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At the heart of English folk



Folk Music Journal: Volume 8 Number 4

Volume 8 Number 4 (2004) contains the following pieces:



Mavis Curtis, A Sailor Went to Sea: Theme and Variations 

Clapping games are an important part of the play repertoire of primary-school-age girls. The games give the appearance of great complexity when performed by skilled practitioners. A closer examination of the movements and music shows that children use a relatively small number of movements and tunes to devise a remarkable number of games. Examined here is the most popular of the melodies and the ways in which children utilize it. 

Peter Wood, John Barleycorn: The Evolution of a Folk-song Family 

Analysis of the early ancestors of the popular folk song 'John Barleycorn' reveals a family of songs, each appearing to be a separate positive act of re-composition based on a common theme. Between the mid sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries at least six separate songs enjoyed circulation in either England or Scotland, until the 'final flowering' in the song we know today. This was of such a quality that it has continued to spread, thrive and diversify by re-creation without another act of major re-composition for a further two-hundred-and-fifty years. 

David Atkinson, Folk Songs in Print: Text and Tradition 

'Oral tradition' has long been considered a define characteristic of folk song. Yet England has been a text-based society over the whole of the period from which ballads and folk songs are known (often through printed sources). In place of the emphasis on orality, therefore, a characteristic kind of textuality, described here as 'vernacular', unstable, or 'centrifugal', is identified in folk songs, irrespective of whether they are manifested in singing or in print. Unlike the 'literary' texts presented, for example, in Percy's Reliques, individual texts of this kind carry no special textual authority in themselves but rather an inherent reference outwards towards all their other actual and potential manifestations, regardless of format, embracing the possibility of variation as well as of continuity. This kind of vernacular textuality, it is argued, provides an important locus for the instantiation of 'tradition'. 

Derek Schofield, Sowing the Seeds: Cecil Sharp and Charles Marson in Somerset in 1903 

2003 marks the centenary of Cecil Sharp's first folk-song collecting, in the village of Hambridge in Somerset, with the assistance of the local clergyman Charles Marson. The first song collected, from John England, was 'The Seeds of Love', which Sharp heard him sing in the vicarage garden on 22 August 1903. Although the event is frequently seen as the introduction to Sharp's subsequent collecting and promotion of folk songs, little has been written about the circumstances which caused Sharp to be in the vicarage garden. This present study examines some of Sharp's musical interests in the decade before 1903, including his period as a music teacher at Ludgrove School; his knowledge of folk song at that time; the publication of his song collection A Book of British Song for Home and School; his possible motives for starting his song collecting; his first collecting experiences and the immediate aftermath including his lecture on folk song in Hampstead in November 1903. 

Michael Heaney, The Earliest Reference to the Morris Dance? 

The author rehearses the fifteenth-century forms of the words for 'morris' as a dance or performance and adduces a new antedating of the earliest occurrence of the word in English, from 1448.



Peggy Seeger Lomax in London
Chris Heppa Neglected Pioneer
E C Cawte, Gordon Ridgewell Watching Cecil Sharp at Work
Gordon Ridgewell, Michael Heaney, Bob Ross Review of  'Step Change'


Reviews — Books

Brian Audley The Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland (David Cooper)
Caroline Parry Acadian Legends, Folktales and Songs from Prince Edward Island(Georges Arsenault)
Michael Pickering   Romancing the Folk (Benjamin Filene)
A Race of Singers (Bryan K Garman)
Strike Songs of the Depression (Timothy P Lynch)
Michael Yates Songs of the Ridings (Mary and Nigel Hudleston)
Roy Palmer A Book of Scattered Leaves. Volume 2 (James Hepburn)
Keith Chandler Fiddling Way Out Yonder (Drew Beisswenger)
E C Cawte The Lancashire Pace-Egg Play (Eddie Cass)
Room, Room, Ladies and Gentlemen (Eddie Cass and Steve Roud)
The Mummers of Wexford (James Parle)


Reviews — Sound Recordings

Christopher Heppa   World Library of Folk and Primitive Music: Aragon and Valencia (Alan Lomax Collection)
Arthur Watson Travellers' Tales (Mike Yates)
Keith Whiddon From Puck Fair to Appleby (Jim Carroll and Pat Mckenzie)


