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On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The traditional English song, 'On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at', comes from the County of Yorkshire, and it is written in Yorkshire dialect, which must look pretty strange to anybody not from the British Isles.  The title roughly translates into standard English as 'On Ilkley Moor Without a Hat'.  A moor is a piece of open - often windy and cold - land, almost a wilderness (think of Cathy and Heathcliff cavorting on the moors in Wuthering Heights, and shiver!).  You need a hat in the winter, and going to a moor without one is a bad idea.  Ilkley is a town in Yorkshire, quite close to the cities of Leeds and Bradford, and Ilkley Moor is close by.  The song serves as a dire warning about what happens to those foolish enough to venture to the the moor without appropriate headwear: they die, are buried, are eaten by worms which are then eaten by ducks, which are then eaten by the songs' singers.*  Which serves them right.  It has more or less become the unofficial 'national' anthem of Yorkshire.

*I have been to Ilkley Moor.  I didn't wear a hat, and lived to tell the tale, but it was the summer.

 

Chords

Capo at 4th Fret

G                       D7                      G

Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee,

      C       Am              D
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at?!

D7                    D                       G
Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee?

A                      D         A7    D    D7
Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah   saw thee?

      G                D       G

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at!

                         D       G
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at!

      Am    C           D       G
On Ilkl - a Moor baht 'at!

Lyrics

Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee,
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at?!
Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee?
Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at?!
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at?!

Tha's been a cooartin' Mary Jane
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Tha's been a cooartin' Mary Jane
Tha's been a cooartin' Mary Jane

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

Tha's bahn t'catch thi deeath o'cowd
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Tha's bahn t'catch thi deeath o'cowd
Tha's bahn t'catch thi deeath o'cowd

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

Then we shall ha' to bury thee
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Then we shall ha' to bury thee
Then we shall ha' to bury thee

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

Then t'worms 'll cum and eat thee oop
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Then t'worms 'll cum and eat thee oop
Then t'worms 'll cum and eat thee oop

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

Then ducks 'll cum and eat oop t'worms
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Then ducks 'll cum and eat oop t'worms
Then ducks 'll cum and eat oop t'worms

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

Then we shall go an' ate oop ducks
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Then we shall go an' ate oop ducks
Then we shall go an' ate oop ducks

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

Then we shall all 'ave etten thee
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Then we shall all 'ave etten thee
Then we shall all 'ave etten thee

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

That's wheer we get us oahn back
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
That's wheer we get us oahn back
That's wheer we get us oahn back

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at

Other English Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs