling and exchanging of horses, and the settling of civil disputes, continued to be recorded during the Civil War, with men still travelling long distances to sell.
2 February 1643 Exchanged the same daie between John Powley of Appleby, and John Stamper lait of the Parish of Allhallows, at a pace called the Whole House, neere the Whitehall in the Countye of Cumberland, one black bay mare of the said Johns, for a red bay nagg of the said John Stamper, white mained, with a little star in the forehead, given in exchange by the said John Powley to the said John Stamper iij s iiij d (three shillings and fourpence). 3s 4d
June 1643 (probably at the annual Horse Fair): Thomas Simple of Dumfries in the kingdom of Scotland, one maire, colour  [unreadable; dun? leaden?], of the age of three yeares or thereabouts, full mained and cutt tailed, to Thomas Smith of Asby for the somme of XX vii iij (twenty pounds seven shillings and three pence). £20 7s 3d
Aprille 1644  Sould the same daye by one George Cox of Walton in Somasset unto Robert Parkin of Appleby in the Countye of Westmorland, one maire colour brown bay under bitted in the far eare XXX vj (thirty pounds and six shillings). £30 6s 0d
July 1644 Sould the same daye by Henry Ai--- of Warcopp, to Thomas Sewell of Culgaith, one blacke bay nagg, burnt (branded) on the right shoulder, of the Age of seven yeares, for the prise of twenty seven shillings. £1 7s 0d
May 1646: John Grassine of Boulton (Appleby) to ----, Ebor (York), one black maire iij.vii £3 7s 0d
July 1646: Sould the same day by Adam Bayly of the parish of  --- in the county of Cumberland in the open fair --- one maire colour gray --- to John Mossop of Crookerigg in the County of Yorke
18 October 1648:  Sould the same daye by Lieutenant Colonell A---Standaye to Mr Edward Mowson, one lead coloured maire, wall eyed and her fore hoofs hollow, of the age of four yeares for the prise and somme of X ii vi (ten pounds two shillings and six pence). £10 2s 6d
2 December 1648:  Sould the same daye by Tho Birch of Lensam (Ledsham?) in the county of Chester, to Frances Bainbrigg of Kirber, one gray horse of the age of six yeares, for the prise of XXX (thirty pounds) £30 0s 0d


February 1643:  one black bay mare... a red bay nagg, white mained...
March 1643:

One maire cutt tailed colour bay of the age of nine years...
April 1643: One maire colour brown bay...
July 1644:  one geldinge colour baie, starred in the forehead and marked with an I in the buttock and black taile, XX vi viii (two pounds six shillings and eight pence)... £2 6s 8d
July 1644: One blacke bay nagge ...  
August 1644: One roaned geldinge with white --- down the forehead ...  
August 1644: One horse with a white face, three white feet, wall eyed and cutt tailed ...  
November 1645: One brown mouse roaned maire ...  
May 1646: One gray maire... One pybauld maire and one black maire 5. 7. 6 (five pounds, seven shillings and six pence)... £5 7s 6d
" ... one black maire for the soome of 5. 6. 6 (five pounds six shillings and sixpence).  £5 6s 6d
Black, black bay, black brown, brown bay, red bay (with a white mane), bay, mouse brown, gray, lead-coloured, roaned, piebald. It's interesting that I haven't yet turned up an example of the term "chestnut." OED cites it being used as a term for a horse colour in 1636; Shakespeare used it as a hair colour for people in 1600 in As You Like It, so it was in use in Southern England some 50 years before these sales were being recorded. But "sorrel" or "sorelled" are not there either. I wonder what the "red bay" horse with the "white main" looked like.
Note also the absence of any measure of height in these later entries. "Maire" and "geldinge" are obvious gender descriptions and "horse" probably means "an entire" (stallion), rather than "a tall equine." The word "little" is not often used here, and unlike the sales made at Adwalton, over in Yorkshire in 1631 (Dent) the animals' gaits are only rarely recorded (see Galloways 2). A "nagg" is a riding horse.

Ages and prices

The average age of the horses recorded in the Minute Book as sold at Appleby is 7 years. The youngest was 3 years (only one animal); 9 years was the age at which more horses were traded (3); the oldest stated age is 10 years (1) with 1 horse "aged", ie over 9 years. Prices ranged from 3 shillings and 4 pence (to make up value in a part exchange); 1 pound and 7 shillings for a straight local sale, up to 27 or 30 pounds for horses coming from a distance (Dumfries, Chester, Somerset). The sellers who were willing to travel evidently knew their market.

Eating the Horses: the Siege of Carlisle, 1644

Carlisle was a Royalist stronghold in the Civil War between the supporters of King Charles I (Cavaliers) and those who supported Cromwell's Parliament (Roundheads).
Isaac Tullie recorded in his journal many details of the Siege of Carlisle, which was occupied by Sir Thomas Glenham, the Royalist northern commander, with his forces in July of 1644. In October, Carlisle was besieged by the Parliamentarian General Lesley with a detachment of the Scottish army. Lesley was more determined than a previous commander who had given up after a few weeks; he sat it out all winter, and life was hard within the walls of the city. (Lysons)
Tullie records that foraging parties from inside Carlisle were able to capture cattle from around the outskirts of the city and bring them in as meat for the soldiers and townspeople, until the end of April 1645; but from April 3 "they had only thatch for [food for] the horses, all other provisions being exhausted."
May 10: "A fat horse taken from the enemy sold for 10s a quarter."
June 5: "Hempseed, dogs and rats were eaten." The horses had been kept alive as long as possible, in case the army needed them for battle, though what help they could be once both men and horses were starving, is difficult to see.
June 17: "Some officers and soldiers came to the common bakehouse [where roasting of meat and baking of bread took place for those who had no oven] and took away all the horseflesh from the common people, who were as near to starving as themselves."
June 22: "The garrison had only half a pound of horseflesh each for four days."
June 23: "The townsmen petitioned Sir Thomas Glenham that the horseflesh might not be taken away, and said they were not able to endure the famine any longer ... " With tears in his eyes, he told them he was unable to help. However, on June 25, when all provisions had gone, he admitted defeat, and the city was honourably surrendered to the Commonwealth forces. The siege was lifted, the city officially fell to the Parliamentarians, and the inhabitants were well treated after their long defence.

Sue Millard manages the Fell Pony and Countryside Museums web site, where you can read more at

Her book web site, Jackdaw E Books, now does gift vouchers