The Duke of Bridgewater

© Graeme Meek 2008



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The third Duke of Bridgewater, Francis by name;
A dashing young fellow of high degree;
He courted a lady in old London town:
Elizabeth Gunning, a fair maid was she.

They courted a while and they promised to wed
But fortune, it favoured not, this young blade.
Elizabeth turned to another young man;
For the Duke of Bridgewater, her love, it did fade.

So back, then, to Lancashire went the young Duke
To muse on his destiny, then, he did go
And there set to work on so clever a plan,
No longer to feel of despair and of woe.

A canal, then, with Brindley, he planned for to make
From Worsley to Manchester, Salford as well,
To bring of the coal from his pits, far away,
Unto the great city, and there, for to sell.

So cheap was the coal from his venture, so grand,
And all saw the profit the Duke did enjoy.
Soon many would clamour all over the land;
A similar practice, they soon would employ.

So thanks to the Duke of Bridgewater, so fine,
And thanks to Elizabeth Gunning so fair,
For this way of life, it may ne’er have arose,
If there had not been that unhappy affair.

Francis Egerton, the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, owned large estates in Lancashire and, following a broken engagement with Elizabeth Gunning, he buried himself in his work, employing millwright, James Brindley, to engineer the first canal of the Industrial Revolution between Worsley, Manchester and Salford in 1759. The canal reached Manchester in 1764 and halved the price of coal to the blossoming industry of the time.

Graeme Meek, who wrote the song and kindly provided the words, music and additional information, is a member of song duo 'Life and Times' and dance band 'Time of Your Life'. See,, &

A complete recording of this song can be heard on the Life and Times Myspace website.

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