Yarmouth Town

One of the very first three songs I ever lead in the Jovial Crew.  It is NOT a chantey (recall that chanteys are work songs and not all songs about the sea are work songs), and refers to the town of Yarmouth or Great Yarmouth on the coast of Norfolk in England.  Its origins are obscure and is considered to be traditional, but the text does have a similar storyline to other, known-to-be-older songs such as “Do Me Ama“, while the melody usually associated with it has the hallmarks of a music hall arrangement of the later 19th century.


    G                                                                        C
In Yarmouth Town there lived a man and he kept a tavern by the strand
        G                                                    G                   C                       G           D
The landlord had a daughter fair; a pretty little thing with the golden hair.
       G                                        C
Oh, won’t you come down, won’t you come down,
G                                            C    D          G
Won’t you come down to Yarmouth Town?


Chorus:                Won’t you come down, won’t you come down, 
                              Won’t you come down to Yarmouth Town?


Now in this tavern was a sailor man and he asked the daughter for her hand.
“Why should I marry you”, she said, “when I get all I want without being wed?”

“But if with me you want to linger, I’ll tie a piece of string all around my finger,
And when you come by just pull on the string; I’ll come down and I’ll let you in.”

At closing time, the sailorman went back to the tavern by the strand.
He lifted his hand and he pulled on the string, and she came down and she let him in.

Well, he’d never seen such a sight before, ‘cause the string on her finger was all she wore,
And when he went and pulled on the string, she lifted the blanket and let Jack in.

The sailor stayed the whole night through; got up in the morning, went back to the crew
Where he told them all of the daughter fair; the pretty little thing with the golden hair.

Well soon the word got all around and the very next night in Yarmouth Town
There were fifteen sailors pulling on the string! She came down and she let them all in!

So all you young men what-a Yarmouth go, if you see a pretty girl with her hair hung low,
All you gotta do is pull on her string and she’ll come down and she’ll let you all in!