Will Greenhowe Mardale Shepherd


William Greenhow ,centre of picture


Was one of the best known Westmoreland shepherds, he worked many years as shepherd to Hugh Parker Holme of Chapel Hill Mardale Green, the last king of Mardale, at Bill’s funeral, all the shepherds came from far and wide, they dug his grave, tolled the church bell and carried him to his last resting place.

Instead of a funeral hymn, they sang his favourite sheep sheering song called Tarry Woo, so called from the name the locals called the wool left behind by sheep on the hedges, fences and trees, many a garment was made from this, nothing was wasted. 

At every sheep clipping he sang his song, sometimes in the old Scottish way, and sometimes to the tune of the Old Hundredth, and mostly without accompaniment, for he preferred “ singing it pewer, like. 

That was until one moon lit night, the ale was flowing and the jollifications past so fast, it was soon four in the morning, the party was still arage, as his son Jack and himself set off from the Dun Bull Inn heading fer Lang Sleddale, they were half way down the other side of Gatesgarth, and he stopped and said, Ah think Ah’ve fergitten summat, Ah’ve just remembered, did ah sing me sang, Neeah father, thoo diddent,’ Jack ses.

Well then ah mun ga back an’ sing it, with his last t’arld boy went away back ta Mardale ta sing his sang, he want give in though, he be nearer eighty than seventy, but he be gud company fur aw that, if ennybuddy wer tew say.

He made it back, sang his song and was back over the mountain, in time for another days work, those hills breed gay hardy men back then.