The Devonshire Boys Courage

Galleons from Beachy Head before the sacking of Teignmouth

Galleons from Beachy Head before the sacking of Teignmouth

At the beginning of April I was excited to have discovered a poem “Upon Tingmouth” from 1690 describing the plunder of Teignmouth by ships from the French fleet.

It turns out that that event was also recorded in a ballad called “The Devonshire Boys’ Courage” which was sung to a tune called ‘Liggan Water’, a title referring to an Irish stream.  (From ‘Devon. Its moorland stream and coasts’ by Lady Rosalind Northcote, 1908).

The ballad formed part of the collection of ‘Roxburghe Ballads’.

The Devonshire Boys Courage

Brave Devonshire Boys made haste away
When news did come from Tinmouth-bay,
The French were landed in that town
And Treacherously had burnt it down.

Whento the Town they did draw near,
The French did straightways disappear;
Because that they had then beat down
And basely burnt poor Tinmouth-town.

On Haldon-Hill they did design
To draw their men up in a line;
But Devonshire Boys did make them run;
When once they did discharge a Gun.

Brave Blew coat Boys did watch them so,
They to no other place dare go;
For if they had returned again
I’m sure the Frenchmen had been slain.


Let Monsieur then do what he can,
We’ll still Reign Masters o’er the Main
Old England’s Right upon the Sea
In spight of France maintain’d shall be.

No Seaman fears to lose his Blood,
To justifie a Cause so good;
To fight the French, who have begun
With burning down poor Tinmouth-town.

The Cornish Lads will lend a hand,
And Devonshire Boys will with them Band,
To pull the pride of Monsieur down,
Who basely burn’d poor Tinmouth-town.

Want to know more?  Check out:

Roxburghe Ballads …..
Upon Tingmouth …..
The French and Teignmouth …..


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