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Seige of CarrickFergus-Capture of Carrickfergusby

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CARRICKFERGUS


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Bruce O. 12 Feb 98 - 04:10 PM
Bruce O. 12 Feb 98 - 05:20 PM
John Moulden 05 Jan 00 - 12:12 PM
Lesley N. 05 Jan 00 - 03:56 PM
John Moulden 05 Jan 00 - 04:11 PM
Bruce O. 05 Jan 00 - 08:10 PM
John Moulden 15 Jan 00 - 11:31 AM
John Moulden 15 Jan 00 - 12:28 PM
Bruce O. 15 Jan 00 - 01:48 PM
Áine 15 Jan 00 - 02:01 PM
Bruce O. 15 Jan 00 - 03:23 PM
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Subject: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 12 Feb 98 - 04:10 PM

Could someone post the lyrics to:

'The Capture of Carrickfergusby,' written by Thurot in 1760.

The song is said to be in Eloise H. Linscott's 'Folk Songs of Old New England', 1939.

This is said to be to the tune "Carrickfergus". I have two copies of a tune "Carrick Fergus" of 1768, and another of 1791, of which I will supply the one that best fits the ballad, if the all the information above is correct. (Some is from a website that isn't always correct.)

Something is obviously a little fishey here. It doesn't make sense that the French Admiral (Thurot) should be writing a song on the subject, in English, and to an Irish tune.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 12 Feb 98 - 05:20 PM

The website also tells use that the ballad was a Manx one. The castle at Carrickfergus was captured by the French under Admiral Thurot and held for 7 days in 1760. SO:

We then have a French Admiral on the Isle of Man writing in English a song about Carrick Fergus to an Irish tune. Doesn't sound quite right to me.

Perhaps if Thurot had stayed on the Isle of Man the English wouldn't have killed him the same year at the Battle of Luce Bay (about 60-65 miles directly east of Carrickfergus). A ballad on Thurot's defeat and death is in NLS MS 12820, to the tune of "Moll Roe", it commmences "The French had thought long to invade us, With flat bottom'd Boats & Bottoes, But all their attempts ne'er afraid us, Like the Squadron of Monsieur Thurot's". It is preceeded in the manuscript by another, "Thurot's defeat Tune of, To all ye Ladies now at land", by Peter Nittle, Esq. [Much later the tune "Moll Roe (in the morning)" was published, but not under it's own title until the following century.]


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 12:12 PM

If my memory serves me right, a ballad about Thurot at Carrickfergus is among the corpus of songs in Irish 8 page songbooks - I'll have to look at my lists of stuff in BL, NLI, RAI etc.

The Antrim poet Hugh McWilliams wrote a brief poem about an incident where one of Thurot's men risked his life to remove a child from the line of fire at Carrichfergus. McWilliams was a considerable song-writer but this has no ascribed tune.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: Lesley N.
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 03:56 PM

Bruce - I don't see it in Linscott - under any Carrick or Capture name. I'll take some time to browse through to see if it's under another name and let you know if it's under something else. Have any clues as to what else it could be under?


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 04:11 PM

Linnscott - (Dover edition, 1993) has [page 87] a note, description and the tune for a dance called "Lady of the Lake" to the tune Haste to the Wedding.

The note merely refers to a version of the tune having been the "basis of the Manx ballad "The Capture of Carrickfergusby," written by Thurot in 1760." this note is the subject of a correction in the second (1962) edition [page 340) - it says the line should read "The Capture of Carrickfergus" written by Thurot a French admiral who captured Carrick"

I know of two texts of "Thurot's Defeat" in song-books in the British Library: shelf marks 11621a2 number 29; 11621b2 number 57. these refer to single items within a volume of such song-books which have been bound together.

The McWilliams poem is of little interest - 12 lines in length it is almost McGonaglesque and neither memorable nor singable.

I'll post more if I come across further references.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 08:10 PM

Thanks John

There is a ballad "Thurot's Defeat" on the Bodley Ballads website. The ballad has no tune direction. There are two more in Gilbert Hay of Minto's MSS in NLS (MS 12820) the first, "Thurot's Defeat" by Peter Nittle to the tune of "To all ye ladies now at land", and commences "When Lewis & his Pompacour". The 2nd is evidently by Gilbert Hay, himself, and is entitled "A Song to the tune of Moll Roe" (this is 15 years before the publication of the tune), commencing "The French thought long to invade us".


