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Do yea ken John Peel - Tune Based on an 18th Century Ballad
"John Peel"
D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so
D'ye ken John Peel at the break of
D'ye ken John Peel when he's far away,
With his hounds and his horn in the
For the sound of his horn brought me
  from my bed
And the cry of his hounds which he
  oft times led,
Peel's 'view hullo' would awaken the
Or the fox from his lair in the
Yes I ken John Peel and Ruby too
Ranter and Ringwood and Bellman and
From a find to a check, from a check
  to a view
From a view to a death in the morning
Then here's to John Peel with my
  heart and soul
Let's drink to his health, let's
  finish the bowl,
We'll follow John Peel through fair
  and through foul
If we want a good hunt in the morning.

Here is another version of "John Peel"
"John Peel"
Do ye ken John Peel
with his coat so gay?
do ye ken John Peel
At the break of day?
Do ye ken John Peel
When he's far, far away
With his hounds and his horn
In the morning
Twas the sound of his horn
Brought me from my bed
And the cry of his hounds
Aas me oftimes led
For Peel's view holloa
Would wake the dead
Or a fox from his lair
In the morning
Do ye ken that hound
Whose voice is death?
Do ye ken her sons
Of peerless faith
Do ye ken that a fox
With his last breath
Cursed them all as he died
In the morning?
Yes, I ken John Peel
And auld Ruby, too
Ranter and Royal
And Bellman so true
From the drag to the chase,
From the chase to the view
From the view to the death
In the morning
And I've followed John Peel
Both often and far
O'er the rasper fence
And the gate and the bar
From Low Denton Holme
To the Scratchmere Scar
When we vied for the brush
In the morning
Then here's to John Peel
With my heart and soul
Come fill, fill to him
A brimming bowl
For we'll follow John Peel
Thro fair or thro foul
While we're waked by his horn
In the morning

Cumbria: Links to Cumberland the home of John Peel - Steve Bulman's webpages are well worth a visit.

Ann Bowker's Home Page - This page includes links to excellent digital photographs of Skiddaw and The Lake District

John Peel: The Man and the Song - This page includes a portrait of John Peel.

John Peel: by Barry Taylor  - Melody and Original words by William Woodcock Graves in Cumbrian dialect, taken from original manuscript.

"D'ye Ken John Peel"

John Peel: A favourite English hunting song, dating from shortly before the middle of the l9th century. The hero, John Peel, was a Cumberland farmer, who kept a pack of fox hounds. The words of the song are by John Woodcock Graves, a fellow Cumbrian and their origin was told by the author to this effect.

When both men were in the heyday of their manhood they met one night at Graves's house at Caldbeek, to arrange some hunting matter. The grandmother of Graves's children was singing a child to sleep with an old nursery rhyme known as Bonnie Annie, or Whar wad Bonnie Annie lie, and Graves became struck by the idea of writing a song in honour of Peel to the tune the old lady was singing. He completed a version before Peel left the house and jokingly remarked 'By Jove, Peel, you'll be sung when we are both run to earth'. Peel died in 1854, aged seventy-eight, and was buried at Caldbeck. The song, sung to a version of Bonnie Annie, seems to have had a long traditional popularity before it got into print, and was probably first published on a music sheet by Mr William Meteclfe of Carlisle about 1870 or 1880. There are two distinct versions of the tune of John Peel, the one being a corruption from the other, and both differing materially from the old nursery rhyme. The tune Whar wad Bonnie Annie lie or Whar wad our Guidman lie, is found in several early Scottish publications. It is, however, founded on an English Country Dance called Red House, printed in The Dancing Master, 1703, and greatly used in the early ballad operas of the first part of the 18th century.


Hunting Songs  - Joe Bowman


Submission on Behalf of the Central Committee of Fell Packs


I am particularly glad that the submission from the Central Committee of Fell Packs has touched on hunting songs so far as to include
extracts from two (paragraphs 1.2 and 9.1). These songs, though frequently referring to one particular hunt and its country, tend to be
well known throughout the land. Thus, Joe Bowman is familiar to us here in the Shires while I am sure Drink Puppy Drink, written by
that arch Meltonian, Whyte-Melville, is known in the Lake District. They constitute one further piece of evidence (if more were needed)
that hunting folk constitute a community ? an ethnic group even ? in their right.

