> Danny Spooner > Songs > Felton Lonnin

Felton Lonnin / The Kye Have Come Hame

[ Roud 3166 ; Ballad Index StoR150 ; trad.]

Felton Lonnin is a song from J. Collingwood Bruce and John Stokoe's Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882). The High Level Ranters sang it in 1971 on their Trailer album High Level and in 1983 on their Topic LP Border Spirit. The first album's sleeve notes comment:

Felton Lonnin is a rural Northumbrian song about a child lost across the fields. The tune is more familiar in the faster jig version that is played at the end of the song.

High Level Ranter's member Alistair Anderson played Felton Lonnin in 1978 on his Topic album Corby Crag.

Danny Spooner, accompanied by Mick Farrell, sang Felton Lonnin in 1978 on their album Limbo. He noted:

We finish with this lovely little song from the north-east of England, because we like it, and because it is a favourite of our Geordie mate Phoebe Leach, affectionately known to us all as Mrs. Skreitch.

Ray Fisher sang The Kye Have Come Hame in 1982 on her Folk-Legacy album Willie's Lady. She commented in the accompanying booklet:

Johnny Handle, front man in the High Level Ranters, also took an existing traditional verse and added additional words to create a touching song of a missing child. The tune is known in Northumberland as Felton Lonnen and suits the text admirably. I have changed some of his words—he sang ‘hinny’ where I have ‘laddie’. ‘Hinny’ is the affectionate Geordie term meaning ‘honey’ or ‘dear one’. The Geordie words are very close in meaning and pronunciation to those used in Scotland. This song brings a lump to my throat when I sing it!

Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies recorded Felton Lonnen in September 1991 for the Fellside anthology of English traditional songs, Voices.

Eliza Carthy and Eleanor Waterson sang two verses of Felton Lonnin in 1998 on Eliza Carthy's album Rice with Saul Rose, melodeon, Ed Boyd, guitar, and Billericay Fontenot, guitar.

Ushna sang Felton Lonnin in 1998 on their Fellside CD, Twice Brewed: Music and Song from the Heart of Northumbria.

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset sang Felton Lonnin in 2007 on their second CD, The Bairns. The Unthanks returned to this song in 2012 on their live CD The Unthanks with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.

Lyrics

Danny Spooner sings Felton Lonnin

O the kye cam y'ame but I saw not me hinny,
O the kye cam y'ame but I saw not me bairn.
And I'd rather lost all the kye than lost me hinny,
I'd rather lost all the kye than lost me bairn.

Fair faced is me hinny and his blue eyes are shinin',
His hair hung in ringlets all sweet to me sight.
So mount the old pony and gar and seek after him
And bring to his mummy her only delight.

And he's always out roamin' the long summer day through,
He's always out roamin' away from the farm,
O'er hedges and ditches and valleys and fellside.
I hope that me bairnie hae cam to no harm.

For I've searched in the meadow and in the four acre
And stockyards and fowlyards but naught did I find.
So, come along, daddy, and seek for your laddie
And bring to his mummy some peace to her mind.

Ray Fisher sings The Kye Have Come Hame

The kye have come hame, but I saw not my laddie,
The kye have come hame, but I saw not my bairn.
I'd rather loss a' the kye than lose my laddie,
I'd rather loss a' the kye than lose my bairn.

Fair-faced is my laddie, his blue eyes is shining,
His hair in gold ringlets hangs sweet tae my sight.
So mount the old pony and gang and seek after him;
Bring tae his mammy her only delight.

For he's always oot roamin' the lang simmer day thro',
He's always oot roamin' away from the fairm,
Thro' hedges and ditches and valleys and fellsides.
I hope that my bairnie hase come tae nae hairm.

For I've searched in the meadow and in the fower-acre,
Thro' stackyairds and byres, but nocht could I find.
So, off ye gang, daddy, and look for your laddie,
And bring tae his mammy some peace tae her mind.

For the kye have come hame, but I saw not my laddie,
The kye have come hame, but I saw not my bairn.
I'd rather loss a' the kye than lose my laddie,
I'd rather loss a' the kye than lose my bairn.

Acknowledgements

The song is discussed in two threads on the Mudcat Café: Lyr Add: Felton Lonnen, and Lyr Add: Felton Lonnin' / Lonnen / Lonn.