Tag Archives: song

Three Acres And A Cow – Lopping Hall – Loughton, Essex – 21/10/17

What
Three Acres And A Cow
When
Saturday, October 21, 2017
TBC - All Ages Buy Tickets
Where
Lopping Hall (map)
High Road
Loughton, Essex, UK IG10 4LN
Other Info
tickets from http://eppingforestdc.bookinglive.com/book/add/p/62/

« Back to the calendar

Song about the Swing Riots – Eight shillings a week

Eight shillings a week

This dates from the winter of 1830, when starving farm-workers in the Southern Counties riotously demonstrated for a basic wage of a half a crown a day. They committed a breach of the peace but otherwise harmed no one, yet after the demonstrations three of them were hanged and over four hundred were transported. At that time a loaf of bread cost a shilling.

Come all you bold Britons where’re you may be,
I pray give attention and listen to me,
There once was good times but they’re gone by complete,
For a poor man now lives on eight shillings a week.

Such times in old England there never was seen,
As the present ones now but much better have been,
A poor man’s condemned and looked on as a thief.
And compelled to work hard on eight shillings a week.

Our venerable fathers remember the year,
When a man earned thee shillings a day and his beer,
He then could live well, keep his family all neat,
But now he must work for eight shillings a week

The nobs of old England of shameful renown,
Are striving to crush a poor man to the ground,
They’ll beat down his wages and starve him complete
And make him work hard for eight shillings a week.

A poor man to labour believe me ‘tis so,
To maintain his family is willing to go,
Either hedging or ditching, to plough or to reap,
But how does he live on eight shillings a week?

So now to conclude and finish my song,
May the times be much better before too long,
May each labouring man be able to keep,
His children and wife on twelve shillings a week.

Song about the Swing Riots – Owslebury lads

Lovely track about the Swing Riots

In 1830, on November the 23rd, there was a riot in Owslebury. This was part of the wave of discontent among agricultural workers which had spread across southern England and expressed itself as the Swing Riots. A large mob formed and moved from farm to farm demanding money and threatening to destroy agricultural machinery. At Rosehill they assaulted Lord Northesk’s steward, Moses Stanbrook, wrecked a winnowing machine, and extorted £5. John Boyes, a local farmer, accompanied the mob demanding that farmers and landlords sign an undertaking which read “We, the undersigned, are willing to give 2s. per day to our married labourers, and 9s. per week to single men, in consideration of having our rent and tithes abated in proportion”. At Marwell Hall the lady of the house, Mrs. Alice Long, gave the mob £5 and signed John’s document. Eventually the mob retreated to Owslebury Down. Nine people had signed John Boyes’ document.

The rioters were tried in Winchester at the end of the year and several were executed. There was a good deal of sympathy for John Boyes and he was twice acquitted before eventually being found guilty and sentenced to be transported to Van Diemen’s Land for seven years. The trials were reported in The Times in December 1830 and January 1831. John Boyes did not complete his sentence. In 1835 the Home Secretary, Lord Melbourne, pardoned him and he returned home to his wife, Faith, and their children, in June of that year to continue farming in Owslebury. He died in Hensting in 1856.

Let’s Lock Ourselves Here For A While

We had the pleasure of singing for Frack Free Lancashire and Reclaim The Power on Friday. During the show, Robin had an excuse to teach the audience a song he wrote for Newham Woodcraft Folk group last year called ‘Let’s Lock Ourselves Here For A While‘. Here are the lyrics and a recording so anyone who wants to learn it can:

 

D G
I’ve a hundred old bike locks and they won’t undo
A D
Any idea who I could give them to?
D G
It’s a nice sunny day in the countryside
A D
Lets lock ourselves here for a while

So sorry Mr Big Truck what is that you say
Something quite cross about us being in your way
The birds are enjoying the day from the trees
Lets lock ourselves here for a while

No we ain’t going nowhere, let’s climb up the trees
Someone must stick up for the birds and the bees
The poor have no lawyers, the trees have no rights
Lets lock ourselves here for a while

Mr blue badge and truncheon is also upset
Doesn’t seem that grace has quite got to him yet
Filmed by a smart phone as he beats up Dave
who locked himself here for a while

They arrested our Caroline it made the lead news
One day the greens will out number the blues
Well in the meantime we’ll do what we must
Lets lock ourselves here for a while

