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Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)

DigiTrad:
THE WEAVER AND THE FACTORY GIRL
THE WEAVER AND THE FACTORY MAID


Related threads:
Origins: The Weaver and the Factory Maid (38)
Fragment from Weaver and the Factory Maid (6)
Lyr Req: Weaver and the Factory Maid (12) (closed)


GUEST,bones 21 Jul 11 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,David E. 21 Jul 11 - 06:27 PM
Howard Jones 21 Jul 11 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Sugarfoot Jack sans cookie 21 Jul 11 - 06:44 PM
Bernard 21 Jul 11 - 07:42 PM
Joe Offer 21 Jul 11 - 08:23 PM
Howard Jones 22 Jul 11 - 03:35 AM
My guru always said 22 Jul 11 - 03:43 AM
Les in Chorlton 22 Jul 11 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Ed 22 Jul 11 - 03:53 AM
Howard Jones 22 Jul 11 - 04:36 AM
Stu 22 Jul 11 - 05:03 AM
Dave Sutherland 22 Jul 11 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Henryp 22 Jul 11 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,bigJ 22 Jul 11 - 06:58 AM
Musket 22 Jul 11 - 09:07 AM
mikesamwild 22 Jul 11 - 11:46 AM
12barblues 22 Jul 11 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 23 Jul 11 - 11:58 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jul 11 - 03:41 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Jul 11 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Ted 24 Jul 11 - 12:36 PM
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Subject: PILGRIMS WAY - Handweaver Factory Maid
From: GUEST,bones
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 05:39 PM

heard this tune on Mike Harding's show last night 'handweaver & the factory maid' by a group called Pilgrims Way. I think both sound great - what's the origin of the song and/or how old is it.


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Subject: RE: PILGRIMS WAY - Handweaver Factory Maid
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 06:27 PM

It could be as old as 35 years and was first collected from a Steeleye Span album... sorry...un-called for... carry on...


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Subject: RE: PILGRIMS WAY - Handweaver Factory Maid
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 06:41 PM

In "Folk Song in England" Bert Lloyd says it's from an 1830s broadside from Oldham. Unfortunately we now know that he was not an entirely reliable source.


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Subject: RE: PILGRIMS WAY - Handweaver Factory Maid
From: GUEST,Sugarfoot Jack sans cookie
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 06:44 PM

In the album liner notes it says Lucy Wright learnt this song from her uncle.

Go and see them live, they're excellent.

Hi Howard!


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Subject: RE: Pilgrims Way: Handweaver & Factory Maid
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 07:42 PM

Ummm... Mike himself sang the song on his 'A Lancashire Lad' album...!! The credits give Bert Lloyd as the source!


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Subject: RE: Pilgrims Way version: Handweaver & Factory Maid
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 08:23 PM

Boy, there's not much in the Traditional Ballad Index, just Lloyd, Steeleye Span, and Cinnamond. Has anyone found the broadside that Lloyd alleges to exist? Here's the Ballad Index entry:

    Weaver and the Factory Maid, The

    DESCRIPTION: The singer, a hand-weaver, loves a woman who works in a factory. He visits her in her bedroom despite his family's scorn. All the girls have gone to weave with steam; "If you would see them you must rise at dawn/And trudge to the mill in the early morn"
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1955 (IRRCinnamond01)
    KEYWORDS: love sex factory weaving family worker technology nightvisit
    FOUND IN: Britain(England(North))
    REFERENCES (1 citation):
    DT, WVFACTGL WEAVFACT (both transcribed from the recording by Steeleye Span; the former is the better transcription)
    RECORDINGS:
    Robert Cinnamond, "The Weaver and the Factory Maid" (on IRRCinnamond01) (fragment; only the first verse)
    A. L. Lloyd, "The Weaver and the Factory Maid" (on Lloyd3, IronMuse1)

    File: DTwvfact

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibliography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2011 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:35 AM

Robert Cinnamond isn't a name knowm to me, but googling turned this obituary:

The Ballinderry Balladeer

Interesting that he came from a weaving family, and the report makes mention of his father buying an armful of ballad sheets at Lisburn fair. Could this song have been one of them? At least this makes it less likely that the song was another of Bert's fabrications.

