Hunting of the Cheviot, The [Child 162]

DESCRIPTION: Percy, Earl of Northumberland, goes deer hunting into Earl Douglas' land of (Cheviot/Chevy Chase), in defiance of a warning from Douglas. In battle they earn each other's respect, but both die, along with many of their men.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy; mentioned in "Wit's End" in 1617 and in the Stationer's Register in 1624)
KEYWORDS: battle hunting death nobility
1388 - Battle of Otterburn. Scots under Douglas attack England. Although Douglas is killed in the battle, the Scots defeat the English and capture their commander Harry "Hotspur" Percy
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North),Scotland) US(NE,SE,So)
REFERENCES (29 citations):
Child 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (2 texts)
Bronson 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (10 versions)
BronsonSinging 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (6 versions: #1, #3, #5, #6, #7, #10)
Percy/Wheatley I, pp. 20-35+notes on pp. 51-52, "The Ancient Ballad of Chevy Chase"; pp. 249-264, "The More Modern Ballad of Chevy Chace" (sic.) (2 texts)
Bell-Combined, pp.81-92, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Kidson-Tunes, pp. 18-19, "Chevy Chace" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 243-248, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 135-144, "The Hunting of the Cheviot, or Chevy Chase" (1 text, from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
Davis-Ballads 34, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
Davis-More 31, pp. 239-244, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #5}
Moore-Southwest 34, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Leach, pp. 446-463, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (3 texts)
Leach-Heritage, pp. 73-81, "Chev Chase" (1 text)
Friedman, p. 276, "Chevy Chase" (1 text, 2 tunes) {approximating Bronson's #1, #4}
Stokoe/Reay, pp. 1-3, "Chevy Chase" (1 text, 1 tune) {cf. Bronson's #6, also from Stokoe's collection but differing in one note}
OBB 128, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
PBB 71, "Chevy Chase (The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
Gummere, pp. 105-115+325-327, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
Hodgart, p. 96, "Chevy Chase (The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
TBB 21, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
HarvClass-EP1, pp. 93-101, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 43-45, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Chappell/Wooldridge I, pp. 90-92, "Chevy Chase" (1 tune, perhaps linked to this piece)
Morgan-Medieval, pp. 201-207, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
BBI, ZN980, "God prosper long our Noble King"; ZN982, "God prosper long our noble king" (?)
ADDITIONAL: Michael Brander, _Scottish and Border Battles and Ballads_, 1975 (page references to the 1993 Barnes & Noble edition), pp. 233-240, "The Hunting of the Cheviot or Chevy Chase" (1 text)
Karin Boklund-Lagopolou, _I have a yong suster: Popular song and Middle English lyric_, Four Courts Press, 2002, pp. 1175-180, "(The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
Digital Index of Middle English Verse #5432

Roud #223
cf. "The Battle of Otterburn" (subject)
cf. "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" [Child 73] (tune)
Of Turkey lately I did read/The Patient Wife betrayed; Or, The Lady Elizabeths Tragedy (BBI ZN2124)
Give o'er you rhiming Cavaliers/ Bloody News from Chelmsford (BBI ZN971)
In bloody town of Newberry/...Shuff of Newberry (BBI ZN1413)
In Popish time when Bishops proud/The King and the Bishop (BBI ZN1452)
In searching ancient chronicles/A pleasant history of a Gentleman in Thracia (BBI ZN1461)
Strange news, strange news, I here have write/..Relation from the Faulcon.. Mr Powel [a ghost] (BBI ZN2405)
Amongst the Forresters of old/The Unfortunate Forrester ...Lord Thomas.. fair Elener (BBI ZN173)
God prosper long our noble King, and send him quickly o'er/Hunting-Match (BBI ZN986)
When as my mind was fully bent/ Bloudy News from Germany (BBI ZN2821)
All you which sober minded are/Terrible News from Branford (BBI ZN155)
All tender hearts that ake to hear/The Spanish Virgin (BBI ZN97)
God prosper long our noble king, His Turks and Germans all/An excellent new Ballad (BBI ZN983)
God hath preserved our Royal King/The Royal Patient Traveller [Charles II] (BBI ZN978)
NOTES [546 words]: Child opines that this is based on the same events as "The Battle of Otterburn" (Child #161) rather than some other border battle between Percies and Douglases. The historical Henry Percy (Hotspur) fought [and] was captured [by the Scots], but did not in fact die at Otterburn in 1388 or at any other battle with Scots but was instead slain in battle with Henry IV's forces. - KK
In addition, Harry Hotspur was never Earl of Northumberland. His father (the first of five generations of Henry Percys of Northumberland) was the first Earl, and lived until 1408. Hotspur was killed in 1403, and thus never succeeded to the title, although Hotspur's son became the second Earl.
However, none of the various Earls Percy died in battle with the Scots. The first Earl was a traitor against Henry IV; the second (d. 1455) and third (d. 1461) were casualties of the Wars of the Roses, and the fourth was killed by the people of his own Earldom because he had not supported Richard III at Bosworth. (Richard, despite his later reputation, was loved in the north of England for being fair and honest and keeping the Scots away from the borders.)
As E. K. Chambers, comments (English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1945, 1947, p. 162), "The Hunting is even more remote from historical verity than Otterburn. The scene is laid in the Cheviot hills, where not Hotspur but Earl Percy goes to hunt, in defiance of Douglas, and the event is put in the reign of Henry IV [1399-1413] rather than Richard II [1377-1399]. Douglas is killed by an arrow, Percy by Sir Hugh Montgomery, Montgomery himself by another arrow. But the battle is called Otterburn. King Henry avenges it in that of Homildon Hill (1402)."
John Edwin Wells, A Manual of the Writings in Middle English 1050-1400, 1916 (references are to the 1930 fifth printing with three supplements), p. 142, professes to see a similarity between this song and the opening portion of the Middle English romance "Sir Degrevant," found in two manuscripts, the Lincoln Thornton Manuscript and the Findern Manuscript, both of the fifteenth century; they, and the romance itself, seem to be from the north of England. Neither Child nor the two editions of "Sir Degrevant" known to me mention any such connection. It is certainly not a similarity of form; "Degrevant" uses the stanza type known as "tail rhyme" (best known from Chaucer's "Sir Thopas," although that is a different variant on tail rhyme), and it would be very hard to set that form to music. The similarity seems to be minimal, and thematic; "Degrevant" opens with the knight and a neighboring earl visiting -- and harrying! -- each other's lands, and features a lot of conversations over castle walls.
Izaak Walton's Compeat Angler refers to this tune (Chapter II), although in a strange list mixing folk songs ("Johnny Armstrong," "Chevy Chase") and art songs ("As at Noon Dulcina Rested," "Phyllida Flouts Me").
Sir Philip Sidney, in his Apologie for Poetrie of 1595, wrote, "I neuer heard the olde song of Percy and Duglas (sic.), that I found mot my heart mooued more then with a Trumpet." It is not possible, however, to tell whether this is a reference to "The Battle of Otterburn" [Child 161] or "The Hunting of the Cheviot" [Child 162]. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
File: C162

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.