Fenwick o' Bywell

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FENWICK O' BYWELL. AKA and see "Horse and Away to Newmarket," "Johnny Cock Thy Beaver," "Newmarket Races," "Galloping Ower the Cow Hill." English, Jig. England, Northumberland. G Major (Bruce & Stokoe): A Major (Cocks). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. In their volume Northumbrian Minstrelsy, J. Collingwood Bruce and John Stokoe note:

"This tune appears in John Peacock's 'Collection of Airs for the Northumbrian Small-pipes,' as 'Newmarket Races,' and in Robert Bewick's MS collection as 'Galloping Ower the Cow Hill.' The two former of these titles refer to a ballad once sung to the tune, celebrating a match at Newmarket between a mare called Duchess, belonging to the then Fenwick of Bywell, and a celebrated Newmarket racehorse. Tradition states that the north country horse won the race (which was run in heats), but with nothing to spare. We have heard the ballad sung by an old jockey about forty years ago (c. 1840), but it is now lost, and we can only recall to memory the first two lines-

Fenwick o' Bywell's off to Newmarket,
He'll be there or we get started.

The tune has a suspicious resemblance to the Irish air 'Garryowen,' but as played by Northumbrian pipers, it has sufficient individuality to entitle it to a place in this collection."

Despite Burce and Stokoe's likening it to the Irish "Garryowen," the tune is a cognate of the Scottish air "Johnny Cock Thy Beaver," which appears in the Scots Musical Museum and other collections.

William Fenwick of Bywell was a Northumbrian estate owner who was involved in breeding racehorses. He was owner of one of the most famous horses of his time, the legendary Matchem.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Bruce & Stokoe (Northumbrian Minstrelsy), 1882; p. 171. Cocks (Tutor for the Northumbrian Half-Long Bagpipes), 1925; No. 15, p. 11.

Recorded sources: Topic TSDL297, High Level Ranters - "Ranting Lads."




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