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Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr

Steve Gardham 24 May 16 - 05:17 PM
Richard Mellish 24 May 16 - 05:03 PM
Steve Gardham 24 May 16 - 02:22 PM
Brian Peters 24 May 16 - 07:12 AM
Brian Peters 24 May 16 - 07:02 AM
Richie 22 May 16 - 04:38 PM
Steve Gardham 20 May 16 - 03:32 PM
Steve Gardham 20 May 16 - 02:29 PM
Brian Peters 20 May 16 - 06:25 AM
Richard Mellish 19 May 16 - 05:12 PM
Steve Gardham 19 May 16 - 04:37 PM
Steve Gardham 19 May 16 - 04:26 PM
Brian Peters 19 May 16 - 03:11 PM
Steve Gardham 19 May 16 - 02:42 PM
Brian Peters 19 May 16 - 02:42 PM
Steve Gardham 19 May 16 - 02:30 PM
Brian Peters 19 May 16 - 06:43 AM
Richie 18 May 16 - 03:55 PM
Steve Gardham 18 May 16 - 03:13 PM
Brian Peters 18 May 16 - 08:25 AM
Richie 17 May 16 - 06:40 PM
Steve Gardham 17 May 16 - 12:41 PM
Steve Gardham 17 May 16 - 11:27 AM
Richie 17 May 16 - 09:59 AM
Richie 17 May 16 - 07:52 AM
Richie 16 May 16 - 11:00 PM
Steve Gardham 16 May 16 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,henryp 16 May 16 - 01:11 PM
Richie 16 May 16 - 12:22 PM
Steve Gardham 15 May 16 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,henryp 14 May 16 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,henryp 14 May 16 - 06:15 PM
Richie 14 May 16 - 06:10 PM
Steve Gardham 14 May 16 - 04:24 PM
Richie 13 May 16 - 06:46 PM
Richie 13 May 16 - 03:30 PM
Steve Gardham 13 May 16 - 02:41 PM
Richie 13 May 16 - 09:59 AM
Richie 12 May 16 - 09:02 PM
Steve Gardham 11 May 16 - 03:40 PM
Steve Gardham 11 May 16 - 03:24 PM
Richie 11 May 16 - 03:16 PM
Steve Gardham 09 May 16 - 04:59 PM
Steve Gardham 09 May 16 - 03:31 PM
GUEST 09 May 16 - 02:22 PM
Richie 08 May 16 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Lighter 08 May 16 - 07:19 PM
Richie 08 May 16 - 07:11 PM
Steve Gardham 08 May 16 - 04:22 PM
Steve Gardham 08 May 16 - 01:51 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 05:17 PM

Yes, Richard. It looks like a work in progress.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 24 May 16 - 05:03 PM

I've had a look at the HTML. It's not that the introduction and "read me first" sections don't open, but they contain no text.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 02:22 PM

Brian,
Yes I can't get the intro pages either. The index is far from comprehensive but any index of this sort is always welcome. I already have a copy of the Dicey Marshall catalogue from elsewhere online.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 16 - 07:12 AM

Steve, the site I stumbled on is:
Richard Simmons' Cheap Print Finding Aid
For some reason his introdyuction won't load on my machine.

He seems to be an expert on Dicey and Marshall and wrote the Bodleian page about them:
Dicey and Marsahall


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 16 - 07:02 AM

Hi Richie.

Maud Karpeles visited Emma Shelton (nee Hensley, daughter of Reuben and Rosa) in 1950 and 1955. I haven't yet been through the 1950 diaries, but in 1955 she visited Emma at least twice at her home on Rte 1, Flag Pond, TN (MK remarks that her house was actually in NC). Emma was married to one Donald Shelton, and had her daughter Jessie - then living in Ohio - staying with her after losing her baby. Emma attempted (without much success) to find people in the area who still remembered old songs.

Emma's elder sister Ella Shelton (presumably also nee Hensley so also married into the Shelton branch of the family). She sang 'Dear Companion' to MK, and duetted with Emma on 'The Banks of Cloddy'.

Emma also invited round to the house to perform, some of her relatives. These formed a string band christened by Maud 'The Sugarloaf Sheltons', from whom she recorded several tunes. They consisted of:
Dominow Shelton (40), banjo
Dale Shelton (24): fiddle
Roy Shelton (30): guitar
Dominow was 'the leading spirit', and the son of Polly Shelton - one of Sharp's singers. MK remarks that he played banjo in 'the new way' with thumb and two fingers.

