The Prestwich Treasure

 

 

Found, I think, in the book Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c, a book by John Harland, and Thomas Turner Wilkinson published in 1873. The tune is based on a traditional tune associated with the song The Wars In Germany. Much more information in the forthcoming Tears Of Morning book.

“What news, Sir Thomas Prestwich? What battles lost and won?”
“Mama, the King is sorely pressed, his armies overrun.”
“Give him all you have, my son, his armies to maintain;
And God confound the Parliament that brought him to such shame.”

“Mama, the King is sorely pressed, but I dare not stake my wealth,
For I fear the cause is already lost, and we must think of ourselves.”
“Give him all you have, my son, for wealth I have for thee,
Guarded well by charms and spells, my voice the only key.”

“Mama, the King is dead, the Prince fled overseas,
And with him flown my fortune, prosperity and ease.”
But Lady Prestwich said no word, and no sign could she make,
Nor ever did until she died, the enchantment for to break.

“Cruel was the sickness robbed my mother of her speech
And me of my inheritance, forever out of reach.
Cruel was the Protector, who robbed me of my lands,
The price set for their recovery £330.”

“I’ll maybe find an astrologer, some sorcerer I’ll find
To break the spell and find the wealth my mother put aside.”
Many tried, and many failed: Sir Thomas sought in vain
For that treasure never found unto this very day.

“A curse upon my mother, it’s ill she counselled me:
The treasure that she promised me, it seems I’ll never see.
My lands are sold to pay my debts, my fortune is no more:
I’ll bid farewell to thee, Hulme Hall, that I will see no more.”

Folklife UK

Here’s a reminder of where to find the principle Folklife pages, even more important with the closure of Living Tradition.

David Harley

Jack in the Box (alternative tune)

…again with added music. (I suddenly noticed that it fitted another traditional tune perfectly!)

 

Backup:

 

Down in the workhouse when I was a lad
No tongue can relate all the pleasures we had
Dry bread, and Bastille soup by the bowl
And a flogging or two for the good of our souls x2

A tale I recall of those happy times
And an orphan lad always to mischief inclined
He was ever in line for a kick, at the best
And the poor workhouse master could scarcely find rest

Till came the day one of the other lads died
“Aha!” says the master, “I’ll settle your pride!”
He shut up the lad in the dead-house to stay
Alone with the coffin until the next day

But what should Jack do but open the box
He takes out the corpse, and with it swaps clothes
Props it up on the rail at the top of the stairs
Then he hops in the box and the winding-sheet wears

And when it grew dark, the master came up
With a plate for Jack, some victuals to sup
Holds it out to the corpse on the rail
Who says not a word, but stands stiff, cold and pale

“Well, take it!” the master says in surprise
“I should think you’d be starving by now, damn your eyes!”
Then up leaps Jack, who was lying so still
And says “If he wunna eat it, I will!”

When the master heard this he got such a fright
He let go of the plate, and turned whiter than white
Gave a terrible shriek, such a fright did he get
Fell back down the stairs and near broke his neck

Wasn’t that a sad fall for a man such as he
So kind to his charges, with his boot so free?
So pity the poor who must live on the Roll
And think on the guardians and pray for their souls

A  song of mine based on a story of Knighton workhouse from ‘An idler on the Shropshire borders’, by Ida Gandy. Told to her by Ellen Hughes (nee Jordan) 1864-1940 also known as Granny Hughes. Many thanks to her great-granddaughter Denise Lewis of the Memories of Shropshire FB group for the information and photograph. Written in the 70s, but I figured it was about time I put a tune to it, since it features in a book I’m writing.

In the previous post, the tune used was one associated with many songs, often sea-songs, with a ‘down-derry-down’ chorus.

For this version, I’ve switched to the tune called The Limerick Rake, also used by Tom Paxton for The High Sheriff of Hazard and by Ewan MacColl for Champion at Keeping Them Rolling. I expect there are a good few others too: it’s an excellent tune.

(c) David Harley

Jack in the Box

…now with added music. (I suddenly noticed that it fitted a traditional tune perfectly!)

It also fits the subject matter of a book I’m working on: more on that in due course…

backup:

Down in the workhouse when I was a lad
No tongue can relate all the pleasures we had
Dry bread, and Bastille soup by the bowl
And a flogging or two for the good of our souls x2

A tale I recall of those happy times
And an orphan lad always to mischief inclined
He was ever in line for a kick, at the best
And the poor workhouse master could scarcely find rest

Till came the day one of the other lads died
“Aha!” says the master, “I’ll settle your pride!”
He shut up the lad in the dead-house to stay
Alone with the coffin until the next day

But what should Jack do but open the box
He takes out the corpse, and with it swaps clothes
Props it up on the rail at the top of the stairs
Then he hops in the box and the winding-sheet wears

And when it grew dark, the master came up
With a plate for Jack, some victuals to sup
Holds it out to the corpse on the rail
Who says not a word, but stands stiff, cold and pale

“Well, take it!” the master says in surprise
“I should think you’d be starving by now, damn your eyes!”
Then up leaps Jack, who was lying so still
And says “If he wunna eat it, I will!”

When the master heard this he got such a fright
He let go of the plate, and turned whiter than white
Gave a terrible shriek, such a fright did he get
Fell back down the stairs and near broke his neck

Wasn’t that a sad fall for a man such as he
So kind to his charges, with his boot so free?
So pity the poor who must live on the Roll
And think on the guardians and pray for their souls

A half-written song of mine based on a story of Knighton workhouse from ‘An idler on the Shropshire borders’, by Ida Gandy. Told to her by Ellen Hughes (nee Jordan) 1864-1940 also known as Granny Hughes. Many thanks to her great-granddaughter Denise Lewis of the Memories of Shropshire FB group for the information and photograph.

The tune is the well-known ‘Down-derry-down’ tune used for  various nautical songs including ‘The Dreadnought’/’Flash Packet’/’Liverpool Packet’/’Flash Frigate’… Though I guess it’s more naughty than nautical.

(c) David Harley

Acoustic jams in Cornwall in early-ish September

From John Tremaine/Folk In Cornwall I have news of two more acoustic jams next weekend (9th and 11th September 2022).

First, an evening session at the Lostwithiel Social Club, Fore Street PL22 0BL (I love the melodeon graphic!)

And an afternoon session on the Sunday, a little folkier, in Tywardreath (the New Inn, PL24 2QP): John says there may be another of these in October but then they’ll probably have to stop for the winter.

David Harley

The Goose and the Commons

This is based on an 18th century lyric protesting against the Inclosure Acts, usually called ‘The Goose And The Common’ or ‘They hang the man and flog the woman’. I put a tune to a version of that lyric some time ago, and it’s on my ‘Cold Iron‘ album. While the privatization of common and/or waste land is more or less a done deal, the underlying topic of those who govern doing so for their own benefit rather than that of the people still has a very contemporary resonance. The lyric below makes that link more explicit: I don’t know that the world needs it, but somehow it demanded to be written… I don’t know that I’ll perform it as a song, though, as I’m already performing the older version.

The law demands that we atone
When we sell things we do not own
Yet lets MPs and Lords so fine
To sell off what is yours and mine

The poor and stateless don’t escape
When they conspire the law to break
This must be so, but we all endure
Those who conspire to make the law

You and I do not escape the web
Of laws that profit from us, the plebs
But MPs and their cronies too
Use or ignore them as it suits

The law forbids both man and woman
To protest corruption in the Commons
And so we all will Justice lack
Till we can vote to take it back…

David Harley