Cornish Sea Shanties
Singing is a popular pastime in Cornwall both in bands and in less formal pub surroundings. Singing in Cornish pubs is often a spontaneous event and enjoyed by young and old alike.
Sea shanties were originally a way to keep the men on a ship working to a rhythm or as a team. Not a lot of work takes place nowadays while singing – in fact it is most definitely a social event.
The Fishermen’s Friends, pictured right, are probably the best know group of Cornish Singers. They can often be seen singing on Friday evenings on the Platt in Port Isaac, but also tour regularly. Please follow link to visit their website and find out more information about them and their planned performances.
Falmouth now hosts a fabulous International Sea Shanty Festival which takes place in June each year and Mevagissey now hosts the Mevagissey Shanty Festival in October. For this years dates for these festivals and information on other Cornish Festivals and Regattas taking place around, please see our Festivals Page.
We’ve provided the lyrics to a few Cornish songs below but if you’d like to find more of the lyrics to 64 different Sea Shanties and help the RNLI, please purchase our Charity Songbook…
We have a PDF song book for you to download which has the lyrics of many of the songs that are sung around Cornwall. All proceeds from this download is used to buy equipment for the benefit of the crews of our local RNLI stations.
All proceeds in aid of the RNLI
The song book contains a whopping 64 different songs including…
|Abide with Me||Hail to The Homeland||Row Boatman Row|
|Amazing Grace||Home For Flora||Shenandoah|
|And ‘Tis My Delight’||I Had a Horseshoe||Shoals of Herring|
|A Soldiers Farewell||Jacob’s Ladder||Sloop John B|
|Ballad of Widecombe Fair||Lamorna||Song of the Jolly Roger|
|Black Eyed Doll||Lilly of the Valley||South Australia|
|Black Velvet Band||Little Brown Jug||Spanish Ladies|
|Brightly Beams||Little Eyes||Steal Away|
|By Cool Siloam||Maid of Amsterdam||Battle of Jericho|
|Calm Is The Sea||Mingulay Boat Song||The Fisherman and his Little Child|
|Camborne Hill||Molly Malone||The Irish Rover|
|Church in the Wildwood||Moonlight||The Lords My Shepherd|
|Cornish Maggie May||Morte Christi (When I Survey)||There is a Green Hill Far Away|
|Cornish Nightingale||My Grandfathers Clock||The Sailor and His True Love|
|Cumbayah||Newquay Fishermans Song||Trelawny|
|Danny Boy||Oggie Land||Vive L’Amour|
|Deep Harmony||Ol’ Jonny Bugger||White Rose|
|Dinah Wont Blow your Horn||Old Time Religion||Wild Rover|
|Dirty Old Town||Padstow Morning Song||Will Your Anchor Hold|
|Eternal Father||Poor Old Joe||Worried Man|
|Fields of Athenry||Rio Grande|
Trelawny is also known as ‘The Cornish Anthem’ or ‘The Song of the Western Men’. It was written by Robert Stephen Hawker in 1824. Robert Hawker was a vicar in Morwenstow in North Cornwall.
Robbers Retreat is also known as ‘The Cadgwith Anthem’. The line referring to the beauty of Kashmir is actually referring to a flower.