The Song of the Western Men

The Song of the Western Men

Infobox Anthem
title = Trelawny
english_title = The Song of the Western Men

image_size =
caption =
prefix = Regional
country = Cornwall
author = Robert Stephen Hawker
lyrics_date = 1824
composer = Robert Stephen Hawker
music_date = 1824
adopted =
until =
sound =
sound_title =

"The Song of the Western Men" was written by Robert Stephen Hawker, and is better known in Cornwall, and overseas, by the title of "Trelawny".

Hawker wrote the song in 1824, telling of events that took place in 1688. When the song first appeared many thought it to be a contemporary record of events in fact the song contains one or two inaccuracies. The march on London described in this song only reached as far as Bristol when Trelawny was released. Many people have erroneously supposed the song to be ancient, among them, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Macaulay, and Charles Dickens. [ [ Cornish Folk Songs] "Brycchan Carey's Website" ]

According to Cornish historian Robert Morton Nance, "The Song of the Western Men" was possibly the inspired by the song "Come, all ye jolly Tinner boys" which was written more than ten years earlier in about 1807, when Napoleon Bonaparte made threats that would affect trade in Cornwall at the time of the invasion of Poland. Ye jolly Tinner boys contains the line "Why forty thousand Cornish boys shall knawa the reason why." [ [ RootsWeb: CORNISH-L [CON Trelawney ] ]

The Trelawny in Hawker's song was Jonathan Trelawny (1650–1721), who was one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1688. Born at Pelynt into an old Cornish family, his father, the 2nd Baronet of Trelawne, was a supporter of the Royalist cause during the English Civil War.

Despite its inaccuracies the song has become the Cornish national anthem and is a regular favourite sung at Cornish rugby union matches and other Cornish gatherings. Also, primary school children in some schools in Cornwall are taught the first verse and chorus, and sing it at events such as Murdoch Day.



A good sword and a trusty hand!
A faithful heart and true!
King James's men shall understand
What Cornish lads can do!
And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!


:And shall Trelawny live?:And shall Trelawny die?:Here's twenty thousand Cornish men:Will know the reason why!

Out spake their Captain brave and bold:
A merry wight was he:
Though London Tower were Michael's hold,
We'll set Trelawny free!
'We'll cross the Tamar, land to land:
The Severn is no stay:
With "one and all," and hand in hand;
And who shall bid us nay?


:And shall Trelawny live?:And shall Trelawny die?:Here's twenty thousand Cornish men:Will know the reason why!

And when we come to London Wall,
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! come forth! ye cowards all:
Here's men as good as you.
'Trelawny he's in keep and hold;
Trelawny he may die:
Here's twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why


:And shall Trelawny live?:And shall Trelawny die?:Here's twenty thousand Cornish men:Will know the reason why!

Translation in Cornish

Gans kledha da ha dorn yw lel
gwir lowen an golonn,
yth aswonn Myghtern Jamys fel
pandr' wrello Kernowyon.
Yw ordnys le ha prys ankow?
'Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
a wodhvydh oll an kas.

:'Verow Trelawny bras?:'Verow Trelawny bras?:Ottomma ugens mil Gernow:a wodhvydh oll an kas.

Yn medh an Kapten, byw y woes,
gwas jolif yn mysk kans,
"Tour Loundres kyn fe Karrek Loes
Y'n delirvsen dihwans!"
Ni a dres Tamer, tir dhe dir,
an Havren ny'gan lett,
ha skoedh ryb skoedh, kowetha wir,
piw orthyn ni a sett?

:'Verow Trelawny bras?:'Verow Trelawny bras?:Ottomma ugens mil Gernow:a wodhvydh oll an kas.

Devedhys bys yn fos Loundres,
gwel deg dhyn, ni a gri:
"Dewgh mes, ownegyon oll, dewgh mes!
Gwell dus on esowgh hwi!"
Trelawny yw avel felon
fast yn kargharow tynn,
mes ugens mil a Gernowyon
godhvos an ken a vynn.

:'Verow Trelawny bras?:'Verow Trelawny bras?:Ottomma ugens mil Gernow:a wodhvydh oll an kas.


*The original words were written about Sir John Trelawny (Grandfather of the Bishop) who was leader of the King's party in Cornwall and on May 13 1627 was committed to the Tower by the House of Commons for certain "offences against the liberty of free election" and "comtempt of the House".cite book
title=The life and letters of R. S. Hawker (sometime Vicar of Morwenstow)
author=Edward Byles Cowell
publisher=Macmillan And Company Limited, London, 1904

* It is known by some Cornish groups as the unofficial Cornish anthem. Other Cornish anthems are "Hail to the Homeland" and "Bro Goth Agan Tasow".

*"Michael's Hold" may refer to Archangel Michael, commander of the legions of Heaven. Other sources say the line refers to a hold on St Michaels Mount, (i.e.- a prison or cell).

*There is some doubt as to whether the work was entirely original or an adaptation of an earlier tune, perhaps referring to the 'an gof' Cornish rebellion. However, there should be no doubtndash see []

* "Trelawny" is often referred to as the "unofficial" Cornish anthem and the most popular which is heard at Cornish rugby union matches and other Cornish gatherings, but the Cornish anthem that has been used by Gorseth Kernow for the last 75 plus years is "Bro Goth Agan Tasow" ("The Land of My Fathers", or, literally, "Old Country of our Fathers") with a similar tune to the Welsh national anthem ("Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau") and the Breton national anthem. "Bro Goth Agan Tasow" is not heard so often, as it is sung in Cornish). Those who prefer an anthem in English often use "Hail to the Homeland".

ee also

*List of topics related to Cornwall

External links

* [ The Life and Letters of R. S. Hawker] from The Internet Archive
* [ Words in Cornish] from the "Federation of Old Cornwall Societies website"
* [ Trelawny's Army] with notes by R.S. Hawker:
* [ The Song of the Western Men] from the ""'Everything2" website


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