Brennan on the Moor [Laws L7]

DESCRIPTION: Irishman Brennan, perhaps in revolt against the English, turns robber in the hills. After various escapades, he is captured, only to be freed by a blunderbuss smuggled in by his wife. At last, betrayed by a woman, he is taken and hanged
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1862 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3014))
KEYWORDS: outlaw rambling execution
1804 - Hanging of William Brennan, a highwayman who worked in County Cork
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,NW,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland Britain(England(North,South),Scotland(Aber)) Australia
REFERENCES (39 citations):
Laws L7, "Brennan on the Moor"
Ford-VagabondSongsAndBalladsOfScotland, pp. 245-246, "Bold Brannan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig/Duncan2 258, "Brannon on the Moor" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Porter/Gower-Jeannie-Robertson-EmergentSingerTransformativeVoice #18, pp. 141-143, "Brennan on the Moor (Laws L7)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kidson-TraditionalTunes, pp. 123-126, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #15, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 284-286, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text plus a reference to 1 more)
Randolph 176, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia, pp. 236-237, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Mackenzie-BalladsAndSeaSongsFromNovaScotia 124, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Flanders/Brown-VermontFolkSongsAndBallads, pp. 98-99, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 745-747, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Leach-HeritageBookOfBallads, pp. 130-132, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Peters-FolkSongsOutOfWisconsin, pp. 191-192, "Brennen on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
List-SingingAboutIt-FolkSongsInSouthernIndiana, pp. 295-297, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune, plus a broadside print)
Ives-DriveDullCareAway-PrinceEdwardIsland, pp. 126-127,242-243, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 135, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-TheCrystalSpring 79, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hubbard-BalladsAndSongsFromUtah, #138, "Brandon on the Moor" (1 text)
Wells-TheBalladTree, pp. 300-301, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 371, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cazden/Haufrecht/Studer-FolkSongsOfTheCatskills 110, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Carey-MarylandFolkLegendsAndFolkSongs, p. 114, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 317-319, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scott-TheBalladOfAmerica, pp. 264-266, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 204, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 315, "Brennan's on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 539, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #132, "TBrennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
OLochlainn-MoreIrishStreetBallads 73, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
O'Conor-OldTimeSongsAndBalladOfIreland, p. 59, "Brennen on the Moor" (1 text)
Fahey-Joe-Watson-AustralianTraditionalFolkSinger, [p. 22, page headed "this item was obviously...."], "(Willy Brennan)" (1 short text)
Huntington-TheGam-MoreSongsWhalemenSang, pp. 202-204, "Willie Brennan (Brennan on the Moor)" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #200, p. 15, "Brennen on the Moor" (1 reference)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 103-106, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)
Fireside-Book-of-Folk-Songs, p. 28, "Bold Brennan on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 325, "Brennan On The Moor" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 250-252, "Brennan on the Moor" (1 text)

Roud #476
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, "Brennan on the Moor" (on IRClancyMakem02)
Patsy Judge, "Brennan On The Moor" (on ITMA/CapeShoreNL)
William Jacob Morgan, "Brennan on the Moor" (AFS, 1946; on LC55)
Neil Morris, "Willie Brennan" (on LomaxCD1705)

Bodleian, Harding B 11(3014), "Brennan On the Moor," J.O. Bebbington (Manchester), 1858-1861; also 2806 c.8(304), Firth b.26(276), Harding B 11(2135), 2806 b.9(178), Firth c.17(11)[some words illegible], 2806 b.9(242), Harding B 11(3014)[some words illegible], Harding B 11(443), Harding B 11(442), Harding B 19(26), "Brennan On the Moor"; 2806 b.10(112)[some words blurred], "Bold Brannan"; Harding B 11(365), 2806 c.15(240), Harding B 11(364), "Bold Brennan on the Moor"; Harding B 26 (341), "A Lament on the Execution of Captain Brennan"
LOCSinging, as101620, "Brennen on the Moor," Horace Partridge (Boston), 19C
NLScotland, L.C.1270(015), "Brennan On the Moor," unknown, c. 1880; also APS.4.95.15(4), "Bold Brannan on the Moor" ("The first of my misfortunes was to list & desert"), unknown, n.d.

cf. "Charlie Quantrell" (tune & meter, theme, lyrics)
Tariff on the Brain (File: Wels073)
NOTES [162 words]: Porter/Gower-Jeannie-Robertson-EmergentSingerTransformativeVoice quote a source (Healy 1965) that Brennan "started as a farm laborer, ... robbed a British officer on a dare, and had to flee as an outlaw; he was caught and tried at Clonmel in 1804 and condemned to death" (p. 142). A website reproduces several other sources, pointing to William Brennan's execution in 1809 or several years later ( or betrayal stand in the center of this Robin-Hood-like ballad. - DGE
The two non-fragmentary texts from Greig/Duncan2 258 begin "The first of my misfortunes was to list and desert." That leads him "over hedges and ditches" into robbing. This is not in the broadsides. - BS
This was popular enough in America at the turn of the twentieth century that Ned Harrigan has one of his characters call on a performer at a reception to play it; see Edward Harrigan, The Mulligans, G. W. Dillingham, 1901, p. 301. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.3
File: LL07

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