The notes to the Folktrax release of Maud's recordings are sketchy and inaccurate, as discussed here previously, so I hope the above goes a little way to clarifying the situation.

That's what I have - there may be more when I have time to go through more of the diaries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 22 May 16 - 04:38 PM

Hi,

Been busy and several times could not get on Mudcat. I can't find my bio of Fish which is disappointing. I know she lent ballads to E.N. Caldwell a collector for Perrow. Fish provided the introduction to Granny Banks who was the mother of Mrs. Tom Rice and Sharp got a number of ballads from both of them. I know Fish had a collection and it was mentioned by Smith out of Virginia and info can be found in The Brown Collection of NC Folklore.

TY Richard Mellish for your comment.

Brian- Please post bio info on Hensleys/Sheltons. I am willing to start Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn) as I'm trying to finish up Cruel Ship's Carpenter.

I'll start a tread later today,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 16 - 03:32 PM

Could be, Brian.
Both of these (c3 & c5) are in garlands collected by John Bell of Newcastle. He bought them from Lilley in 1848. On the back of G5 it says in JB's hand 'The old garlands in these volumes are printed by J White who died in 1769, and T Saint who died in 1788.

The cover of G4 (The Bottle and Friend's Garland) has a cut on the cover of 2 lovers in a pleasure garden and Cupid with b&a in top rt corner. G5 was probably printed by Saint and is very similar to G4. That would make it more like 1780 than 1765. Neither has an imprint. Unfortunately. Unfortunately even though I have catalogued this garland twice I can only afford to copy out items by hand and type them up later. I can't afford their photocopying charges.

It might well be that both garlands were printed by the same printer. The 2 texts are almost verbatim the same and the first song in Damon & Phillis's Garland is in fact 'Bottle and Friend'. Again it is without imprint and my own impression I recorded was c1800.

To be on the safe side I would feel happier dating them c1780 to 1800.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 16 - 02:29 PM

Brian,
I'll have a look at them later tonight. I'm not au fait with this Richard Simmons site. Has it been flagged up on Steve's street lit forum? Can you let us have the URL or a blue clicky please?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 May 16 - 06:25 AM

Steve, I think you're right that 'Molly Bawn' would be a good one for Richie to work on next, but, in the meantime, can I check re those garlands? Richard Simmons' Cheap Print finder site (which I've only just discovered) has 'Damon and Phillis' marked as 'Newcastle [1780?]', and'Bottle and friends' as Newcastle [1765?].   Do you agree with those dates and place?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 19 May 16 - 05:12 PM

Steve said
Richie,
I've already explained all of this. The inheritance is a side-issue anyway. The daughter marrying a servant was sufficient motive and is the same motive in endless other similar ballads. He wasn't getting a fourth share! He was to get her share. Look at my explanation of the meaning of 'the same'.

Richie then said
I'm not sure about significance of the inheritance it seems that there's more to it than we can know from the text. If we assume that the broadside was written from a translation of Boccaccio then there's nothing really to investigate, the daughter got a portion and wanted the factor to receive the same.

I'm with Steve on this. The expression "the same" is still sometimes used in formal contexts to signify "the aforementioned". I don't take it to mean another portion of the same size. The story is that the daughter got her portion and wanted the factor to receive it (together with, crucially, herself!).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 04:37 PM

Just to whet your appetite.
Molly Bawn early printings

Belfast garland 1797 in ITMA 'The Youth's Grievance, or the Downfall of Molly Bawn'. 10sts

Damon and Phillis's Garland. BL 11621. c. 5. 49.4 'A Song called Molly Bawn' 7sts

Robertson, Glasgow, 1799. BL 11606. aa. 23. 24.2 'Mally Bann' 12 sts

Bottle & Friend's Garland nd. BL 11621 c. 3. 4.4 'Molly Bawn' 7 double sts.

No imprint. nd National Library of Scotland. 2346 online. An Admired Song called Young Molly Bawn' 6sts.

As with 'Willie Leonard' I'm inclined to think these northern Irish ballads are based on real events, a little romanticised, probably of the mid 18thc.