My own version comes from "Folk Song in England" supplemented mostly from Steeleye's version. I passed the song on to Tom Kitching but as Sugarfoot Jack points out Lucy already had the song in her repertoire. Pilgrim's Way make a nice job of it.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: My guru always said
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:43 AM

Such a good song, I generally sing the Steeleye Span arrangement unaccompanied. Good to see all this info, will listen out for Pilgrims Way!


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:48 AM

I feel sure more of the story of its origin are about but I have a feeling that Bert wanted a song showing how the 'folk process' had moved a song from handloom weaving to factory weaving and so he made this one up as I think he did with quite a few other songs, the Recruited Collier being another example.

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:53 AM

From the sleeve notes of The Complete Brass Monkey:

Romantics such as I would like to believe that it was The Unknown Genius who took the rather ordinary song The Handweaver and the Chamber Maid and, by altering just one word, generated real movement, moments of real tension, and something of a minor masterpiece. Certainly the present song has not yet been found in printed sources. It was collected from a William Oliver of Widnes and partially refurbished by A.L. Lloyd from the 'chambermaid original'.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 04:36 AM

Whilst I share the suspicion that Lloyd had more than a hand in it, it does seem to be a little more widely disseminated than the Brass Monkey notes suggest. Lloyd said it came from Oldham, Brass Monkey refer to a source in Widnes, and it was recorded in Northern Ireland in 1955, which seems quite early if it was indeed one of Lloyd's emellishments (although not impossible).

Did Cinnamond use the same tune?


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Stu
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 05:03 AM

Unashamed plug coming up. The band's website is here.

I saw them last weekend and they really are superb, and wonderful people to boot.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 05:14 AM

Bert Lloyd recorded it on "The Iron Muse" the famous Topic album of industrial folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: GUEST,Henryp
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 05:54 AM

In Working Songs (2010), Roy Palmer gives words and music to The Weaver and the Factory Maid from Harland (1839). He says that it has pre-industrial origins and that it was noted as late as 1951 by A L Lloyd from William Oliver of Widnes.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 06:58 AM

I've just got my copy of Harland's "Ballads & Songs of Lancashire" (1865) down from the shelf and there isn't a version of Weaver and the Factory Maid in it.
There are two songs whose titles might be confused - "The Hand-loom Weavers' Lament" (p259) and "Hand-loom v. Power-loom" (p251), but neither seem to be a basis for the song we are looking for.
According to Roud 17771, there are several versions in the Folk Music Journal 3:3 (1977)


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Musket
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:07 AM

Seems a popular song these days. I first heard Mike Harding singing it many many moons ago, and learned the words from his "A Lancashire Lad" album.

In the last year, it has been released on two wonderful albums. Martin Carthy sings a hauntingly beautiful version on The Imagined Village's Empire and Love , and Bellowhead sing it on their new album Hedonism.

Thinking on, I reckon I have a version of it by Martin Carthy alone somewhere.... A good friend who is no longer with us used to sing it in our local folk club too. What I like about the song is the recognition of social layers within social layers.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: mikesamwild
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:46 AM

Brian Peters knows quite a bit about its provenance I believe. We've cahtted about the way Bert and McColl tinkered and claimed informants.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: 12barblues
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:58 PM

It's also on Roy Clinging's album "When This Hat Was Knew".

