W3C Old Grandee SONGS



One school of thought claims that the singing of hunting songs in Lakeland isn’t as great as it once was. Whilst singing certainly isn’t dead, it’s so easy for songs to be lost.

The first song comes from the Eskdale and Ennerdale Hunt and is about a well-known fox of the time. It’s unusual in as much that little of the final hunt is recorded save the outcome, but the participants are given pride of place and it allows a small snapshot into life in the area at the time the song was written. When was it written?

At some point every hunt met a foe who would give them a merry dance and escape, sometimes numerous times in a season or more. In the 1960s the Coniston hunted a fox that went into the River Rothay by the cricket field and it ran downstream towards the village for quite some distance, the water reducing his scent. He did this on a number of occasions until we got wise to him. Old Grandee apparently was a well known fox.

Any information regarding him or any of the hunts would be gratefully accepted - please email me.

Old Grandee

Once a fox held his court and provided good sport
In the country round Muncaster fell,
And he lived royally as all will agree
On whom his attentions befell;
Will Porter swore t’Devil could flee
So we christened him old Grandee,
As we followed his lead o’er mountain and mead
And we left him again roaming free

We’ll all go a hunting today,
Old Grandee’s on foot and away,
We’ll join in the chase at our very best pace
And we’ll bring home his carcass today
Will Crane rose at dawn, found his turkeys were gone,
Fine birds of the very best strain,
For Reynard had been with his appetite keen
Had worried again and again
Says Will it’s a burning big shame
For ‘tis clear that Grandee’s to blame,
But I’ll meet him in hell or on Muncaster Fell,
For Porter will soon stop his game.

George Phizacklea rose with the first of the crows
And hied him away to the chase,
For his ducks were all dead while he still lay abed
And sorrow was marked on his face.
Says Geordie it’s not good enough
Will you heva li’le pinch o’ my snuff,
Old Grandee must die and I’ll not tell a lie,
He has brecked me so terrible rough

Nica Southard’s hello, is well known to all
You’ll have heard it gin back frae the rocks
As Grandee sped by with the hounds in full cry
Where he worried his champion game cocks,
Says Nica he knows how they’re bred
And now there both of them dead,
I’ll never possess such a strain
As the twa bonnie charcoal and red.

Stephen Hodgson away at the dawning of day
To seek out Grandee’s retreat,
For chickens galore and hens half a score
Were worried the previous week.
Says Stephen we’ve passed a decree
That Grandee must instantly dee
But our meetings you know are nea use at all
If we can’t stick to what we agree.

Joe Gainford keeps nowt that a fox cares about
For shavings are bad to digest,
But Grandee’s dismay was great on the day
That Joe donned his new hunting vest.
Says Joe I’ve been reading the news
And hunting’s not mentioned at all,
But Grandee’s not bound to be killed by a hound
And that’s mair than some of you know

Tom Barber’s a lad to make the heart glad
And bred frae a reet hunting stock;
He’ll throw down the saw and a hunting will go
Like a genuine chip of old block
Says Tom I believe I was born
To follow the hounds and the horn,
But I’ll stick to my bench to the fullest extent
Til my legs of their power are shorn

Joe Hird follows sport of various sorts
And whiles takes a jaunt with the hounds,
But Grandee once slew a chicken or two
While out on his usual rounds.
Says Joe I’ll lay twenty to one
That Grandee’s last race isn’t run,
And I’ll lay my last breath if I’m in at his death,
We’re sure of a la’al bit o’ fun.

Our king spoke at last his patience was past
For time and again he returned
For Grandee was still escaping at will
And using the lessons he’d learnt
Says Tommy just hand me that staff
I’ll learn that old varmint to laugh
For hound never meet but they own to defeat
And cause all the country to laugh

Abe Sim owns delight when hounds are in sight
And echo resounds tot their cry,
For Grandee’s ploys provide all the joys
That mortal may feel ‘neath the skies.
Says Abe by all the laws of the chase
When Grandee has run his last race
His carcass I’ll claim for a quarry so game
Deserves setting up in a case

My song I must close as everyone knows
That way that Grandee was slain.
How we chased him from dawn ‘til the day was far gone
And hounds pulled him down on the plain.
Old Grandee’s worth my lay
So we’ll give him a hip, hip, hurrah,
Ten times he was chased and nine times he outpaced
The champion pack of the day.

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