Robertson's version starts 'Jamie Randall went a hunting'
Andrews of New York actually tiled his version 'Polly Von Luther and Jamie Randall'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 04:26 PM

Brian,
Have a look at the many versions in Greig-Duncan, Vol 5, p554 >.

Like the names of the people mentioned the names of the places vary greatly and these are just the Scottish ones. The only way you can put any weight on the proper nouns is if you go to the earliest broadside, and even that's not guaranteed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 May 16 - 03:11 PM

Thanks for that, Steve, back to the topic, if indeed there's anything left to say. Still hoping to hear from Richie regarding his sources though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 02:42 PM

262 My Master Title 'The Girl I Left Behind' Laws P1 A&B.

I haven't done an in-depth study on this one yet, and as it's not in Hammond Gardiner I'm not likely to for a while, though it could do with one if you have the time. I have a note 'Various sequences and different stories but all related.' A not strictly adhered to rule we use is if 2 or more songs have more than 50% material in common then they will be classified as the same ballad unless one is an obvious rewrite or parody, or some other valid reason.

Funnily enough I'm just moving on to the 'Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy' family of songs that have the same problem.

Rather than muck up Richie's thread with these other ballads it would probably be better to start a new thread(s) or revisit old threads on them if they exist.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 May 16 - 02:42 PM

Thanks Steve, that's great - how about 'Margaret Walker'? Describes a journey from Ireland to Scotland and thence to New York, so should I assume that's Irish too?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 02:30 PM

Undoubtedly a northern Irish ballad, Molly Bawn, and there are several late 18thc copies in the BL and ITMA.

Are you in a hurry as I was going to suggest to Richie he choose this ballad as his next topic? It was printed in New York.

I can easily list what I have in early copies but your man on this and other NI ballads is John Moulden. He wrote a thesis on them. The only one I've studied in detail is The Streams of Lovely Nancy (Strands of Magilligan).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 May 16 - 06:43 AM

Thanks, Steve - I was kind of hoping you might say that.

While we're here (and with apologies for thread drift), do you have any info on the earliest available copies of 'Polly Vaughan' / 'Molly Bawn' (oldest on Bodleian site seem to be Irish), and/or 'Margaret Walker' (aka 'My Parents Treated me Tenderly' or 'The Maid I Left Behind', listed as Roud 262 although there seem to be different songs under that number)? Very grateful if you have anything not in Bodleian.

Also thanks to Richie. Very interesting - I hadn't realised the Hensleys were related to the Sheltons. I've checked p 74 of Betty Smith's book, and she mentions research by Frances Dunham. Do you know anything more about this research? Where did you get the information about Edith Fish? Sharp just describes her as a missionary who was very helpful in locating singers - I'd no idea she was considered a ballad collector herself.

Is the snippet about Olive Campbell visiting Big Laurel from ODC's diary?

I did some work on Maud Karpeles' 1950 diary (all online but online as a series of image files and not searchable) and managed to find out who the various members of the Shelton family were that she heard sing and play that year, including the 'Sugarloaf Sheltons' string band. Can share it, if you're interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 18 May 16 - 03:55 PM

Hi Brian,

Roderick was born in Virginia in 1754 and moved to North Carolina after 1795 and before 1800. He died in 1816 in Shelton Laurel the area where Sharp collected ballads in 1916.

The link on my site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/shelton-family-madison-co-nc-sharp-efssa.aspx

I started working on the Sharp informants (see bottom of the page) but never got far. There's lineage for Rodrick and one of his son's Martin who many of the informants are related to.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 16 - 03:13 PM

Hi Brian,
My estimate of c1750 is only a rough guess based on the Bristol Tragedy connections. Both ballads could well be older. I'm pretty convinced the ballad was directly inspired by the 1620 English printing of The Decameron, but of course this will have gone into many editions of the next couple of centuries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 18 May 16 - 08:25 AM

"As mentioned before most of the informants are descendants of Roderick Shelton b. 1754 in Virginia"

Hi Richie,
'As mentioned before'...? Where can I find your fullest analysis of the Shelton family tree? I can't make the search function on your site work.

If the Sheltons were already settled in America by the mid-1700s, then presumably the date of migration would be too early for a Shelton to have brought this ballad over from England?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 16 - 06:40 PM

Hi,

I'm not sure about significance of the inheritance it seems that there's more to it than we can know from the text. If we assume that the broadside was written from a translation of Boccaccio then there's nothing really to investigate, the daughter got a portion and wanted the factor to receive the same.