Reviews — Electronic Resources

Peter Millington   The James Madison Carpenter Collection Online Catalogue


Shorter Notices

Michael Heaney   Béaloideas: The Journal of the Folklore Society of Ireland, 70 (2002)
John Clare and the Folk Tradition (George Deacon)
May Day to Mummers: Folklore and Traditional Customs in Oxfordshire(Christine Bloxham)
Folklore of the Welsh Border (Jacqueline Simpson)



David Gregory, Peter Kennedy, Shirley Collins   Alan Lomax
Gwilym Davies Wisdom ('Wiggy') Smith
Heather Horner Frederick Charles Jordan
John Moulden Paddy Tunney


Cover illustration: John England. Photograph from Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

Editor: Michael Heaney


Notes for contributors

Folk Music Journal is a refereed journal and the cycle from submission to publication involves a number of steps, outlined below. Please bear this process in mind when submitting pieces for consideration.


Folk Music Journal is published annually in December. The content is decided at a meeting held thirteen months before publication. In some cases submissions are returned for revision and reconsideration at a subsequent meeting; or, for lack of space, may be held over for a year despite acceptance. 

Reviews and other matter are dealt with in a shorter timescale over eleven months. 

Material received between September and March can be circulated to the Board for preliminary assessment, so that any comments made can be taken into account before a full assessment is made and decisions taken in November.

March Any articles received circulated to Board for preliminary feedback
April Board consider articles
May Board's comments returned to authors with invitation to submit revised version in September
September   All articles received circulated to Board
October Board consider articles
November Editorial Board meeting: decisions made on articles and other content (reviews, obituary)
December Results (acceptance, rejection, revision) communicated to authors; instruction to provide final copy in March
January Reviews/obituaries commissioned
March Final articles sent to Editor
April Articles prepared for printing
May Articles sent for printing
June Reviews etc. sent to Editor; article proofs arrive and sent to authors
July Article proofs returned to Editor and to printer; reviews etc. sent for printing; cover commissioned
August Review etc. proofs arrive and sent to authors; second article proofs arrive
September Review etc. proofs and second article proofs returned to printer, cover artwork delivered; final matter prepared and sent for printing
October Final proofs arrive and returned
November Printing and delivery
December Publication and distribution

Note that the Journal is issued in December with a publication date of the following year, e.g. Volume 10 Number 1 was published in December 2010 with an issue date of 2011.


Style guide

A printable pdf copy of the style guide is downloadable here.

The citation of Cecil Sharp's papers is a complex issue on which the Journal has issued specific guidelines, in Volume 8.2 (2002), 132–35, reproduced here.


Online content

Electronic contributions will be accepted in support of articles printed in the Journal from Volume 9, Number 1 (2006)

Electronic contributions may take the form of:

  • Sound files

  • Video files

  • Additional and colour photographs and images

  • Supporting source material which cannot be accommodated in the printed article

Articles should always be written so as to be comprehensible without access to the online material. 

For purposes of electronic reproduction of images, photographic material should be supplied as JPEGs and diagrams, charts and line art as GIFs, at a resolution of 70 ppi. Images should be at least 280 x 210 pixels. These may be linked to larger images at higher resolution (300 ppi or greater) for important reproductions. 

Music notation should be supplied as GIF images. 

Sound reproduction and video should be supplied in non-streaming MP3 or MPEG format. Videos should be 320 x 240 pixels and a maximum of three minutes long. 

Contributors should make sure they have the necessary rights and permissions to publish the material.


The Journal does not require contributors to assign copyright in the articles to the publisher (the English Folk Dance and Song Society), but the Society does require the power to authorise further reproduction of the article in anthologies and in online database services. The form of agreement between contributors and the Society gives the Society the power to use the contribution in the ways it requires, and protects its interests, but leaves copyright in the articles with their authors. The Society retains, of course, copyright in the typographical arrangement of the articles in the Journal, in accordance with the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

The form of the agreement is given here. Authors should note that it is their responsibility to obtain permission to reproduce quotations (except where they are covered by the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or are out of copyright), illustrations, and archival or manuscript material.

