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Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease

GUEST,Giok 17 Mar 09 - 08:29 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Mar 09 - 10:35 AM
Emma B 17 Mar 09 - 02:00 PM
Emma B 17 Mar 09 - 02:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease
From: GUEST,Giok
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 08:29 AM

That is a ghost story, or a folk tale, and not gallows humour.
A gibbet was used for the display of dead bodies, not a gallows.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM

That is a ghost story, or a folk tale, and not gallows humour.
A gibbet was used for the display of dead bodies, not a gallows.


Gallows Humour is defined as humour that makes unpleasant things, such as death, seem funny - I don't suppose a gallows is in any way mandatory, though in the example I give it is about a man who was hung (from a gallows) for murder on the Town Moor in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and his body later displayed in an iron gibbet, which was then hung, I believe, from, at the very least, a gallows-like structure and very often an actual gallows, though according to the OED, a gibbet was originally synonymous with gallows, but in later use signifying an upright post with projecting arm from which the bodies of criminals were hung in chains or irons after execution.

In any case, it's a grisly tale arising from an immediate and entirely historical circumstance. I'm told it was noted by antiquarians at the time and may well have been considered as being in poor taste by the more refined and caring members of 18th century society. Plus ça change.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 10:35 AM

The Gibbet in Halifax [ still here ] was similar to the French guillotine, most people know it through the old saying ' from Hull, Hell and Halifax, good lord deliver us '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease
From: Emma B
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 02:00 PM

A link to the Halifax gibbet

A Daleman's Litany

It's hard when fowks can't finnd their wark
Wheer they've bin bred an' born;
When I were young I awlus thowt
I'd bide 'mong t' roots an' corn.
But I've bin forced to work i' towns,
So here's my litany:
Frae Hull, an' Halifax, an' Hell,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

When I were courtin' Mary Ann,
T' owd squire, he says one day:
"I've got no bield(1) for wedded fowks;
Choose, wilt ta wed or stay?"
I couldn't gie up t' lass I loved,
To t' town we had to flee:
Frae Hull, an' Halifax, an' Hell,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I've wrowt i' Leeds an' Huthersfel',
An' addled(2) honest brass;
I' Bradforth, Keighley, Rotherham,
I've kept my barns an' lass.
I've travelled all three Ridin's round,
And once I went to sea:
Frae forges, mills, an' coalin' boats,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I've walked at neet through Sheffield loans,(3)
'T were same as bein' i' Hell:
Furnaces thrast out tongues o' fire,
An' roared like t' wind on t' fell.
I've sammed up coals i' Barnsley pits,
Wi' muck up to my knee:
Frae Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I've seen grey fog creep ower Leeds Brig
As thick as bastile(4) soup;
I've lived wheer fowks were stowed away
Like rabbits in a coop.
I've watched snow float down Bradforth Beck
As black as ebiny:
Frae Hunslet, Holbeck, Wibsey Slack,
Gooid Lord, deliver me!

But now, when all wer childer's fligged,(5)
To t' coontry we've coom back.
There's fotty mile o' heathery moor
Twix' us an' t' coal-pit slack.
And when I sit ower t' fire at neet,
I laugh an' shout wi' glee:
Frae Bradforth, Leeds, an Huthersfel',
Frae Hull, an' Halifax, an' Hell,
T' gooid Lord's delivered me!

you tube link


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Gallows Humour-laughing at death/disease
From: Emma B
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 02:12 PM

forgot to add - A Daleman's Litany is attributed to Frederic William Moorman (1872 - 1919) a professor of English at Leeds University and printed in "Songs of the Ridings"

He compiled several books of traditional Yorkshire stories and poems, some in the Yorkshire dialect.


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