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Lyr Req: Howden Fair

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EPPIE MARLY
MULBERRY BUSH


Related threads:
Lyr Req/Add: Weyhill Fair (8)
Tune Req: Nancy Dawson (10)
Faithless Nancy Dawson (6)


theleveller 18 Nov 11 - 05:20 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 06:28 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 06:31 AM
theleveller 18 Nov 11 - 07:01 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 09:00 AM
theleveller 18 Nov 11 - 09:21 AM
Les from Hull 18 Nov 11 - 11:30 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 12:09 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,SteveG 18 Nov 11 - 02:38 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 03:50 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 04:34 PM
theleveller 18 Nov 11 - 04:48 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Nov 11 - 05:38 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 05:20 AM

I'm looking for the words and music of a song called Howden Fair. All I know about it is that there is a reference to it being sung at a banquet in 1911 by a Mr Edward Peacock and that there were a number of different versions. Howden is a market town in East Yorkshire that had an annual fair for centuries. In the early 1800s it became the biggest horse fair in Britain when, in a fortnight in September, buyers came from all over Europe to buy horses, often for their armies, and over 16,000 horses were sold. It died out in the 1840s with the coming of the railway.

Any help in tracing this song would be gratefully appreciated.


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Subject: ADD: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:28 AM

Should be in Notes & Queries twice according to the 1911 note there, but I couldn't find the correct volumes online (that was a quick search - I have to go out in a few mins).

In the meantime, here's a version from County Folklore VI, pp184-186, which has the refs to N&S.


Mick



Howden Fair.
Upwards of five-and-thirty years ago I noted down the words
of the following rude song from the lips of one who had learned
it by hearing it sung by Lincolnshire farmers and horse-
dealers, who were in the habit of visiting the great Yorkshire
horse fair in the earlier years of the reign of George III.
Early in the present century my father procured a manuscript
copy from an old man called Amos Sharp of Messingham.
That is now before me. The two texts are almost identical.
I cannot ascertain that it has ever appeared in print. It
has certainly no literary merits to commend it to the atten-
tion of your readers, but it will not, on that account, be without
interest for some Yorkshireman : —


HOWDEN FAIR.
(Tune, " Nancy Dawson.")

It's I have been to Howden Fair,
And, oh, what sights did I see there;
To hear my tale would make you stare.
And see the horses showing.
They come from east, they come from west.
They bring their worst, they bring their best.
And some they lead and drive the rest
Unto the fair at Howden.
Tal al al. All at the Fair at Howden.

There were blacks and bays and duns and grays,
And soreled horses, aye, and mares,
And pyball'd too, I do declare
And more than I do know on.
There were blind and lame and wind-gall'd too,
Crib-biters were there not a few.
And roarers more than one or two,
All at the fair at Howden
Tal al al, etc.

All ages too, as I'm alive,
From one to two to thirty-five
And some they scarce could lead or drive
Or in the streets could show them.
There were broken-winded too, I saw.
And some for panting scarce could draw.
And there were clickers, too, I knaw.
All at the fair at Howden.
Tal al al, etc.

Now some upon the stones were shown.
And others found upon soft ground ;
And up the hills their heads were turn'd,
And that's the way to show them.
They can gain or lose an inch or two.
By managing the hoof or shoe,
Oh, yes, they this and more can do
All at the fair at Howden.
Tal al al, etc.

Then the dealers through the streets do splash.
And swing around a long whip-lash,
And say " My lads come stand a swash,
And lets have room to show them.'
They crack their whips and curse and swear,
And cry " My lads, be of good cheer.
For this, my lads, is Howden fair.
How do you like the fair at Howden ? "



Bottesford Manor Brigg.
Edward Peacock, N. & Q. 7th S. vol. v. p. 345.
There is a variant, N. & Q. nth S. vol. iv. p. 325.
See also Section xv. p. 209.
See Section ii. p. 28 for Naburn May Song.
See Section x. pp. %"], 106, 107, 112 et seq., for Christmas,
Harvest etc. Songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:31 AM

PS: If you haven't got the Nancy Dawson, it's in Simpson's British Broadside Ballad and its Music. IIRC, there are abc files for those in Bruce Olson's website, which you can reach via the Quick Links dropdown.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 07:01 AM

Many thanks, Mick - as usual, a Mudcatter manages to come up with the goods!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 09:00 AM

I've a bit more time now to add some info.

The Roud index has one entry for it: Howden Fair No.1086, from O'Shaughnessey, Yellowbelly Ballads 1 pp.45-46, 80-81. (This is a collection of Lincolnshire songs). It's a reprint of Notes & Queries 7S 5 (1888) p.345 (one of the two) with the tune added (As far as I can tell - from a reference in sources of Ozark tunes - O'Shaughnessey printed the Nancy Dawson tune).

The 1911 reference to the song (which I presume is theleveller's original can be seen here- Notes and Queries, S11-IV, Issue 100:

HOWDEN FAIR (11 S iv 325) - MR EDWARD PEACOCK, who so frequently contributes dainties to the banquets of 'N&Q' has already served up this song (7 S v. 345). There are slight differences in the versions, due, no doubt, to tricks of memory on the part of the narrators. I do not know who wrote the song, which suggests by means of words the fuss and clatter of a country horse-fair almost as well as Rosa Bonheur did with her pigments. ST. SWITHIN. (W.C.B. also thanked for reply)


Bob Bray and John Scaife sang it on a 1997 recording: The Devil's Nine Questions.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 09:21 AM

Thanks Mick, you're a star. I've never come across the song before, even though I live near Howden. Seems that whoever wrote it, coming from t'other side of the Humber, had a pretty poor opinion of the fair and I have to wonder why he came - maybe to sample the delights of the 20 inns, more per sqare yard than any town in England, so I'm told!

