“Janie of the Moor”


The singer meets Janie and proposes marriage. She says that she has promised to remain true to her love Dennis Ryan/Riley. He pulls out Dennis's ring and says he has died in battle. She faints; she revives when he reveals that he is Dennis


The texts seem rather uncertain as to the battle in which Dennis didn't get himself killed. The Sam Henry text mentions Alma, a battle of the Crimean War. Mackenzie's Nova Scotia text mentions "Vendons Town"; I cannot find this in either the history or the atlas, unless it is an error for something such as Vendome. - RBW

Greenleaf/Mansfield has Dennis "fighting with the allied boys" while Leach-Labrador has it "in a battle of Nor Amerikay." Some of the Bodleian broadsides simply mention "while in the war while fighting" but others -- as well as the America Singing copies -- do refer to "fighting at the Alma." Since I can't definitely date a "while in the war" broadside before the Crimean War I can't say which is the older version.

Broadside LOCSinging as203560: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS

Historical references

  • Sept 20, 1854 - Battle of Alma (Crimean War). The Anglo/French/Turkish forces win an expensive victory over the Russians

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(3134), "Sweet Jenny of the Moor," E.M.A. Hodges (London), 1855-1861; also Firth b.25(286), "Sweet Jenny of the Moor"; Harding B 16(336a), Firth c.12(287), Harding B 11(1864), Harding B 11(1865), "Jenny of the Moor"
  • LOCSinging, as203560, "Sweet Jenny of the Moor," H. De Marsan (New York), 1861-1864; also sb40502a, Firth b.25(177), "Sweet Jenny of the Moor"


  1. Laws N34, "Janie of the Moor"
  2. Greenleaf/Mansfield 89, "Jennie on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Leach-Labrador 125, "Janie on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. SHenry H107, p. 320, "Jennie of the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Smith/Hatt, pp. 70-71, "Sweet Jinny on the Moor" (1 text)
  6. Creighton-Maritime, p. 61, "Janey on the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Mackenzie 66, "Janie on the Moor" (2 texts)
  8. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 96, "Dennis Ryan" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  9. OLochlainn-More 58, "Sweet Jenny of the Moor" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. DT 461, JANEMOOR
  11. Roud #581
  12. BI, LN34


Alternate titles: “Sweet Jenny of the Moor”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1862 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3134))
Keywords: courting brokentoken
Found in: US(NE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland