On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at
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On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at

"On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at"
Ilkla Moor - heather.jpg
Ilkley Moor, setting of the song
Song
LanguageYorkshire dialect
English titleOn Ilkley Moor without a hat
Written1805 (music)
1850s-1870s (words)
Published1916
Thomas Clark[1]
Unknown
Ducks on Ilkley Moor, as in the song

"On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at" (Standard English: On Ilkley Moor without a hat)[2] is a folk song from Yorkshire, England. It is sung in the Yorkshire dialect, and is considered the unofficial anthem of Yorkshire.[3] According to tradition, the words were composed by members of a church choir on an outing to Ilkley Moor near Ilkley, West Yorkshire.[4] It is classified as numbers 2143 and 19808 in the Roud Folk Song Index.

Theme

The song tells of a lover courting the object of his affections, Mary Jane, on Ilkley Moor without a hat (baht 'at). The singer chides the lover for his lack of headwear - for in the cold winds of Ilkley Moor this will mean his death from exposure. This will in turn result in his burial, the eating of his corpse by worms, the eating of the worms by ducks and finally the eating of the ducks by the singers.

In The Yorkshire Dictionary (Arnold Kellett, 2002) it was said the song (i.e., the lyrics) probably originated from the Halifax area, based on the dialect which is not common to all areas of Yorkshire.

The title is seen in various transcriptions of the dialect, but is most commonly On Ilkla Mooar [or Moor] baht 'at, i.e. "On Ilkley Moor without [wearing] tha (your) hat"; idiomatically "On Ilkley Moor without (i.e. bar) your hat". Dr Arnold Kellett reports the traditional belief that the song "came into being as a result of an incident that took place during a ramble and picnic on the moor. It is further generally believed that the ramblers were all on a chapel choir outing, from one of the towns in the industrial West Riding".[4]

The first published version of the words appeared in 1916, when it was described as "a dialect song which, for at least two generations past, has been sung in all parts of the West Riding of Yorkshire".[5] Arnold Kellett judged that the song "could well have originated in the early years of the second half of the [19th] century, and not as late as 1877".[6]

Tune

Sung to the Methodist hymn tune "Cranbrook" (composed by Canterbury-based shoemaker Thomas Clark in 1805 and later used as a tune for "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night"), the song became so popular that the origin of the music as a hymn tune has been almost forgotten in the United Kingdom.[7]

It is still used for the traditional words "While Shepherds Watched" in some churches including Leeds Parish Church, but no longer widely recognised as a hymn or carol tune in the United Kingdom.

Cranbrook continues in use as a hymn tune in the United States, where it was not adopted as the tune of a popular secular song and is customarily used with the lyrics of Philip Doddridge's "Grace! 'Tis a Charming Sound".[8][9]

Collected Versions

EFDSS director Douglas Kennedy collected a version in 1917 from a performer in Ilkley named Wilfred Hall, which was later printed in his son Peter Kennedy's book Folksongs of Britain & Ireland (1975).[10]

Several audio recordings have been made of traditional versions. Ken Stubbs recorded Albert Gartside of Delph in the West Riding singing the song in 1964,[11] whilst Fred Hamer recorded William Bleasdale singing a version in the village of Chipping in Lancashire some time in the 1950s or 60s.[12] The American folklorist Helen Hartness Flanders recorded a version in her hometown of Springfield, Vermont[13] and another in Naushon Isle, Massachusetts[14] in the 1940s, suggesting that the song had made its way to North America with immigrants from Yorkshire.

Lyrics

Within the lyrics there is a central verse, the first, third and fourth lines are changed with each following verse. All the verses feature the second, fifth, sixth and seventh lines "On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at".

Lyrics in Yorkshire dialect
Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' ah saw thee, ah saw thee?
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at
Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' ah saw thee, ah saw thee?
Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' ah saw thee?
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at
Tha's been a cooartin' Mary Jane
Tha's bahn' to catch thy deeath o' cowd
Then us'll ha' to bury thee
Then t'worms'll come an' eyt thee oop
Then t'ducks'll come an' eyt up t'worms
Then us'll go an' eyt up t'ducks
Then us'll all ha' etten thee
That's wheear we get us ooan back
Lyrics with spelling, but not grammar, standardized
Where hast thou been since I saw thee, I saw thee?
On Ilkley Moor but[a] hat
Where hast thou been since I saw thee, I saw thee?
Where hast thou been since I saw thee?
On Ilkley Moor but hat
On Ilkley Moor but hat
On Ilkley Moor but hat
Thou hast been a-courting Mary Jane
Thou is bound to catch thy death of cold
Then us will have to bury thee
Then the worms will come and eat thee up
Then the ducks will come and eat up the worms
Then us will go and eat up the ducks
Then us will all have eaten thee
That's where we get us own back
Interpretation in Standard English
Where have you been since I saw you, I saw you?
On Ilkley Moor without a hat
Where have you been since I saw you, I saw you?
Where have you been since I saw you?
On Ilkley Moor without a hat
On Ilkley Moor without a hat
On Ilkley Moor without a hat
You've been courting Mary Jane
You're bound to catch your death of cold
Then we will have to bury you
Then the worms will come and eat you up
Then the ducks will come and eat up the worms
Then we will go and eat up the ducks
Then we will all have eaten you
That's where we get our own back

