A scatological ballad

A scatological ballad

Anon.

c.1700

London, England

single-sheet printed ballad

This ballad's full title is ‘An excellent ballad of that most dreadful COMBATE, fought between between Moore of Moore-Hall, and the Dragon of Wantley’, and was printed by C. Brown and T. Norris in London, c.1700. It uses a dragon-slaying story, and some execrable rhymes, to satirize traditional romances, such as those of St George, Guy of Warwick, and Bevis of Hampton. The hero dons a spiky suit of Sheffield steel to penetrate a ravaging dragon’s one weak point: his backside. The story alludes to a legendary dragon of Wharncliffe Crags, near Sheffield, and a dispute over church tithes involving the Wortley family of Wortley Hall. It inspired a hit satirical opera, The Dragon of Wantley (1737), and was also included in Percy’s Reliques of ancient English poetry. Percy comments (rather optimistically) that ‘this humorous song […] is to old metrical romances and ballads of chivalry, what Don Quixote is to prose narratives of that kind’.

Comments

08/02/2012

Tony Jackson

My family's history is connected to the Dragon of Wantley. There is a documentary reference within the publication "Notes and Queries" held in the Bodleian Library, (edition of February 9th, 1861, page 116), which refers to Jackson who "removed from his old mill seat....within sight of the den of the famous Dragon of Wantley....". Interestingly, careful research shows that the supposed origin of the story of the Dragon - which Percy suggests is related to a lawsuit involving the Wortley family and More of More Hall - is almost certainly wrong. There is no documentary evidence that such a lawsuit ever took place. However, this suggested history has become the repeated (unfounded) version of the origin of the story.

20/01/2012

Francesca McCoy

I am most curious as to the meaning of 'scatological'. I guess I'll just have to come to the exhibit to find out!

A chapbook version of <em>Guy of Warwick</em>
A chapbook version of Guy of Warwick
The Percy Folio
The Percy Folio
A scatological ballad
A scatological ballad
Thomas Percy's <em>Reliques</em>
Thomas Percy's Reliques
Guy of Warwick on stage
Guy of Warwick on stage