Mudcat Café message #2473914 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #115504   Message #2473914
Posted By: Ross Campbell
23-Oct-08 - 01:44 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Loving Hannah - Bawley Boat?
Subject: RE: Origins: Loving Hannah - Bawley Boat?
Thanks, Peregrina.
I've been singing "barley boat" instead of "bally boat" for some time (no idea how long), an unconscious change which still left me unconvinced that I had the right word. Indeed, the last time I sang "Loving Hannah", Fleetwood Folk Club's Ron Baxter asked about the term. As an ex-Merchant Navy man who knows his history, he couldn't figure out where a "barley boat" might have been going. I couldn't offer a satisfactory explanation, so when I heard the expression "Bawley boat" on the Thames Shipwrecks programme, I sat up and paid attention! A little investigation provided the information above.

A few more Google finds:-

E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.

Bawley Boat (A).

A small fishing-smack used on the coasts of Kent and Essex, about the mouth of the Thames and Medway. Bawleys are generally about 40 feet long, 13 feet beam, 5 feet draught, and from 15 to 20 tons measurement. They differ in rig from a cutter in having no booms to the mainsail, which is, consequently, easily brailed up when working the trawl nets. They are half-decked, with a wet well to keep fish alive.

There's one for sale here (the last Bawley boat to be built, 1981).


And a Youtube video of a reconstruction project, making a rudder for a Bawley boat with a couple of pictures of the complete vessel (the "Doris" of Leigh).

Ross