Kings Pond Shantymen
Kings Pond Shantymen

The Men

None of us have musical qualifications and most don't read music.  Some would say we can't sing either, but that doesn't stop us. In the last few years our numbers have been swelled by new recruits with fine voices that have greatly strengthened our sound. New members are always welcome. The list below is ordered by length of service.

Jolly Roger. Don't be fooled by the nickname, he hasn't been jolly since the tough time he had as cabin boy. Roger is chief cook and quartermaster. You'll never go hungry with Roger around - when he talks about food, it's as good as eating it. Leads on 'Go to Sea no More', 'Mingulay', 'Lower Lights', 'The High Barbary' and 'A Pint of Old Peculier'.
Desperate Don. Has a good ship, that is well used for memorable shanty forays across The Solent to terrorise the residents of the Isle of Wight. He knows where our treasure is buried so we keep a wary eye on him. Don sings two shanties featuring a feller called Ranzo: 'The Bully Boat' and 'The Wild Goose'. He also leads on 'Fiddler's Green', 'Cape Cod Girls', 'Essequibo River' and 'Fathom the Bowl'.
Net-mender Matthew. Earned his sea-legs on a calm crossing to the Isle of Wight in Don's boat. He's involved in a bit of ship building. Leads on 'Roll the Woodpile Down', 'The Good Ship Bess', 'Hog-Eye Man', 'The Bonny Ship the Diamond', 'Rattle Them Winches' and 'Old Maui'.
Ship's Master Mike. Has introduced much new material of unrivalled misery including 'Six Feet of Mud', 'Grey Funnel Line', 'Ellan Vannin', He's softened a bit these days and sings 'The Mermaid' which has a jolly tune but still features a drowned man. In his working life Mike has serviced marine diesel engines so large that he could walk around inside 'em.
Gunner Nigel. Legendary pyromaniac and infamous raconteur. Keeps an extensive collection of old rope and other nautical junk in his shed. He's a very sound man indeed when it comes to amplification. Leads on 'Paddy Lay Back', 'Leave Her Johnny', 'Haul Away Joe', 'Trelawny' and 'The Long Drag Shanty'.
Old Nick. The divvle himself - he swings the lead in more ways than one. He loves sea fishing, sailing and scuba diving and has even been rescued by the RNLI. When he sings it brings people to tears. Leads on 'Maggie May', Chicken On A Raft', 'Ladies of Plymouth' and 'Captain of the Dredger', 'The Transports Shanty' and 'Hold Your Course'.
Zbys (pronounced 'spish'). We can't write his full name here as we'd run out of letters. Was lured away to the rum world of shanty from more formal choral singing. Quite a cunning linguist so he leads on 'Pique la Baleine', 'Le Capitaine de Saint Malo' as well as 'Bullgine Run', 'Sugar in the Hold', 'Whip Jamboree' and 'The Wellerman'.
Stormin' Norman. Was press ganged in 2012 and soon conquered the art of shanty. Used to be a lager and red-wine man but due to the training he lost his fear of the dark and now can be seen supping ale. Sings 'Don't Forget Your Old Shipmate', 'No Hopers and Rogues', 'When Johnny Comes Down to Hilo', 'A Sailor Ain't a Sailor' and 'South Australia'.
Handy Andy's talent was spotted in the throng at Hale carnival where he accepted the shilling whilst quaffing a few pints. He stands head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd and has proved to be useful in lifting and stowing. He's singing out with 'Bully in the Alley' and 'A Drop of Nelson's Blood' these days.
Dr Giles is the ship's surgeon, if you go to him with a sore head he's likely to take a saw out of his bag and drink the anaesthetic himself - so there's never a queue outside his cabin. Giles has a taste for the unusual and has introduced 'My Son John' in which a man gets his legs blown off by a cannon ball, 'Paddy Doyle's Boots' which is a unique and bizarre bunt shanty, a very foine version of 'Sally Brown' and a new twist on 'Pay Me My Money Down'.
Midshipman Tobey is a plucky young rogue who bravely took ship with an older crew. He's smart as paint and is rapidly learning the nautical techniques. He likes to push a jug of small beer with the rest of us. Tobey has re-introduced the 'Maid of Amsterdam' otherwise known as 'A'Roving' which concerns a land-going Jack-tar and also 'Derby Ram' which concerns a sea-going sheep.
Musketeer Tom is on a medium term posting to the KPS prior to an antipodean odyssey. Tom brings considerable firepower to the group as well as folk tradition. He has brought in 'Cornwall my Home' which - despite it not being a shanty - has rapidly become a favourite and 'Sloop John B' which no man could sing properly before Tom joined.
Matthew's terpsichorean talents mean that he would be our natural lead for King Neptune if we ever perform a crossing the line ceremony. He is developing our performing repertoire to include more in the line of old ballads and C17 musical hall. He sings out with 'Blow the Man Down'.
Steve no longer has the rosy cheeks of a choirboy and going by his scurrilous repartee he is no longer innocent either. He's a natural at Jack the Bleeding Hearty so leads on 'Wont' You Go My Way' and 'The Hogeye Man'.
Simon became the new cabin boy in 2024 and is eagerly working to get promoted. He's rapidly gaining his sea legs with shanties from the KPS repertoire and will no doubt be singing out soon.

In Memoriam

John Hancox. Founded the Kings Pond Shantymen in 2001. He became a discharged shantyman, with honours, in 2017 and sadly passed away in 2023. We greatly miss him and in particular his mighty voice. We are very proud to carry on the traditions John established and to honour his memory by continuing to perform shanties and drinking songs in the manner he taught us.