On Ilkla Mooar Baht 'At

Album: On Ilkla Mooar Baht 'At (1850)


  • The message of this song is that if you fail to wear a hat on a cold day, your friends may end up eating you!

    Also known simply as "On Ilkla Mooar," it is easily the most famous Yorkshire dialect song, although its origins lie far away from the West Riding. The 1998 book by Arnold Kellett, On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at: The Story of the Song, traces the origin of the music and the at times speculative development of the verses.

    Ilkley was founded as a village cAD79; its environs, including the Moor, is an area of outstanding natural beauty.

    The music was composed by Thomas Clark (1775-1859) as "Cranbrook", after the town of Cranbrook in Kent. Clark was a Methodist, coming to the faith from an Anglican background.
  • The exact origin of the lyrics to "On Ikla Mooar" is uncertain, but the most widely accepted view is that the song came about as the result of a ramble and picnic on Ilkley Moor; it dates to 1850 or perhaps a little later.

    The singer addresses a friend who has been courting on the Moor with his love Mary Jane; moors tend to be windy places, and on this occasion he went out without wearing his hat - "baht 'at" - although it is also sometimes suggested that he wasn't wearing his trousers either! Whatever, this desideratum will result in him catching his death of cold, after he dies the worms will eat him, the ducks will eat the worms, and his friends will eat the ducks, meaning they will have eaten him.
  • The "National Anthem Of Yorkshire" has been both published and recorded widely; the British Library holds a 1948 arrangement for brass band by Norman Richardson, as well as arrangements dating to 1916, c1921 and 1970. The Spinners recorded it on Columbia in 1957, and it has been used as incidental music in a number of Yorkshire-oriented TV series. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above

Comments: 1

  • Zabadak from London, EnglandThere was another version, ostensibly by Goddie Bill Oddie, recorded with famous friends...
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