Sandy Still

Rod Hall

Allen Miller

Jim Jack


Fourum’s Dales Collection

The landscape of the Northern Dales and the history, characters and legends developed and nurtured by it have been captured in many forms. Through the pen of Allen Miller and the musical creativity of the folk group, FOURUM, a wide array of unique songs have harvested these tales. The combination of memorable rhyme, evocative melody and warm harmony have given back, to residents and visitors alike, a record of the hardships and delights of the past, the foundations of the present and a legacy for the future.

This unique volume now brings together the words of the songs, the detailed background upon which they are based and photographs and illustrations which breathe added life and new meaning into FOURUM’s forty-plus years of Singing The Dales.

Whilst the book acts as a companion volume to The Dales Collection - a 3 CD boxed set of Fourum songs - it makes engrossing reading in itself. The verse, prose and images transport us back in time through the history which has helped to make Swaledale, Wensleydale and Teesdale the places they are today

Many requests over the years led Allen and fellow band member, Bob Hattersley, to begin the painstaking work of delving deeper into the background to the songs in order to produce a book which told the tales in more depth. Bob added some stunning maps to complement the research, some of which are reproduced in this publication. Bob's untimely death due to cancer in 2010 spurred the rest of the band to throw their energy behind the project to ensure completion and produce this unique archive as a resource for the future and in Bob's memory.

Additional research, re-visiting sites, talking with the descendants of Dales characters and bespoke illustrations have come together in adding another dimension to the ballads in this anthology-

Section 1 focuses on Richmond's past. The legends of Richmond's Drummer Boy and Potter Thompson's discovery of King Arthur and his knights sleeping under Richmond Castle are just two of the tales which sit alongside Richmond life in the past. Our journey takes in Bolton on Swale where Britain's unofficial oldest inhabitant, Henry Jenkins, was buried at the end his 169 years on earth.

Section 2 takes us up Swaledale, with its lead mining past captured in ballads such as 'Farewell to the Old Sang' and 'Gunnerside Sill -Remembered' - but find out about a stone xylophone and a fight over a calf closing a chapel along the way. A walk round Kisdon Foss is also offered.

Section 3 takes us from the top of Swaledale across to Wensleydale and Nidderdale to the south and Teesdale and Darlington to the North.

Each song is fully supported by detailed background, photographs or engravings, whilst the text of each song is delightfully illustrated by Sally Zaranko.

The book is a companion volume to the Fourum 3 CD set The Dales Collection whose songs provide an easy and memorable way of learning about the area's past - as children and adults alike have found. But it also stands on its own as a 'good read'!

Profits from sales will be donated to researching the causes and treatment of Kidney Cancer.

To order your copy click here

The Northern Dales — with a difference!

The Northern Dales of Swaledale, Wensleydale and Teesdale have captivated the interest of individual writers, historians, artists & photographers, not to mention television producers. Local folk band Fourum chose to capture essentials of their adopted home in song. The result has been over forty ballads, written by band member Allen Miller and performed by Fourum across the whole area and on radio and television.

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