Bonny Moor Hen, The
DESCRIPTION: Hard times and "almost starving" Wardhill miners, as in the past, hunt the moorhen. "The fat man of Oakland ... lays claim to the moors," preventing the miners from hunting. An army of gamekeepers is driven off by the miners in a battle at Stanhope.
EARLIEST DATE: before 1867 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(414))
KEYWORDS: battle poaching hunting mining hardtimes bird landlord
Bodleian, Harding B 11(414), "Bonny Moor Hen" ("You brave lads of Wardhill I pray lend an ear"), J. Harkness (Preston), 1840-1866; also Firth c.19(39), "Bonny Moor Hen"
NOTES: The last two verses,
Oh this bonny moor hen she's gone over the plain,
When summer returns she'll come back again,
They will tip her so neatly that no one can tell,
That ever they ruffled the vbonny moor-hen
Oh this bonny moor-hen has got feathers anew,
She has many fine colours but none of them bluw
Oh the miners of Wardhill are all valiant men,
They will fight till they die for the bonny moor-hen.
are close to two verses of Hogg's Jacobite "The Bonny Moorhen,"
My bonny moorhen's gane over the main,
And it will be simmer or she come again;
But when she comes back again, some folk will ken.
Joy be wi' thee, my bonny moor hen!
My bonny moorhen has feathers enew,
She's a' fine colours, but nane o' them blue;
She's red, and she's white, and she's green, and she's gray.
My bonny moorhen, come hither away.
So, have I taken this too seriously? Is it just a parody? There is no incident about a miner's battle at Stanhope in the Times of London. On the other hand, this may have been a serious event that was beneath the Times's notice. - BS
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