Please return the form by post or fax to The Editor, Folk Music Journal, English Folk Dance and Song Society, Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY, or a scanned copy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

[ Based on the model grant of licence of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers ]

Folk Music Journal: Volume 8 Number 1

Volume 8 Number 1 (2001) contains the following pieces:



Christopher B Walker, 'The Triumph' in England, Scotland and the United States

A chronological survey is given of the music and the dance descriptions for the country dance 'The Triumph' and its American variant 'Lady's Triumph' since it was first published in 1790. The music in England and Scotland generally was some variation on the usual tune, with rare exceptions, while in the United States several other tunes were used. The dance in England went through several changes, while the Scottish and American dances showed fewer variations. Sharp's version is examined.

John Francmanis, The Roving Artist: Frank Kidson, Pioneer Song Collector

Landscape painting both placed Frank Kidson in contact with the oral tradition and provided the subject matter for his first ventures into print. Yet his early career was looked back on as little more than a false start by his friends. Through tracing his background, interests and influences this article instead presents art as pivotal in Kidson's development and fundamental to an appreciation of his subsequent life and work.

David Cooper, On the Twelfth of July in the Morning ... (Or The Man Who Mistook his Sash for a Hat)

'The Sash My Father Wore' is widely regarded in Northern Ireland as being one of the most provocative of Orange songs. After an examination of the cultural, historical and political contexts of Orange music, it is suggested that the text of 'The Sash My Father Wore' is but one of a series of politically charged variants of the comic music-hall song 'The Hat My Father Wore'. It is proposed that the song's melody has taken on a power of signification independent from the text, and the nature of this by no means unique phenomenon is considered.


Resources in the Vaughan Williams Library

David Atkinson, The Maud Karpeles Collection



Reg Hall, Kate Lee and the Foundation of the Folk-Song Society


Reviews — Books

Theresa J Buckland   The History of Morris Dancing, 1458-1750 (John Forrest)
S Caunce Songs and Verse of the North-East Pitmen, c.1780-1844 (Dave Harker)
Roly Brown The companion to Irish Traditional Music (Finton Vallely)
Mick Tems Ballads in Wales = Baledi yng Nghymru (Mary-Ann Constantine)
Truculent Rustics: Molly Dancing in East Anglia before 1940 (Elaine Bradtke)
May Day in England: an introductory bibliography (Roy Judge)
Catherine E Foley Dance in the Field (Theresa J Buckland)
Securing our Dance Heritage (Catherine J Johnson and Allegra Fuller Snyder)
Alexandra Franklin Ballads, Songs and Snatches (C M Jackson-Houlston)


Review — Periodical

Roy Palmer Root and Branch, nos 1 and 2


Reviews — Sound Recordings

Martin Graebe The Yellow Handkerchief (Phoebe Smith)
Plenty of Thyme (Cyril Poacher)
Come Hand to me the Glass (George Townshend)
Dave Townsend   English Village Carols (Ian Russell)


Reviews — Electronic Resources

Wm Bruce Olson   Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads
Folksong Index and Broadside Index (Steve Roud)


Cover illustration: 'The Triumph', wood-engraving by Peter Reddick from Thomas Hardy, Under The Greenwood Tree, 1989 (© The Folio Society, London).

Editor: Michael Heaney


With Volume 8 the chronological designation of Folk Music Journal indicates the prospective year not the actual year of intended publication. This issue, Volume 8, Number 1, published in December 2000, is therefore the issue for 2001 and is so designated. Although there is no break in annual publication, this has the consequence that no issue will bear the date 2000.



Folk Music Journal: Volume 8 Number 3

Volume 8 Number 4 (2004) contains the following pieces:



Ian Russell, The Singer's the Thing: The Individual and Group Identity in a Pennine Singing Tradition

A number of folk-song studies in recent years have argued the relative importance of the text and the context; far less attention has been paid to the performance, the performer and the listener in folk-song tradition. This article brings fresh insight to the debate in the light of a young charismatic singer, Haydn Thorp (1976-1999), who during his short lifetime became emblematic of the invigorated local singing tradition in the district around Holmfirth in West Yorkshire. The potent combination of youth and tradition, set within the wider political climate, bestowed a singular status on him. In practical terms, this gave the impetus for social evening and singing competitions, as well as providing other young singers from his per group with a paradigm. The 'Haydn Thorp' phenomenon illustrates the dynamics of an active singing tradition and its significance and symbolism for the community in which it thrives.

