Mudcat Café message #3946243 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3946243
Posted By: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
25-Aug-18 - 05:49 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
About While Shepherds/Ilkley Moor...

Ian Russell's note on the tune "Cranbrook" (While Shepherds..) in the programme for the 2016 Festival of Village carols in Grenoside says:

"Cranbrook - Formerly widespread in South Yorkshire but now rarely heard except in Grenoside. Words by Nahum Tate (!700). Earliest carol text permitted to be sing in church - a paraphrase of Luke's Gospel. Tune by Thomas Clark, the Canterbury shoemaker (1775 - 1859: 1805" [i.e. the tune was composed/published in 1805].
"The tune is used for the well-known parody of Yorkshire dialect, 'On Ilkla Moor Baht'at': earliest reference 1916, but thought to date from late 1870s".

So "While Shepherds..." was being sung to Cranbrook a good 70 years before Ilkla Moor was composed. We still sing it at the Top Red Lion, Grenoside, during the season, and often have to explain that we are NOT singing it to Ilkla Moor, but that it's the other way round!