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Broadside ballad entitled 'Tammie the Tollman'


Verse 1 (to the tune of 'Oxgangs'): 'There is a wee house stands at the Bridgend, / A canty wee fire, I'm sure ye may ken, / For a' the folk round about, callants an' meu / Comes in to see Tammie the tollman.' Below the title we are given detailed information about the poet and his published works. A 'tollman' collected tolls from travellers on turnpike roads. 'Canty' means cheerful and 'callants' is 'an affectionate term for lads'.

Written by Peter McLennan, this light-hearted broadside ballad is dedicated to a tollman called Tammie, who lived in a tollbooth eight miles north-east of Glasgow. Judging by the verses of this ballad, it appears that Tammie's humble dwelling was a popular port of call for travellers. In addition to describing Tammy's house and style of living, the ballad also tells us much about the diversity of traffic that travelled on this road. With its references to events such as the Great Exhibition of 1851, this ballad reveals much about the social history of Victorian Scotland.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

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Probable date published: 1851   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(12a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Tammie the Tollman'
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