After looking at the ballad for a month I'm convinced Steve's articles and conclusions are valid. In that month we've discovered a new and early English version, compared the texts of over 70 versions, and uncovered new details.

I want to that Steve Gardham for his help and everyone who has contributed to this thread.

The reason this ballad was not considered by Child is: he never knew about the ballad and I'm sure the reworked broadside Constant Farmer's Son was nothing he was interested in. We do know that MacMath wrote to Belden about Constant Farmer's Son and the Braes o' Yarrow (see footnote 50).

As the ballad stands now it's likely based on a broadside, even though it's a missing broadside, that in turn is based on Boccaccio's work. Whether this ballad would have warranted inclusion into Child's collected of ballads if he had the 80 extant versions, we'll never know.

It's still a powerful story,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 16 - 12:41 PM

ditch/creek/brook
In oral tradition where there can be long intervals between learning and repeating a song, near synonyms are often substituted. Had this ballad been written in the north of England dyke/dike would more probably have been the chosen word. Post enclosure most ditches were man-made for drainage. More modern equivalent is drain. At the end of our road in Yorkshire is Endyke Lane and just up the road is Barmston Drain. Incidentally Endyke is spelt thus at one end and Endike at the other.

For explanation of inheritance see 30 April post 01.01.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 16 - 11:27 AM

Richie,
I've already explained all of this. The inheritance is a side-issue anyway. The daughter marrying a servant was sufficient motive and is the same motive in endless other similar ballads. He wasn't getting a fourth share! He was to get her share. Look at my explanation of the meaning of 'the same'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 16 - 09:59 AM

Hi,

Joiner's stanza 9 above is identical to the stanza in Douglass version from NY circa 1820s. It seems that other English versions have brook.
"In Bruton Town" sung by Mrs Baggs of Chedington, Dorset, in August, 1907 has:

She woke up early, so early next morning,
And went to the brook where the briars grew;

I've been looking at stanza 4, the inheritance as a motive for murder:

Another possible motive for the murder is the portion of their father's inheritance as found in stanza 4. Although the amount the daughter receives varies, it's clear that she feels that her love, the factor, should receive the same inheritance. There could have been a dispute over the amount of the inheritance that her love should receive between the daughter and her brothers. It seems that after the father died the factor did not receive a share of the inheritance. The last two lines of stanza two are:

"To this young man that ploughed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same."

So the daughter was determined to get the same amount of inheritance for her love, perhaps indicating that he had not received it. This was another reason the brothers were jealous of the factor. In another version "The Ditch of Briars" sung by Mr. and Mrs. James York in 1940- the father apparently left the same amount to her love,

"The 'prentice boy who was bound to him,
To him alone was left the same."

In this case the 'prentice is to be left the same amount as the daughter and brothers, another motive for jealously by the brothers and murder.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 16 - 07:52 AM

Hi,

It's interesting to note that in the first two English version a "brook is mentioned in association with the place of briars.

1838 version sung by a labourer:

"Near Tunbridge waters a brook there runneth;
With thorns and briers it is overgrown,
And, all for to hide their cruel murder,
In that brook he was killed and thrown."


1904 Overd version:

6. She rose early the very next morning,
Unto the garden brook she went;
There she found her own dear jewel
Covered all over in a gore of bled.

Whereas in other versions it's a "dry place" or a "creek with no water":

It was near the creek where there was no water,
Nothing but bushes and briars grew.
All for to hide their cruel slaughter
Into the bushes his body threw. [A Famous Farmer; Digweed 1906]

9 But in the ditch there was no water,
Where only bush and briars grew,
They could not hide the blood of slaughter
So in the ditch his body threw.[Lord Burling's Sister- Joiner (Herts) 1914]


Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 16 May 16 - 11:00 PM

Sorry,

I meant, where did Peter Parley collected the version? It was in a bar, but where? I guessed Redhill Grange, but it was unclear. The labourer, in a smock frock sang, "Near Tunbridge Waters" but that was not where Parley heard it sung.

