203 – Northumbrian Minstrelsy by John Collingwood Bruce and John Stokoe


An update by Geoff Hore 2008-2015.  The writing in black font is from A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music. The update comments are in blue font.


1a   1882

Northumbrian minstrelsy. / A collection / of the / ballads, melodies, / and / small=pipe tunes / of / Northumbria. / Edited by / J. Collingwood Bruce, LI.D., D.C.L., F.S.A. / and John Stokoe. /

Published by the Society of Antiquaries / of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. / 1882. /

p [i], title; pp [iii], iv-x, introduction; p [xi], contents; p [xii], erratum; pp [1], 2-139, ballads with music and notes; pp 140-143, poem; pp [145], 146-191, small-pipe tunes (73); pp [193-197], index; p [198], colophon.

  • Black Gate Museum, New Castle.  10.0 x 7.5”. An extract from a sale catalogue pasted in the cover reads large paper copy, impl. 8vo. half morocco, gilt top . . . Presentation copy from the author. ‘A MS note adds, ‘Limited number printed. 25 copies.’

The tune ‘Coffee and Tea; or, Jamie Allen’s Fancy’ on p 164 is printed upside down. This error does not occur in the other editions described below.

The song on p 140 is ‘The Northern Minstrel’s Budget’ by Henry Robson (1770-1848). It is a list, in rhyme, of the bagpipe and fiddle tunes popular at that time. The section beginning on p [145] is headed ‘Small-Pipe Tunes’. In the galley-proof (a portion of which is pasted in the copy described here) the heading was ‘Dance and Pipe Tunes’.

1b     No date

Title, imprint and date as 1a.

Contents as Ia except that there is an extra page after p 191, with a song ‘The Collier’s Rant’, and after this a fold-out sheet with the words of ‘Amble Bay’, both of which are absent from other editions. The index, colophon, and fly-leaves follow on as before.

  • British Library, London.  9.0 x 5.8″.

1c      No date


Contents as 1a.

  • Balfour Library, Oxford (Pitt-Rivers Museum).  Boards; cloth, gilt. Two fly-leaves at each end. 9.0 x 5.8″.
  • Central Public Library, Edinburgh.
  • Central Library, Newcastle.
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford.
  • The Author’s Collection.  Affixed inside the front cover is printed sticker with ‘Ex Libris R F B Hodgkinson’.

2      No date

Northumbrian Minstrelsy. / A collection / of / bag-pipe tunes, / chiefly of the olden time, adapted to the / Northumberland small-pipes. / Edited by John Stokoe.

Published by / the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. / 1882.

 p [i], title; pp [iii], iv, introduction; pp [1], 2-47, tunes; p [48] blank; pp [49-51], index; p [52], colophon.

  • British Library, London.  Stiff paper cover, light blue, 8.8 x 5.5”.
  • Central Library, Newcastle.
  • Black Gate Museum, Newcastle.  (two copies, one with MS notes).

The music text consists of the pipe tunes of edition 1.

The scope of the collection is outlined in the Introduction, as follows: ‘Some of the airs of this collection are doubtless well known to the pipers of the present day, but many of them will be new to them. Great pains have been taken to make the work as complete as possible. The tunes have been sought for in every quarter, and collected from all parts of the country. Some have been obtained from old manuscript music books lent for the purpose; others have been taken down from old pipers, having never before been reduced to writing. In every instance where different copies of the same tune could be procured, they have been carefully collated with the view of giving the tunes in as correct a form as possible. . .’

This edition was still available in 1931 – See note under 204 below.

3      1887

Another edition of Northumbrian Minstrelsy, harmonised by P. Armes, was published at Shields in 1887.

 4     1965


p [i], half-title; p [iii], title; pp v-xxii, foreword; p [i], original title-page; pp [iii], iv-x, [xi-xii], [i], 2-139, 140-143, [145], 146-191, [193-198], as I above.

There is no erratum on p [xii], and no imprint on p [198].

  • Cloth, Boards. One fly-leaf at each end. 8.5” x 5.4”.
  • The Author’s Collection.  This book has a dust jacket and is in immaculate condition. It has the name Hubert Spekkens on the title-page and fly-leaf.

A note on p [iv] reads, ‘This edition of Northumbrian Minstrelsy has been reprinted in facsimile from the original edition of 1882.’

 The foreword is signed ‘A. L. Lloyd’ and dated February 1965. It contains a general introduction to North Eastern folk music and song, notes on some of the early publications, a brief account of the small-pipes, and an account of the sources and pre-publication history of Northumbrian Minstrelsy itself.

Nothing further can be added to Cannon’s comments above except that the one on the writer’s collection has a dust cover on it. The front of the dust cover is a reproduction of the title-page along with an engraved image of a Northumbrian piper.

 V     1998


Northumbrian Minstrelsy by J. Collingwood Bruce and John Stokoe; 192 pages. Published by Llanerch Press: ISBN 1861430396.  This book can be purchased from one of a number of websites. 


  • Rev 00. (18 October 2008)
  • Rev 01. (31 July 2010).  Adds an image of the title-page of edition IV and amends a number of minor errors.
  • Rev 02. (9 April 2015).  Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com. The edition numbering changed from Roman to Arabic numerals.

© Geoff Hore 2015