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The Water of Tyne
Last updated: 15.10.18
The Water of Tyne has a most beautiful, haunting tune well matching the lyrics which express the sadness of a fair maiden lamenting the absence of a boatman to ferry her across the Tyne waters to her dearly beloved.
Quoting from The Bishoprick Garland (1834):
The Tyne divides the Counties of Durham and Northumberland, and as one of the parties was evidently on the Durham side of the river, this song may be justly admitted into the (Durham/Bishopric) Garland. A blue stone marks the boundary of the counties on Newcastle bridge, and one third of it is supported by, and belongs to the Bishoprick."
John Stokoe in his Songs and Ballads of Northern England(1893) wrote that the version of this ballad is from John Bell's Rhymes of the Northern Bards, 1812. The tune is common in Tynedale and Redesdale, and, like many other beautiful old airs, had been seized upon and used by "patters" and "street singers2 until it has passed with their lugubriously pathetic productions nearly into oblivion.
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.
The song is given in Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882), Rhymes of Northern Bards (1812) and there is a piano accompanied duet of The Water of Tyne is given in Singing Hinnies Book 1.
This song may be found in the Tyneside Maritime Chorus songbook
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