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Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...

grumpy al 21 Apr 07 - 12:36 PM
Mr Happy 21 Apr 07 - 12:56 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Apr 07 - 04:39 PM
grumpy al 22 Apr 07 - 01:44 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Apr 07 - 01:51 PM
grumpy al 22 Apr 07 - 02:12 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Apr 07 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Paul in Canada 17 May 07 - 08:38 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 May 07 - 10:12 PM
grumpy al 18 May 07 - 03:43 PM
The Borchester Echo 18 May 07 - 04:25 PM
Kevin Sheils 19 May 07 - 03:27 AM
Richard Mellish 05 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Peter O'Connor 29 Sep 11 - 12:37 PM
Jim Dixon 04 Oct 11 - 06:09 PM
Jim Dixon 04 Oct 11 - 06:54 PM
grumpy al 12 Nov 11 - 07:31 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Nov 11 - 07:52 AM
grumpy al 12 Nov 11 - 08:09 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 12 Nov 11 - 06:41 PM
grumpy al 13 Nov 11 - 04:41 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Cheapside
From: grumpy al
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 12:36 PM

does anyone have the words for a song called cheapside ? the only version I know of is by the Bully Wee band
Thanx Grumpy

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 12:56 PM

is it this one @displaysong.cfm?SongID=8262 ?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 04:39 PM

If the late Peter Kennedy's lists are accurate (and they aren't always), then it's probably 'George Barnwell' (number 546 in the Roud Folk Song Index) rather than 'Rigs of London Town' (Roud 968); of course, both mention Cheapside, but so did lots of songs.

When asking about a song it's helpful if you tell us a little about it: do you remember any words? What was it about? The sort of thing that will save people wasting time looking up blind alleys.

If it is 'Barnwell', then presumably 'Bully Wee' used the tune that Sandra Kerr set to it, as no traditional tune seems to have been preserved. Alfred Williams printed a set of words in Folk-Songs of the Upper Thames in 1923, commenting '"Georgie Barnell" was well known around the Cotswolds and Thames generally.' It seems to have been a 19th century "stage cockney" parody of a rather older (and much longer) song. For broadside editions from the mid 17th into the early 19th century, see Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads

[An excellent ballad of] George Barnwel [an apprentice of London, who was undone by a strumpet]

The two prints by Keys of Devonport are the C19 parody, and evidently the source of the Williams text. Have a look; if it's something completely different, drop by and give us a clue or two.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside
From: grumpy al
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:44 PM

thanks for the help, if I remember correctly the first verse is somthing like...

on cheapside there lived a merchant
he was a man of noted fame
he had a youth apprenticed to him
georgie bardle was his name

but that is as mutch as i can rember any further help would be good


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:51 PM

It's definitely a form of 'George Barnwell', then. As I say, I expect that 'Bully Wee' got it from Sandra Kerr and the Critics Group; where they got it I don't know.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside
From: grumpy al
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 02:12 PM

Thanx MD
I can look other sources then

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From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 07:31 AM

Google Book Search found this in "The Quaver: Or, Songster's Pocket Companion" by Quaver, London: Charles Jones, Aldermanbury, 1844, page 298.

The original was written in dialect (e.g. "vicked voman") but I figure no one would sing it that way today, would they? So I changed everything to modern standard spelling:


In Cheapside there lived a merchant.
A man he was of very great fame,
And he had a handsome 'prentice.
Georgy Barnwell was his name.
    Fol de riddle, &c.

This youth he was both good and pious,
Dutiful beyond all doubt,
And he always stayed within doors
'Cause his master wouldn't let him go out.

A wicked woman of the town, sir,
On him cast a wishful eye,
And she came in the shop one morning
A flannel petticoat to buy.

When she had paid him down the money,
She gave his hand a very hard squeeze,
Which so frightened Georgy Barnwell
That together knocked his knees.

Then she left her card whereon was written
"Mary Millwood does entreat
That Master Barnwell would call and see her
At No. 2 in Dyot Street."

Now as soon as he had shut the shop up,
He went to this naughty dickybird,
And when that he went home next morning,
Blow me if he could speak a word.

Now soon this woman did persuade him
With her fascinating pipes
To go down into the country
And let loose his uncle's tripes.

There he found his uncle in the grove, sir,
Studying hard at his good books,
And Georgy Barnwell went and stuck him
All among the crows and rooks.

When Millwood found he'd got no money,
Not so much as to buy a jewel,
She went that very day and peached him.
Now was not that hair (?) very cruel?

At her fate no one lamented,
But everybody pitied his'n
When out come the cruel hangman
To put the cord about his wizen.

