Buttered Peas polka

Also known as Buttered Pease, Lady Llanofer’s New Strathspey, Menyn-ar-bys, Pwt Ar Y Bys, Pwt-ar-y-Bys, Strathspey Newydd Arglwyddes Llanofer.

There are 13 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

Buttered Peas has been added to 3 tune sets.

Buttered Peas has been added to 59 tunebooks.

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Thirty-one comments

“Pwt-ar-y-Bys” ~ another way with buttered peas, and the relatives

“The Rosses Highland”
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on May 3rd 2003 by gian marco.

“Stumpie” ~ strathspey
Key signature: A Major
Submitted on September 12th 2004 by Noxious Blanket.

Sadly, most North American folk won’t know the pleasures of buttered broad beans, a Welsh and English delicacy, or those lovely white buttered beans they serve up on the continent… But, there is still a weakness for the canned variety on toast, with an egg and a rasher too…and some well chosen seasoning… 😉

Butter Beans

I used to eat alot of “butter beans” that were cooked with a gravy like sauce when I was a kid… sometimes I will make them myself for a snack… but what is a “broad bean”?

“Broad Beans” ~ Vica fabe / the faba bean / English beans

~ you can still find them growing around old homesteads, including in North America, a survival staple…


http://www.selfsufficientish.com/bean.htm ~ w/recipes


"Broad beans are the oldest of all our beans, dating back to stone age times. Mystical beliefs were that broad beans, when offered in marriage ensured the birth of a baby son. And these kidney shaped beans were important enough to warrant the death sentence for their theft from open fields.
In the past the broad bean was a staple food of the poor and often roasted and ground to make flour, but equally enjoyed by the rich, who served it with sumptuous rich sauces. With no class distinction food like this can be used as frugal or as fancy as one prefers.

Sadly they are a neglected vegetable, as this wonderful hard little bean offers such a robust flavour and is highly nutritious; full of phosphorous, vitamin A and C and is notably rich in protein.

The time to enjoy home grown broad beans is during the months of May, June and early July. Earlier in the year they are imported from Spain and cannot be appreciated at their best.

They are used extensively in Middle Eastern dishes. In Italy the raw beans are served with a piece of pecorino cheese and in Greece they are also traditionally eaten raw, washed down with some intoxicating ouzo. ~ "
Heather Mairs (with recipes)

I’m getting hungry now… 😉

The abcs of the first part comes up in a couple different tunes I know from early USA players… the other part seems to be in tunes but I havent run across a tune in the US early trad that ever had both parts together… didnt Abraham Lincoln say something like that… you can play parts of the tune all the time and all the tune part of the time but you cant play all the tunes all the time? …Yes I think that’s exactly what he said.

“Buttered Peas / Pease” ~ The Fiddler’s Companion


BUTTERED PEAS(E) [1]. AKA and see “Highland Wedding [1],” “Jack’s Be The Daddy On’t,” “Reel of Stumpie,” “Stumpie/Stumpey,” “No Man’s Jig.” English; Air, Reel or Country Dance Tune. England, Northumberland. G Major. Standard. AABB.

The tune can be found in James Ralph’s Fashionable Lady (1730), and subsequently appeared in English ballad operas of the early 1730’s ~ … It became popular enough to have been transported to the Continent in the 18th century, where, for example it could be heard in Italy as “Piselli al Burro.” Angus Mackay arranged the tune for the Highland pipes and called it “The Highland Wedding” (as a 6-part 2/4 march). See Bayard’s note for the Pennsylvania collected “The Drunken Sailor,” of which this tune forms the second strain. It is arranged as a duet by W.J. Stafford in Hall & Stafford’s Charlton Memorial Tune Book ~ 1974; pg. 53 ~ :

T: Buttered Peas
M: 2/4
K: G Major
|: d/c/ |
Bd dc/B/ | ce ed/c/ | Bd dc/B/ | cA Ad/c/ |
Bd dc/B/ | ce ed/c/ | Bd Ac | BG G :|
|: d/c/ |
Bd g>a | g/f/e/d/ gd | Bd gf/g/ | aA Ad/c/ |
Bd g>a | g/f/e/d/ gd/c/ | Bd Ac | BG G :|

3 Xs, 3 keys, & a selection of possibilities

Almost forgot to say, what is given here is the same tune three times through, each time in one of the keys I’ve known this tune by, and a few possible ways with it. It’s a kick to play and I hope some of the rest of you will enjoy it too… I wonder if Gian has a version of the Italian take on this tune. I also understand it was played in Northern Europe too, at least Denmark?

