Song

The Weary Cutters

This beautiful women’s song is a protest against the pressgangs where men were often brutally  captured – or pressed – and taken to sea in order to fight in the Napoleonic wars. It was collected  in 1821 on Tyneside by Thomas Doubleday. Verses 2 and 3 are also from Tyneside and come  from  A L Lloyd’s collection. The cutters are easily manoeuvrable ships that the pressgang crew would have used to steal up on coastal towns to begin the press.

Example of lyrics

V1 Oh the weary cutters, they’ve taken my laddie from me
Oh the weary cutters, they’ve taken my laddie from me
They’ve pressed him far away foreign with Nelson across the salt sea
Oh the weary cutters, they’ve taken my laddie from me
V2 Oh the weary cutters, they’ve taken my laddie from me
Oh the weary cutters, they’ve taken my laddie from me
They always come in the night; they never come in the day
They always come in the night and steal the laddies away

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Song information

  • Mood:

    poignant, quietly powerful

  • Technical:

    3/8 3 part harmony arranged for women’s voices. 3 verses

  • In this download:

    full score (pdf)

  • Level:

    ☆☆ Medium

  • Included in book or collection:Ten Thousand Pearls »English Folk Songs »