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Nellie o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees

[ Roud - ; words John Hartley (1896)]

Dave Hillery sang Nellie o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees in 1971 on his and Harry Boardman's Topic album Trans Pennine. They noted:

Appearing in The Original Clock Almanack of 1896, John Hartley's frankly sentimental Nellie o' Bob's has since found its way into a number of Yorkshire anthologies. The Almanack, like many of its contemporaries, contained a curious mixture of humour, sentimentality, militancy for social reform and a real fervour for the philosophy of working class self-help. Dave Hillery made the tune.

Graham Metcalfe sang Nellie o' Bobs of Crowtrees in 1996, a hundred years after the poem's publication, on his WildGoose album Songs from Yorkshire and Other Civilisations. He noted:

From the pen of John Hartley, a weaver from Halifax. This was in a pamphlet of 1896.
Tune: Dave Hillary.
Note: Nellie of Bobs (her father) of Crowtrees (their home)

Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones sang Nellie o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees in 2022 on their album of Yorkshire songs, A Year Too Late and a Month Too Soon. They noted:

From Dave Hillery and Harry Boardman's 1971 album Trans Pennine. Dave put the tune to a poem found in the 1896 edition of John Hartley's Original Clock Almanack. John Hartley was a Yorkshire Dialect poet from Halifax. He published his humorous and sentimental poems and prose about current affairs and social conditions in the almanacks. This one is definitely sentimental. Crowtrees seems to refer to an area just South of Halifax, not far from Alice's. Alice heard it sung by our good friend and Master Waller, Lydia Noble who learnt it from her dad, Will Noble.

Lyrics

John Hartley's poem Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees

Who is it at lives i' that cot on the lea,
Joy o' my heart an' leet o' my ee?
Who is that lass at's so dear unto me?
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.

Who is it goes trippin' ower dew-spangled grass,
Singin' so sweetly? Shoo smiles as I pass,
Bonniest, rosy-cheek'd, gay-hearted lass!
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.

Who is it I see i' my dreams of a neet ?
Who lovingly whispers words tender an' sweet,
Till I wakken to find shoo's nowheer i' t' seet?
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.

Who is it at leads me so lively a donce,
Yet to tawk serious ne'er gies me a chonce,
An' niver replied when I begged on her once?
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.

Who is it at ivery chap's hankerin' to get,
Yet tosses her heead an' flies off in a pet,
As mich as to say, “You've not getten me yet”?
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.

Who is it could mak life a long summer's day,
Whose smile would drive sorrow an' trouble away,
An' mak t' hardest wark, if for her, seem like play?
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.

Who is it I'll have if I've iver a wife,
An' love her, her only, to th' end o' my life,
An' nurse her i' sickness, an' guard her from strife?
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.

Who is it at's promised, to-neet if it's fine,
To meet me at t' corner o' t' mistal at nine?
Why, it's her at I've langed for so long to mak mine‐
    Nelly o' Bob's o' t' Crowtrees.