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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Malcolm Douglas DT Attribution & Minor Corrections - recorded msgs (361* d) RE: Attribution added: DT authors PermaThread 28 Jun 04

The Ditchling Carol. Roud 3216. Music attributed to Peter Parsons, a shoemaker at Ditchling who died in 1901, aged 76. Waterson-Carthy got the song from Vic Gammon, who found music and text in the MS collection of the Rev K H MacDermott. It was published in Vic's article 'Hail Happy Morn: Two Sussex Band Carols in Old Harmony' (English Dance and Song. London: EFDSS, vol 49 number 3, 1987, 11-13). The DT midi transcription was evidently made by ear from the Waterson-Carthy recording rather than from their source. They mention the ascription to Mr Parsons in their sleeve notes.

The text was collated by Vic Gammon from the MacDermott MS and from a broadside text. The original text appears in volume 3 of The Universal Songster (1827, p 68) as The Joys of Christmas: the author is named as the Hon. W. R. Spencer. I am not the first to have noticed this. John Roberts and Tony Barrand (who also recorded Vic Gammon's collated set) comment "Since the release of this recording [Ditchling Carol], we have discovered that the poem is the work of William Robert Spencer (1769-1834), a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough. He published it in his Poems (1811)."

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