Royal Oak, The

DESCRIPTION: While sailing on the "Royal Oak", the singer and his fellows spy ten Turkish men-of-war. They sink three, burn three, drive three off, and capture the last, which they drag into Portsmouth harbor. The singer praises their skipper, Capt. (Wellfounder)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (Greig/Duncan1 fragment)
KEYWORDS: fight navy sailor foreigner
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #64, p. 2, ("Two we sunk, and two we brunt") (1 fragment)
Greig/Duncan1 40, "The Marigold" (1 fragment)
VaughanWilliams/Lloyd-PenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs, p. 91, "The Royal Oak" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 42, "Turkish Men-o'-War" (1 text)
Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast 56, "The Marigold" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-OxfordBookOfSeaSongs 41, "Captain Mansfield's Fight with the Turks at Sea" (1 text)

Roud #951
Turkish Men of War
NOTES [180 words]: [Lloyd repeats's Firth's suggestion that] the song is based on "Kempthorne's repulse of the seven Algerine ships, December 29, 1669." - PJS
Palmer also repeats it. Just for the record: I know of no instance of Turkish warships getting close enough to England to be hauled to Portsmouth. - RBW
While Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast calls this "The Marigold," its ship's name is the Martha Jane, with "Captain White from fair Bristow" - BS
The name "White" in the Leach version probably isn't significant, but I will mention that there was a very famous Newfoundland captain, Edward White Sr. (1811-1886). He became famous as one of the first Newfoundland captains to command a steamship in the seal hunt; he was also a minister without portfolio in the Newfoundland government 1882-1885 (DictNewfLabrador, p. 357). He had been a sealing captain since 1836 (Ryan, p. 151). He wasn't a navy captain, and he didn't fight the Turks, so he can't have been the original captain in this song, but his fame might have suggested his insertion into a Newfoundland/Labrador text. - RBW
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File: VWL091

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