The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19722   Message #208248
Posted By: IanC
07-Apr-00 - 08:28 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn

Sorry, not had time to reply to your query sooner.

Not sure where I learned this one and it is probably my own memory of more than one version, though I suspect that I learned one version in the seventies and it is mainly that. It was often sung round the (UK) clubs in the 70s as a bit of a joining in song with or without harmonies.

With regard to Chaucer, I think any modern english translation would give the sense of the mediaeval stereotypes. I'm not making any claims for the age of the song (though I think it is probably quite old) but the stereotypes about trade seem to have survived at least until the Industrial Revolution when things changed. I think these may be the trades where people had the opportunity for making a fast buck by quietly stealing stuff. Shakespeare has quite a lot of fun at the expense of certain trades and the literature throughout the period, as well as many folk songs, illustrates the theme.

For contrasting stereotypes, just look for Butcher and Tailor in DT. You will find that the butcher is a hail-fellow-well-met chap, who might get into trouble for seducing young maidens. The tailor, however, is unlikely to get in bed with a girl, is a coward and is often fooled by unscrupulous people just to provide a laugh at his expense. The attitudes survived into this century in some rural areas and most people going to hear folk music would, I think, still understand that tailors are to be poked fun at, etc.

Of course, the miller was particularly hated in mediaeval Britain because of the repressive laws introduced by William I. All domestic querns were outlawed and any milling had to be done at the mill belonging to the lord of the manor. During the peasants' revolt (1383-ish) probably the most savage action, at St Albans, revolved around the destruction of the Bishop's (he was lord of the manor) mill.

Cheers! IanC