Garlands in Newcastle

11. In short, it should not be assumed that garlands, because light, cheap, poorly printed and aimed at the working classes, were not important to the readers of them. In fact, the evidence suggests just the opposite – ballads printed as garlands participated in the complex transition from the feudal and agricultural society of northern England to the industrial and modern society of nineteenth-century Britain. Garlands met the needs of downmarket readers in Newcastle by combining traditional storytelling and cheap print to address contemporary issues in a way that was appealing.

Fy, fy! Robin Rattle,
Robin Rattle, Robin Rattle ;
Fy, fy! Robin Rattle,
Use Jenny Nettles kindly ;
Score out the blame, and shun the shame,
And without mair debate o’t,
Tak hame your wean, make Jenny sain,
The leel and leesome gate o’t.


David Buchanan, University of Alberta, 2013