Arts In Berwick -- Ballads and Poems
One of the oldest of English ballads, Chevy Chase recounts a stag hunt
on Cheviot. Praised by writers Sir Philip Sydney, Ben Jonson and Joseph
Addison, the precise events described in the ballad are uncertain but
clearly relate to the bitter rivalry between the Percy and Douglas families.
In 1388 this lead to the battle of Otterburn, when the Percy brothers
were captured by the Scots. This inspired the ballad The Battle of Otterbourne.
The rematch as it were, was the battle of Homildon Hill in 1402. The Newcastle
folksong collector John Bell records a minor ballad on this and Sir Walter
Scott wrote a rather bad play on the subject.
One of the best early works of the great Victorian artist Edwin Landseer
(1802-73) depicts the hunt. William Bell Scott also decorated Wallington
Hall with scenes from Chevy Chase in 1866.
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