E C Cawte, Watching Cecil Sharp at Work: A Study of his Records of Sword Dances Using his Field Notebooks

If Sharp's field notebooks, fair-copy manuscripts and publications are compared, they allow deduction about how he worked. This study is limited to sword dances. He recorded and published the dances from the point of view of an observer, not a dancer, and he usually published a dance after two visits. He had problems with dialect on Tyneside, but his phonetic spellings help to authenticate his notes. He made fair copies of his music promptly, some text waited weeks during which he taught each dance, and it seems likely that he wrote interim texts (which have not survived) before writing the extant fair copies, but there is no known source for some of his data. He published dance movements much as they were performed, but text was altered more often, especially if it might be thought to be indecent. For the last his publisher was probably responsible. He often preferred his own judgement to that of his informants in publishing dance tunes. There is reason to think that he intended to record further sword dancers, but he was prevented by war in 1914.

Marek Korczynski, Music at Work: Toward a Historical Overview

Increasingly, music is being recognized as an important element in the structuring of social interaction and experience in many social spheres. However, little attention has been paid to music in the sphere of work. The importance of this gap in our knowledge, and the reasons for the gap's existence, are highlighted. Addressing this gap requires a historical perspective, placing music within the key historical contexts of the nature of the labour process, and the nature of musical production and consumption. Using these dimensions, the paper puts forward a broad historical overview of music at work in Britain over the last two and a half centuries in three main periods: pre-industrialization, industrialized capitalism, and post-industrial capitalism.

Eddie Cass, Ralph Hedley and his Sword-Dance Paintings

Ralph Hedley of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was an important late Victorian and Edwardian painter whose work encompassed much of interest to folklorists. One of his best known works, 'Christmas at the Vicarage', now untraced, depicts a rapper side dancing outside Tanfield Vicarage. It was a work known to Cecil Sharp. This paper describes Hedley's work on the painting and explains why it is important to trace its current whereabouts. The paper also describes a second painting which deals with the flexibility of sword blades, a subject of interest both to historians and to sword dancers.

Roy Palmer, Neglected Pioneer: E J Moeran (1894 - 1950)

Over a period of almost four decades, the composer E J Moeran took a great interest in traditional song. Although he made settings of songs, and his music was influenced by them, he deeply respected the tradition for its own sake, and greatly admired the skill of performers such as Harry Cox. His extant collection of traditional songs is not large — fewer than seventy items — but it is of great interest, and his contribution in this field has been unfairly neglected. A check-list of songs and singers is appended.



John Cutting, David Gregory   Lomax in London
Gordon Ridgewell The Grenoside Calling-on Song


Reviews — Books

Michael Heaney   Step Change (Georgina Boyes)
Michael Yates Recentering Anglo/American Folksong (Roger de V Renwick)
Ian Russell The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, Irish Traditional Singer (Dáibhí Ó Cróinín)
David Atkinson Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500-1700 (Adam Fox)
Martin Stokes World Musics in Context (Peter Fletcher)
E C Cawte Le Bacchu-Ber et la Danse des Épées dans les Alpes Occidentales (André Carénini)
David Atkinson William Motherwell's Cultural Politics (Mary Ellen Brown)
  The Bedesman and the Hodbearer (Mary Ellen Brown)
Steve Roud Farewell to Judges and Juries (Hugh Anderson)
  A Book of Scattered Leaves (James Hepburn)
  Thomas Ford's Ballads (Roy Palmer


Reviews — Sound Recordings

Vic Gammon   Deep River of Song (Alan Lomax Collection)
Alan & John A. Lomax: The Classic Louisiana Recordings
Ray Allen Caribbean Voyage (Alan Lomax Collection)
Lindsay Aitkenhead   John Johnson: Strange Creek Fiddling (Danny Williams)
Dennis Howitt Classic English Banjo (Ray Andrews)
Gavin Bird Come Write Me Down (The Copper Family)
Down Yonder Green Lane (The Millen Family)
Ian Russell Up in the North and Down in the South (Mike Yates)
George Dunn: Chainmaker



Margaret Bennett   Hamish Henderson
Bob Davenport Phoebe Smith
Sheila Douglas Willie MacPhee
Julia Bishop Cyril Papworth
  Roy Judge: Addendum


Cover illustration: Haydn Thorp. Photograph © John R Haigh.