Ullswater Foxhounds

9.1 The Ullswater Foxhounds were formed in 1873 after the amalgamation of two smaller packs: the Patterdale and the Matterdale.
Mr.J.E.Hasell became Master in 1889. He appointed Joe Bowman as Huntsman (probably the most famous fell Huntsman after Peel). Joe
Bowman had already hunted the Ullswater hounds, first doing so on 14th November 1879 (when he was 22). He finally retired (having
retired once in 1911 and come back in 1915) in 1924, having completed 41 seasons. He died in 1940 aged 90. A song dedicated to him is a
particular favourite:

When the fire's on the hearth and good cheer abounds,
We'll drink to Joe Bowman and his Ullswater hounds,
For we ne'er shall forget how he woke us at dawn
With the crack of his whip and the sound of his horn.

What others have to say  about John Peel

Notes extracted from NewsGroup :

The following extended quote is taken from "The American Song Treasury: 100 Favorites" by Theodore Raph (Dover, 1986). The book was originally published in 1964 as "The Songs We Sang: A Treasury of American Popular Music"

"This is the song of a fox hunt, a sport originating in the British Isles around 1700 and still quite popular up to the present time. John Peel was a real person, the English novelist John George Whyte-Melville, formerly a captain in the Coldstream Guards. He was an expert hunter during the middle 1800's and was considered the laureate of fox hunting. On the occasion of his death on the hunting field in 1854, Whyte-Melville's friends attended the funeral after which they went for drinks. Here was the setting for the birth of "D'Ye Ken John Peel". After a couple of drinks one of his close friends , John Woodcock Graves, scribbled some verses in tribute to Whyte-Melville. He used the melody of an old folk song "Bonnie Annie." It is very likely the original "Bonnie Annie" arrived in America shortly after the War of 1812, but only a small handful of people were attracted to it. Years later, when Graves' version appeared, interest picked up to some extent. Many glee clubs and college students adopted the song, and with the aid of folk-song enthusiasts the song was kept very much alive well into this century. However, it was not until the mid-1940's that this melody became nationally popular om the from of the Pepsi Cola jingle frequently played over the radio. After the jingle was discontinued the catchy melody was still remembered and enjoyed by millions, and thus the original "John Peel" lyrics were restored."

Couple more points which may be of interest. John Peel hunted in the Lake District where the hounds are followed on foot, nothing like the commonly exported pictures of mounted "unspeakables in the pursuit of the uneatable". His coat so grey note not "gay" as is sometimes recorded refers to the Hoddden grey cloth woven from the fleece of the Herdwick sheep grazed in the area.

"Horn of the Hunter" was *not* anything to do with John Peel, it is about John Bownam (Bowman), another far more recent Lake District huntsman. The Lyrics also chronicle the flooding of Mardale in the thirties to provide what is now the Haweswater reservoir for Manchester and other Nw industrial towns. The Dun Bull was the local pub, and Haweswater was the original Lake which formed the basis of the reservoir. The last time I was in the Lakes in about 1985 from memory, the water was so low that the remains of the old village could be seen 

According to an article by Anne Geddes Gilchrist in Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, 1941, the song was by John Percival Graves. The tune evolved from "Red House" in the Dancing Master from 1695, through "Whaur will our goodman lie"/" "Where will bonny Annie lie", and it was apparently Peel's mother's singing of "Bonnie (or Canty) Annie" to her grandson that gave Graves his tune. Gilchrist cites several subsequent publications of the tune in Scots works, and in John Gay's 'Polly'. She also discuses the fragments of songs seemingly connected with the fragmentary song "Bonnie Annie", of which not much is really known. She gave the 'Dancing Master' tune, one from Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, and a Welsh version of c 1896. The latter, in English, is 'The Red House of Cardiff- a pipe dance.'  

This is a minor postscript to "D'ye Ken John Peel". When I first roamed from my home in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, down south to the cool climes of Hobart: Tasmania, Australia, I noticed that the iron railing fence around St David's Park was formed in five horizontal lines, like
music staves. Into the stave was worked a design of musical notes forming the opening bars of "D'ye Ken John Peel".

