“The Hunting of the Cheviot”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1765 (Percy; mentioned in "Wit's End" in 1617 and in the Stationer's Register in 1624)
Keywords: battle hunting death nobility
Found in: Britain(England(North),Scotland) US(NE,SE)


Percy, Earl of Northumberland, goes deer hunting into Earl Douglas' land of (Cheviot/Chevy Chase), in defiance of a warning from Douglas. In battle they earn each other's respect, but both die, along with many of their men.


Child opines that this is based on the same events as "The Battle of Otterburn" (Child #161) rather than some other border battle between Percies and Douglases. The historical Henry Percy (Hotspur) fought [and] was captured [by the Scots], but did not in fact die at Otterburn in 1388 or at any other battle with Scots but was instead slain in battle with Henry IV's forces. - KK

In addition, Harry Hotspur was never Earl of Northumberland. His father (the first of five generations of Henry Percys of Northumberland) was the first Earl, and lived until 1408. Hotspur was killed in 1403, and thus never succeeded to the title, although Hotspur's son became the second Earl.

However, none of the various Earls Percy died in battle with the Scots. The first Earl was a traitor against Henry IV; the second (d. 1455) and third (d. 1461) were casualties of the Wars of the Roses, and the fourth was killed by the people of his own Earldom because he had not supported Richard III at Bosworth. (Richard, despite his later reputation, was loved in the north of England for being fair and honest and keeping the Scots away from the borders.) - RBW

Historical references

Same tune

Cross references


  1. Child 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (2 texts)
  2. Bronson 162, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (10 versions)
  3. Percy/Wheatley I, pp. 20-35+notes on pp. 51-52, "The Ancient Ballad of Chevy Chase"; pp. 249-264, "The More Modern Ballad of Chevy Chace" (sic.) (2 texts)
  4. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 243-248, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
  5. Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 135-144, "The Hunting of the Cheviot, or Chevy Chase" (1 text, from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
  6. Davis-Ballads 34, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
  7. Davis-More 31, pp. 239-244, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #5}
  8. Leach, pp. 446-463, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (3 texts)
  9. Friedman, p. 276, "Chevy Chase" (1 text, 2 tunes) {approximating Bronson's #1, #4}
  10. Stokoe/Reay, pp. 1-3, "Chevy Chase" (1 text, 1 tune) {cf. Bronson's #6, also from Stokoe's collection but differing in one note}
  11. OBB 128, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
  12. PBB 71, "Chevy Chase (The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
  13. Gummere, pp. 105-115+325-327, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
  14. Hodgart, p. 96, "Chevy Chase (The Hunting of the Cheviot)" (1 text)
  15. TBB 21, "The Hunting of the Cheviot" (1 text)
  16. HarvClass-EP1, pp. 93-101, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
  17. Abrahams/Foss, pp. 43-45, "Chevy Chase" (1 text)
  18. Chappell/Wooldridge I, pp. 90-92, "Chevy Chase" (1 tune, perhaps linked to this piece)
  19. BBI, ZN980, "God prosper long our Noble King"; ZN982, "God prosper long our noble king" (?)
  20. DT 162, CHEVCHAS*
  21. Roud #223
  22. BI, C162