The Roman Wall jig

Also known as Eavesdropper, The Eavesdropper.

There are 13 recordings of this tune.

The Roman Wall has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Roman Wall has been added to 45 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: The Roman Wall
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:D|G2G BAG|Bdg dBG|c2e dBG|FAA A2D|
G2G BAG|Bdg dBG|cde dBG|AGF G2:|
|:d|G2g fed|efg dBG|cde dBG|F2A A2d|
g2g fed|efg dbg|cde dBG|AGF G2:|
X: 2
T: The Roman Wall
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
D|GAG BAG|Bdg dBG|c2e dBG|FAA A2D|
GAG BAG|Bdg dBG|cde dBG|AGF G2:|
d|g2g fed|efg dBG|cde dBG|F2A A2d|
g2g fed|efg dBG|cde dBG|AGF G2d|
g2g fed|efg dBG|cde dBG|F2A A2D|
GAG BAG|Bdg dBG|cde dBG|AGF G2||

Twelve comments

It’s basically the Eavesdropper isn’t it?

I don’t know who Willie Taylor is but he certainly didn’t write this tune (if that is what is being implied), which as ‘Dow’ has pointed out is clearly a version of the Eavesdropper

Not Willy taylor

I’ve always known this tune as Roman Wall but got it from Adam Grey, policeman and fiddler from Haydon bridge way in the wildest part of the Tyne Valley. He was a local copper in the middle of the last century and an important link with the Tynedale fiddle tradition that links back to Whinham.

Its a great tune for longsword dancing.

Pete Coe lke this tune and puts a nice harmony to the falling pattern in the b part..


Noel, did you notice that Geoff’s abc is *exactly* the same as the transcription you posted on the net yourself, complete with the same errors? Someone’s cut & pasting someone else’s work here, a-la-zombie-mindlesse, unless you are, in fact, both the same person existing in parallel universes and playing for different bands.

Anyway, regardless of your source, I’m surprised you didn’t recognise this as the Eavesdropper, which is one of the most common Irish jigs, and one of those tunes that spread all over the place, including to America, where it appeared in Ryan’s under a different title. I assume “Roman Wall” is simply a title some English person gave the tune so that it wouldn’t go nameless on his band’s set lists 🙂 [/irony]

In other words, it’s a lovely romantic notion that this tune might somehow have sprung organically from the beautiful wilderness of the Tyne Valley like the fresh, pure source of a bubbling waterfall, played by locals steeped in the aural tradition and unnoticed by would-be transcribers of ancient, dusty manuscripts, but, basically, it’s just the Eavesdropper.

I will be the first to admit, I cut & pasted it into my directory of Willie tunes as it sounded similar to others of his, and never gave it another thought.
After seeing the Kerry posting, I posted the Wall with Lemonville as the pair were both assimilated by him (for want of a better word than Northumbrianise), and neither was on the posted list of his tunes.
Silly of me not to notice the Eavesdropper similarities - and I still think it is a fine “variation” or whatever, when kept in context with his other tunes.

Evidently, English tunes are allowed to become Irish but not vice-versa.

So if I learn Cooley’s Reel at a session in Yorkshire, does that mean that Cooley’s is a traditional Yorkshire tune? Or does it just mean that I learnt an Irish tune at a session in Yorkshire?

The Roman Eavedropper

It sounds very Northumbrian if you play it like pete Coe / Adam grey.
Played as an Irish jig, I’m not so keen. There are lots of tunes which get different names depending on how one plays them.
The North East has been assimilating tunes from scotland and Ireland for centuries. Its not a straight copy but a process we call Northumbriation. The Irish and Scots also adopt and adapt tunes into their own traditions.

Its the absorbtion and alteratioin which makes a living tradition.

I’m proud to be part of one and make no appologies for claiming the Eavesdropper as our own. iPlagiarisation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Angels of the North

The Roman Wall

Geofwright, “Evidently, English tunes are allowed to become Irish, but not vice-versa”, I agree with you all the way there. I’ve seen stashes of English (particularly Northumbrian) tunes and a good few Shetland pieces being ripped off and declared as ‘Irish’ by some unscrupulous or ignorant players. An example of this that I’ve witnessed myself is The Chevy Chase being claimed as Irish, despite the fact that the composer has it included as his own in a biography at a northumbrian museum. And that its verses are about a massacre that took place in northumberland. Has it not occured to anyone that some folk music does, in fact, originate in England?

Adam Grays version Roman Wall

Just found my old tape of Holey Ha‘Penny LP. his version slightly different. The G2G ’s are actually GAG ’s and the 2nd half of 2nd B part is the same as the 2nd half of the A.

X: 1
T: The Roman Wall
S: from Adam Grey on Holey Ha’Penny LP
C:Adam Gray, Bardon Mill, Northumbland 1/7/54
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: G
D| GAG BAG | Bdg dBG | c2e dBG | FAA A2D |\
GAG BAG | Bdg dBG | cde dBG | AGF G2 :|!
d | g2g fed | efg dBG | cde dBG | F2A A2d |\
g2g fed | efg dBG | cde dBG | AGF G2d |!
g2g fed | efg dBG | cde dBG | F2A A2D |\
GAG BAG | Bdg dBG | cde dBG | AGF G2 |]!

At session last night someone was claiming that most of the ‘English Tunes’ were Welsh. Is there nowhere to hide from nationalism.