I was told that this was because the park had been the graveyard of St David's, the Anglican cathedral church of Hobart and
was the burial place of the author of the song "D'ye Ken John Peel" (presumably, John Woodcock Graves).

know that fox hunting had appealed to the early colonists - especially down in Tasmania's more English climate and they
had imported foxes to release and provide their traditional sport. It was believed that the foxes had died out (or been hunted
out) but last year the team investigating claimed sightings of the (presumably) extinct "Tasmanian Tiger" (Thylacine) had
followed tracks and spoor - and located a surviving family of foxes! ".

The above notes were extracted from NewsGroup :

DVL NOTE - 981121

George John Whyte-Melville, B1821-D1878 aged 57 - Killed whilst hunting - Scottish Literature Timeline - 1862 : Whyte-Melville, The Queen's Maries

John Woodcock Graves, B1795-D1886 aged 91

1. For forty long years have we known him,
Cumberland yeoman of old,
And twice forty years shall have perished,
Ere the fame of his deeds shall grow cold.
No broadcloth of scarlet adorned him
No buckskin as white as the snow.
Of plain Skiddaw gray was his garment,
And he wore it for work, not for show.
Now the horn of the hunter is silent,
On the banks of the Ellen no more,
No more will we hear its wild echo,
Clear sound o'er the dark Caldews roar.
2. When dark draws her mantle around us,
And cold by the fire bids us steal,
Our children will say, "Father tell us
Some tales of the famous John Peel."
And we'll tell them of Ranter and Royal,
Of Britain and Melody too,
how they rattled a fox round the Carrock
And drove him from scent into view.
3. How often from Brathwait to Skiddaw,
Through Isel, Bewaldeth, Whitefield,
We galloped like madmen together,
To follow the hounds of John Peel.
And though we may hunt with another,
Til the hand of old age bids us yeild,
We will think on that sportsman and brother,
And remember the hounds of John Peel.

Here's another version of "Horn Of The Hunter" - Note the reference to Tasmania
Come listen, you lads that love hunting,
You sportsmen, so gallant and true;
I'll sing of a hero, the gamest
That ever old Cumberland knew;
With him I have often at morning,
Been out on the fells with the dawn;
John Peel was no feather-bed sluggard,
This all who knew him must own.
But the horn of the hunter is silent;
On the banks of the Ellen no more,
Nor in Denton is heard its wild echo;
Clear sounding o'er Cauda's dark roar.
By Caldbeck, by Sebrham, by Welton,
Through Rosley, through Raughton, we've sped;
By Carrick's broad bosom we've halloed,
When o'er it the hunt wildly fled;
John Peel would have outstripped both Nimrod,
And left him long miles to the rear;
The blast of Peel's horn in the morning
Was music no fox liked to hear.
How often from Brayton to Skiddaw,
Through Isel, Bewaldeth, Whitefield,
We galloped like mad things together
Until in the saddle we reeled.
No scarlet, no broadcloth adorned us
No buckskin that rivalled the snow
But plain Skiddaw grey was our garment
We wore it for work not for show.
Those days are long past, but they'll never
Pass out of the mind and the heart
They'll be sung the world over forever
As long as men join in the sport;
John Peel was a man like no other
The dearest of all men to me
And John Woodcock Graves I'll remember,
A hunter both happy and free.
'Mongst Cumberland hills Peel is sleeping
Old Skiddaw looks over his dust
In the wilds of Tasmania lies Graves
Whose spirit is with us I trust.
Let's think they are both here tonight lads
And give them the honour that's due;
Tally-ho! Tally-ho! Hark forward!
Hark forward! a fox is in view.
Ho, lads! oft when night draws its mantle,
As back from foxhunting I steal,
My children cry, "Father come sing us
The song about famous John Peel";
Then here's to all hunters forever
Our pledge a pint deep let us seal
Tally-ho! lads, again, Tally-ho!
Remembering the days of John Peel

Peel died in 1854, aged seventy-eight, and was buried at Caldbeck
from John Peel: The Man and the Song

Peel died in 1854, aged seventy-eight, and was buried at Caldbeck
See recent photographs of Caldbeck Church and surrounds






17 songs & 15 dances. Moore Sedgwick of Sedbergh blows the horn and talks about famous local huntsmen - in particular about
Joe Bowman, W.R. Mitchell tells the story of the song about John Peel, and Fred Clarke plays melodeon variants of the tune.
Here too 85 year old Keswick fiddler, John Oliver, plays 15 local dances while others are played by Billy Bowman, accordion,
and by his brother Jack on banjo. Others singers of hunting songs are John Dalton, Miles Wilson, Peter Morris, Alan Nelson,
Harry and Derek Irving of Corney, and Billy Irving of Cockermouth.

