Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/489

This page needs to be proofread.

ii s. XL JUNE 19, mo.] .NOTES AND QUERIES.


Rodwell gives a different version :

London Bridge is broken down ;

Dance o'er, Lady Lea. London Bridge is broken down

With a gay La-dee.

Then we must set a man to watch ; Dance o'er, &c.

Suppose the man should fall asleep ? Dance o'er, &c.

Then we must put a dog to guard ; Dance o'er, &c.

Suppose the dog should run away ?

Dance o'er, &c.

Then we must chain him to a post ;

Dance o'er, Lady Lea. Then we must chain him tight and fast

With a gay La-dee.

Rodwell says, " Like all really old English "ballads it was of an almost interminable length, but we shall only insert a few verses." It is possible that in the full ballad both versions were included, and that the singers, after exhausting all possibilities of watch '.and ward, went on to discuss rebuilding.

B. C. S.

The song " London Bridge is broken down, Dance o'er my Lady Lea," is of great antiquity, and, I am led to understand, is identical v ith an ancient Celtic song called ' Yn Yr Pentre,' or, in English, ' Round about our Village.' This song was adopted imany years ago by a certain Ameer of Afghanistan as the National Anthem of his -country. The story goes that his Highness, "who was very partial to brass bands, particu- larly the trombone, heard the tune, which at once caught his fancy, with the above


Your correspondent might refer to Richard Thomson's ' Chronicles of London Bridge,' where the subject is discussed at some length, without, however, arriving at any definite conclusion.

A verse of the old nursery rime " Mary, Mary, quite contrary," beginning with "" London Bridge is broken down," is men- tioned in ' N. & Q.' (4 S. xii. 479).


I do not wonder that MB. CECIL CLABKE has failed to find these old lines in any ordinary book of reference, though I daresay 'he may find some clue to them in Lady Gomme's book on 'Children's Games' a work which I am at present unable to refer ito.

They form one of the series of children's choral and dramatic games which are just now the subject of so much interest and ^oik-lore study. At the time I contributed

a long paper on 'Dorsetshire Children's Games ' to the Folk-Lore Society (see Folk- Lore Journal, 1889, p. 202) I had not that one amongst my collection ; but I have since obtained it, and I hope that it may one day appear in a larger work that I am contem- plating upon Dorset folk-lore. In the meantime I think it is rather too long to reproduce here. I call it ' My Fair Lady ' for want of a better name, that being the refrain that runs throughout it, in the same way, no doubt, that " Dance over Lady Lea " does in MB. CLABKE' s version. The first lines are :

London Bridge is falling down

Down down down.

I should like to refer your correspondent to Miss Charlotte S. Burne's ' Shropshire Folk-Lore,' 1883, for a variant that more nearly approaches what he is in search of, I think. In Miss Burne's chapter (xxxiii.) on ' Choral and Dramatic Games,' at p. 519, the lines of this game (called 'Gay Ladies,' from its refrain) begin :

Over London Bridge we go (ter),

Gay ladies, gay! j

And the chorus replies : ^

London Bridge is broken down (bis), Gay ladies, gay J

Miss Burne says that it is

" evidently two games confused together. The players form a ring moving round as they sing the chorus ; two players outside the ring run round it singing the ' verse part.' "

A foot-note (by W. W. S.) states: " I have heard

London Bridge is broken down;

Dance over my Lady Lea, simg in Kent."

This last is probably what MB. CLABKE is in search of. J. S. UDAL, F.S.A.

For former references to this in ' N. & Q.' see 1 S. ii. 258, 338 ; 3 S. xii. 379 ; 8 S. vi. 106. W. B. H.

[Mr. JOHN HARRISON also thanked for reply.]

ANSTBUTHEB, FIFE : SCOTT OF BALCOMIE (US. xi. 188, 288, 368). The literary im- portance of Anstruther is not fully denoted without a reference to Dr. Hew Scott, author of ' Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanse.' A native of Haddington, and born about the beginning of the nineteenth century, Scott was minister of West Anstruther parish from 1839 till the time of his death, circa 1872. His work is an elaborate compilation, giving some account of all the ministers in the Church of Scotland from 1560 to 1839. In quest of his facts the author visited parish after parish, and utilized enormous numbers of records. The product,