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SIEGE OF CARRICKFERGUS
From: John Moulden
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 11:31 AM

I think the text below may be that of the song requested by Bruce O as "The Capture of Carrickfergus" and submit that the impression given by some references to it that it was written by Thurot; (which we thought were to be questioned) are simply accounted for. Where the references say that it is "The Capture of Carrickfergus" written by Thurot, I think this is a confusion of "The Capture of Carrickfergus by Thurot." (Oral transmission!)

There are at least two other song titles associated with Thurot: "Thurot's Defeat", copies of which are in song books in the British Library and on ballad sheets in the Bodleian, and "Thurot's Dream" which is printed in T Crofton Croker: Popular songs of Ireland (The volume which contains Historical songs mainly relative to the French Revolution - for which I have no proper details by me but will look when I get on line). Steve Roud refers also to a songbook in Harvard (Catalogue of Chapbooks & Broadsides in Harvard College Library No. 1412), to a slip in the Madden collection (Slip songs O-Y) [Vaughan Williams Mem Library mfilm No. 73] Item no. 1811 (Thurot's Defeat) and says the Crofton Croker item was reprinted in Firth, Naval Songs & Ballads (1908) pp. 220-222. The first line of the Madden print is "On the 21st of April, as I've heard many say", and that of the Firth print is "On the Twenty-first of February, as I've heard the people say", so without a sight of either, it seems likely that these different titles allude to the same song and a look at the very heavily discoloured Bodleian On-line images of Thurot's Defeat confirm the likelihood of this (a dream episode is included.) These songs are different from this one.

It is of interest that these words could be sung to "Haste to the Wedding" though that proves nothing - they also fit a dozen other tunes.

THE SIEGE OF CARRICKFERGUS

From Dunkirk, in France in the month of September,
Fitted out was a fleet, and away they did sail;
And Monsieur Thurot, their only commander,
With him at their head they were sure not to fail.
So away they did steer, without dread or fear,
And search'd and plunder'd the coasts all around;
Till at length they arriv'd on the shore of old Ireland,
And landed their men on our Irish ground.

It was at Carrickfergus, in the north of this kingdom,
They landed their men and marched up to our walls;
Then cry'd the undaunted, brave Colonel Jennings,
"My boys let's salute them with powder and balls."
The battle began and guns they did rattle,
And bravely we fought under Jennings' command,
Said he, "Play away, play away, my brave boys,
The beggars the force of our fire cannot stand."

The town then they took without any resistance,
The castle they thought was as easy likewise;
So they came marching up in grand divisions,
To storm it, then guarded by the brave Irish boys;
But we kept constant fire and made them retire,
Till our ammunition entirely was gone;
Then aloud we did say, brave boys let's away,
And sally out on them with sword in hand.

But says our brave colonel, "We cannot defend it,
For to make a sally it is but in vain,
As our ammunition, you see is expended;
We'll therefore submit, and good terms will obtain,
For plainly you see, that to one they are three,
'Tis best then in time for to capitulate;
For if they take it by storm, by the law of arms,
Then death without mercy will sure be our fate."

Then these beggars obtained possession of Carrick,
While they revell'd and sotted and drank all the while,
Poor people they did sorely ransack and plunder,
And hoisted it all on board the Belleisle;
But Elliott soon met them, nor away he did let them,
But forc'd them to yield up their ill-gotten store;
Now Monsieurs, lament in the deepest contrition.
For you now cannot brag of your Thurot no more.

Let's exalt the brave Elliott, who gain'd this action,
And sing to his praise in the joyfullest song;
For we of our foes have got satisfaction,
And Thurot lies rotting in the Isle of Man.
Their general is wounded, his schemes are confounded,
The brave British tars they can never withstand;
The fire of the fierce and bold British lions
Appear'd in the men under brave Captain Bland.

But now to bring my story to a conclusion,
Let's drink a good health to our officers all;
First brave Colonel Jennings, likewise Bland our Captain,
Yet never forgetting the brave Mr. Hall.
Let's drink and be jolly, and drown melancholy,
So merrily let us rejoice to and sing;
So fill up your bowls, all ye loyal souls,
And toast a good health to great George our king.

From: Samuel Lover (ed): Poems of Ireland (Ward Lock, London, 1858) pages 272 - 274 (headed Historical and Political Songs) (Copies known to me are in the National Library of Ireland and The Irish Traditional Music Archive.)

There is a substantial headnote which gives the background as that of the British fleet's blockade of the French channel ports. Thurot escaped from Dunkirk with six ships, which were scattered by storms and of which only three reached Ireland. Thurot took the town of Carrickfergus and after a short siege, the small garrison in the Norman Castle (The biggest in Ireland and still in repair) was forced to surrender. However, Thurot was forced to withdraw when a strong force approached though by that time he had obtained supplies from Belfast. He sailed south and was engaged by an English squadron under Captain Elliott, Thurot was killed and the French ships captured.

