Mudcat Café message #3789198 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #159779   Message #3789198
Posted By: Steve Gardham
08-May-16 - 01:51 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
First of all, Richie, this reading symbolism into everything was discarded a long time ago by folklorists and anyone who follows that line nowadays without solid evidence is seen as a crank. A brake of brambles is just a good place to hide a body quickly without it being discovered. No-one is likely to enter the thicket without a machete.

As I've said many times, many of these flimsy pieces of print have not survived. We know that for definite because of printers' catalogues which have survived. The Bristol Tragedy (one of many of that name) is sufficiently close in wording to suggest that they were both produced by the same pen about the same time. There is also a strong possibility a later shortened version was in print that gave rise to the English versions, that has also not survived.

If you read my article on Mustrad you'll see my explanation for why the head in the pot motif was not included. It was simply too far-fetched for a mid 18thc audience. Ghostly visitations, fine, but severed heads in plant pots, 13thc maybe.

There are no other traces of the ballad between 1838 and the 1890s because very few people were collecting ballads in S England during that period.