Best not trace the author, he/she may have descendants who may want to claim copyrite or royalties - arrrrggghh! Seriously tho folks, tis a grand song and i still have the original vinyl record on topic of Anne Briggs (first solo album she did i think) who does a great version of this 'traditional' song. The sleeve notes stat, 'We owe this to a good pioneer collector of North-eastern song, the radical agitator Thomas Doubleday, who contributed it to Blackwoods magazine as long ago as 1821. He got the melody from a Newcastle street singer'. See also Malcolm Douglas's contribution further up the thread 21/01/01........my this is an old thread......but then so am i.....there's many a tune played on an old thread!
See y'at Saddleworth!!