“Wadham's Song”


Coast sailing pilot's guide "from Bonavista Cape to the Stinking Isles ... till Pilley's Point covers Syme's Stage." Directions on how to reach Notre Dame Bay from Bonavista

Supplemental text

Wadham's Song
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

Wadhams Song

As printed in Ryan & Small, Haulin' Rope & Gaff, p. 13. Reprinted
from James Murphy, Songs Sung by Old Time Sealers of Many Years Ago.

From Bonavista Cape to the Cabot Isles
The course is north full forty miles,
When you must steer away North East
Till Cape Freels, Gull Island bears West North West.

(10 additional stanzas)


According to GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador site, "although called a song it was always recited and there is no tune available"; Greenleaf/Mansfield heard it recited.

On the other hand, the Renaissance Dance site claims "Pilot verses were sailing directions sung to popular tunes ... Hugill [apparently not in _Shanties from the Seven Seas_] quotes [Wadham's Song] to the tune of 'I'll Tell me Ma', which is still well known." - BS


  1. Greenleaf/Mansfield 119, "Wadham's Song" (1 text)
  2. Ryan/Small, p. 13, "Wadhams Song" (1 text)
  3. ST GrMa119 (Partial)
  4. Roud #5449
  5. BI, GrMa119


Author: R.N. Wadham
Earliest date: 1756 (cf. Greenleaf/Mansfield)
Found in: Canada(Newf)