Black Cock o' Whickham (The)

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X:1 T:Black Cock o' Whickham, The M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Reel S:Bruce & Stokoe - Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G Bc|d2 dc|BGGB|d2 dc|B2 Bg|dedc|BGGB|cAFA|c2:| |:dg|bgdg|Bgdg|bgfa|g2 ga|bgdg|BgdB|cAFA|c2 dg| bgdg|Bgdg|bgfa|gfga|bgaf|gedB|cAFA|c2:||

BLACK COCK O' WHICKHAM, THE. English, Reel (cut or 2/4 time). England, Northumberland. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune was contained in the music manuscript collection of John Smith, dated 1752, which unfortunately is now lost. According to Northumbrian piper and researcher Matt Seattle, 19th century Northumbrian folk-music collector John Stokoe copied tune from Smith's ms. in 1887, five years after the publication of his Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882). The title in Smith's ms. was "Black Cock of Whickham and never ran away." Prof. Samuel Bayard (1981) believes that this tune is a version of "St. Patrick was a Gentleman (2)," or his Pennsylvania-collected version "St. Patrick was Your Patron Saint" (though these tunes are in the minor mode). A couplet called The Black Cock of Whickham (a village in Northumberland) is well-known, and goes:

The Black Cock of Whickham, he never ran away,
But once on the Sunday, and twice every day.

According to John Stokoe (quoted in The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend, vol. 5, p. 5, 1891), the Antiquarian Society of Newcastle began in 1857 to collect ballads and songs from the region, especially those for which they had only titles, or part-lyrics. No song called "The Black Cock of Whickham" was ever discovered. A contributor to the article from Whickham believes the couplet (which he believed was already in local tradition for some 150 years) referred to the cock-fighting around the village, where several cock-pits had been built. There were various local strains of birds bred for the ring, including a famous variety of black cock.

See also the similar "Highlands of Banffshire (The)."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Bruce & Stokoe (Northumbrian Minstrelsy), 1882; p. 164. Köhlers’ Violin Repository, Book 2, 1881-1885, p. 146.

Recorded sources: -

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