The North East’s Oldest Folk Love Song, The Water of Tyne
“I cannot get to me love, if I would dee
The water of Tyne runs between him and me“
The Water of Tyne is a traditional love song which originated from Newcastle at some point in the 16th century. The song, which can be sung by either a man or a woman, tells the story of a lover who has been separated from the singer by the water of the River Tyne (at what is assumed to be Tynemouth), leading them seek out a boatman that they be reunited with their love.
The song is notable for being written in a Newcastle dialect, mixed with the Middle English of that era, leading to words such as “Hinny” and “Thee” both featuring together. Despite its age, the song has remained popular over the centuries due to its beautiful lyrics and has sustained interest as an icon and legacy of the North East.
Popular local artists have reduced their own versions of the song, including Bob Fox, Jimmy Nail and Sting.