I've got the headnotes roughed in here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/3-the-bramble-briar-merchants-daughter-.aspx

The 24-stanza collated version is there also. I was missing your stanza 14 but I added that with texts from the traditional versions (there are two partial stanzas where the ghost gives her directions to his body).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 16 - 07:03 PM

The Broadwood version is in the Folk Song Journal 19, p123. It was reprinted in Belden's article mentioned above as version B1. Title Lord Burling's Sister.

Richie
I'm confused by your request. You are the one who found this version and pinpointed its source as near as anyone could on the evidence given. If you mean where is Tunbridge, I already explained. See 4th May 5.24 pm. But as I said, this is irrelevant. It's obviously just a mishearing of 'near to Bridgwater' as in other versions. You already have the date of the publication. On so little evidence it's impossible to give it an earlier date.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 16 May 16 - 01:11 PM

Thank you, Steve.

I have now found It's of a Farmer on the Full English by searching for a list. Luckily, it came up as 3/648. And in a second search it's come up as 2/177, and with the original dots and words too.

I've also found the record of The Bramble Briar collected by Lucy Broadwood in Hertfordshire. But I haven't found either words or dots on the site - it's simply listed as from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 16 May 16 - 12:22 PM

Hi Steve,

Where is the first English version "In Tunbridge Waters" from? What would you estimate it's date?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 16 - 03:14 PM

Hi Henry,

The Hertfordshire version was collected by Lucy Broadwood in 1914.
However (IMO) the evidence for Somerset is overwhelming.
1) All versions that have an intact beginning are set in a seaport.
2) Where it is present Bridgwater is a place not a person or an estate.
3) Another ballad The Bristol Tragedy has wording very close to the opening stanzas of Bramble Briar.

And that's apart from the fact that nearly all English versions were collected in a 40-mile radius around Bristol where it is highly likely it was first printed.

Before I came across the Bristol Tragedy I was looking at the possibility it was an American ballad originally as there is a Bridgewater in most of the states on the eastern seaboard.

The confusion between Hertfordshire and Herefordshire has happened before in ballads, and could have been deliberate or accidental. Broadside printers often relocated ballads for obvious reasons, but sometimes the apprentice copying a ballad down in a hurry would make the mistake.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 May 16 - 06:39 PM

Dungheap No.21 The Bridgewater Merchant

The temptation here is obviously to take this to mean Bridgwater in Somerset, some twenty miles west of Bruton, as most of the British texts were found in Somerset or Hampshire not very far away. However one version was found in Hertfordshire where there are lots of Bridgewater connections, the Earldom of Bridgewater originating here.

Source B5 Vaughan Williams Ms 8vo E 5, VWML; printed in Everyman's Book of English Country Songs, p.111

I don't know whether the 'version found in Hertfordshire' was really the one collected by Vaughan Williams in Herefordshire.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 May 16 - 06:15 PM

Version O. "It's of a Farmer" was collected from an unknown informant in Herts in 1913 by R. V. Williams. It was later published in Palmer's, Everyman's Book of English Country Songs.

The text - from the edition republished in 2008 as the English Country Songbook - says it was collected by Vaughan Williams in Herefordshire.

Sources and Notes 59 It's of a Farmer
Sung by an unnamed singer, Poolend, Ashperton, Hertfordshire; collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, September, 1913 (MS 8vo E 5).

Poolend is in Herefordshire. It lies between Hereford and Ledbury, where Roy Palmer was a resident for some years.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 14 May 16 - 06:10 PM

OK,

I might add stanza 14 but I'll do it my way :) If I do add it then I have 24 stanzas if I use The Bridgewater Merchant's last three stanzas (Douglass) as a basis- which I did. I haven't had a chance to look at it today.

I'm starting to get my head around the versions but since there are over 70 I have to keep looking at them over and over.

It's important to me that the stanza is present in at least two versions even if the wording is different. At least that verifies the legitimacy of the stanza.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 May 16 - 04:24 PM

Hi Richie,
If I can recall my thinking on this stanza using the text in Leach from JAFL 46 p25, I give some sort of explanation as to how I put this stanza together in the notes above. But further to those, I didn't think the phrase 'ditch of briars ' would have suited an English original so I took the phrase from English versions. Also the JAFL version has a shunted stanza and the first couplet already occurs in stanza 13. The 4th line of course is epitomised from the JAFL 4th line, reworded to rhyme with line 2. As I explained in the notes this stanza doesn't actually exist in any known version in full, but it makes sense of the 4th line of the previous stanza. This one is pure conjecture on my part. Hope this explains my thinking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 13 May 16 - 06:46 PM

Steve,

I finished my reconstruction- then I looked at yours. I was missing your stanza 14:


"If you rise early in the morning, B2
And over lofty mountains wind,      A4
Go straightway to yon brake of briars, A10
And in the ditch my body find." A10

A10 you give as JAF 46, but no US version has "brake of briars." JAF 46 has:

Go straight way to yon ditch of briars,
There you find me dead and slain."