The merchant's daughter died soon after.
Tears she shed but spoke no words;
So all young men, I pray take warning:
Don't go with the naughty dickybirds.

[As Malcolm Douglas pointed out, this is a parody of an older, much longer, and much more serious murder ballad.]

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: GUEST,Paul in Canada
Date: 17 May 07 - 08:38 PM

Just wondering if anyone can suggest some chords for this one.
Keep em simple to match me talent please.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 May 07 - 10:12 PM

That would depend on somebody knowing what the tune was. So far nobody has volunteered that information.

Since the whole point of the parody was that it was a parody, posting a text with the bulk of the parodic elements removed seems a little odd to me. Cockney dialect no longer pronounces w as v (or vice versa) but surely it is better to provide (presumably for the minority who are unable to read the broadside copy I provided a link to earlier) a faithfully transcribed text about which people can make their own decisions, instead of having those prescribed for them?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: grumpy al
Date: 18 May 07 - 03:43 PM

thanx for the words you're a 'kin genius. well done


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 May 07 - 04:25 PM

I have Georgy Barnwell and all the rest dubbed from the original vinyl (which was on the point of wearing out) but didn't think, in those days, of preserving all the notes so don't know where the tune came from.

Sweet Thames Flow Softly, the follow-up Argo LP, has been reissued on CD but A Merry Progress To London has not yet (unless I've missed it).

Why not ask Sandra Kerr direct?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy.
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 19 May 07 - 03:27 AM

My copy of the vinyl is on loan to a friend (along with the notes) but as soon as I get it back I'll see if there is a reference for the tune.

I've been singing it myself since the early 70's but, as is common the tune may have "slightly" altered from Sandra's over the years.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 05 Jul 09 - 10:18 AM

I was looking at this thread recently and then had a chance to speak to Sandra Kerr at C# House yesterday. She told me that the words were the version from Folk-Songs of the Upper Thames (which explains the absence of some of the verses in the broadside) and that the tune was written by MacColl.

She agreed with my view that part of the appeal of the song, in this version, is the unfinished feeling at the end of the tune, leaving you hanging in the air, and likewise of the story.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: GUEST,Peter O'Connor
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 12:37 PM

In the late '70's early '80's we had a band based in Amsterdam called 'Sin É' Gaelic for That's It. Kevin Beggan of Dublin sang it - a fairly lively version that never failed to please - though I often thought that the story of the song went over the head of most of the audience.
For health reasons he doesn't sing anymore but I've taken a fancy to the song - and along with another Solvey (a Romanian song I believe) I take a break from by fiddle and sing along with the mandolin.
Georgie Barnwell is eminently suited for the twanging of the mandolin and makes my music-hall version seem fairly authentic sounding - if I dare be so bold.
There's another old English song I'm after - The Molecatcher. A bit like the German Clockwinder of the Dublin balladeers.
Any hints, tips, links to the Molecatcher - I'd be grateful for and can be reached via my website

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From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 06:09 PM

From A Collection of Songs and Ballads Relative to the London Prentices and Trades; And to the Affairs of London Generally by Charles Mackay (London: Percy Society, 1841), page 35:

[You can see the original broadside at The Bodleian collection where it is said to date "between 1682 and 1707."]


An apology may be necessary for the reproduction here of a ballad so well known as "George Barnwell;" and the only apology that can be offered is, that a collection relating to London and London Prentices would be incomplete without it. In the introduction given to it in Percy's Reliques, the bishop states that this tragical ballad seems to relate to a real fact, but when it happened he had not been able to discover. No further light has since been thrown upon the matter. The title of the ballad, as taken by Percy from the Ashmole Collection, at Oxford, is "An excellent Ballad of George Barnwell, an Apprentice of London, who thrice robbed his master, and Murdered his Uncle, at Ludlow. To the Tune of 'The Merchant.'" The well-known play of "George Barnwell," written by Lillo, and produced by him in or shortly prior to 1730, was until very recently annually brought forward on the metropolitan boards at holiday time, as an example to the idle youths that then flocked to the theatres; but it now seems to be discarded altogether, and bids fair to become obsolete. It is said of a recent worthy chamberlain of the city, that he never failed when an apprentice was bound before him, to relate the sad story of George Barnwell, and quote some lines of the ballad, as a warning to him.


