The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58665 Message #930994
Posted By: GUEST,Philippa
11-Apr-03 - 06:44 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Hiring Fair at Hamiltonsbawn
Subject: DTstudy: The Hiring Fair at Hamiltonsbawn
so a knacker's yard is more appropriate than a crematorium, for the point is that the hired man was worked like a mule
In Folksongs Sung in Ulster( Cork: Mercier, 1970), Robin Morton wrote that "The labourer was not always so unfortunate as to hire with a Mr Tom McCann, but people I spoke to had little good to say of the system or the results."
Morton quotes one man who told him about a fair in Monaghan circa 1930, where a heifir would fetch £7 0r £8 and a man was hired for £6/month. When Morton pointed out that the man would also get his keep (as indeed would the heifir!), his informant "acidly replied - 'Aye, well he might give you something to eat - you got licking the plates or something; not too much. It wouldn't bust you anyway.' "
I will, as wrote previously, add some of Morton's comments to the Hiring Fair songs thread. But here is some information he gives about the town of Hamiltonsbawn:
"If you travel the road from Armagh City to Tandragee, you pass through the snug town of Hamiltonsbawn. the area was granted to one John Hamilton who 'planted' it with twenty-six English familes. As the town's name suggests, Hamilton, in common with many planters, built himself a 'bawn' or a fortified house. Unlike the avergae bawn, which was a rather small earthen construction, Hamilton's was of stone and a pretentious sixty feet square. for all the good it did him, he might not have bothered - the bawn was levelled in the war of 1641 - though I suppose it was worth while in that his name survives."