A = 44.45

1. Hunting horn & talk about Joe Bowman by Moore Sedgwick, Sedbergh, Yorksh - 1.23

2. JOE BOWMAN - 2v of song & talk about local meets by John Dalton - 2.29

3. JOE BOWMAN - 4v of song by Miles Wilson with Billy Bowman (accordion) - 3.43

4. THE LANCERS (Quadrille) - Fig 1: John Oliver (fiddle) - 1.13

5. THE HORN OF THE HUNTER (talk before) sung by Peter Morris - 2.53

6. JOHN PEEL Version #1 played as a waltz: Fred Clarke (melodeon) - 1.08

7. WINDHAM (talk before) sung by Billy Irving - 5.00

8. THE HORN OF THE HUNTER / THE TENTH DAY OF MARCH tunes of song played by Billy Bowman (acc) with Jack
(banjo) - 1.27

9. THE TENTH DAY OF MARCH (talk after) sung by Alan Nelson - 8.46

10. AUTHTHWAITE FELLS: Alan Nelson - 3.03

11. LANCERS - Fig 2: John Oliver (fiddle) - 1.08

12. BOOTLE FELL HUNT (talk before) sung by Harry and Derek Irving of Corney - 5.33

13. WE'LL ALL GO A-HUNTING TODAY sung by Miles Wilson with Billy Bowman (acc) - 4.50

B = 44.35

14. JOHN PEEL: Story of song by W.R.Mitchell & friends - 4.38

15. JOHN PEEL Version #2: Fred Clarke (melodeon) - 0.38

16. SEDBERGH FOX HUNT 1953 (talk before) sung by Moore Sedgwick - 5.48

17. LANCERS - Fig 3: John Oliver (fiddle) - 0.40

18. ESKDALE SHOW (talk before about his father) sung by John Dalton - 3.42

19. THE COTTAGERS: John Oliver (fiddle) - 1.11

20. NEW YEAR'S DAY HUNT AT KIRKSTILE sung by Billy Irving with Billy Bowman (acc) - 5.05

21. THE GAY YOUNG SPARK (talk before) sung by Alan Nelson - 0.57

22. BILLY BOWMAN'S BAND sung by Jack Bowman with Billy (acc) - 1.45

23. YOU'LL NEVER GET IN WITHOUT (talk before): Moore Sedgwick - 5.40

24. LANCERS - Fig 4: John Oliver (fiddle) - 1.50

25. Talk about hunting with songs: YE DALESMEN, DRINK PUPPY DRINK, WHEN ADAM WAS FIRST CREATED: Alan
Nelson - 7.36

Bowman (accordion) - 5.00

Recorded by Peter Kennedy 1954. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax Cassettes 1975. Phonographic
copyright control. Unauthorised public performance, broadcasting or copying is prohibited except by permission of FOLKTRAX.

J Moore SEDGWICK, born 1885, was master of Sedbergh Beagles 1926-31 and followed Lunesdale, Ullswater, Coniston and
Bleasdale. His father and grandfather were also well-known huntsmen. He can be heard singing HOWGILL LADS on FT-410.

John 'Wilse' DALTON, Thirlmere, born 1900, was the son of of the famous Jim Dalton of The Blencathra. His daughter recites
in dialect on FT-410.

Alan NELSON, of Lorton rec Brackenthwaite, was born 1890. He was the most prolific singer of hunting songs and can also be
heard on FT-410.

John OLIVER, born 1874, was the Whip of Melbrake Hunt and played fiddle for local Hunt Balls and weddings. He plays

Fred CLARKE, born 1899, Bleatam, Warcup, learned melodeon from his father and from an older fiddler who played for dances
at Grasgill, Soulby, Crosby Garret, Musgraqve and Kirkby.

Billy IRVING, born 1898, was secretary of the The Hound Trailing Association and was recorded in their offices at

Billy BOWMAN led the oldest dance band in the area and with his brother Jack played for all the local farm dances and Hunt