Those who were lucky enough to be at Bradfield last weekend heard Roy performing this in his Sunday morning spot in the barn. Wonderful stuff.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 11:58 AM

The first of the related threads cited at the top of this thread answers most of the questions asked here. See posts by Bruce O, Malcolm Douglas and myself. I should point out that the Ballad Index reference to Rober Cinnamond's having sung this song, or even a fragment of it, is an error. Cinnanond's "When I was a weaver" is part of an entirely separate song, not The weaver and the factory maid.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:41 PM

Roy Palmer discusses the song in full in the Folk Music Journal (1977)
Full text of article here
Sorry for the size.
Jim Carroll

THE WEAVER IN LOVE
ROY PALMER

Until recent years the view was widely held that in England the rural phenomenon, folk song, had been obliterated by the Industrial Revolution, save for survivals in remote areas like Cecil Sharp's Somerset. The existence of industrial folk songs - a phrase which would previously have been considered a contradiction in terms - has now been accepted, grudgingly by some, enthusiastically by others.
A fine example of the tenacity of tradition, lasting three centuries, adapting to and surviving the Industrial Revolution, is provided by a song which appeared in 1963 on the pioneering record, The Iron Muse, under the title of The Weaver and the Factory Maid1. Its earliest known ancestor is a black-letter broadside, Will, the Merry Weaver and Charity, the Chambermaid, which was issued, according to J. W. Ebsworth, 'circa 1670-80'2. Our copy (Text 'A') comes from the Pepys Collection3.
Of the tunes indicated" none has survived; or at least none has been found by the indefatigable Claude Simpson5, which is next to the same thing. Perhaps the 'pleasant new tune' caught on. Certainly, we find that 'I am a Weaver by my Trade' is prescribed as the tune for another ballad issued, again according to Ebsworth, 'circa 1670-77'6, though presumably after 'A'.
I must confess that I find many of the would-be erotic ballads of the seventeenth century rather tiresome. They can be lengthy, florid, self-conscious, contrived. Here, when Will the weaver unveils Charity, his sleeping 'damosel, it is rather as though he were looking at statuary (with its two pillars of white ivory and associated fountain) than a naked woman in bed. Her sexual initiation by the weaver could have exploited the imagery of his trade; instead an extended metaphor based on teaching the ABC is unaccountably introduced. The weaver gives his sweetheart a fescue — which sounds exotic, but is merely a teacher's pointer-to manipulate and the ballad rather lamely ends: 'Though I'm a Weaver of low degree/ He teach them to read their ABC.
By the time we next meet it the song seems to have undergone a sea-change. From being subjected, one might conjecture, to the beneficial action of oral transmission, it has acquired a skill and tenderness previously lacking (text 'B')7. Astonishingly enough, Ebsworth describes this as being a 'corrupt reprint'of 'A'. In fact it is a new song loosely based on 'A', only three of whose 18 verses survive8. Put another way, five of 'B's' eight verses are new9. This time the sexual imagery of weaving is explored and in addition the theme is introduced of lovers matched across barriers of class. Common enough-'One of the most immediate effects of mobility within a changing society', wrote Raymond Williams10, 'is the difficult nature of the marriage choice' - but giving an additional creative tension to the ballad.
Text 'B' may well date from the eighteenth century, as do two others, which are typical slip songs with one long column of type and no publisher's imprint. The Fair Maid's desire to learn her ABC (Text 'C')n, though much shorter, follows 'A' fairly closely, save that the weaver has become a sailor. The Weaver and his Sweetheart (Text 'D')12, however, follows the pattern of 'B'; yet its connection with 'A' is still clear: the motif of the man seeing his sweetheart naked in bed verse 6) is in 'A' but not 'B'.
'D' is very close to a version (Text 'E')13 which can be exactly dated to 1769, since it comes from the logbook14 of a voyage made in that year by the topsail sloop, Nellie, from New Bedford to London and back. Yet another version which can be presumed to date from the eighteenth century is The Weaver in Love (Text 'F')15.
Texts 'D', 'E', and 'F' are very close. They all show signs of oral circulation. Verse 7 of 'E' is garbled. 'F' has phonetic spelling in some words to represent northern pronunciation. It is also clear that the song travelled in the geographical sense: apart from going to America in the Nellie the reference to County Down in 'D' and 'F' might well indicate an Irish connection.
There is also evidence of oral and geographical circulation in Text 'G', a broadside issued by Collard of Bristol in the early part of the nineteenth century16. The pattern of the last two lines indicates, if not a new tune, then a variation of an earlier one. It is interesting that the text of 'C might indicate a similar tune.