1. All youth of fair England
That dwell both far and near,
Regard my story that I tell,
And to my song give ear.

2. A London lad I was,
A merchant's prentice bound;
My name George Barnwell; that did spend
My master many a pound,

3. Take heed of harlots then,
And their enticing trains;
For by that means I have been brought
To hang alive in chains.

4. As I, upon a day,
Was walking through the street
About my master's business,
A wanton I did meet.

5. A gallant dainty dame,
And sumptuous in attire;
With smiling look she greeted me,
And did my name require.

6. Which when I had declar'd,
She gave me then a kiss,
And said, if I would come to her,
I should have more than this.

7. Fair mistress, then quoth I,
If I the place may know,
This evening I will be with you,
For I abroad must go,

8. To gather monies in,
That are my master's due:
And ere that I do home return,
I'll come and visit you.

9. Good Barnwell, then quoth she,
Do thou to Shoreditch come,
And ask for Mrs. Millwood's house,
Next door unto the Gun.

10. And trust me on my truth,
If thou keep touch with me,
My dearest friend, as my own heart
Thou shalt right welcome be.

11. Thus parted we in peace,
And home I passed right;
Then went abroad, and gathered in,
By six o'clock at night,

12. An hundred pound and one:
With bag under my arm
I went to Mrs. Millwood's house,
And thought on little harm;

13. And knocking at the door,
Straightway herself came down;
Rustling in most brave attire,
With hood and silken gown.

14. Who, through her beauty bright,
So gloriously did shine,
That she amaz'd my dazzling eyes,
She seemed so divine.

15. She took me by the hand,
And with a modest grace
Welcome, sweet Barnwell, then quoth she,
Unto this homely place.

16. And since I have thee found
As good as thy word to be:
A homely supper, ere we part,
Thou shalt take here with me.

17. O pardon me, quoth I,
Fair mistress, I you pray;
For why, out of my master's house,
So long I dare not stay.

18. Alas, good sir, she said,
Are you so strictly ty'd,
You may not with your dearest friend
One hour or two abide?

19. Faith, then the case is hard;
If it be so, quoth she,
I would I were a prentice bound,
To live along with thee:

20. Therefore, my dearest George,
List well what I shall say,
And do not blame a woman much,
Her fancy to bewray.

21. Let not affection's force
Be counted lewd desire;
Nor think it not immodesty,
I should thy love require.

22. With that she turn'd aside,
And with a blushing red,
A mournful motion she bewray'd
By hanging down her head.

23. A handkerchief she had
All wrought with silk and gold:
Which she to stay her trickling tears
Before her eyes did hold.

24. This thing unto my sight
Was wondrous rare and strange;
And in my soul and inward thought
It wrought a sudden change:

25. That I so hardy grew,
To take her by the hand:
Saying, Sweet mistress, why do you
So dull and pensive stand?

26. Call me no mistress now,
But Sarah, thy true friend,
Thy servant, Millwood, honouring thee,
Until her life hath end.

27. If thou wouldst here alledge,
Thou art in years a boy;
So was Adonis, yet was he
Fair Venus' only joy.

28. Thus I, who ne'er before
Of woman found such grace,
But seeing now so fair a dame
Give me a kind embrace,

29. I supt with her that night,
With joys that did abound;
And for the same paid presently,
In Money twice three pound,

30. An hundred kisses then,
For my farewel she gave;
Crying, Sweet Barnwell, when shall I
Again thy company have?

31. O stay not hence too long,
Sweet George, have me in mind.
Her words bewitcht my childishness,
She uttered them so kind:

32. So that I made a vow,
Next Sunday without fail,
With my sweet Sarah once again
To tell some pleasant tale.

33. When she heard me say so,
The tears fell from her eye;
O George, quoth she, if thou dost fail,
Thy Sarah sure will dye.

34. Though long, yet loe! at last,
The appointed day was come,
That I must with my Sarah meet;
Having a mighty sum

35. Of money in my hand,*
Unto her house went I,
Whereas my love upon her bed
In saddest sort did lye.

36. What ails my heart's delight,
My Sarah dear? quoth I;
Let not my love lament and grieve,
Nor sighing pine, and dye.

37. But tell me, dearest friend,
What may thy woes amend,
And thou shalt lack no means of help,
Though forty pound I spend.

38. With that she turn'd her head,
And sickly thus did say,
Oh me, sweet George, my grief is great,
Ten pound I have to pay

39. Unto a cruel wretch;
And God he knows, quoth she,
I have it not. Tush, rise, I said,
And take it here of me.

40. Ten pounds, nor ten times ten,
Shall make my love decay,
Then from my bag into her lap,
I cast ten pound straightway.

