The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99894   Message #4173325
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
28-May-23 - 08:59 AM
Thread Name: Songs about Whitby??!
Subject: RE: Songs about Whitby??!
Jack Beeforth, a retired farmer of Wragby Farm and the adjoining Cook House Farm, interviewed by Dave Hillery in 1974, recalled going to hire staff at the hiring fair in Whitby. And he also had a story about the hiring fair, published by Roy Palmer in his book, The Sound of History (1988).

A lad goes to t'hirings and meets a farmer who says, 'Ista for hiring?' 'Aye', says t’lad. 'What can you deea?' says t'farmer. 'Oh, ommost onnything on a farm', says t'lad. 'Well thoo looks a likely lad', says t'farmer. 'Wheer were you last?’ ‘Wi' him over theer', says t'lad. 'Can you get yourself a character?' says t'farmer 'and then I'll hire you'. So the lad goes over to t'feller he were wi', and asks him for a character. 'Nay, lad, you deeant want to go wi' him. He'll hunger yer and work yer and you'll have a right bad time'. So the lad goes back to t'farmer. 'Well, have you got a character?' says he. 'Why,' says t'lad, 'I haven't got one for me, but he's just given me a right one for thee'.

As Roy Palmer wrote, hiring was a very speculative and hazardous enterprise for both parties.

The Whitby Farmer by Henry Peacock
Tune; The Man in the Moon - see The Full English on youtube

A farmer he goes to the Martinmas Fair
To see the farm workers who all gather there.
Lad, ista for hiring? Hasta got a strong arm?
Says the lad, I can do onnything on a farm.

Now you may be a farmer or follow the plough,
But in this rough world we must rub along now.
Wherever you go and whatever you do,
In all of your dealings be honest and true.

Well thoo looks a good lad. Wheer were you last year?
Says the lad, Wi’ t’feller as stands over theer.
Now if he will put in a good word for thee,
Then I’ll hire thee this year – tha can come wham wi’ me.


So the lad he steps over to get a good word.
Nay, says his owd master, Lad, have yer not heard?
You deean’t want to go wi’ him and mek a new home.
He’ll hunger thee and work thee reet dahn to the bone.


So the lad he goes back to the farmer again.
Have you got a good word, lad? the farmer says then.
Nay, says the lad, I’ve not got one for me,
But he’s told me to never go working for thee!