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Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?

29 Oct 02 - 11:47 AM (#813643)
Subject: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: EBarnacle1

At several Mystic Sea Music Festivals, the above incomprehensible (to me) song has been sung. Other than knowing it has something to do with being out on the Moor without a hat, it seems to make no sense. Could someone please elucidate?


29 Oct 02 - 11:51 AM (#813648)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: dick greenhaus

Stripping away the accent and dialect, it means On Ilkley Moor without a hat.


29 Oct 02 - 11:58 AM (#813654)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: fogie

I dont know the origins of it, but it was to us kids in Leeds just a funny song. Bar t' at means without the hat, as in everything bar the kitchen sink, We used to like its rather gruesome inevitability.


29 Oct 02 - 12:03 PM (#813658)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: IanC

Some useful information in this thread.

:-)


29 Oct 02 - 12:10 PM (#813665)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Barbara

I thought it was "baht 'at"; "baht" being Yorkshire for "without" and "'at" was "hat". Possibly it's "bah=bar", "'t=the" and "'at=hat"; which would make "bah't 'at=bar the hat".
Blessings,
Barbara


29 Oct 02 - 12:32 PM (#813682)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: EBarnacle1

IanC, thank you. It all makes some sense now. I wonder whether the couple actually got married after all that attention. If they did, did they tell their children that they were the cause of the song? Hmm, I wonder.


29 Oct 02 - 01:43 PM (#813738)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Jeanie

What I would like to know is what is meant by the extra bit that I've heard tagged on to the end of the chorus: "Where the ducks play football" ? The massed Yorkshire boozers in the union bar when I was at university were so fearsome, I never liked to enquire.

- jeanie


29 Oct 02 - 01:49 PM (#813748)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: lady penelope

The tag we always had was "without tha trousers on".

E.g. " Tha's been acourting Mary Jane,
          tha's been acourting Mary Jane,
                ..........Without tha trousers on
          On Ilkley Moor baht at............etc."

Rather civilised rugby club you go to, I must say Jeanie!

TTFN M'Lady P.


29 Oct 02 - 02:41 PM (#813789)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Catherine Jayne

There was also the tag of " where the ducks play football!" The tag normally changes per verse!!!

It is a song that most girl guides and boy scouts in yorkshire learn....thats where I learnt the alternative verses!!!

Cat


29 Oct 02 - 03:02 PM (#813804)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Geoff the Duck

The song "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at" (Baht = without, 'at = hat)originated as the result of a choir taking an outing on Ilkley Moor. The moor is in Yorkshire near Leeds and Bradford (and not anywhere near Hull). Ilkley Moor is part of a larger region of moorlands known as Rombalds Moor which also contains the area where the Bronte sisters lived and wrote. The moor is very similar to those described in Wuthering Heights, and pictured in many films of the same. In other words, it can be very wild and windswept in poor weather (actually, it is very pleasant on a hot sunny Summer's day).
Rombalds Moor was the home of Giant Rombald, who used to throw large stones across the moor. Some of these landed at the edge of Ilkley Moor and later became a well known landmark and a popular picnic spot for residents of Bradford and Leeds, who could travel by train to Ilkley, and then hike up the hill to the moor.
The song was inspired by two members of the choir disappearing off from the main party for a kiss and cuddle (or some such similar activity). Somebody from the choir penned the words, and fitted them to a Welsh tune previously used for the Christmas carol, "While Shepherds". The rest, as they say around here, is Geography!

The song is rarely sung by people from Yorkshire, mainly because we are sick and tired of it, and of namby-pamby Southerners attempting to break into it whenever they first discover that a Tyke (Yorkshireman or woman) has entered the building. When it is sung, somebody always insists on adding extra bits at the end of the chorus line. The one which is probably the first to have been added is "Where the ducks fly backwards", which is part of an old saying from Bradford's days as an industrial town based on woollen mills. The saying referred to the large amount of heavy black smoke from coal fired mill chimneys. People used to say that in Bradford, the ducks fly backwards to keep the muck (or soot) out of their eyes!
I suspect that ducks playing football was added by those from farther afield who didn't understand the reference to ducks flying backwards, so they replaced it with a nonsense one instead.

To address the initial posting of this thread, the story is (translated and paraphrased for an international audience):-
Where have you been since I last saw you.
I've been courting Mary Jane.
(on Ilkley Moor without a hat
& presumably without other warm protective clothing ;-) .....)
You are certain to catch your death of cold.
Then we shall have to bury thee.
Then the worms will come and eat thee up.
Then the ducks will come and eat up the worms.
Then we shall come and eat up the ducks.
Then we shall all have eaten thee!

All in all an early ecological ballad celebrating the food chain, or on the other hand something to embarrass a young courting couple who happened to get caught out!

Not, of course, that I have any personal part in this drama....
Quack!!!!!!
Geoff the (Bradford born) Duck!


