Rose of Allendale

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"The Rose of Allendale" is an English song, with words by Charles Jefferys and music by Sidney Nelson, composed in the 1830s and appearing in Blake's Young Flutist's Magazine in 1833. Because the song has been recorded by Paddy Reilly and Mary Black (1983), many people mistakenly believe the song to be a (traditional) Irish song. It is also often believed to be a Scottish song.

The song's ambiguous origins are partly due to the putative English song lyrics being about a maiden from the town of Allendale, Northumberland. Northumberland is an English border county, areas of which were ethnically Scots and have changed sovereign hands between the Scots and the English many times over the centuries. Notable in this respect is the town of Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Many Northumberlanders are ancestral Scots, or ethnic Scots whose families came south from the Scottish Borders in search of work in the mines, settling as far south as modern-day Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Sunderland. Folk music in this region is strongly influenced by Scots tradition, just as the Appalachia region of the USA was[1][2], following the migrations of The Clearances. Because Brythonic mythological, poetic, and musical traditions were primarily preserved among the Scots, Welsh, and Irish hinterlands following the Roman occupation of Britain (43 A.D. to 410 A.D.), there are many songs which exhibit similar ambiguities of origin[3]. In the British tradition of love songs, a rose, regarded as a beautiful and romantic flower, is often the fairest maiden of a region or village.[4]

Similarities with a translated version of an older German folk song having a comparable melody have led some to suggest that the song is rooted in an old "altwürttembergische Melodie" from the Rems valley[5]. The Rems song is a soldier's farewell to his beloved, reflecting the unstable times of war.

The song was also recorded by the popular Scottish folk band The Corries[6], and Irish band The Dubliners (e.g. on their 1987 album 25 Years Celebration)[7] as well as in bagpipe versions, e.g. Grampian Police Pipe Band on their album Pipes and Drums of Scotland, song no. 13[8].