The note also comments on the song.

"The following song has no literary merit whatsoever, but is a curious specimen of its class; ... it cannot be considered out of place ... as the attack on Carrickfergus and laying Belfast under contribution, is alluded to elsewhere, and a note of reference to this very song appended." Unless this reference is within this same volume, I have no idea where it is. This type of comment usually accompanies printings of street ballads by literary personages; another indication if not real evidence.

I see Bruce you've been waiting nearly two years for a plausible answer to your request; placet magister?

John

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 24-Aug-02.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: John Moulden
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 12:28 PM

I said I would give proper details of the T Crofton Croker book

T C Croker: Popular Songs illustrative of the French Invasions of Ireland Edited with introductions and notes by TC Croker (three parts) London 1845-47 (From Opac 97)

A bit of searching on Alta Vista - am I lucky or does nobody else do this? - turns up what must be the Manx Ballad referred to above. Try

http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Contrib/manx/fulltext/mb1896/index.htm

I'm sorry that I forgot to put line breaks at the end of the lines of verse above - It's strange that the paragraphs transfer true.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 01:48 PM

Thanks for the ballad, John.

I had thought that the correction to Linscott's statement would be obvious after my first two posts, but maybe it was a little too tongue in cheek.

I can't make your URL work, but searching with Alta Vista on 'Thurot' or 'Manx Seafarers' turns up a website with considerable information about Thurot's exploits.

As to HTML, John, you need to put 'br' (break) between angle brackets at the ends of each line to properly format verses.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SIEGE OF CARRICKFERGUS
From: Áine
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 02:01 PM

Bruce,

Try clicking here to make John's URL work.

John,

Here are the verses with the
inserted:

THE SIEGE OF CARRICKFERGUS

From Dunkirk, in France in the month of September,
Fitted out was a fleet, and away they did sail;
And Monsieur Thurot, their only commander,
With him at their head they were sure not to fail.
So away they did steer, without dread or fear,
And search'ed and plunder'd the coasts all around;
Till at length they arriv'd on the shore of old Ireland,
And landed their men on our Irish ground.

It was at Carrickfergus, in the north of this kingdom,
They landed their men and marched up to our walls;
Then cry'd the undaunted, brave Colonel Jennings,
"My boys let's salute them with powder and balls."
The battle began and guns they did rattle,
And bravely we fought under Jennings' command,
Said he, "Play away, play away, my brave boys,
The beggars the force of our fire cannot stand."

The town then they took without any resistance,
The castle they thought was as easy likewise;
So they came marching up in grand divisions,
To storm it, then guarded by the brave Irish boys;
But we kept constant fire and made them retire,
Til our ammunition entirely was gone;
Then aloud we did say, brave boys let's away,
And sally out on them with sword in hand.

But says our brave colonel, "We cannot defend it,
For to make a sally it is but in vain,
As our ammunition, you see is expended;
We'll therefore submit, and good terms will obtain,
For plainly you see, that to one they are three,
'Tis best then in time for to capitulate;
For if they take it by storm, by the law of arms,
Then death without mercy will sure be our fate."

Then these beggars obtained possession of Carrick,
While they revell'd and sotted and drank all the while,
Poor people they did sorely ransack and punder,
And hoisted it all on board the Belleisle;
But Elliott soon met them, nor away he did let them,
But forc'd them to yield up their ill-gotten store;
Now Monsieurs, lament in the deepest contrition.
For you now cannot brag of your Thurot no more.

Let's exalt the brave Elliott, who gain'ed this action,
And sing to his praise in the joyfullest song;
For we of our foes have got satisfaction,
And Thurot lies rotting in the Isle of Man.
Their general is wounded, his schemes are confounded,
The brave British tars they can never withstand;
The fire of the fierce and bold British lions
Appear'd in the men under brave Captain Bland.

But now to bring my story to a conclusion,
Let's drink a good health to our officers all;
First brave Colonel Jennings, likewise Bland our Captain,
Yet never forgetting the brave Mr. Hall.
Let's drink and be jolly, and drown melancholy,
So merrily let us rejoice to and sing;
So fill up your bowls, all ye loyal souls,
And toast a good health to great George our king.


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Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Carrick Fergus
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 03:23 PM

Thanks. I see I left out a part of the address on that URL.


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