The Miller’s Sons



British folk tales and songs had it that millers were deceitful, adding chalk to the flour, overcharging and selling under weight. It’s the same caricature that says all policemen have big feet, all tailors are timid, and all famers say “oh arr!”

Our song has a miller questioning his sons so that his mill can be left to the biggest cheat. It was first printed in the 1600s and is found all over the English speaking world in almost identical versions, though with different tunes. This one was collected in the 1960s in the USA.

I have to say that all the millers I’ve met have been fine, honest folk selling the best of flours! I’ve lost the address of the top photo; the last two are Martin & Gill Cook at Clodock Mill in Herefordshire and Jonathon Cook, of Norfolk with his 1855 windmill. All are perfectly honest and upstanding gentlemen, including the one in Talgarth conversing with royalty!

Martin&Gill Cook Clodock Heref.jpeg

Jonathon-Cook- 1855.jpg

The Lodge Road/Old Mrs Wilson/Brown’s Reel


I think the first tune came from Paul Burgess and the second from Dave Townsend. The bashful buskers were in Shrewsbury and deserved their earnings. The other photos are of the thriving and encouraging Shetland tradition, including their part in the Edinburgh Tatoo, High Level Fiddlers from Tyneside and visitors from Norway, which has a strong cultural and historical link to Shetland. Click for more here. Hjaltibonhoga

The Rambling Soldier


The painting of The Recruiting Sergeant (The King’s Shilling) is attributed to Henry Nelson O’Neil (1817-1880). The song was popular in Victorian times in two versions – sailor and soldier – and frequently reprinted by the song and ballad press all over the country. This version, recorded when I had an unexpectedly useful sore throat, is from my album ‘Seven Dials’.