MP ~ how about some American takes on it?


In Bayards collection there are 2-3 tunes that share parts of the Buttered Peas strain… I play on the fiddle a tune called drunken sailor thats a little different than the Bayard tune, but definitely has some Butter on its peas. A great tune “family.”

Broad beans etc.

Broad beans - I’ll eat them, certainly, going to an English boarding school proved me capable of passing most tests of omnivory. But I’m not enamoured of them. I don’t think I’d write a tune about them, anyway.

Every delicious vegetable which is temperamental to grow, has some rugged counterfeit that comes up like docks or Japanese knotweed. A bit ago I sowed some French beans (aah! Delicious Greek-style with tomato, garlic and oil…) and anticipation of eating them possessed me even as I did so. I put in some broad beans as an afterthought. The latter of course came up in a fecund forest; the French beans, the ones that deigned to appear, that is, produced about a bean and a half.
Similarly with spinach and Swiss chard: the delicious annual spinach bolts or gets eaten - the vast corrugated chard is indestructible…

(Years ago in a colliery village garden I put in peas and onions (which I looked forward to) and kale and beetroot (that I didn’t particularly). The peas were snaffled by the pigeons, the onions by some local. The soil consisted of cat droppings and soot, but the kale thrived in it and the beetroots came up like cricket balls. Ceolachan, I gather you like beets - I must confess I’m not keen on them; I would have given you the lot…)

“Pwt” means poke or stumpy and “bys” is finger. Despite my name my Welsh isn’t too good,so does the title mean something like “a poke with the finger”? Pysen is Welsh for peas though.Any fluent speakers out there?

By any other name ~ fresh peas and butter

Who told you that about beets? ~ They are the only thing I can’t eat, and I’ve eaten some decidedly unusual things. I can only take beets if they are cooked forever, like in a Borsch, no other way. I know, I’ve been tested over and over again ~ “Here lad, these are different, your aunt/grandma/whoever made them special for you.” ~ ‘Retch’ isn’t just and invented word…

Anyway, inspiration from this is I made a Black-Eyed Pea/Bean Curry, with Peshwari Nan bread and a couple of nice chutneys…

Black-Eyed Peas
Black-Eyed Beans
Sorte Bomer
Fagioli Occhio
Judias De Ojo Negro
Blcak Eye Böner

Hey, like a good tune, a good bean gets around…

Nicholas, we too used to grow a lot of things, including beans of all sorts, and I found things I used to hate from cans I suddenly loved. Like corn chowder made with just harvested corn, and I don’t mean those weird super-sweet things, but corn that tastes like corn should. Peas, beans, that is a family like potatoes that is a favourite in our house. And fresh peas and butter ~ heaven…

“Pwy Ar Y Bys” ~ thanks for the heads up Dafydd

Pwt Ar Y Bys = a bit on the finger

Pwt = bit / poke / nudge / stump / little one / poppet / tiny
Ar = on
Y = the
Bys = finger

Pronunciation ~

Pwt = poot
Ar = are
Y = uh
Bys = Bees

‘Y’ ~ depending on its location, this ‘vowel’ in Cymraeg/Welsh can have several different sounds, such as ‘uh’ any ‘ee’…

~ ‘uh’ & ‘ee’ ~

Nicholas: “Ceolachan, I gather you like beets”

That struck me as an exceptionally surreal statement - until I realised I was parsing it wrongly.

!!! ~ It’s in the blood, like iron, and a necessary nutrient in my case 😉

Morning has broken ~ Come to think of it, now my head is cleared with a double espresso ~ I LOVE BEATS ~ ALL TYPES!!!

