While Shepherds Watched

To the Tune Cranbrook written by Thomas Clark

On Ilkley Moor Baht ’at

(On Ilkley Moor Without a Hat Yorkshire’s “National Anthem”)

 

Carols

 

Sylvia Calico, chorister of renoun

Festivals of Light

 

 

In 1805 a hymn tune called Cranbrook was composed by a cobbler of Canterbury, Thomas Clark. A hundred years later it was still being sung in Wesleyan Chapels at Christmas time to While Shepherds watched their flocks by night It was originally composed as a setting for While Shepherds Watched. Only later did it become more familiar for On Ilkley Moor Without a Hat.

According to tradition, the members of a Halifax Wesleyan Church were picnicking beneath the Cow and Calf rocks, after their annual walk across the moors from Dick Hudson’s, when two of their party disappeared into the bracken.  On their return to the main group, a member of the choir bellowed out “Wheer wor ta bahn when ah saw thee?” “Tha’s bin a-courtin’ Mary Jane”, commented another.  Further lines in common metre were contributed until the choir burst naturally into the tune Cranbrook.

Over the years, more verses have been added, and it has been accepted as Yorkshire’s “National Anthem”

From the New Oxford Book of Carols regarding While Shepherds Watched p144 - Tune V, now universally known as Cranbrook, is one of the earliest and certainly the best known of the enormous number composed by the remarkable cordwainer (shoemaker) and musician Thomas Clark, who became the leading Dissenting composer of the late Georgian period. The setting we give is the earliest we have found... We prefer this to the blander revisions that the composer made for successive publications.  It is better known throughout the English speaking world to the Yorkshire words On Ilkla Moor baht ’at.

This is a fine echo carol.

 

While shepherds watched their flocks by night...
                                          ...flocks by night
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord
The angel of the Lord
The angel of the Lord came down,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
And glory shone around.
And glory shone around.
“Fear not,” said he, (for mighty dread...
                                 ...mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds);
“Glad tidings of great joy...
“Glad tidings of great joy...
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.
To you and all mankind.
To you and all mankind.
“To you in Davids town this day
                                  ...this day
Is born of Davids line
A Saviour, who is Christ the
A Saviour, who is Christ the
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:
And this shall be the sign:
And this shall be the sign:
“The heavnly Babe you there shall find
                                  ...there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in
All meanly wrapped in
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid.”
And in a manger laid.”
And in a manger laid.”
Thus spake the Seraph; and forthwith
                                ...and forthwith 
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God,
Of angels praising God,
Of angels praising God, who thus
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song:
Addressed their joyful song:
Addressed their joyful song:
“All glory be to God on high,
                    ...God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth from Heav’n
Goodwill henceforth from Heav’n
Goodwill henceforth from Heav’n to men
Goodwill henceforth from Heav’n to men
Begin and never cease.
Begin and never cease.
Begin and never cease.

 

On Ilkley Moor baht 'at.