"brake" was substituted for "ditch" but the last line is different and not found in a book. Perhaps you changed "ditch" so you wouldn't have "ditch" twice. Just wondering where the last line came from?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 13 May 16 - 03:30 PM

TY Steve,

I'm up to stanzas 13 so when I finish it I'll post- It'll be similar to your version only I've borrowed more from other versions.

OK you're right about the Beers version- it's a similar story at best and not like any traditional versions. I agree with you.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 16 - 02:41 PM

Just a pity the first verse doesn't have the abab rhyme of the rest of the verses. It surely must have had it in the original.

'It's clearly a version'. You really need to be more precise when you make a statement like this. Yes, it's a version of the story, but nothing like the ballad and totally unrelated in that sense.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 13 May 16 - 09:59 AM

Hi,

Of the about 83 traditional versions I've selected these:

A. "Near Turnbridge Waters" found in Chapter 18 in Tales About Christmas by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) p. 147-148; London, 1838.

B. "The Bridgewater Merchant," from New York MS taken from a great-aunt of Douglass; dated circa 1820, part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958.

C. "The Apprentice Boy" from Ohio/Michigan taken MS book (c. 1852) of Mrs. Elsie Clark Lambertson.

D. "The Bamboo Brier" Sung by Mrs. Samuel Harmon; Cades Cove, TN from Council Harmon (1806-1890) dated c. 1840

E. "The Merchant's Daughter"- Carl Mayhew Missouri, dated 1870, collected in 1910, Belden A

F. "The Bamboo Briers"- Hannah Ross from Virginia to West Virginia; 1875 Cox A

G. "The Bramble Brier"- Sung by Jane Goon Ohio taken from Carrie Brubaker by 1876. Eddy

H. "The Bramble Brier," from Henry J. Wehman (Wehman's Universal Songster); printed in NY. No. 28, p. 23; 1890.

I. "The Jealous Brothers," sung by Mr. Doney Hammontree of Farmington, Arkansas; from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs dated 1890s.

J. In Bruton Town" sung by Mrs. Overd in Somerset, England; collected in 1904 by Cecil Sharp.

K. "A Famous Farmer" sung by George Digweed, Hants. Collected by H. E. Hammond in 1906.

   L. "Lonesome Valley" was collected by Katherine Pettit in Kentucky from an unknown informant before 1907 when it was published in the JAF by Kittredge.

   M. "The Brake o' Briars" sung by Sebbage in Sussex in 1911; collected Gillington.

   N. "The Apprentice Boy" was collected by Hubert Shearin in Kentucky from an unknown informant before 1911 when it was published in the Sewannee Review.

   O. "It's of a Farmer" was collected from an unknown informant in Herts in 1913 by R. V. Williams. It was later published in Palmer's, Everyman's Book of English Country Songs.

    P. "Lord Burling's Sister" was collected by Broadwood from Joiner in Herts, 1914.

    Q. "The Farmer's Daughter" Sung by Richard Gardner of Hardwick, Oxfordshire and collected by Alfred Williams. It was published, December 1915.

    R. "In Seaport Town" Sung by Stella Shelton of Madison County, NC in 1916 (Sharp A).

    S. "Near Bridgewater" Sung by Eliza Pace of Hyden, KY in 1917 (Sharp E).

    T. "In Transport Town-- Sung by Mrs. Mollie Broughton at Barbourville, Knox Co., Kentucky on May 8, 1917 (Sharp F, MS)

    U. "Brandberry Briars" Communicated by Frances Sanders (WV) 1924 Cox C

    V. "The Bridgewater" Sung by George Vinton Graham of California, learned in Iowa. Recorded in 1938 by Cowell for LOC.

    W. "The Bridgwater Farmer" Sung by Caroline Hughes of Dorset, England. Recorded in 1962 MacColl/Seeger.

I've started he ballad story from the traditional text:

A wealthy merchant (or a farmer) lived "near Bridgewater" in C, V, W (in A, "near Tunbridge Waters"; in B, "At Bridgewater"; D "Across Bridgewater" G, "In Portly town" H, "Near Blue-water"; J, "In Bruton Town"; L, "In yonder town"), who had two sons and a daughter fair, when the father died (from life to death; of life to death) "they were bereaved, which filled his children's hearts with care (fear)." Unto the seas the two sons (in S, "young men" in V, "two boys") did venture, to bring home their father's gain (in B, "bring back their gain"). They had an apprentice by firm indenture and sent him factor (in S, factory) o'er the raging main. He was comely of a fair complexion, neat (in B, straight) and complete in every limb. And on him their sister placed her whole affection, Unbeknownst to any of them. Three thousand pounds (in E, Five hundred pounds) it was her portion, all for this fair and comely dame. To this young man that ploughed (in B, crossed) the ocean, she was resolved to bestow the same.

The resulting ur-ballad or missing broadside:

A wealthy merchant lived near Bridgewater,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair,
when the father died they were bereav-ed,
Which filled his children's hearts with care.

Unto the seas the two sons did venture,
To bring home their father's gain;
They had an apprentice by firm indenture
And sent him factor o'er the raging main.

He was comely of a fair complexion,
Neat and complete in every limb.
And on him their sister placed her affection,
Unbeknownst to any of them.

Three thousand pounds it was the portion,
All for this fair and comely dame.
To this young man that ploughed the ocean,
She was resolved to bestow the same.

Comments?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 12 May 16 - 09:02 PM

Hi,

The Beers tune and text apparently aren't his. It's clearly a version but there is additional material and a completely new chorus. If anyone want to listen to it (link provided) and proof my version there is at least one spot I couldn't understand.

Steve emailed the Gerald Porter pages from SINGING THE CHANGES: VARIATION IN FOUR TRADITIONAL BALLADS by Gerald Porter. The chapter is called "Brake of Briars:" regeneration of a ballad.

Porter provided a regenerated ballad on p. 20-21; it begins:

1. In a seaport town there lived a merchant,
He had two sons and a daughter fair;
There lived a prentice-boy about there,
Who was his daughter's dearest dear.

Porter used the 1904 Overd version from Somerset and the Mayhew version from Missouri (Belden A) apparently thinking these were representative versions but neither version is a superior version. The result isn't bad but Steve Gardham's is so much better because Steve used the best version and added to it.

Porter doesn't seem to have a grip on the extant versions available even in 1991 when this was written. He seems to lump Farmer's Constant Son with Bramble Briar and talks about Canadian and Scotch version although there aren't any. Even tho the Canadian version is CFS he doesn't make the distinction.

There are several mistakes from his lack of knowing the current versions. His regenerated ballad given at the end is only 16 measures long and misses several important details of the story: 1) that the merchant dies 2) The merchants leaves an inheritance for his daughter 3) that the servant was a factor and sailed the seas along with the brothers

This is just from the beginning---- the other problem is the phrases, identifiers and rhymes found in the ur-ballad or missing broadside are missing in his regeneration.

Just an update. I did get the two versions from West Virginia collected by Bush in 1969 and both of them are good. So I've added three more versions on my site and my total is now 55 US versions. I'm starting to write the main headnotes and have made some progress but only have about 4 pages done so far with about 3 more to go. The main difficulty with be comparing all 83 versions to come up with an accurate collation of identifiers, phrases and stanzas.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 16 - 03:40 PM

dispatched, but I'm having problems trying to delete old email addresses. I've got 3 down for you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 16 - 03:24 PM

Hardly merits even putting in an appendix but as it utilises a couple of the motifs from the general plot it might be worth a mention. If you can't find anything remotely similar it is likely written by Beers.

Will resend and update email. Jon got his copies.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 11 May 16 - 03:16 PM

Hi Steve,

Didn't get the Porter scans (Richiematt7@gmail.com).

According to A Book of Scattered Leaves: Poetry of Poverty in Broadside Ballads, Volume 1 by James G. Hepburn , the Brown broadside is 1832-1837 but probably closer to 1837 when Taylor stopped printing new material.