Chorus

Mr suit and tie construction has a seat in the Lords
Our tattered democracy just filed for divorce
One day the people will speak out as one
until then we’ll be locked here a while

The Cottagers Complaint – Anti-enclosure ballad from Sutton-Coldfield

The full title is ‘The Cottager’s Complaint, on the Intended Bill for Enclosing Sutton-Coldfield’ and it was written by John ‘Poet’ Freeth (1731-1808) the owner of Freeth’s Coffee House in Birmingham and a well known poet and songwriter. He published a book called ‘The Political Songster: Or, a Touch on the Times, on Various Subjects, and Adapted to Common Tunes’ which went to at least 6 editions.


How sweetly did the moments glide, how happy were the days!
When no sad fear my breast annoyed, or e’er disturbed my ease;

Hard fate! that I should be compelled my fond abode to lose,
Where threescore years in peace I’ve dwelled, and wish my life to close.

Chorus

Oh the time! the happy, happy time, which in my cot I’ve spent;
I wish the church-yard was his doom, who murders my content.

My ewes are few, my stock is small, yet from my little store
I find enough for nature’s call, nor would I ask for more!

That word, ENCLOSURE ! to my heart such evil doth bespeak,
I fear I with my all must part, and fresh employment seek.

Chorus — Oh the time, &c.

What little of the spacious plain should power to me consign,
For want of means, I can’t obtain, would not long time be mine:

The stout may combat fortune’s frowns, nor dread the rich and great;
The young may fly to market-towns, but where can I retreat?

Chorus — Oh the time, &c.

What kind of feelings must that man within his mind possess,
Who, from an avaricious plan, his neighbours would distress?

Then soon, in pity to my case, to Reason’s ear incline;
For on his heart it stamps disgrace, who formed the base design.

Chorus

Petition of the Pigs in Kent

More info at a folk song a week blog – https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/week-103-petition-of-the-pigs-in-kent/

Original text in 1809 magazine can be found here

Petition of the Pigs in Kent

Ye owners of woodlands, with all due submission
We humbly beg leave to present our petition
That you will be recall this your latest decree
Which tells us that acorns no longer are free

In Sussex and Surrey and Middlesex too
Pigs may ramble at large without much ado
So why then in Kent should pretences be found
To drive us like culprits and thieves to the pound

Since we and our fathers and others before ‘em
Have ranged in your woods with all proper decorum
No poachers are we for no game we annoy
No hares we entrap and no pheasants decoy

Contented are we if an acorn we find
Nor wish for a feast of a daintier kind
Besides we are told and perhaps not mistaken
That you and your friends love a slice of good bacon

But if of good bacon you all love a slice
If pigs are to starve, how can bacon be nice?
For these and for other wise reasons of state
We again our petition most humbly repeat

Ye owners of woodlands, with all due submission
We humbly beg leave to present our petition
That you will repeal this severest of laws
So your woods shall resound to our grunting applause

Singing history pdf’s by Sing London and EFDSS

Some good stuff in these PDF’s by Sing London

https://www.efdss.org/efdss-education/resource-bank/resources-and-teaching-tools/singing-histories

Just currently looking at the ‘Petition of the Pigs in Kent’ ballad from the Kent book… https://media.efdss.org/resourcebank/docs/EFDSS_Education_RecentProjects_SingingHistoriesKent.pdf

Smile In Your Sleep – song about Scottish Highland Clearances

Ewan McLennan just suggested this song ‘Smile In Your Sleep‘ to me, written by Jim McLean about the Highland Clearances.

Beautiful and achingly sad, I personally wonder if it needs another few verses, as I felt from The Cheviot The Stag and The Black Black Oil, that there were a number of defiant pockets of (mostly female) resistance to the Clearances which this song doesn’t touch on.

