Sir Andrew Barton [Child 167]

DESCRIPTION: Merchants complain to the King that their trade is being disrupted. The King sends a crew to deal with Barton, the pirate. After a difficult battle marked by great courage and skill on both sides, Barton is defeated and killed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1723; a song with this name was in William Thackeray's broadside catalog by 1690
KEYWORDS: sailor sea battle nobility pirate
1509-1547 - Reign of Henry VII (mentioned as king in some texts of the ballad)
REFERENCES (22 citations):
Child 167, "Sir Andrew Barton" (2 texts)
Bronson 167, "Sir Andrew Barton" (10 versions)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 167, "Sir Andrew Barton" (3 versions: #2, #5b, #8)
Hales/Furnival-BishopPercysFolioManuscript, volume III, pp. 399-417, "Sir Andrew Bartton" (1 text)
Percy/Wheatley-ReliquesOfAncientEnglishPoetry II, pp. 188-207, "Sir Andrew Barton" (3 texts, one from the folio manuscript and the other the completely rewritten version in the _Reliques_)
Ritson-AncientSongsBalladsFromHenrySecondToTheRevolution, pp. 323-331, "Sir Andrew Barton" (1 text)
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 248-258, "Andrew Barton" (3 texts); p. 483 (1 tune) {Bronson's #9}
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland4, pp. 15-44, "Sir Andrew Barton" "but including Henry Martyn" (11 texts plus a fragment, 10 tunes; in every text but "L," the robber is Andrew Bardeen or something like that, but many of the texts appear more Henry Martin-like) {K=Bronson's #2 tune for Child #167; B=#46, C=#31 for Child #250}
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 467-475, "Sir Andrew Barton" (1 text)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 348, "Sir Andrew Barton" (1 text)
Frank-NewBookOfPirateSongs 2, "Sir Andrew Barton" (1 text, 2 tunes; the text is composite and neither tune direct associated with it; #2 in the first edition)
Stone-SeaSongsAndBallads XLII, "Andrew Barton" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 130, "Sir Andrew Barton" (1 text)
Gummere-OldEnglishBallads, pp. 130-141+329-331, "Sir Andrew Barton" (1 text)
Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, ZN2850, "When Flora with her fragrant flowere"
Brown/Robbins-IndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse, #1621
DigitalIndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse #2714
ADDITIONAL: Karin Boklund-Lagopolou, _I have a yong suster: Popular song and Middle English lyric_, Four Courts Press, 2002, pp. 181-190, "(Sir Andrew Barton)" (1 text)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; notes to #418, ("But when hee saw his sisters sonne slaine") (1 long but incomplete text)
MANUSCRIPT: {MSPercyFolio}, The Percy Folio, London, British Library MS. Additional 27879, page 490
MANUSCRIPT: York Minster MS., number unknown (lost since at lesat 1890)

Roud #104
cf. "Henry Martyn" [Child 250] (plot, lyrics)
cf. "Captain Ward and the Rainbow" [Child 287] (theme)
My bleeding heart, with grief and care/A Warning to all Lewd Livers (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN1789)
As I lay musing all alone, Great store of things I thought upon/[Title trimmed. A comparison made upon the Life of Man? Stat. Register, July 16, 1634] (Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN229)
NOTES [579 words]: In the present state of our knowledge, it is almost impossible to distinguish "Sir Andrew Barton" from "Henry Martyn"; the pirates' names exchange freely, and the basic plot is similar. What is more, the ballads have clearly exchanged elements, especially in America, where mixed versions are the rule. Child did not have to contend with this.
In Child, the basic distinction might almost appear to be length; the versions of "Andrew Barton" are 82 and 64 stanzas, while the texts of "Henry Martyn" do not exceed 13 stanzas. Thus the former looks more literary and the latter more popular. In addition, there are hints of historical background in "Andrew Barton"; more on this below, though much distorted.
Roud originally kept them separate but has now combined the two under #104. I incline to agree but am keeping the distinction for compatibility with Child.
See the notes to "Henry Martin" for a summary of opinions on the issue. Bottom line: it is best to check both ballads for a particular version.
The original Andrew Barton is probably historical -- e.g. Ritson-AncientSongsBalladsFromHenrySecondToTheRevolution says that it describes an event of 1511. Williamson, p. 77, says "The Earl of Oxford had long been lord Admiral, but the office was legal and administrative and not combatant, and Oxford did not go to sea. Henry, with a view to finding a successor with sea experience, picked out the two young Howards, Thomas and Edward, sons of the Earl of Surrey, and sent them to sea in 1511 to bring to account Sir Andrew Barton, a Scottish officer whose piracies were the complaint of English merchants. Barton was a servant of James IV and a commander of the new Scottish navy. The Howards fought and killed him and added his two privateers as prizes to Henry's fleet."
Rodger, p. 169, gives a different account of how the battle came about; "There had been several incidents of hostility [between Scotland and England], notably in June 1511 when the Lord Admiral of England, Sir Edward Howard, escorting a convoy to Zealand, accidentally encountered and killed the Scottish pirate Andrew Barton."
Additional information about Barton can be found in Child. As for Edward Howard, note that his father Surrey was the man who, two years later, fought and won the Battle of Flodden (and was given back his Dukedom of Norfolk as a reward). The Lord Howard who led the English fleet against the Spanish Armada was also a member of this family.
Broadsides about the event, which one might suspect of being the ancestor of this ballad, go back to the early seventeenth century. Rollins has three candidates:
- p. 213, #2454, "Sir Andrew Barton," registered June 1, 1629
- p. 213, #2453, "Sir Andrew Barton Revived," registered July 16, 1634 by Jno. Wright and partners
- p. 236, #2731, "A true relacon of the life and death of S(i)r A. Barton," registered March 13, 1656
- p. 195, #2255, "A relacon of the life and death of S(i)r A. Barton," registered March 1, 1675
Many American texts refer to Barton fighting a Captain Charles Stuart (replacing the Lord Howard of earlier versions -- "Howard" being a reasonable name, even apart from the Barton battle cited above, since Earl Howard of Norfolk was Admiral of England at the time of the battle with the Armada). Gordon thinks this Charles Stuart was Bonnie Prince Charlie, but Barry et al point to the American Charles Stewart (1778-1869) who commanded the U. S. S. Constitution at the end of the War of 1812. - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 6.2
File: C167

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