Tyne Of Harrow

Tyne Of Harrow

I first heard this sung at a session some time in the mid 90s, I think probably in Dorchester. I heard it again sung by Jon Boden for his A Folk Song A Day project in 2010 was inspired to give it a go. It was the first song I played at my first ever solo gig, opening for Lankum (then Lynched) back in October 2016.

To me, it’s an all too predictable tale of the way that society has always failed to support working people.

I am a common man by birth, my name is Tyne of Harrow
I come of poor but honest folk nigh to the hills of Yarrow
Was for getting of a maid with child, to England I came over
I left my parents and became a wild and daring rover

And straight to London I did go where I became a soldier
Resolved to fight Britannia's foes; no champion could be bolder
They sailed me to a foreign land where cannon loud did rattle
And believe me lads, I do not boast, how I behaved in battle

For many's the battle I was in, in Holland and French Flanders
I always fought with courage keen, led on by brave commanders
But a cruel ensign, he called me out and I was flogged and carted
Cruel the usage they gave me, and so I soon deserted

And straight for England I set sail as fast as wind could heave me
Resolved that of my liberty no man should e'er relieve me
I slept by night in auburn fields, by all old friends forsaken
And dared not walk the roads by day for fear I should be taken

But being of a courage keen and likewise able bodied
I robbed Lord Lowndes on the King's highway with my pistols heavy loaded
I clapped my pistols to his breast which caused him for to quiver
And five hundred pound in ready gold to me he did deliver

With part of my new store of gold I bought a famous gelding
That could jump over a five-bar gate; I bought it from Ned Fielding
Lord Arkinstone in his fine coach I robbed at Covent Garden
And two hours later the same night I robbed the Earl of Warren

And one night by Turnham Green I robbed a revenue collector
And what I took from him I gave to a widow to protect her
For I always robbed the rich and great, to rob the poor, I scorn it
But now they leave me to my fate, in iron chains adorned

For it's straight to Newgate I am bound and by the laws indicted
For to hang on Tyburn tree's my fate, of which I'm much affrighted
Farewell, my friends and countrymen, my native hills of Yarrow
Kind providence will test the soul of Alan Tyne of Harrow

Trad, arr. T Ashworth