> Louis Killen > Songs > Derwentwater's Farewell

Derwentwater's Farewell

[ Roud 2616 ; Ballad Index Sto004 ; trad.]

Louis Killen sang Derwentwater's Farewell in 1962 on the Topic EP Northumbrian Garland (reissued in 1968 on the Topic LP Along the Coaly Tyne and in 1998 on CD); and on June 4, 1965 at a concert presented by the English Folk, Dance and Song Society at the Royal Festival Hall, London. A recording of this concert was published on the HMP LP Folksound of Britain.

He re-recorded Derwentwater's Farewell in Winter 1977 at the Eldron Fennig Folk Museum of American Ephemera for his album Old Songs, Old Friends. He commented in his sleeve notes:

And in 1962 I learned a song from the Northumbrian Minstrelsy that has never ceased to move me—sometimes to tears; the farewell (as written by Scotrman Robert Surtees years after the event) of James Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, before his execution in 1716 in London for his “treason” of supporting James Stuart's bid for the throne in the 1715 uprising—Derwentwater's Farewell.

The New Scorpion Band sang Derwentwater's Farewell in 2004 on their CD The Downfall of Pears. They noted:

James Radclyffe, third Earl of Derwentwater, held extensive estates in Northumberland and Durham, based on the ancestral seat of Dilston Hall, near Corbridge in the Tyne valley. He was beheaded on Tower Hill in February 1716 for his prominent role in the first Jacobite Rebellion of the previous year. At the time of his execution he was only twenty-six years old, and his youth and personal charm made him something of a romantic hero before his death. This is the best known of the laments written for him at the time. The text is found in Hogg's Jacobite Relics of Scotland.

See also the Child ballad Lord Derwentwater (Roud 89; Child 208).

Lyrics

Louis Killen sings Derwentwater's Farewell

Fareweel to pleasant Dilston Hall, my father's ancient seat,
A stranger now mun ca' thee his, which gars my heart to greet.
Fareweel, fareweel, each wellknown face my heart has held so dear,
My tenants now mun leave their land or hold their lives in fear.

Fareweel, fareweel, my bonny gray steed, that carried me aye so free;
I wish I'd been sleeping in my bed last time I mounted thee.
Fareweel, fareweel, my lady dear, ill, ill thou counselled me,
I never mair may see the babe ye dandle on your knee.

The warning bell now bids me cease, my trouble's nearly o'er,
The sun that rises frae the east will rise on me nae mair.
Albeit that here in London town it is my fate to die,
Oh, but carry me back to Northumberland, in my father's grave to lie.