“Lord Willoughby”


"The fifteenth day of July... A famous fight in Flanders was foughten in the field... But the bravest man in battel Was brave Lord Willoughby." In a fierce contest with the Spanish, Willoughby's bravery encourages the English to victory

Supplemental text

Lord Willoughby
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

Brave Lord Willoughbey

From Percy/Wheatley, II.ii.xx, pp. 238-241

No source listed; it is not from the Percy MS.

The fifteenth day of July,
  With glistering spear and shield,
A famous fight in Flanders
  Was foughten in the field:
The most couragious officers
  Were English captains three;
But the bravest man in battel
  Was brave lord Willoughbey.

The next was captain Norris,
  A valiant man was hee:
The other captain Turner
  From field would never flee.
With fifteen hundred fighting men,
  Alas! there were no more,
They fought with fourteen thousand then,
  Upon the bloody shore.

Stand to it noble pikemen
  And look you round about:
And shoot you right you bow-men
  And we will keep them out:
You musquet and calliver men,
  Do you prove true to me,
I'le be the formost man in fight,
  Says brave lord Willoughbey.

And then the bloody enemy
  They fiercly did assail,
And fought it out most furiously,
  Not doubting to prevail;
The wounded men on both sides fell
  Most pitious for to see,
Yet nothing could the courage quell
  Of brave lord Willoughbey.

For seven hours to all mens view
  This fight endured sore,
Until our men so feeble grew
  That they could fight no more;
And then upon dead horses
  Full savourly they eat,
And drank the puddle water,
  They could no better get.

When they had fed so freely,
  They kneeled on the ground,
And praised God devoutly
  For the favour they had found;
And beating up their colours,
  The fight they did renew,
And turning toward the Spaniard,
  A thousand more they slew.

And sharp steel-pointed arrows,
  And bullets think did fly;
Then did our valiant soldiers
  Charge on most furiously;
Which made the Spaniards waver,
  They thought it best to flee,
They fear'd the stout behavior
  Of brave lord Willoughbey.

Then quoth the Spanish general,
  Come let us march away,
I fear we shall be spoiled all
  If here we longer stay;
For yonder comes lord Willoughbey
  With courage fierce and fell
He will not give one inch of way
  For all the devils in hell.

And then the fearful enemy
  Was quickly put to flight,
Our men persued couragiously,
  And caught their forces quite;
But at last they gave a shout,
  Which ecchoed through the sky,
God, and St. George for England!
  The conquerors did cry.

This news was brought to England
  With all the speed might be,
And soon our gracious queen was told
  Of this same victory.
O this is brave lord Willoughbey,
  My love that ever won,
Of all the lords of honour,
  'Tis he great deeds hath done.

To the souldiers that were maimed,
  And wounded in the fray,
The queen allowed a pension
  Of fifteen pence a day;
And from all costs and charges
  She quit and set them free:
And this she did all for the sake
  Of brave lord Willoughbey.

Then courage, noble Englishmen,
  And never be dismaid;
If that we be but one to ten,
  We will not be afraid
To fight with foraign enemies,
  And set our nation free.
And thus I end the bloody bout
  Of brave lord Willoughbey.


This is probably just another broadside that "made it big" without entering oral tradition, but the number of references seemed sufficient for me to include it in the Index. (Note the regular use of the tune in broadsides).

Lord Willoughby was a famous swordsman, and performed well in the Netherlands, but this report of his exploits against the Spanish is certainly blown out of proportion.

There was a later Willoughby who was governor of Barbados in the 1660s, but he died at sea in a hurricane during a war with the French. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1587 - Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby of Eresby, takes command of the English forces in the Netherlands
  • 1601 - Death of Willoughby

Same tune

  • Give ear you lusty Gallants/A famous Sea-fight. Hollander..Spaniard..September 1639. (BBI ZN969)
  • Now comfortable Tydings is come unto England/Joyfull News for England [Peace.. April 6, 1654] (BBI ZN3422)


  1. Percy/Wheatley II, pp. 238-241, "Brave Lord Willoughbey" (1 text)
  2. Chappell/Wooldridge I, p. 152, "Lord Willoughby, or Lord Willoughby's March, or Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BBI, ZN895, "The fifteenth day of July"
  4. ST Perc2238 (Full)
  5. BI, Perc2238


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1765 (Percy); tune known from 1603 (Robinson's "Schoole of Musick")
Keywords: battle nobility soldier
Found in: Britain(England)