29 Oct 02 - 07:14 PM (#814000)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: dick greenhaus

The final verse I learned (back in the Dark Ages) was "Then we shall have ye back again!"

Cyclical and somehow more satisfying.


29 Oct 02 - 07:56 PM (#814027)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Bill D

yep, Dick....I first heard it by Pete Seeger in about 1962..."have thee back again" has always seemed 'nicer' to me..


30 Oct 02 - 08:22 AM (#814305)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Folkie

Sorry Geoff the Duck, the tune is not Welsh. It was composed by Thomas Clark, a shoemaker from Canterbury, who was a prolific writer of hymn tunes in the West Gallery period. Although it has often been used as a tune for While Shepherds, it was earlier associated with a hymn called "Grace tis a charming sound".


31 Oct 02 - 09:32 AM (#815149)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Geoff the Duck

Interesting to note that I have previously been misinformed about the Country of origin for the tune. That said, While Shepherds was definitely the song which it was used for by the choir in question. While Shepherds it is still sung to that tune along with about twenty other tunes during the South Yorkshire Carols, in the region to the West of Sheffield during weeks leading up towards Christmas.
Dick and Bill D - as somebody who is from Bradford, I do not recall ever hearing your verse about having him back again in local usage. We definitely finished with having eaten the poor sod!
Quack!!!
Geoff the Duck.


31 Oct 02 - 09:48 AM (#815165)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: IanC

Quack!

My in-laws are from Ilkley - where they frequently sing the song (well, they do in Addingham anyway). The last verse they use is "That's t'way we get our own back".

:-)


31 Oct 02 - 12:19 PM (#815288)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Ian B at work

The very best version must be by Bill Oddie of the Goodies. He did the song to Joe Cocker's arrangement of 'Little Help From my Friends'.   An absolute classic!

- Ian B


31 Oct 02 - 06:09 PM (#815524)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Don Firth

I always thought it was about recycling. . . .

Don Firth


31 Oct 02 - 09:42 PM (#815636)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Deckman

JEEEEEZE! Where is that John Dwyer when we need him! bob


01 Nov 02 - 09:36 PM (#816538)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Mr Happy

noone nose


03 Nov 02 - 02:32 PM (#817562)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Penny S.

Radio programme on the song

Look down the page to find the link to the radio program, which needs RealPlayer

Penny


03 Nov 02 - 07:55 PM (#817767)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Bert

The last verse seems to have many variations. Way back in the Forties we used to sing "Then we shall 'av 'ad our own back".


04 Nov 02 - 10:49 AM (#818016)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Bryant

The tune is called "Cranbrook", after a Kentish village (with an impressive windmill) and was composed by Thomas Clark as Folkie has already said. It was also used for the hymn "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing".

Over the years the tune has been somewhat modified - by the addition of ascending repeats ("I saw thee" etc.) and also by raising a note (the "I" in the last "I saw thee") to make it easier to sing.

You can find a MIDI file of the original four part version of the melody HERE. Note that as in most music of the period the melody is held by the Tenor line not the Soprano (the word Tenor comes from the latin "To Hold").


11 Dec 10 - 12:05 PM (#3051008)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

I'm performing next week at the annual Nelson Solstice Party, and one of the invited singers actually has never heard this song! I need an mp3 of a really rousing version, with chorus, to give her an idea.


(I don't think I want to tell you how we are going to butcher this song...)


11 Dec 10 - 12:28 PM (#3051025)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: greg stephens

Here are the Penkhull Mystery Singers doing the Cranbrook(Ilkley Moor) setting of While Shepherds Watched . It starts 2.00 mins into the video(rather strangely edited!)


11 Dec 10 - 01:01 PM (#3051063)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

Oh, good, Now if I can just get her to watch a video (she likes to listen to cds in her car, is very computer-inept)- thanks!


11 Dec 10 - 06:17 PM (#3051251)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Steve Gardham

Then of course you can always buy the book. (By the late Arnold Kellett). I think it preceded the video.


11 Dec 10 - 07:35 PM (#3051307)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Suegorgeous

Goodness me! I'm gobsmacked! I was always sooo certain that "on Ilkley Moor baht 'at" meant "on Ilkley Moor about eight" (o'clock that is).

Well, you live n learn!!


12 Dec 10 - 07:12 AM (#3051654)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,SteveT

Used to use this song to teach food webs and bioaccumulation - it's very versatile.


12 Dec 10 - 07:21 AM (#3051662)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: mikesamwild

We've song 'While Shepherds' to Cranbrook and been told not to be sacrilegous or facetious! Until we explained the Ilkley Moor song was a parody of the Hymn/Carol.


Great as a carol. As well as to 'Ghost riders in the Sky' memphis Tennessee etc etc


13 Dec 10 - 06:26 AM (#3052331)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: IanC

Properly spelt "bar t'at" I suppose. The English preposition "bar" is fairly old but still in common usage. T'at for "the hat" is not particularly common South of Doncaster.


13 Dec 10 - 06:39 AM (#3052340)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson

It's not " bar t'at " it's Yorkshire dialect FFS, it's " baht 'at "

baht = without, 'at = hat.

How many times do you need it explaining.

Dave H


13 Dec 10 - 07:26 AM (#3052361)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Rob Naylor

Ianc...definitely "baht".


When we sang it as kids each verse ended with a little coda:

"baht she't, baht boyts, baht owt"

(without a shirt, without boots, without anything...ie naked)


13 Dec 10 - 06:44 PM (#3052824)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,Ebor.Fiddler

I remember the first line as "Weer was ta bahn when Ah saw thee?" - anglice "Where were you agoing to when I espied you?" I got it from an article in The Dalesman in the fifties, I think the writer had had a lot to do with the original choir trip!


13 Dec 10 - 07:14 PM (#3052843)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Tootler

Animaterra, here is a You Tube clip of Ilkley Moor baht 'at sung by a choir from West Yorkshire (my wife's home territory)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4RcqO9Sgdw&feature=related


14 Dec 10 - 02:59 AM (#3053053)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: GUEST,HelenJ

On Ilkley Moor minus my chapeau.


14 Dec 10 - 03:10 AM (#3053055)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson

Tootler, that's a very poor rendition, words buggered about and several verses missing.

Dave H


14 Dec 10 - 09:37 AM (#3053257)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: DG&D Dave

Ebor F,
I have first line as:
"Weer 'ast a bin since Ah saw thee?" - anglice "Where have you been since I last espied you?"


14 Dec 10 - 04:01 PM (#3053547)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Tootler

Dave Hanson,

I was aware of its shortcomings, but it was the best I could find after about a half hour's search on You Tube which was about all the time I felt I wanted to give as it was well after midnight at the time and I was ready for bed. Everything else I looked at was much worse. It's not so much that verses are missing but they have combined verses together to compress the song, presumably to meet the constraints of recording studio availability. It still lasts nearly four minutes.

It may not be perfect, but it's better than nothing and for someone who is not familiar with the song, it at least gives them an idea. If you have a link to a better version, then how about posting it.


15 Dec 10 - 09:50 AM (#3053986)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: mikesamwild

I also used it to teach ecological principles along with Brian Patten's lovely poem about dreaming worms for a bird that came to his window.

The kids also liked to sing 'Where will we be in a hundred years from now'. More fun than Biology on a Friday afternoon. But they all passed! I still get reminded by old pupils 50 years on.


16 Jan 11 - 09:23 PM (#3076064)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Ruch

I had a fun introduction to this song while playing a concert in Halifax a year or so ago. Video and story here.


16 Jan 11 - 09:34 PM (#3076074)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Nigel Parsons

Properly spelt "bar t'at" I suppose. The English preposition "bar" is fairly old but still in common usage. T'at for "the hat" is not particularly common South of Doncaster.
"Bar" meaning "all excepting" as in racing odds for all horses on 'long' odds. Horse 1 @ 6 to 5 on, horse 2 @ 2 to 1, horse 3 @ 3 to 1, horse 4 @ 6 to 1. "20 to 1 Bar" ( i.e.the horses not previously given specific odds are all at 20;1)


17 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM (#3076204)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson

It's not ' bar ' it's ' bhat ' meaning without, ie' bhat 'at, I'm a Yorkshireman, I've known and sung this song for more than fifty years.

Why do you find it so difficult to understand a Yorkshire dialect ? just a guess but you are not from Yorkshire ?

Dave H


17 Jan 11 - 04:38 AM (#3076205)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Dave Hanson

That should be ' baht ' of course.

Dave H


17 Jan 11 - 04:54 AM (#3076209)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: MGM·Lion

And surely this "baht" is a dialect form of "but", in the (obs according to Chambers) sense of "without"?

~Michael~


17 Jan 11 - 09:24 AM (#3076348)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: Geoff the Duck

"But" as "Without" seems to mean Outside rather than the usage of "Not Having". In use in Scotland as "But and Ben" - a small cottage consisting of two rooms, the "Ben" - inside/living room (within) and the "But" - kitchen/outside room (without).
I don't see any connection between that particular usage and "without a hat" which would justify "baht" as deriving from "but" in the within/without usage.
B'aht is a shortening of (with)'(out) which in modern "town" Yorkshire would be more likely pronounced "wi'aht".
Quack!
GtD.


17 Jan 11 - 09:37 AM (#3076353)
Subject: RE: Origins: Ilkey Moor Batat, What does it mean?
From: MGM·Lion

According to the Chambers definition, GtD, 'but', with the 'obsolete' label, means 'without' in the simple sense of 'lacking', as well as in the 'but & ben' sense.

This is, in fact, given as the 2nd element in the long definition ~~

but (but) prep except; without (obs)...

~Michael~