Category: Traditional folk song

Our Ship She Lies In Harbour

Our Ship She Lies In Harbour was sung by William Brown of Cheriton, Hampshire, and collected by George Gardiner c.1908.


Randolph Caldecott (in blue stockings) depicts himself, his wife and friends haymaking and (more enthusiastically) celebrating with music and dance. The song was collected by Sabine Baring Gould and printed in ‘Songs Of The West’ 1889. Considering the hardship of a farm labourer’s life…

The Unfortunate Tailor

Tailors, those skilled and essential craftsmen, were the subject of many traditional songs in which they come off second best. The second photograph was taken at the old workshop of Henry Poole in 1944. In the 1960s I saw a tailor sitting cross-legged in…

It’s A Rosebud In June

The photos were taken on a bridleway above Andover, Hampshire, on a recent sultry day that made me think of this beautiful song which Farmer William King sang to Cecil Sharp in 1904.

Faithful Nancy

It may not seem feasible that someone could be separated from one’s true love for three years and not be certain it’s him/her when they met again. But people in the 1800s began work, whether in factory, on farm or the sea, at a…

As I Was Going To Banbury

Sister Emma (71) sang this song to Cecil Sharp at Clewer, Berkshire, in 1909. It was printed in Novello’s School Songs the same year. The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes says “The fact that so many nursery pieces mention Banbury may in part be…

Johnny Come Down To Hilo

Johnny Come Down To Hilo was, and possibly still is, a folk club favourite. All photos from where you can enjoy good company and learn the ropes.