The lyrics include many features of the Yorkshire dialect such as definite article reduction, H-dropping, and traditional second-person singular pronouns.

Many sources[15][16] give the first line as "Wheear wor ta bahn when Ah saw thee?" (Where were you going when I saw you), though "Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' Ah saw thee" is the more common version nowadays.

Some singers add the responses "without tha trousers on" after the fourth line of each verse, and "where the ducks play football" after the seventh. Other variations include "where the nuns play rugby", "where the sheep fly backwards", "where the ducks fly backwards", "where the ducks wear trousers", "an' they've all got spots", and "where they've all got clogs on".

Also in some recitals, after the first two lines of "On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at" it is followed by a "Where's that?". Another variant adds "Howzat?" after the first line and "Not out!" after the second. In Leeds the line immediately before the chorus is often ended with "And we all got wet". In the United States, "Then we will go and eat up the ducks" is often followed by a shouted "Up the Ducks!"

There are also alternative endings, where verse nine states: "There is a moral to this tale", and is followed by a chorus of "Don't go without your hat / Don't go without your hat / On Ilkey moor baht 'at" (which is sung commonly within West Yorkshire), or "Don't go a courtin' Mary Jane" (another variation known in the Scouting movement). Alternatively, verse nine is sung as "There is a moral to this tale", and verse ten as "When courtin' always wear a hat".

Usage

Television

Commercial recordings

Other usage

References

  1. ^ Adams, Stephen (15 December 2009). "Carol 'While Shepherds Watch' was sung to 'Ilkley Moor' tune". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Word Recognition". Yorkshire Dialect Society. 29 October 2007.
  3. ^ "The National Anthem of Yorkshire 'God's own county'". DKSnakes.co.uk. 24 October 2007. Archived from the original on 12 September 2007.
  4. ^ a b Kellett, Arnold (1998). On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at: the story of the song. Smith Settle. p. 55. ISBN 1-85825-109-5. We can at least clear the ground by looking at the most widely accepted tradition that On Ilkla Mooar came into being as a result of an incident that took place during a ramble and picnic on the moor. It is further generally believed that the ramblers were all on a chapel choir outing, from one of the towns in the industrial West Riding.
  5. ^ Kellett, Arnold (1998). On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at: the story of the song. Smith Settle. p. 83. ISBN 1-85825-109-5.
  6. ^ Kellett, Arnold (1998). On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at: the story of the song. Smith Settle. p. 89. ISBN 1-85825-109-5.
  7. ^ Ian C. Bradley (1997), Abide with me: the world of Victorian hymns, p. 9, ISBN 978-1-57999-010-7
  8. ^ See, e.g., John P. Wiegand, editor, Praise for the Lord (Expanded edition) (Nashville, TN: Praise Press / 21st Century Christian, 1997), Item 199.
  9. ^ "Grace! 'Tis a Charming Sound". Cyberhymnal. Retrieved 2008. But note that the default tune here is not Cranbrook.
  10. ^ "On Ilkla Moor Bah T'at (Roud Folksong Index S156942)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "On Ilkley Moor [On Oldham Edge] (VWML Song Index SN29578)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At (Roud Folksong Index S431076)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ "On Ilkla Mor Beart At (Roud Folksong Index S272543)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "On Ilkla Mor Beart At (Roud Folksong Index S272544)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at (On Ilkley Moor Without a Hat o Yorkshire's "National Anthem")". Msgr.ca. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At". Ilkley.org. Archived from the original on 27 August 2018. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "Bill Oddie On Ilkla Moor Baht'at UK Promo 7" vinyl single". Eil.com. Retrieved 2009.
  18. ^ "On Ilkley Moor Bar T'at (Roud Folksong Index S403622)". The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ "Liberator: The Songbook - The Glory Days". Hpcc.ecs.soton.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "Eric Fenby: unsung hero of music". Thompsonian. Retrieved 2019.
  1. ^ meaning "without," a sense which in Standard English is restricted to phrases like "everything but the kitchen sink"

Published versions

Further reading

  • Kellett, Arnold (1998). On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at: the story of the song. Smith Settle. ISBN 1-85825-109-5.

External links


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