> MichaelAnnJillo > Songs > The Battle of Sykehouse Lock

The Battle of Sykehouse Lock

[ Roud - ; Gerald ‘Gezz’ Overington]

MichaelAnnJillo sang Gezz Overington’s song Battle of Sykehouse Lock in a probably 1990s home recording in Mike and Ann Waterson’s kitchen. It was included in 2023 on their CD I’ll Give You One More As You Go.


MichaelAnnJillo sing Battle of Sykehouse Lock

In eighteen-thirty or half-past-six there was a terrible fight,
The Battle of Sykehouse Lock was fought at half-past ten at night;
The lock-keepers had mutinied and all gone out on strike,
And the tugmen couldn’t get home for their tea ’cause none of ’em had a bike.

The tugmen they were valiant chaps, they fought up and down the bank;
They found a tramp asleep nearby and they made him walk the plank;
They dropped him in the murky water which flows down to the Ouse,
And they all had a break at half-past-twelve for sarnies and some booze.

The battle raged on three hours or more, the canal with blood ran red,
The head keeper he’d had enough and he’d gone home to bed,
The air was thick with curses and many a blow was struck,
At the end of the day the dead were named, three chickens and a duck.

The battle was over by half-past-two and the tugmen they had won;
They all met on the jebus head to see what should be done;
They decided they would head for home so they pushed off from the bank,
But the tug was holed below the water-line and they all drowned when she sank.

The lock keepers gave a loud hurrah as the tug she did go down,
Then called out the local colliery band and all marched up and down the town;
They sang and they danced till morning light to boost up their morale;
They ate ferret pie, drunk Darley’s Ale pumped straight from t’ canal.

But the tugmen they were safe and sound in the cabin all that night,
The hatch was safely battened down which made it watertight;
They drifted down the muddy bed with nineteen pans below,
Till they surfaced in the Ocean Lock to the cry of “There she blows!”

Let’s not forget the valiant, let’s not forget the brave,
Let’s not forget these heroes that now lie in their graves,
For they were men of iron and they suffered scorn and pain;
Out of four brave lads that went to fight only four returned again.