A Dunnie is a small Brownie-like being in the folklore of the Anglo-Scottish borders, specifically Northumberland, the most famous being that of the Hazlerigg Dunnie of Hazlerigg in the parish of Chatton, Northumberland.[1] The Dunnie has been known to take the form of a horse in order to trick a rider into mounting him before disappearing and leaving them in the muddiest part of the road. He also is said to disguise as plough-horses only to vanish when the ploughman takes him into the stalls.[1]

The Dunnie was also said to wander the crags and dales of the Cheviots singing:

"Cockenheugh there's gear enough,
Collierheugh there's mair,
For I've lost the key o' the Bounders, (or "It is also "I've lost the key o' the Bowden-door.")
An' I'm ruined for evermair."[1]

The Dunnie is thus thought to be a ghost of a reiver who hoarded his loot in the fells and guards his ill-gotten gains to this day.[1]

In full the song of the dunnie goes:

"Cockenheugh there's gear enough,
Collierheugh there's mair,
For I've lost the key o' the Bounders"
"Ross for rabbits, and Elwick for kail,
Of a' the' towns e'er I saw Howick for ale:
Howick for ale, and Kyloe for scrubbers,
Of a' the towns e'er I saw Lowick for robbers;-
Lowick for robbers, Buckton for breed,
Of a' the towns e'er I saw Holy Island for need;-
Holy Island for need, and Grindon for kye,
Of a' the towns e'er I saw Doddington for rye:-
Doddington for rye, Bowisdon for rigs,
Of a' the towns e'er I saw Barmoor for whigs:-
Barmour for whigs, Tweedmouth for doors,
Of a' the towns e'er I saw Ancroft for whores:-
Ancroft for whores, and Spittal for fishers,
Of a' the towns e'er I saw Berrington for dishes."[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Notes on the folk-lore of the northern counties of England and the borders By William Henderson, 1866, pages 227-228.
  2. ^ Folk-lore: or, A collection of local rhymes, proverbs, sayings, prophecies, slogans, &c. relating to Northumberland, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and Berwick-on-Tweed, Michael Aislabie Denham, 1858, pp. 136-137

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