Thanks again for your help.


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Subject: ADD: Nancy Dawson
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 11:30 AM

Slight thread creep: Nancy Dawson was a theatrical dancer, famous for her hornpipe.

NANCY DAWSON

Of all the girls in our town,
The black, the fair, the brown,
Who dance and prance it up and down,
There's none like Nancy Dawson.

Her easy mien, her step so neat,
She foots, she trips, she looks so sweet,
Her every motion is complete,
I die for Nancy Dawson.

See how the Op'ra takes a run,
Exceeding Hamlet, Lear or Lun,
Though in it there would be no fun,
Was't not for Nancy Dawson.

Though Garrick he has had his day,
And forc'd the town his laws t'obey,
Now Johnny Rich is come in play,
With help of Nancy Dawson.

The tune is very familiar as 'Here we go round the mulberry bush' and was also popular in the sailing Royal Navy, as it was usually played at 'up spirits', when the rum (or other) ration was served up.

'It's like Howden Fair' was an expression used by my parents to signify something crowded and chaotic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 12:09 PM

Les

When I was looking for more info on the song I came across across a reference just like that about Howden Fair in Folklore of East Yorkshire:

"All of a muck-heap, like Howden Fair"

or

"All of an uproar, like Howden Fair"

That was 1890; it's nice to see it was still remembered like that!


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 12:43 PM

Re Nancy Dawson, as Les says Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush uses the first half of the tune.

Simpson prints a 4-verse version of the song (attributed to George Alexander Stevens) from the Universal Magazine, XXVII (Oct, 1760) of which Les' verses are v1a, v1b, v3a, v4b.

The Bodleian Broadsides have about 15 entries specifying this tune.

I reproduce the tune from Bruce Olson's abc below. (I have deleted the tempo 1/4=120, which was not present in Simpson). The note for alternative title is not mentioned in Simpson, but Bruce was usually correct about these things.

Mick



X:318
T:B318- Nancy Dawson
N:called Piss upon the Grass in the 1740's
L:1/8
M:6/8
K:G
D|G2AG2B|d2BG2B|A2BA2B|A2FE2D|\
G2AG2B|d2BG2B|A2GF2E|D3D2||D|\
A2BA2B|A2FE2D|B2cd2e|d2BA2G|\
c2Bc2d|e2fg2e|d2cB2A|G3G2|]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 02:38 PM

Roy Palmer published a version in his Room for Company. It is exactly the same text except Weyhill (Hampshire) is given instead of Howden. He got his text from Addison 'English Fairs and Markets', 1955. Not being aware of the Howden version Roy set it to the tune of Slaidburn Fair from Kidson's English Peasant Songs. I'm not much cop at sight reading but the tune he gives could well be a variant of ND.

It's many years since I sang and researched this song and I have a sneaky feeling it was published on a broadside with just a gap for the placename so that it could be sold at any fair and the singer could insert their own place name. i.e., '------- Fair'

If there was such a broadside (which is very likely) it would seem to date from the late 18thc/early 19thc. Certainly 'Nancy Dawson' was a very popular widely used tune then.

I'll have a look for a broadside.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 03:50 PM

Steve

Weyhill Fair is here on Mudcat: Lyr Req: Weyhill Fair (John Kirkpatrick) from the singing of John Kirkpatrick and Roy Palmer's notes are in the thread. According to those he fitted it to a "tune collected by Frank Kidson". At a quick glance it does look, name apart, pretty much the same as the version above (few minor differences I noted).

I've also got Edward Peacock's other version from Notes and Queries now. It looks like a slightly garbled version of the above; verse order changed and some other differences. I'll try and post it later for completeness.

(Also when referring to the tune used in Yellowbelly Songs above, I said it was from a reference in sources of Ozark tunes; that was my bad memory. It should have been from Notes and sources for folksongs of the Catskills by Norman Cazden, Herbert Haufrecht, Norman Stud; it's in the section on tune relatives of Missie Mouse (Nancy Dawson)).


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 04:34 PM

I just noted a little discrepancy in the Roud index for these two. Howden Fair (only entry from Yellowbelly Ballads) has #1086, Weyhill Fair (only entry from Room for Company) has #10536.

(They both have a reference to previous source in NQ, 7S, v. That's the one with Howden Fair in, but I can't find a Weyhill reference, so they may both have the Howden one as previous source).

If you're still in touch Steve, they should probably be combined.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 04:48 PM

Although the song may have become 'universal' in that you could just change the town name, I suspect that, orginally, it was written about Howden because, as I mentioned earlier, itwas the biggest horse fair at the beginning of the 19th century but ended around the early 1840s when the Hull to Selby railway line was built (1837). The song is definitely about a horse fair and was probably written before 1840.

It's also interesting that the song appears to originate in Brigg, which, of course, had its own fair and is just across the Humber from Howden. So, there may be an element of rivalry here, with Lincolnshire (Brigg) residents poking fun at a Yorkshire (Howden) institution. The Yorkshire/Lancashire rivalry is still alive and well, but maybe there was a Yorkshire/Lincolnshire rivalry as well, although this doesn't exist so much today.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Howden Fair
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 05:38 PM

Roy Palmer refers to both songs in The Sound of History - Songs and Social Comment (1988), in the section on Pastimes, quoting a verse from the Weyhill one. He gives a reference for the Weyhill one, but it seems to be wrong, or at least I can't find it. He gives it as Notes and Queries, 7th series, 5, p352. I've had a look in a copy I downloaded and in the online version at Wikisource and I can't see it on that page or nearby. The reference he gives for the Howden song - the same volume, p345 - is fine.

Mick


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