The lyrics by the Rev Robert Stephen Hawker are all very rousing but what do they mean?
They tell the tale of how the Cornish bishop, Jonathan Trelawny, was imprisoned along with six other bishops, by Parliament in 1688 during a time of great political unrest.
He had great support from fellow Royalists in his native Cornwall, and they were urged to march on the Tower of London, where Trelawny was imprisoned, to release him.
He was imprisoned because he didn’t agree with a Church of England decree to allow Catholics the freedom to worship. He doesn’t come out of this story very well, does he?
Nevertheless, there was outrage this side of the Tamar that a son of Cornwall should be imprisoned in this way and the song is effectively recounting the tale of the Cornish call to arms to spring him free.
In fact, when he went to trial, he was acquitted and made Bishop of Exeter. WHAT? Did someone say Devon??!
The Song Of The Western Men (to give it its proper title) was named the official anthem of Cornwall in 1881 at the laying of the foundation stone of Truro Cathedral and has since become a song synonymous with the fighting Cornish spirit.