The Ballad of Old Bartle

An ancient doggerel telling of the chase, capture and subsequent ritual immolation of "Old Bartle" is chanted at the Burning of Old Bartle, an annual ceremony which held in the village of West Witton in Wensleydale.

The verse goes as follows:

At Penhill crags he tore his rags
At Hunter’s thorn he blew his horn
At Capplebank Stee he brok his knee
At Grassgill Beck, he brok his neck
At Waddam’s End he couldn’t fend
At Grassgill End we’ll make his end
Shout lads shout!

The story recounts a chase over Penhill ending at Grassgill End on the edge of the village of West Witton. No mention is made of any kind of legal process, and given the extra-judicial nature of Bartle's brutal slaying it can only be assumed the doggerel which describes it qualifies as some kind of rustic murder ballad.

Nobody knows who or what Bartle actually was, with the origins of the ancient tradition of burning Bartle buried in the mists of time.

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