Month: May 2019

The Pretty Ploughboy

Ploughboys and pressgangs were popular themes of 19th century broadside printers. Many versions end with wedding bells, as does this one from William Stoke (65) of Chew Stokes, Somerset, who sang it to Cecil Sharp on 23 December 1907. The photograph, circa 1930 from…

Richard Of Taunton Deane

The photo is of a Rectory near Taunton, Somerset; just the kind of place a good-natured, well-meaning bumpkin might have gone courting a young lady above his station; and an appropriately plodding tune and chorus.


Sam Gilbert of St Mawgan East, Cornwall, sang Limady to Sabine Baring Gould in June 1904. The word ‘limady’ (in other versions lemany) is a remarkable folk memory of the Old English word, leman, meaning sweetheart. The drawing of a view from the Sussex…

Dicky The Miller

Dicky The Miller was noted by Henry Hammond in 1908 from John Seaward, Charnmouth, Dorset. One of the few traditional songs in which the miller turns out to be a decent fellow. Hurrah! has the story of the miller in the photo.

The Seasons Of The Year

Lucy Broadwood had these words from John Burberry, a Sussex gamekeeper, in 1892, which was published in her pioneering collection, English County Songs. I don’t remember where the tune came from. The last verse, a different kind of reflection on the year, makes me…

My Boy Willie

John Bradley of Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, sang this song to Cecil Sharp on 22 August 1911 and Randolph Caldecott painted the illustration. This was one of many songs I enjoyed as a boy, without the faintest notion of what it was about.

With Jockie To The Fair

With Jockie (or Jockey) To The Fair first appeared in print in The Songster’s Companion of 1772. Its origins are unknown. The music is used by morris dancers to this day. I searched in vain for a suitable picture of a young lady escaping…