Scots Sangs Fur Schools

Traditional and new Scots songs for use in Scottish schools

  Songs Of thread & cloth

Scroll down for song lyrics about Bannockburn Tartan [making cloth in an old factory], The Handloom Weaver’s Lament [a sad working song], The Handloom Weaver and the Factory Maid [a sad love song], Oh Dear Me [a sad song about working hard in the mill], Shift And Spin [a mill worker daydreaming] and The Wark O The Weavers [handloom weavers sing of their work].

 [To see more lyrics about Thread & Cloth made by schools classes press here.]

 

SONG LYRICS

 

BANNOCKBURN TARTAN

By BORESTONE PS, P6 with Ewan McVicar for the Tolbooth Project
Tune: Calleen Morunsa

To hear this song press here

Bannockburn tartan, the best in the land.
Made by our nimble and hardworking hands.
Fourteen long hours a day we must stand,
For Bannockburn tartan, the best in the land.

Five in the morning we rise from our beds.
We don't go to school, to the factory instead.
Drowsy and hungry we trudge to the mill,
Down by the burn at the foot of the hill.

The dyers of Stirling they send us their thread,
Blue black and yellow, grey brown and red.
We have to weave them on the machines,
Then there is tartan fit for the Queen.

Plaids kilts and stockings made by us bairns,
For our brave Highland battalions to wear.
We work like men, in the heat and the cold,
Though some of us are just eight years old.


[The factories were a few hundred yards from where the school now stands.]

 


THE HANDLOOM WEAVER’S LAMENT
By Ewan McVicar  Tune Shift and Spin


Shift and spin, weave and twine
Making cloth coarse and fine
Poor folk work while rich folk dine
Make your shuttle fly

Spin your yarn, spin it well
Spin enough to weave an ell
Weave enough to claith yersel
Make yer shuttle fly

As the spinning mills come in
We'll go there, our bread to win
Singing sadly in the din
Workin in the mill

 

THE HANDLOOM WEAVER AND THE FACTORY MAID
Traditional song rewritten by Archie Fisher and Ewan McVicar


I’m a handloom weaver to my trade
Long time I’ve courted a factory maid
And if I could her kind favour win
I’d stand beside her and weave by steam

My father often times to me has said
‘How can you fancy a factory maid
When you could have girls of grace and style
More fit to win a master weaver’s smile?’

But the daisy portion of my father’s age
Is withered now to a meagre wage
The dark mill factories of Anderstown
Have brought the prices and the weavers down

Where are the girls now? I’ll tell you plain
The girls have all gone to weave by steam
And if you’d find them you must rise at dawn
And trudge to the mill in the early morn

 

OH DEAR ME (THE JUTE MILL SONG)
By Mary Brooksbank of Dundee


Oh dear me, the mill's gaen fast,
The puir wee shifters canna get their rest,
Shiftin bobbins, coorse and fine,
They fairly mak ye work for your ten and nine.

Oh dear me, I wish the day was done,
Rinnin up and doon the pass is nae fun.
Shiftin, piecin, spinnin, warp, weft and twine,
Tae feed and cleed my bairnies affen ten and nine.

Oh dear me, the world's ill-divided,
Them that work the hardest are the least provided,
But I maun bide contented, dark days or fine.
There's no much pleasure living affen ten and nine.

 
SHIFT AND SPIN
A song by Ewan McVicar
[About the boredom of working in a large factory where the noise is so loud you are alone with your machines and your thoughts.]

To hear this song and read more about it press here


Chorus:  Shift and spin, warp and twine
Making thread coarse and fine
Dreamin o yer valentine
Workin in the mill

Keep yer bobbins runnin easy
Show ye're gallus, bright and breezy
Waitin till Prince Charmin sees ye
Workin in the mill
 
Oil yer runners, mend yer thread
Do yer best until you're dead
You wish you were a wife instead o
Workin in the mill

Used to dream you'd be the rage
Smilin on the fashion page
Never dreamt you'd be a wage slave
Workin in the mill

Used to think that life was kind
No it isn't, never mind
Maybe some day love will find you
Workin in the mill

He loves you not? So what?
Make the best of what you've got
Win your pay, spin your cotton
Workin in the mill

 


THE WARK O' THE WEAVERS
An old song by David Shaw


We're aa met thegither here tae sit an tae crack,
Wi' oor glesses in oor hands an oor wark upon oor back
There's nae a trade amang them aa can either mend or mak,
If it wasna for the wark o the weavers.

Chorus: If it wasna for the weavers what wad we do?
We wadna hae claith made oot o oor woo
We wadna hae a coat, naa, neither black nor blue,
If it wasna for the wark o the weavers.

There's some folk independent o ither tradesmen's wark,
For women need nae barber an dykers need nae clerk
But there's none o them can dae withoot a coat or a sark,
No, they canna want the wark o the weavers.
 
There's smiths an there's wrights and there's mason chiels an aa,
There's doctors an there's meenisters an them that live by law,
An oor freens that bide oot ower the sea in South America,
They aa need the wark o the weavers.

Oor sodgers an oor sailors, we ken they’re aa bauld,
For gin they hadna claes, faith, they couldna fecht for cauld
The high an low, the rich an puir - aabody young an auld,
They aa need the wark o the weavers.

The weavin is a trade that never can fail,
Sae lang's we need ae cloot tae keep a body hale,
Sae let us aa be merry ower a bicker o guid ale
An drink tae the health o the weavers.


This tune was used for the 1970s song If It Wisnae For Yer Wellies.]