“The Glasgow”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1937 (Ranson)
Keywords: drowning sea ship wreck sailor emigration separation lover
Found in: Ireland

Description

John Williams is banished from Coot-hill. "They tore me from the arms of my charming Sally Greer." His friends take him to Liverpool and pay his passage to New York on Glasgow. The mate lets the ship run aground. Twenty-five men are lost.

Notes

February 14, 1837: "... sunk after striking the Barrells .... lost her rudder and drove over the rocks.... Altogether 82 were rescued by the Alacia [under Captain Walsh] at considerable risk" (source: Bourke in _Shipwrecks of the Irish Coast_ v1, p. 44)

Is this "Coot-hill" or Courtown? From Last Name Meanings site re "Coote: (origin: Local) Welsh ,Coed, a wood; Cor. Br., Coit and Cut. Coot-hill or Coit-hayle, the wood on the river." For more on "coot-hill" see notes for "The Champion of Coute Hill."- BS

An even more interesting question is the relationship of this song to "Sally Greer." Both are songs involving an emigrant who is aboard a wrecked ship, and both involve a girl named Sally Greer who is left behind.

On the other hand, the ship is different (_Glasgow_ versus _Monatch of Aberdeen_), the motivations are slightly different, "Sally Greer" never mentions Liverpool, and this song describes a lesser disaster (in "Sally Greer," over 90% of the people on the ship are lost).

My best guess is that one is a rework of the other, with "Sally Greer" perhaps slightly more likely to be the original, since it's more widespread. - RBW

Cross references

References

  1. Ranson, pp. 110-111, "The Glasgow" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #7346
  3. BI, Ran110