“Scarboro Sand (The Drowned Sailor)”


A Scarborough girl learns that her sailor love has been lost at sea. She asks the waters to bring her love ashore. She finds the body, kisses it, and dies. The two are buried in "Robin Hood's Churchyard."


The reference to "Robin Hood's Churchyard" is almost certainly a reference to the village of Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire; some versions of the song set the events in that town rather than in Scarborough.

I do not know that the two Larner recordings are in fact different -- these two compilations drew from the same collection of field tapes -- but as the titles are given as different I thought it prudent to separate them. - PJS


  • Bodleian, Johnson Ballads 1956, "Stow Brow," John Ross (Newcastle), 1847-1852; also Harding B 11(3208), "Stow Brow"


  • Sam Larner, "In Scarboro' Town" (on SLarner01; on Voice02 as "In Scarborough Town"); "The Drowned Lover" (on SLarner02)
  • Frank Verrill, "Stowborough Town" (on Voice12)


  1. Laws K18, "Scarboro Sand (The Drowned Sailor)"
  2. Warner 151, "Scarborough Sand" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Sharp-100E 37, "The Drowned Lover" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. BrownII 105, "Scarboro Sand (Robin Hood Side)" (1 text)
  5. Chappell-FSRA 39, "In Robin Hood's Churchyard" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Ord, pp. 332-333, "Scarborough's Banks" (1 text)
  7. Peacock, pp. 722-725, "Strawberry Tower" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  8. Karpeles-Newfoundland 44, "Arbour Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. DT 561, SCARSAND
  10. Roud #185
  11. BI, LK18


Alternate titles: “Strawbello Strand”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1853 (broadside, Bodleian Johnson Ballads 1956)
Keywords: sea death burial drowning
Found in: US(SE) Britain(England(Lond,North),Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Newf)