At great feasts they are to play upon shagbut, cornetts,
shawms and other instruments going with wind.

Richard Brathwaite, 1621

Richard Brathwaite
born 1588, Kendal, Westmorland, Eng.
died May 4, 1673, Catterick, Yorkshire

Brathwaite also spelled Brathwait, or Brathwayte English poet best known for the lively Barnabees Journal (written in Latin rhymed verse under the pseudonym Corymbaeus, 1638; Eng. trans. 1638), containing amusing topographical information and unflagging gaiety.

After education at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Brathwaite went to London to practice law but instead…

Richard Brathwaite of Burneshead and of Catterick, co. York, compounded in 1650 for his delinquency by a fine of £1,151, assessed at one-sixth of the value of his estates; ib., 1888.

Richard Brathwaite

Drunken Barnaby’s four journeys


Journeys to the North of England


The ancient ballad of Chevy Chase


Richard Braithwaite was a poet, born at Burneshead, near Kendal, in 1588, educated at Oxford and is believed to have served with the Royalist army in the Civil War. He was the author of many works, some of which are generally disparaged in the annals of literary criticism. The best known is Drunken Barnaby’s Four Journeys to the North of England, which records his pilgrimages through England, written in rhymed Latin and doggerel English verse, first published in 1638. There are descriptions of several places and events along the Great North Road such as Robin Hood’s Well and the Hole in the Wall, Stamford. He is pretty rude about Stamford, claiming it swarmed with beggars, but he seemed to like Sarah, the landlady of the Hole in the Wall:

Her I sued, suited, sorted
Bussed, boused, sneesed, snorted:
Often sat she, when she got up,
All her phrase was, ‘Drink thy pot up’

Pontefract has been long celebrated for its gardens and nurseries, and the finest liquorice in the kingdom, for which it is thus noticed by Drunken Barnaby:

Veni Pomfret, ubi miram
Arcem, Angus regibus diram;
Laseris ortu celebrandam,
Varils gestis memorandam:
Nec in Pomfret repens certior,
Quam pauperculus inertior.

Drunken Barnaby records the story of John Bartendale, a piper and citizen of York, who was found guilty of felony. He was hanged on Knavesmire on March 27th, 1643, [but see James Merryweather’s note in the 2005 archive about this date.] and after suspension for the best part of an hour was cut down and interred on the spot. A little while afterwards a Mr. Vavasour, riding past the spot, saw the earth move and instructed his servant to procure a spade and release the unfortunate wretch. Bartendale was revived, sat up and enquired where he was, equally amazed as the spectators. He was again tried at York castle but this time acquitted and gained his livelihood as an ostler.

“Here a piper apprehended,
Was found guilty and suspended,
Being led to fatal gallows,
Boys did cry ‘Where is thy bellows?’*
Ever must though cease thy turning,
Answered he for all thy cunning,
You may fail in your prediction.
Which did happen without fiction
For cut down and quick interred,
Earth rejected which was buried,
Half alive and dead he rises,
Got a pardon next assizes,
And in York continued blowing-
Yet a sense of goodness showing.”

*NOTE – see Pete Stewart’s and Paul Roberts’ information below

1822 edition
from Pete Stewart
Lowland and Borer Pipers’ Society

Drunken Barnaby’s Four Journeys to the North of England

A piper being here committed,
Guiity found, condemn’d, and titled,
As he was to Knavesmyre going,
This day, quoth boys, will spoil thy blowing;

From thy pipe th’ art now departing;
Wags, quoth th’ piper, you’re not certain.
All which happen’d to our wonder,
For the halter cut asunder,
As one of all life deprived,
Being bury’d, he revived :
And there lives, and plays his measure,
Holding hanging but a pleasure.

The original Latin:

Ibi tibiceu apprehensus,
Judicatus et suspensus,
Plaustro cöaptato furi,
Ubi tibia, clamant pueri
Nunquam ludes amplias .Billie;
At nescitis, inquit ille.
Quod contigerit memet teste,
Nam abscissa jugulo reste,
Ut in fossam furcifer vexit,
Semi-mortuus resurrexit:
Arce reducem occludit,
Ubi valet, vivit, ludit.

“returning form Oxford and Cambridge he became a captian of a foot company in the trained bands, a deputy lieutenant in the county of Westmorland”

“Barnabæ Itinerarium, or Barnabees Iournall, Under the Names of Mirtilus & Faustulus Shadowed: for the Travellers Solace lately published, to most apt numbers reduced, and to the old Tune of Barnabe commonly chanted. By Corymbœus”: J. Haviland, 1638

[the Latin may have been published first, in 1634]

Paul Roberts, who first sent me this quote, with the ‘bellows’ translation, got equally hooked when I sent him the non-bellows one; he writes:
“To sum up: it seems the book was probably first published in 1636, then with an English translation in 1638. That it may have been republished at least once during the 17th century. That it was “forgotten” until the editions of 1716 and 1723, which amended the text, ommitted several verses etc. That it was revived again in 1805, using the 1716 and 1723 editions. That an edition of 1818 claimed that all these earlier reprintings were problematic and corrupt and that it alone was copied from the original. However, it seems this edition was probably a copy of a later 17th century edition circa1650, not of the original.

All these editions – from 1716-1818 – give the “blowing” translation with minor differences.

Meanwhile, a totally different and arguably superior translation – at least a slightly more literal translation – with that tantalizing “bellows” reference has been in circulation since?? Earliest version I can date is Baring Gould 1874, who (contrary to previous email) DOES gives his source…….

“Drunken Barnaby in his Book of Travels alludes to Bartendale, when he stops at York…..[here he quotes the bellows translation]. So it seems Baring Gould was in fact quoting from another version of Braithwaites book, which remains to be (re)discovered……”

Pete Stewart

Tollerton is about 10 miles north of York, just west of the York to Thirsk section of the Great North Road. Drunken Barnaby gives the horse racing here an early mention:

“Thence to Towlerton, where those stagers,
Or horses courses run for wagers;
Near to the highway the course is,
Where they ride and run their horses;
But still on our journey went we,
First or last did like content me.”

Richard Braithwaite died at East Appleton, a hamlet a mile south of Catterick, in 1673, a facetious and eccentric genius. The following monumental inscription to his memory appears in Catterick Church:

Juxta sitae sunt
Richardi Braithwaite
De Burneshead, in comitat
eWestmorelandae armigeri, et
Mariae, ejus conjugis, Reliquiae.
Ille quarto die Maii, anno, 1673,
Donatus est; haec undecimo Aprilis 1681.
Supremum diem obiit. Horum filius
Unicus, Strafford Braithwaite, Eques
Auratus, adversus Mauros Christiani
Nominis hostes infestissimos, fortiter
Dimicans, occubuit. Cujus Cineres
Tingi in Mauritania Tingitana
Requiescant in Pace.