41. All blithe and pleasant then,
To banqueting we go;
She proffered me to lye with her,
And said it should be so.

42. And after that same time,
I gave her store of coyn,
Yea, sometimes fifty pound at once,
All which I did purloyn.

43. And thus I did pass on;
Until my master then
Did call to have his reckoning in
Cast up among his men.

44. The which when as I heard,
I knew not what to say;
For well I knew that I was out
Two hundred pound that day.

45. Then from my master straight
I ran in secret sort;
And unto Sarah Millwood there
My case I did report.

46. "But how she us'd this youth,
In this his care and woe,
And all a strumpet's wiley ways,
The SECOND PART may show."

* The having a sum of money with him on Sunday, &c. shows this narrative to have been penned before the civil wars: the strict observance of the Sabbath was owing to change of manners at that period.—Percy.


47. Young Barnwell comes to thee
Sweet Sarah, my delight;
I am undone, unless thou stand
My faithful friend this night.

48. Our master to accompts
Hath just occasion found;
And I am caught behind the hand
Above two hundred pound.

49. And now his wrath to 'scape,
My love, I fly to thee,
Hoping some time I may remaine
In safety here with thee.

50. With that she knit her brows,
And looking all aquoy,
Quoth she, What should I have to do
With any prentice boy?

51. And seeing that you have purloyn'd
Your master's goods away,
The case is bad, and therefore here
You shall no longer stay.

52. Why, dear, thou know'st, I said,
How all which I could get,
I gave it, and did spend it all
Upon thee every whit.

53. Quoth she, Thou art a knave,
To charge me in this sort,
Being a woman of credit fair,
And known of good report.

54. Therefore I tell thee flat,
Be packing with good speed,
I do defie thee from my heart,
And scorn thy filthy deed.

55. Is this the friendship, that
You did to me protest?
Is this the great affection, which
You so to me exprest?

56. Now fie on subtle shrews!
The best is, I may speed
To get a lodging any where
For money in my need.

57. False woman, now farewell,
Whilst twenty pound doth last,
My anchor in some other haven
With freedom I will cast.

58. When she perceiv'd by this,
I had store of money there,
Stay, George, quoth she, thou art too quick:
Why, man, I did but jeer.

59. Dost think for all my speech,
That I would let thee go?
Faith no, said she, my love to thee
I wiss is more than so.

60. You scorne a prentice boy,
I heard you just now swear,
Wherefore I will not trouble you.——
——Nay, George, hark in thine ear;

61. Thou shalt not go to-night,
What chance soe'er befall;
But man we'll have a bed for thee,
Or else the devil take all.

62. So I by wiles bewitcht,
And snar'd with fancy still,
Had then no power to get away,
Or to withstand her will.

63. For wine on wine I call'd,
And cheer upon good cheer;
And nothing in the world I thought
For Sarah's love too dear.

64. Whilst in her company,
I had such merriment;
All, all too little I did think,
That I upon her spent.

65. A fig for care and thought!
When all my gold is gone,
In faith, my girl, we will have more,
Whoever I light upon.

66. My father's rich, why then
Should I want store of gold?
Nay with a father sure, quoth she,
A son may well make bold.

67. I've a sister richly wed,
I'll rob her ere I'll want.
Nay then, quoth Sarah, they may well
Consider of you scant.

68. Nay, I an uncle have:
At Ludlow he doth dwell:
He is a grazier, which in wealth
Doth all the rest excell.

69. Ere I will live in lack,
And have no coyn for thee;
I'll rob his house, and murder him.
Why should you not? quoth she:

70. Was I a man, ere I
Would live in poor estate;
On father, friends, and all my kin,
I would my talons grate.

71. For without money, George,
A man is but a beast:
But bringing money, thou shalt be
Always my welcome guest.

72. For shouldst thou be pursued
With twenty hues and cryes,
And with a warrant searched for
With Argus' hundred eyes,

73. Yet here thou shalt be safe;
Such privy wayes there be,
That if they sought an hundred years,
They could not find out thee.

