American | Australian | Beatles | Canadian | Ceilidh | Childrens' | Chinese | Dutch | English | French | German | Gospel | Irish | NZ | Norwegian | Platt | Pub | Sacred Harp | Scots | Sea Songs | Tyneside | Welsh | Yorkshire |
 
Bobby Shaftoe
Last updated: 25.01.17
mp315.gifnlyrics.gif
The version of Bobby Shaftoe that I sing can be found in Folk Songs of the British Isles. I've know since childhood and in my boyhood considered it a silly girls skipping song. Nowadays (2000) however we sing it regularly and vigorously in The Vegesack Whalermen. We have a lot of fun in speeding up the tempo and repeating the final chorus. According to the songbook's compiler, Andrew Gant, the text and melody are attributed to J. Bruce and J. Stokoe respectively as given in the Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1982).
Since writing the above in 2000, I now (2012) sing it regularly with the Tyneside Maritime Chorus where it generally used along with Adam Buckham as a warmer-upper and a programme opener.
The Bishoprick Garland (1834) informs us that the verse Bobby Shaftoe's looking out, All his ribbon's flew about, All the ladies gave a shout, - Hey, for Bobbie Shaftoe, was actually used for electioneering. In 1761, Robert Shaftoe, of Whitworth, Esq., was the favourite candidate, and who was popularly called "Bonny Bobby Shaftoe. His portrait at Whitworth, represents him as very young and handsome, and with yellow hair. Miss Bellsayse, the heiress of Brancepeth, is said to have died of love for him.
John Stokoe in his Songs and Ballads of Northern England (1893) wrote that tradition connects this song with one of the Shaftoes of Bavington, who ran away to sea to escape the attentions of beauty and fortune, who loved not only wisely but too well. The original air was entitled Brave Wully Forster, and appears so in a manuscript music book in the Antiquarian Society's possession, dated 1694.
It is quite possible that the old time music hall performer Charles Ernest Catcheside-Warrington performed this song as he published it in his Tyneside Songs Volume 4.
It is also given in Rhymes of Northern Bards (1812) and a pleasing arrangement of Bobby Shaftoe can be found in Singing Hinnies Book 1.
This song may be found in the Tyneside Maritime Chorus songbook
Iconxxx Performer CDTitle Supplier
       
cd15.gif Shirely Collins False True Lovers CD(s) & MP3 Album(s) flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif
cd15.gif The King's Singers Watching the White Wheat CD(s) & MP3 Album(s) flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif
cd15.gif Various Artists Revels Celebration Of Spring Summer & Fall flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif
cd15.gif Wally Whyton Children's Choice flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif
cd15.gif Various Artists The Day We Went to the Coast MP3 Album(s) flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif 
cd15.gif Geoff Grainger Mostly at Sea MP3 Album(s) flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif  dbe15.gif
cd15.gif Johnny Handle Northlands MP3 Album(s) flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif  dbe15.gif
cd15.gif Johnny Handle Old And New Geordie Songs For Kids MP3 Album(s) flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif  dbe15.gif