Welcome to The British Literary Ballads Archive, a site dedicated to a unique genre of literary imitations of traditional ballads. The site contains a growing archive of over 700 poems, as well as short biographical sketches of the poets who wrote them.

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W. Harrison Ainsworth (1805-82)



English novelist, born in Manchester. His success in the publication of Rookwood (1834), a romantic novel based on the life of Dick Turpin (1706-39), a legendary robber of early 18th century London, established him as one of the most promising successors of Sir Walter Scott, a father of the British historical novel. His series of historical novels is often categorised as the so-called ‘Newgate’ novels, of the type that sensationalized the lives of past criminals, but, as he is favourably nicknamed ‘the Lancashire novelist’, he should also be more appreciated for his passion for local history and customs, especially those of Lancashire. Some portions of literary ballads are inserted in his historical novels. (Y. Y.)

1.The Barber of Ripon and the Ghostly Basin
2.Black Bess
3.The Custom of Dunmow
4.The Legend of the Lady of Rookwood
5.Old Grindrod’s Ghost
6.The Old Oak Coffin