Five texts ('B', 'D', 'E\ 'F' and 'G') are very similar, both in general pattern17 and in particular phraseology. The language is restrained and direct and has that organic simplicity which is often the hallmark of classic folk song. A very high proportion of the words are monosyllables. There are almost no figures of speech, save for two similes. Nevertheless, the song has a constantly shifting focus and a delicate balance. In content it has tenderness almost amounting to reverence, a hint of sentimentality, a touch of humour, a restrained but deeply savoured sensuality.
The theme of an independent weaver courting a girl from a lower class could not easily survive the depression and virtual disappearance of the handloom trade in the first half of the nineteenth century. However, a neat reversal of roles gave the song a new lease of life, with the girl becoming the superior catch and the weaver aspiring to escape from his lowly status. T'Owd Weaver (Text 'H') is a fragment 'heard a long time ago at Kirkstall' by 'Musical' Lindsay, from whom Frank Kidson had it18. When it was published three verses19 of unspecified provenance were added, which make clear the inferior status of the weaver. The song has now become a mere outpouring of unrequited yearning, with little of the savour of its forerunners. One may have to blame Kidson for this, since he was not above omitting to take down words which he considered objectionable and supplying anodyne sets himself. On the other hand, a version collected by A. L. Lloyd   (Text 'J')20,   while retaining   dialogue   and the   amorous encounter, also has similarities with Kidson's21. One might hazard a guess that both date from the early 1830s.
'The girls have gone to weave by steam' might well indicate the early years of steam loom weaving in factories. In 1834, for example, of an adult labour force of some 192,000 in all textile mills in the United Kingdom, well over half (about 103,000) were women. Of the men, most were probably young, for two reasons: the employers preferred young men and boys because they were more malleable than the seasoned handloom weavers, and because they were paid much less. In 1835 the rates were just under five shillings a week for males aged 11 to 16, a little over ten shillings a week from 16 to 21, and 17s. 2 1/2. from 21 to 26, rising ultimately to 22s. 8|d.22
Certainly, there is clear evidence in the first half of the nineteenth century of pre-industrial or rural songs being adapted to suit the changed circumstances brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The Luddite song, Cropper Lads, is a re-make of a poaching ballad23. 'To be a farmer's boy' became 'To be a factory boy'24, and the ploughing boy sent 'to the wars to be slain', because he was thought not good enough for the girl who wished to marry him, changed to a factory lad25. Some of these merely altered the hero's occupation (though   even   this   is   not   without   significance);   others   were fundamentally changed. The Weaver and the Factory Maid, as well as superficial changes has that fine last verse which deeply marks the song with the imprint of a new world:
Now where are the girls? I'll tell you plain, The girls have gone to weave by steam, And if you'd find 'em you must rise at dawn And trudge to the factory in the early morn.
There are many examples of this process of re-creation which songs underwent in an attempt to come to terms with the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of the working class, and much work remains to be done. In the meantime, A. L. Lloyd's recorded version of The Weaver and the Factory Maid has given the song a new lease of life on top of its earlier three centuries. Long may the weaver's love continue.


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:49 PM

PS Nine versions given in Journal - only 1 refers to a 'factory maid' - that which Bert collected from Mr Oliver. From the differences and gaps in verses, it seems that Bert adapted Oliver's text for own version.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Handweaver & Factory Maid (from Pilgrims Way)
From: GUEST,Ted
Date: 24 Jul 11 - 12:36 PM

There is a version of the song from the collection "Later English Broadside Ballads" ed. John Holloway and Joan Black called "The Weaver and His Sweetheart". I'm not sure of the exact date but it would be late 18th or early 19th C.

It's mostly the same except that the girl is a servant rather than a factory worker. Personally I don't think it's overly fanciful that the song evolved naturally and someone along the way "updated" it and made her a factory worker instead without the intervention of AL Lloyd or anyone else!

The version in the above book also contains the following verse which might seem to suggest that the song is Irish in origin (the notes also state the song is Irish) :

My love she lives in the country of North
And I myself live a great way off
And when I weave in the county of Down
Then I will weave her a holland Gown.


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