Sandy Still

Rod Hall

Allen Miller

Jim Jack



1 The Swaledale Song

This song describes a journey westward into Swaledale, and calls to mind some of the history associated with the various places en route. From Richmond onwards the road never loses sight of the river and frequently crosses it. The two are closely linked in the song also.

2 Semerwater

There are many versions of this legend of a sunken village in the lake, and how it came to be there. Indeed, the story is paralleled in classical mythology. This song ia based on one of them. It is said that in certain atmospheric conditions you can still hear the bells of the lost church tower!

3 Isabella Beaufort

Marrick Priory at the time of Christabella Cowper is the setting for this interesting tale about a handmaiden of Catherine of Aragon. She is said to have fled there, disguised as a page boy, after noticing that the lustful glances of Henry VIII were being directed more towards her then her mistress. The story seems to have a happy ending but there is a mystery surrounding her actual fate.

4 Corpse Way

Until 1580 all burials from Upper Swaledale took place at Grinton Parish Church. The funeral procession, along a route which has come to be known as the Corpse Way, often took two days to reach the church and involved a number of stops for "refreshment", paid for by the family of the deceased and known as a "shot". The badgers and higglers mentioned in the song were itinerant travellers of the day. The consecrating of ground at Muker in 1580 eased the pressure both on the Parish Church and on the pockets of the bereaved.!

5 Swaledale Air

An instrumental inspired by a summer's afternoon up by Gunnerside Gill. Words are superfluous to the images and feelings one may experience there and which, once experienced, are with one forever.

6 Askrigg Fair

This story dates back to the early 19th century and tells of one unfortunate Scots Lord who dared to travel alone to Askrigg Fair to sell his cattle. After such a fair muggings were frequent and many a "foreigner" disappeared in mysterious circumstances on the surrounding moors. The only clue to the identity of this one, whose body was found by a man digging peat, was his tartan plaid. At least he finally received a proper burial at Grinton.


1 Gunnerside Gill - Remembered

As you walk up from Gunnerside following the Gill along the hillside you really are transported, gradually, into the past, and this song attempts to do the same. The Gill was the link for several mine levels and would have been walked daily by hundreds of miners. It is not difficult to visualise all the activity in what was once a prosperous lead-mining area.

2 Census 1851

The Wharfedale family which this song centres around is typical in a community where all had to work to survive, and the choice, in the last century, was the lead mines or the mills. The details for this song, which has a most unusual style chorus, were gleaned from the unsuspecting records of the Census of 1851.

3 The Chapel at Keld

The legend in this song is said to date back to the end of the 15th century, when it is believed  that there was a chapel at Keld. This is the story of its last service, unlikely though it may sound. The arrival of a stranger, in the middle of a service, asking for a calf, produced rather an unexpected response from the assembled worshippers! It was to be three hundred years before the site was again used for religious purposes.

4 Song To Hannah Hauxwell

Inspired by a television documentary about her in 1973, and the book which followed, this song is dedicated to a woman with an unusual lifestyle. (Since the song was written, Hannah has succumbed to the lure of the outside world and has moved to Cotherstone. Her fame has increased enormously over the last twenty years and she is now a well-travelled lady!)

5 (Farewell to) The Old Gang

Towards the end of the 19th century the numerous lead mining companies in Swaledale were forced out of business, largely due to the much lower price of imported ore from Spain. Many miners were forced to seek new occupations in other areas - such as the coal mines of Durham, the wool mills of Yorkshire or the cotton mills of Lancashire. The Old Gang was one of the oldest and best known mines in the dale. The song tells of one miner, about to make the move, looking back at earlier times, and forward to the future.

6 The Drummer Boy of Richmond

This is perhaps the most famous legend connected with Richmond. It was thought that Richmond Castle and Easby Abbey were connected by a secret underground passage. According to the legend, some soldiers stationed there decided to put this theory to the test, but, being too cowardly themselves, they persuaded their little drummer boy to undertake the expedition.

Singing The Dales Synopsis

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