I like it spoon, the idea of Nicholas gathering me like beets, grabbing me by the neck and pulling me out of the shight… I’ll accept that kind of help any day…as I have gotten myself in deep more than a few times, including in over my head…

Thanks for the translation.

I gather you like beets ~

I gather you like beets,
Grasped in both hands,
Shaking, loosening the loam,
Tugging at our roots ~
A taste and smell of earth,
You blush blood red
And stain my hands and tongue
Bruise violet… ‘c’

“Menyn-ar-bys” ~ Pys or Bys ~ a possible confusion of terms?

I wonder if there is a confusion in what the title has become, if one were to mutate the Welsh word for peas, or pys, by adding the Welsh for ‘on’, or ‘ar’, it becomes ‘ar bys’… That is minus ‘the’, or ‘Y’ ~ ‘Ar Bys’, meaning in English ‘On Peas’… However, ‘Pwt’ doesn’t quite work there, but it is not a word that seems to be in current use, or at least not widely, in Cymru / Wales. It may be that a misunderstanding of the Welsh for ‘Buttered Peas’ ~ “Menyn-ar-Bys”? (= butter on peas)…

Dialects ~ ?

Brain confusion on my part, that last sentence, it should have read ~ It may be that it is a result of a (Welsh) misunderstanding ~ …

Wales, like so many places, had and has a number of different dialects, part of which also means several different words for common things, depending on where you come from and what dialect you speak. A now out of print study included something like 36 different Welsh terms across the country for a ‘handkerchief’ ~ so the possibility of confusions between Welsh folk from different areas and dialects would not be unusual…

There was this Welsh fiddler and this Yorkshire fiddler who met on the road one day ~

I just had this scene come in my head of tune sharing between a Welsh musician and a Yorkshire one, but it could just as well have been from Cumbria or Lancashire or The Whirral for that matter, or Swansea come to think of it~ is it any wonder that “Buttered Peas” might end up as “Pwt-ar-y-Bys”? Talk about dialect differences. It had me cracking a smile.

A lot of tunes in the repertoire of Welsh dance musicians are tunes shared across the island, and also include introductions via other cultures, including the Irish, the Romanies, and the European mainland…

"grabbing me by the neck and pulling me out of the shight’

…or out of hot water.

No, I don’t mind hot water, but not the high temperatures my wife seems to be able to bear… Sometimes I need a quick dip in the steam to clean away the shight… 😉 Now I’m missing certain natural hot springs I used to love to visit, way up in certain mountain, especially when everything was buried in snow and I’d have the place to myself…

“Strathspey Newydd Arglwyddes Llanofer” / “Lady Llanofer’s New Strathspey”

What a steal eh? Like it’s relatives, “Stumpie” and “The Rosses”, this too can be played with swing. It can also be played as a ‘RANT’!!! ~ for example to accompany the dance “Miri Abertawe” / “The Swansea Rant” ~ with stepping of course… From “The Annual Cambrian Trifles”, W. Burton Hart, London,1812.

Reprinted, edited by Rbon Huw Bowen
Cymdeithas Ddawns Werin Cymru / The Welsh Folk Dance Society, 1994

Pwt ar y bys - a little something for the fingers


I’ve come across this tune first as a beginners harp tune, just called ‘Welsh Dance Tune’. Although it is literally a ‘a little thing on the fingers’ it’s mostly often sad as ‘A little something for the fingers’ which fits with the beginners tune theme. It is also Buttered Peas but I don’t think the titles are related.

I’ve seen a slightly more complicated version of ’Buttered Peas" in 1000 English Country Dance tunes by Michael Raven. If I figure out the ABC I will post it!

A bean feast was a celebrationn , often at a wedding. In Louisiana ‘Les haricots’ became ‘zydeco’ I understand

Buttered Peas, X:5

Pwt-ar-y-bys - “A little bit on the finger”
Traditional Welsh polka with optional chords.
May be played in a set: 1. Pwt-ar-y-bys, 2. Pant Corlan yr Ŵyn (G), Y Delyn Newydd (G)