Hush, hush, time tae be sleepin
Hush, hush, dreams come a-creepin
Dreams o peace an o freedom
Sae smile in your sleep, bonnie baby

Once our valleys were ringin
Wi sounds o our children singin
But nou sheep bleat till the evenin
An shielings stand empty an broken

We stood, wi heads bowed in prayer
While factors laid our cottages bare
The flames fired the clear mountain air
An many lay dead in the mornin

Where was our fine Highland mettle,
Our men once sae fearless in battle?
They stand, cowed, huddled like cattle
Soon tae be shipped owre the ocean

No use pleading or praying
All hope gone, no hope of staying
Hush, hush, the anchor’s a-weighing
Don’t cry in your sleep, bonnie baby

Norwich Farmshare presents – Norwich Central Baptist Church – Norwich – 19/11/16

What
Norwich Farmshare presents
When
Saturday, November 19, 2016
7:00pm - All Ages
Where
Norwich Central Baptist Church (map)
Duke Street
Norwich NR3 3AP
Other Info
Details TBC

« Back to the calendar

Ewan MacColl – Bring The Summer Home – 1381 The Great Revolt

Peggy Seeger also sent over this track called ‘Bring The Summer Home’ from Ewan MacColl’s 1998 reissue compilation album Antiquities.

It is about the Peasants’ Revolt (or the Great Revolt as it should be know!), the 100 Year War with France, the first attempt at an English Poll Tax and the Black Death.

Someone on the Mudcat forums has a bash at working out the lyrics here – http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=141748.

You can hear it online via this youtube mix tape…

Singing and poetry circle @ OpenFest, Barbican on Saturday 8th October

Rachel Rose Reid and Robin Grey will host a ‘Three Acres And A Cow’ singers circle in the spoken word yurt at 1.30pm for a hour. Do come along 🙂

OpenFest is an all day free festival at the Barbican Centre.

http://www.barbican.org.uk/openfest

https://www.facebook.com/events/287236344999140/barbican-openfest

Three Quakers And A Cow – Friends Meeting House – Bristol – 03/06/16

What
Three Quakers And A Cow
When
Friday, June 3, 2016
7:00pm - All Ages Buy Tickets
Where
Friends Meeting House (map)
Champion Square
Bristol, UK BS2 9DB
Other Info
tickets £5 + b/f from http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=13796

facebook - https://www.facebook.com/events/639493816207330/

« Back to the calendar

Three Acres And A Cow – RARA school – Hackney, London – 07/05/16

facebook event page – https://www.facebook.com/events/1608057109521344/
tickets – http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=13797

6pm – food by donation
7pm – show startsRARA low res web

What
Three Acres And A Cow
When
Saturday, May 7, 2016
7:00pm - All Ages Buy Tickets
Where
Unit 2, Grosvenor Way,
Mount Pleasant Hill Industrial Estate
Hackney, London, UK E5 9ND

« Back to the calendar

A place called England – Maggie Holland

I was lucky enough to hear The Young’Uns open with ‘A Place Called England’ at a gig in Bristol last night. Here’s the original version by Maggie Holland – it won the award for Best Song at the BBC Folk Awards 1999. It’s all about gardens and English soil and has a nice reference to the diggers!

I rode out on a bright May morning like a hero in a song,
Looking for a place called England, trying to find where I belong.
Couldn’t find the old flood meadow or the house that I once knew;
No trace of the little river or the garden where I grew.

I saw town and I saw country, motorway and sink estate;
Rich man in his rolling acres, poor man still outside the gate;
Retail park and burger kingdom, prairie field and factory farm,
Run by men who think that England’s only a place to park their car.

But as the train pulled from the station through the wastelands of despair
From the corner of my eye a brightness filled the filthy air.
Someone’s grown a patch of sunflowers though the soil is sooty black,
Marigolds and a few tomatoes right beside the railway track.

Down behind the terraced houses, in between the concrete towers,
Compost heaps and scarlet runners, secret gardens full of flowers.
Meeta grows her scented roses right beneath the big jets’ path.
Bid a fortune for her garden—Eileen turns away and laughs.

So rise up, George, and wake up, Arthur, time to rouse out from your sleep.
Deck the horse with sea-green ribbons, drag the old sword from the deep.
Hold the line for Dave and Daniel as they tunnel through the clay,
While the oak in all its glory soaks up sun for one more day.

Come all you at home with freedom whatever the land that gave you birth,
There’s room for you both root and branch as long as you love the English earth.
Room for vole and room for orchid, room for all to grow and thrive;
Just less room for the fat landowner on his arse in his four-wheel drive.

For England is not flag or Empire, it is not money, it is not blood.
It’s limestone gorge and granite fell, it’s Wealden clay and Severn mud,
It’s blackbird singing from the May tree, lark ascending through the scales,
Robin watching from your spade and English earth beneath your nails.

