Admiral Benbow

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ADMIRAL BENBOW. English, Air (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning. AB. Walker (History of Music in England, 1924) dates the tune to about 1700. He points out that the melody is also known as a religious carol {“The Land o’ the Leal” (Church of England, English Hymnal, 1906), which is simply “Scots wha hae” sung slowly.} Admiral Benbow was an English admiral who defeated a fleet of French warships in West Indian waters at the turn of the 16th century, the only thing marring the victory was the fact that four of this men‑of‑war refused to join the fight, instead standing-too to watch. The commanders of those ships did not fare well; two were executed, one imprisoned for life, and the last died before punishment could be meted out. The "Admiral Benbow" is the name of the inn in which we first meet Long John Silver in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. See also notes for the airs "Benbow the Brother Tar" and "Death of Admiral Benbow." Chappell collected the ballad from Dale's collection, i. 68.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times), vol. 2, 1859; pg. 92.

Recorded sources:


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