74. And so carousing both
Their pleasures to content:
George Barnwell had in little space
His money wholly spent.

75. Which done, to Ludlow straight
He did provide to go,
To rob his wealthy uncle there;
His minion would it so.

76. And once he thought to take
His father by the way,
But that he fear'd his master had
Took order for his stay.

77. Unto his uncle then
He rode with might and main,
Who with a welcome and good cheer
Did Barnwell entertain.

78. One fortnight's space he stayed
Until it chanced so,
His uncle with his cattle did
Unto a market go.

79. His kinsman rode with him,
Where he did see right plain,
Great store of money he had took:
When coming home again,

80. Sudden within a wood,
He struck his uncle down,
And beat his brains out of his head;
So sore he crackt his crown.

81. Then seizing fourscore pound,
To London straight he hyed,
And unto Sarah Millwood all
The cruell fact descryed.

82. Tush, 'tis no matter, George,
So we the money have
To have good cheer in jolly sort,
And deck us fine and brave.

83. Thus lived in filthy sort,
Until their store was gone:
When means to get them any more,
I wis, poor George had none.

84. Therefore in railing sort,
She thrust him out of door:
Which is the just reward of those,
Who spend upon a whore.

85. O! do me not disgrace
In this my need, quoth he,
She call'd him thief and murderer;—
With all the spight might be,

86. To the constable she sent,
To have him apprehended:
And shewed how far, in each degree,
He had the laws offended.

87. When Barnwell saw her drift,
To sea he got straightway;
Where fear and sting of conscience
Continually on him lay.

88. Unto the lord mayor then,
He did a letter write;
In which his own and Sarah's fault
He did at large recite.

89. Whereby she seized was,
And then to Ludlow sent;
Where she was judg'd, condemn'd, and hang'd,
For murder incontinent.

90. There dyed this gallant quean,
Such was her greatest gains:
For murder in Polonia,
Was Barnwell hang'd in chains. .

91. Lo! here's the end of youth,
That after harlots haunt;
Who in the spoil of other men,
About the streets do flaunt.

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Subject: Lyr Add: CHEAPSIDE (from Bully Wee Band)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 06:54 PM

I was also able to listen to this recording on Spotify:

As sung by The Bully Wee Band on the albums "The Madmen of Gotham" (2003) and "50 Channels" (2006).

On Cheapside there lived a merchant; he was a man of noted fame.
He had a youth apprenticed to him; Georgie Barnwell was his name.

And Georgie was a good apprentice, dutiful beyond all doubt.
He never went across the doorstep when his master was without.

Well now, a woman from the town, sir, she cast on him such a vigorous eye.
She came into the shop one morning, flannel petticoats for to buy.

And as she laid her money down, sir, she gave his hand such a very hard squeeze,
And this pleased young Georgie Barnwell and together he knocked his knees.

Well now, this woman she did persuade him with her rent of eighteen pipes.(?)
To go down into the country and let loose his master's tripes.

Now Georgie's found him in a clearing studying of his very good books.
Georgie Barnwell's gone and shot him all amongst the groves and rooks.

Now on Cheapside there is a grave, sir, and in it lies a tender youth,
Because he let a woman tempt him his bold master for to shoot.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: grumpy al
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 07:31 AM

Thanks for the origional ballad, very interesting,
however I believe the line in the Bully Wee version
That has the line "with her rent of eighteen pipes"
should be "with her enervating pipes" i.e. being made somewhat insensible with, possibly, a pipe of opium.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 07:52 AM

If the version in William's Folk Songs of the Upper Thames was the ultimate source for their version, he did have With her enervating pipes in the version he printed as Georgie Barnell. There are also several other differences, which may or may not have been deliberate (eg "Naughty woman", "let loose his Uncle Tripes") and the last verse is not present in FSUT. I'll post the FSUT version below for comparison.



Near Cheapside there lived a merchant,
And he was a man of very great fame;
A youth was bound apprentice to him,
And Georgie Barnell was his name.

Now Georgie was a very good servant,
And dutiful, beyond all doubt;
He always kept within the door, sir,
Because his master would not let him go out.

A naughty woman of the town, sir,
Upon him cast a vigorous eye;
She came into the shop one morning
A flannel petticoat to buy.

When that she paid down the money
She gave his hand a very hard squeeze;
So that pleased poor Georgie Barnell,
And together he knocked his knees.

And soon this woman did persuade him,
With her enervating pipes,
To go down into the country
And there let loose his Uncle Tripes.

He saw his uncle in the grove, sir,
Studying over his good books,
And Georgie Barnell went and shot him
All among the crows and rooks.

Source: Alfred Williams: Folk Songs of the Upper Thames

He notes: "Georgie Barnell" was well known around the Cotswolds and Thames generally. The copy was supplied by "Wassail" Harvey, Cricklade.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: grumpy al
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 08:09 AM

Not come across FSUT before must have a look on line and thanks for the info

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 06:41 PM

You could have a look at the Wiltshire site - Wiltshire Community History - Song Introduction Page, which has the material from Alfred Williams mss online.

I don't think FSUT is available online, but you can find a list of the songs (text only - there were no tunes in FSUT; a pity in the case of Georgie Barnwell, there is only a conjectural tune in Simpson's British Broadside Ballad and its Music, all sources in Roud are text only). You can find a list of the titles at folkinfo - FSUT Index.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Cheapside / George Barnwell / Georgy...
From: grumpy al
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 04:41 AM

Thanks again Mick your info has given me a lot of research to play with

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