Editor: Michael Heaney


Folk Music Journal: Volume 8 Number 2

Volume 8 Number 2 (2002) In Memoriam Roy Edmund Judge 1929-2000, contains the following pieces:




David Gregory, Lomax in London: Alan Lomax, the BBC and the Folk-Song Revival in England, 1950-1958

This article describes the years Alan Lomax spent in Europe, making London his base, and focuses on his impact on the English folk-music scene. It analyses his collaboration with leading British collectors and singers, examines the most important radio programmes he made for the BBC, and the recordings with which he was associated, and evaluates the ways in which his influence altered the development of the folk-song revival in England.

Norman Peacock, The Grenoside Calling-On Song

Sharp's published version of the Grenoside Sword Dance gives only one tune for the five verses of the Calling-on Song. From the start it was remarked that this tune was suitable for the first verse only, and later observers noted that a more suitable tune was used for the other verses. Speculation as to why Sharp may have overlooked this tune has led to an examination of the notes he made during his visit to Grenoside, his subsequent treatment of the material and the circumstances surrounding his visit. The result gives an intriguing, if incomplete, picture of the efficiency and limitations of his investigations.

Paul Burgess, The Mystery of the Whistling Sewermen: How Cecil Sharp Discovered Gloucestershire Morris Dancing

On 5 July 1906 two men called Stagg who were working in a sewer were discovered 'whistling Morris tunes' and were invited into Cecil Sharp's home, where he recorded two morris tunes. Although it had been thought this was the only result of that meeting, the Staggs gave Sharp details of a number of dances and led him to William Hathaway and John Mason in Gloucestershire. The article explains who the Staggs were, and their importance in leading Sharp to Gloucestershire morris traditions, which resulted in Sharp's discovery of the Bledington, Longborough, Sherborne and Oddington morris dances.

Roy Judge, Cecil Sharp and the Morris 1906-1909

In 1906 Sharp had only a limited knowledge of morris dancing. By the end of 1909 he had gained a wide experience of it, and had developed his own philosophy of its character and purpose. This paper provides an account of the process by which this took place.


Note on the Citation of Cecil Sharp's Manuscripts



Sean Goddard 'The Triumph' in England, Scotland and the United States
John Fry, Ian A Olson The Dreadful Death of the Bonny Earl of Murray


Reviews — Books

Georgina Boyes, Play today in the Primary School Playground (Julia C. Bishop & Mavis Curtis)


Reviews — Periodicals

Vic Gammon, Country Music Annual, 2000


Reviews — Sound Recordings

Roy Palmer Good Order
Just Another Saturday Night
David Atkinson   I've Come to Sing a Song (Vic Legg)
The First of My Rambles (Roisín White)
Band of Gold (Wiggy Smith)
Ythanside (Daisy Chapman)
The Queen Among the Heather (Jeannie Robertson)
I Sang Through the Fairs (Margaret Barry)
World Library of Folk and Primitive Music, Volumes I-III (Alan Lomax Collection)
Classic Ballads of Britain and Ireland, Volumes I and II (Alan Lomax Collection)
Songs of Seduction (Alan Lomax Collection)
Roy Palmer World Library of Folk and Primitive Music, Volume IV (Alan Lomax Collection)
Italian Treasury (Alan Lomax Collection)
Vic Gammon The Martins and the Coys (Alan Lomax Collection)



Michael Heaney Roy Edmund Judge
Bibliography of the works of Roy Judge
Neil V Rosenberg   Herbert Halpert
Bob Walser William Main Doerflinger
Eddie Dunmore Robert William Grant


Cover illustration: Roy Judge pathfinding on tour with the Ancient Men. Photograph © Chris Sheffield.

Editor: Michael Heaney