The Hoy at Anchor Folk Club

HOY SONGS

 These songs have been written by Hoy Members.
If you have any comments or would like to
add any material to these pages, please let me know.

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Rolling Down the River

I once was a rigger & I worked like hell  
Rolling up, rolling down
But now I’m working with the OCL
And go rolling down the river

Rolling up, rolling down,
We’ll all get drunk in Tilbury Town
In twenty four hours we'll turn around
And go rolling down the river

The work is good and the wages fine
When you take a trip on a container line

The cargo comes in TEUs
That's a twenty-foot box boys filled with booze

When I first saw a TEU
I wondered where they stored the crew

There’s a Tilbury girl called Kettle Jane,          
First on the boil then off again,                

She’s got a friend called Teapot Anne
When she's well brewed she'll take a man

Those Tilbury girls go round in pairs
You'll never catch them unawares

But at the dockyard gates when the work is done
You can pick 'em up boys, one by one

 © Jack Forbes 1982

I wrote and recorded the song 'Rolling down the River' in 1982 for a radio programme
about Tilbury Docks. It has since been used in an Educational Drama production,
a Folk Theatre presentation and also as a Morris Dance, as well as being sung all over the world.
It can be heard wherever there are shanty sessions at folk festivals and festivals of the sea.
There is an American version and a Polish version (sung of course in Polish).

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The Old Leigh Regatta

Early in September on a Sunday
Down Church Hill I made my way
To see the country dancing and hear the band play
At the Old Leigh Town Regatta

 Down, down won't you come down
Down to the Regatta in Old Leigh Town ?
 Down, down won't you come down
To the Old Leigh Town Regatta?

 The Admiral was there, he was looking very sleek
With a gang of navigators to guide him up the creek
When they all fell in the mud, they said you'd smell 'em for a week
At the Old Leigh Town Regatta

 There were sideshows, guideshows, roundabouts and swings
Football, tug-o-war and other sporty things
I'd 've climbed the greasy pole if I'd had a pair of wings
At the Old Leigh Town Regatta

You could see the Thameside Mummers, the flotilla floating by
Or go and have a try on the coconut shy
I saw a man in the stocks, he was looking very dry
At the Old Leigh Town Regatta

 The Cockleshell Clog, they looked so neat
All fancy clothes and flying feet
Then someone shouted: "Terry, you've missed a beat!"
At the Old Leigh Town Regatta

 Borderdash Morris, they danced along
They looked so bright their faces shone
And when they started singing, then I was gone
At the Old Leigh Town Regatta

 The Slow Loris Band, they came and went
They played so loud, you could hear 'em in Kent
But they sounded much better in Martin's tent
At the Old Leigh Town Regatta

There were folk songs and joke songs easy on the ear
And the band kept playing as the crowd disappeared
And everybody said they'd be back again next year
To the Old Leigh Town Regatta

(C) Jack Forbes                 February 1976

                                                                                                                      

911

Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews
People just like me and you

No matter how they learned to pray

They went to meet their gods that day

Flights of fancy, flights of joy
Filled with old men, girls and boys

The skies were filled as ne’er before

Turned into the tools of war

Two proud brothers stood so tall
But pride it comes before a fall

Into their bodies terror flew
The world stood by and asked “What shall we do ?”

How can we teach our sons and daughters
A lesson from this needless slaughter

An eye for eye is what we seek

Or should we turn the other cheek

Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews
People just like me and you

No matter how they learned to pray

They went to meet their gods that day

(c) Tony Prior      8th October 2001

 

Home for Christmas

Dear Nancy I’m writing to tell you,
That I’ve joined up, I knew you’d be proud
We’re leaving Old Blighty tomorrow,
That’s me and the Old Leigh Town crowd

There’s Matty the lad from Horse Hill love,
And young Mark, my best mate from school
With Lucas from up on The Broadway,
Our mums will be proud of us all

They said we’d be home for Christmas,
Then we’d all be done with this war
They said we’d be home for Christmas,
But Nancy now I’m not so sure

Dear Nancy I’m writing to tell you,
The fighting it has just begun
And when those big guns start a-firing,
There’s none of us knows where to run

Poor Mark lad, he just couldn’t take it,
He snapped and ran off in the night
They held a Court Martial next morning,
When they shot him he shivered with fright

They said we’d be home for Christmas,
Then we’d all be done with this war
They said we’d be home for Christmas,
But Nancy now I’m not so sure

Dear Nancy I’m stuck in this trench love,
This past year we’ve not got that far
They won’t let me say where it is love,
But the Germans they know where we are

So it’s over the top we are going,
To face all the shells and gun-fire
Matty and Luke went in the last wave,
But they didn’t get past the barbed wire

They said we’d be home for Christmas,
Then we’d all be done with this war
They said we’d be home for Christmas,
But Nancy now I’m not so sure

Dear Nancy I’m writing to tell you 
Private William was brave to the core
But his Majesty regrets to inform you
That he’s not coming home anymore

They said he’d be home for Christmas
Then he’d be done with this war
They said he’d be home for Christmas
But Nancy now I’m not so sure

(c) Tony Prior July 2016

 

There's a Plaice in Heaven

 In eighteen hundred and forty-three
Pull those oars man, pull them true
The wind blew o’er a raging sea
There’s a place in heaven for you
No Leigh man dared to fish that day

Pull those oars man, pull them true

‘Cept Michael Tomlin they do say

There’s a place in heaven for you

Pull those oars man, pull them true,
There’s a place in- heav’n for you
Pull those oars man, pull them true,
There’s- a- place in heaven for you

When he got back to Billet Wharf
Pull those oars man, pull them true
Cook’s van had just made off

There’s a place in heaven for you

He knew those fish must be delivered
Pull those oars man, pull them true
To Blackwall up the London River

There’s a place in heaven for you

So he rowed all day on the flooding tide
Pull those oars man, pull them true
Til Blackwall Wharf came into sight

There’s a place in heaven for you

And he sold those fish there every one
Pull those oars man, pull them true
And then he turned and rowed for home

There’s a place in heaven for you


Tomlin he was a fisherman then
Pull those oars man, pull them true
But he later became a fisher of men
There’s a place in heaven for you
And when his fishing days were o’er
Pull those oars man, pull them true
They laid him
to rest ‘neath St Clement’s Tower
There’s a place in heaven for you

(c) Tony Prior   November  2004

Michael Tomlin was born in Leigh on Sea in 1814 and grew to be a man of huge proportions and enormous strength. In due course, he became a fisherman and in the days when fish was sent to London by road on Cook's van, he was determined to get a good catch of fish to Blackwall. 

When he saw he had missed Cook's van, he rowed up river, a distance of some forty miles. Tomlin then carried successive loads from to the market, a matter of a mile away and then rowed back to Dead Man's Bay at Canvey Island.

On another occasion, following the death of his daughter in London he fulfilled her dying wish by sailing his fishing boat up the Thames and bringing her body back to Leigh for burial.

Michael Tomlin spent much of his spare time to preaching the Gospel in South East Essex and later devoted his life to this end. He died in 1903 and is buried in the north west corner of the churchyard of St Clement's Parish church in Leigh.  

 

 

If you have any comment about  this site please contact Tony Prior   07805 641797   anthony.t.prior@gmail.com