THE BATTLE OF VITTORIA - Broadside ballad from the Enoch Wood scrapbook

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Date:21st of June 1813

Description:Celebrating good news in a song

Sung to the tune or 'air' Hearts of Oak, this song celebrates Britian's fortunes in an overseas battle.

Come cheer up! cheer up! Here's news from from old Spain

Napoleon's French army occupied Spain and Portugal. They were attempting to tighten their trade blockade of Britain.

This lead to a series of battles known as the Penninsula Wars (1809-1814), which saw the British army drive the French out of Portugal and Spain.

Our soldiers have beat the French Robbers again

The battle at Vittoria, Northern Spain, on June 21st 1813 was a decisive victory for the British who were lead by Aurthur Wellesly, Earl of Wellington (1769-1852). He was made Duke of Wellington almost a year later.

The victory lead to the successful removal of the French, lead by Marshal Jourdan (Jean-Baptiste Jourdan 1762-1833), from Spain and Portugal.

Note: Vittoria is spelt Vitoria today.

Broadside ballads

Broadsides or broadsheets were a popular way of distributing and publishing songs.

It was a practice that had been growing in popularity since the birth of the printing press in the 1500s and carried on until the early 1900s.

These ballads covered many different subjects including romance, nationalism, famous individuals, current affairs, politics and, in this case, war.

Ballad singing was not only used as a form of entertainment. In this period there was a high level of illiteracy amongst the working classes. Ballad singing became a good way to spread news, ideas or propaganda.

Broadsides were often sold for a penny (this example is actually priced) by street hawkers who would also sing the songs.

About this document

This document was made by Chester Printers and collected by Burslem pottery manufacturer Enoch Wood. It is now among the collections of Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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