So here’s two cheers for a place called England, sore abused but not yet dead;
A Mr Harding sort of England hanging in there by a thread.
Here’s two cheers for the crazy diggers, now their hour shall come around;
We shall plant the seed they saved us, common wealth and common ground.

Three Acres And A Cow – Nexus Art Cafe – Manchester – 16/04/16

3A&aC Manchester Nexus low res web flyer

What
Three Acres And A Cow
When
Saturday, April 16, 2016
7:00pm - All Ages Buy Tickets
Where
2 Dale Street
Manchester, UK M1 1JW
Other Info
featuring Naomi Wilkins, Tim Ralphs and Robin Grey
Tickets from Nexus Art Cafe or http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=13651

« Back to the calendar

Summer Youth Residency

Toby and Georgie sing a duet

Way back in warm, sunny August, seven young people gathered somewhere in the depths of the East of England; the outskirts of a town called Diss (plenty of puns were made) in a lovely cottage, previously home to the writer Roger Deakin.

Five of us were from the youth organisation Woodcraft Folk, and we were glad to be joined by Molly and Kathleen who we hadn’t met before but quickly made friends with.

We were joined by Robin and Rachel and spent the week reading, singing and learning all about the history of our land and the struggles that have been fought for it. We listened to podcasts, taught each other songs and shared food together between practicing sections of the show ready for a performance.

At the end of the week, we performed a full show of Three Acres and a Cow as a group, complete with poetry, sketches and, of course, singing.

Since the residency, Anna has successfully applied for funding to develop a Quaker version of the show alongside Robin, and I have been involved in various performances of the show in my new role as youth apprentice.

Here is a selection of photos from the week:

– Naomi, apprentice of Three Acres And A Cow

Three Acres And A Cow – Edibles – Huddersfield, West Yorkshire – 15/04/16

3A&aC Huddersfield low res web flyer

What
Three Acres And A Cow
When
Friday, April 15, 2016
6:30pm - All Ages Buy Tickets
Where
The Cowshed, Paddock Farm, Park Gate Road, Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire
Huddersfield, UK HD7 5XA

Featuring Naomi Wilkins, Tim Ralphs and Robin Grey
tickets from http://www.edibles.org.uk/threeacresandacow

Other Info
with Naomi Wilkins, Tim Ralphs and Robin Grey
Tickets from http://www.edibles.org.uk/threeacresandacow

« Back to the calendar

The Land – The Liberal’s Land Value Tax song

“The song became a Liberal radical anthem in the aftermath of David Lloyd George’s “people’s budget” of 1909 which proposed a tax in land. During the two general elections of the following year, ‘The Land Song’ became the governing Liberals’ campaign song.” (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Land_%28song%29)

Sound the blast for freedom, boys, and send it far and wide,
March along to victory, for God is on our side,
While the voice of nature thunders o’er the rising tide:
“God made the land for the people”.

The land, the land, ’twas God who made the land,
The land, the land. The ground on which we stand,
Why should we be beggars with the ballot in our hand?
God gave the land to the people.

Hark! The shout is swelling from the east and from the west!
Why should we beg work and let the landlords take the best?
Make them pay their taxes for the land, we’ll risk the rest!
The land was meant for the people.

The banner has been raised on high to face the battle din,
The army now is marching on, the struggle to begin,
We’ll never cease our efforts ’til the victory we win,
And the land is free for the people.

Clear the way for liberty, the land must all be free,
Britons will not falter in the fight tho’ stern it be.
‘Til the flag we love so well shall wave from sea to sea,
O’er the land that’s free for the people.

Three Acres And A Cow – GalGael, Glasgow – 07/04/16

Thursday 7th April
Glasgow – http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=13608
Gal Gael –  15 Fairley St, Govan, Glasgow, Glasgow, G51 2TS
http://www.galgael.org/
£12 (£5 concessions)  – entry by donation for all Gal Gael volunteers and workers

Please note, this show is mainly focused on English history with some Scottish and Irish content. We have been invited to showcase it in Glasgow with a view to supporting the creation of a new show with similar spirit, focused on Scottish history.

What
Three Acres And A Cow
When
Thursday, April 7, 2016
6:00pm - All Ages Buy Tickets
Where
15 Fairley Street, Govan
Glasgow, Scotland G51 2TS
Other Info
Tickets on sale via - http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=13608

« Back to the calendar