I found this unusual version of Bramble that probably should be found in an Appendix since it's different. You can listen here: https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/239440 Dark-Haired Lass is about 7:20 on top audio clip.

My quick transcription follows (corrections?):

The Black-Haired Lass- starts with a fiddle tune in minor; arranged by Robert H. Beers, performed 1963. Performed by Evelyne and Bob Beers.


VERSE 1: Down in the lowland there did dwell
A comely maid I knew fair well
And for her favor many did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low.

CHORUS- She's as wan[1] with a delicate air
She was a flower beyond compare.
Many's the lad did tipple his glass
All for the love of the black haired lass.

VERSE 2: Now there was a lad I knew him well,
All up on the mountain he did dwell,
And for her favor many did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 3: Now she did mark his comely eye
And in her bower she did cry,
Not for his favor she did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 4: Then on his [their] way her brothers did fly
By their wicked blade this youth did die
And for their favor he did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 5: And in the twilight of the year
His ghostly form it did appear.
And for her favor he did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 6: Oh maiden, maiden hear me well,
False-hearted kindred here doth dwell
Take heed my flight to all who go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)


1. She the swan?


Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 May 16 - 04:59 PM

Porter scanned and dispatched.

The only copy of CFS that contains Brown's name is the Taylor one. The only other copy which has tune designation is Catnach's copy. I'm tempted to say that the Taylor copy is most likely the first printing. The few datable copies on Bodleian printed by William Taylor (no relation I presume) are c1830 and 1834? so your guess looks like a good one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 May 16 - 03:31 PM

The broadside that credits it to G. Brown and gives the tune designation is printed by Taylor of London. This copy is in the Madden Collection, not online.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST
Date: 09 May 16 - 02:22 PM

Jon,
Don't bother. I've got it. I'll scan it and send it to Richie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 16 - 07:28 PM

Ok ty Lighter, PM or remail me too,

R-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 May 16 - 07:19 PM

Richie, I believe I can have Porter's book in a couple of weeks through my library.

Will be happy to order it and report back.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 16 - 07:11 PM

TY Steve,

Not trying to get too far out from the shore. I prefer facts. Gerald Porter apparently tried to reconstruct the ballad but I doubt he did it as well as you've done. Still, I'd like to see it.

Didn't know CFS was written by George Brown. It's good to know because I've listed CFS as an Appendix to Bramble.

The two early broadside I found are:

a. "The Merchant's Daughter and Constant Farmer's Son." Pitts broadside dated 1819-1844 with the imprint: "Pitts Printer and Toy Warehouse 6 Great St Andrew Street Seven Dials."
b. "Merchant's Daughter, or Constant Farmer's Son." Broadside printed by Taylor, 16, Waterloo Road, near the Victoria Theatre, London c. 1830-1840 (imprint features a woodcut with three squares; the first is a drum, a bird of prey and a horse)

Is Brown's name attached to these broadsides? What date do you surmise? I put a date of circa 1830.

So if Brown wrote it based on Bramble then it's probable that his print shop had access to a copy of Bramble. Or he knew it from tradition.

What do you think?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 May 16 - 04:22 PM

Comparing 'Bramble Briar' with 'Constant Farmer's Son' there is little one can say conclusively. There are about 4-5 points of detail worth comparing other than the common plot and it's anybody's guess whether the writer of CFS took the inspiration from the original, from a later broadside or from an oral version of BB. All of the more detailed similarities are found in English oral versions. It is even possible, likely in a few cases, that CFS influenced some oral versions of BB, one noted above.

A summary of the similarities:
CFS Mary is in love with a farmer's son. In oral versions of BB her father is a farmer (a tenuous link at best)

In CFS Mary dreams about the death of her lover which is the case in some oral versions (instead of the ghostly visit)

CFS, like BB, mentions salt tears, gore, and her kissing the corpse.

In BB she hangs around his body 3 days and 3 nights. In CFS it's one day and one night. and when she has to leave, in both it's because 'hunger came creeping'.

What we do know about CFS is that it was written by George Brown about whom we know nothing other than he was one of the very few in the early 19thc who was allowed to append his name, like John Morgan' to the ballads he supplied. We also know the designated tune was 'Young Edwin in the Lowlands' on broadsides. Not only is it set in London but must have been first printed there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 May 16 - 01:51 PM

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.


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