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Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?

GUEST,Richie 14 Oct 16 - 12:17 AM
GUEST 14 Oct 16 - 12:47 AM
Richie 14 Oct 16 - 12:55 AM
Tradsinger 14 Oct 16 - 09:24 AM
Richie 14 Oct 16 - 11:10 AM
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Richie 14 Oct 16 - 04:36 PM
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Subject: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 12:17 AM

Hi,

I've been looking at the series of sweetheart-murder ballads and have some questions. I'm focused on miller/nosebleed series and am trying to understand the Berkshire tragedy, a broadside that entered oral circulation. Who wrote it? From what printer did it come and when?

According to Cox and others the murder was committed by "John Mauge, a Miller, who was executed at Reading in Berkshire, on Saturday the 20th of last month, for the barbarous murder of Anne Knite, his sweet-heart." Was John Mauge a real person who killed Anne Knite in 1744?

If so how could the broadside be printed earlier?

I wrote this on my site in a few hours but stopped, realizing I needed to learn -- who done it???

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/6-bloody-miller-berkshire-tragedy-wexford-girl.aspx

Comments and posts are welcome!!!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 12:47 AM

Hi,

According to the ballad the killer when suspicion fell on him after the sweetheart disappeared he attempted to put the authorities off the scent by placing an advertisement in "the post boy" offering a reward for the discovery of her body. Could there be and ad placed in the Post Boy in the early 1700s?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 12:55 AM

Hi,

Ebsworth gives a date of circa 1700. I found a version dated 1720. Any other early printings?

The location has been postulated to be outside Oxford at Wytham (Wytham Mill).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 09:24 AM

The Ballad Index mentions a broadside of 1656 which would predate the 1700 date given above. I can't find it in the Bodleian online catalogue. The format of the song (seems to be based on a dance) and the supernatural nature of some of the versions make me think that this is based on something quite old.

Out of interest, I have noticed that most (all?) of the bow down versions of the song don't have the supernatural bit at the end but the "dreadful wind and rain" versions so, the exception being the version sung by Phyllis Marks of West Virginian which has both bow down and a singing violin.

Also out of interest, at a singing party at my house the other day, a friend from Virginia sang an Appalachian version of the Two Sisters whereupon my friend Charlie sang the Berkshire Tragedy, much to our vistor's delight.

None of which answers your whodunit query but I thought you might like to know.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 11:10 AM

Hi,

Please post the Charlie's text if you have it. I'm putting all the texts on my site!! I'll also post the broadside text from Boston dated 1829.

There is one version of the Two Sister's titled Berkshire Tragedy which has caused some confusion.

This is the source of Cox and others attribution of John Mauge being the killer:

----------------

Notices of Fugitive Tracts
By James Orchard Halliwell, 1851 p. 90

118. THE BERKSHIRE TRAGEDY, OR THE WHITTAM MILLER, who MosT BARBAROUSLY MURDER'D His SwBETHEART. 12mo, Edinburgh. Printed for John Keed, in the Swan-closs, 1744.

In verse, with a cut of the miller on the gallows. It concludes with "the last dying words and confession of John Mauge, a miller, who was executed at Reading, in Berkshire, on Saturday, the 20th of last month, for the barbarous murder of Anne Knite, his sweetheart."

---------------

Obviously the names may be spelled differently: Maunge; Mage; Maude etc or Knight; Kite etc.

I didn't see that early date- Ballad index has c. 1700 probably from Ebsworth (Roxburghe) who offers no proof.

Berkshire did follow William Grismond c. 1658 and Bloody Miller c.1683 both are murders of a pregnant sweetheart.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 11:51 AM

I have never recorded Charlie singing it as I assumed he got it from a literary source. His text is pretty much as here. The text is reproduced in full in the book "The Scouring of the White Horse" by Tom Hughes. Does that help?

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 04:36 PM

Sure, TY.

I have more detailed information which possibly could help.

Drummond's print for John Keed in the Edinburgh chapbook gives the murderer-- John Mauge, the murdered-sweetheart-- Anne Knite, and the date- since Saturday the 20th would be June in 1744, the printing should have been made in July, 1744.

It would seem unlikely that a printer would falsely give such detailed information without it being true. As far as I know- no one has found any corroborating information -- yet :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 05:41 PM

Hi,

Here's the Deming broadside of "Lexington Miller" - written from 'Berkshire Tragedy' published in Boston c. 1829. I have copy of it on my site.

The Lexington Miller

Come all you men and maidens dear, to you I will relate.
Pray lend an ear and you shall hear concerning my sad fate,
My parents brought me up with care, provided for me well,
And in the town of Lexington employ'd me in a mill.

'Twas there I 'spied a comely lass, she cast a winning eye,
I promis'd I would marry her if she would but comply:
I courted her about six months, which caused us pain and woe;
'Twas folly brought us into a snare, and it prov'd our overthrow.

Her mother came to me one day as you shall understand,
Begging that I would appoint a day, and marry her at hand;
It was about one month from Christmas, O, cursed be that day,
The devil put in to my heart to take her life away.

I was perplex'd on every side, no comfort could I find
Then for to take her life away, my wicked heart inclin'd;
I went unto her sister's house at eight o'clock at night,
And she, poor soul, little thought or knew I ow'd her any spite.

I said, come go along with me, out door a little way,
That you and I may both agree upon our wedding day,
Then hand in hand I led her on, down to some silent place;
I took a stake out of the fence, and struck her on the face.

Now she upon her knees did fall, and most heartily did cry,
Saying, kind sir, don't murder me for I am not fit to die;
I would not harken unto her cries, but laid it on the more,
Till I had taken her life away, which I could not restore.

All in the blood of innocence, my trembling hand have dy'd,
All in the blood of her who should have been my lawful bride;
She gave a sigh and bitter groan, and cast a wishful look,
I took her by the hair of the head and flung her in the brook.

Now straight unto the Mill I went, like one that's in a maze,
And first I met was my servant boy, who deeply on me gaz'd;
How came that blood upon your hands, likewise on your clothes?
I instantly made reply, 'twas bleeding of the nose.

I called for a candle, the same was brought to me.
And when the candle I had light, an awful sight I see;
Now straightway unto bed I went, thinking relief to find,
It seemed as if the plagues of hell, were lodg'd within my mind.

Next day her body was search'd for, but it could not be found,
Then I was in my chamber seized, and in my chains were bound.
In two or three days after, this fair maid she was found,
Came floating by her mother's house, that was near Wentontown.

Her sister swore against me, she said she had no doubt,
'Twas I that took her life away, as 'twas I that led her out.
It's now my end comes hastening on, and death approaches nigh,
And by my own confession I am condemn'd to die.

Now fare you well to Lexington, where my first breath I drew,
I warn all men and maidens, to all their vows prove true.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 14 Oct 16 - 10:53 PM

Hi,

I've added a page and some woodcuts:
http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/6-bloody-miller-berkshire-tragedy-wexford-girl.aspx

Some Ballad Identifiers

1. The ballad story is told in the first person as a "dying confession" from a repentant murderer.
2. A miller or a miller's apprentice seduces a girl and she becomes pregnant.
3. When her father tries to persuade him to marry her, he lures her to a secluded place and murders her.
4. When accused of the murderer's blood runs from his nose, or he claims the blood on his clothes and hands is from a nosebleed.
5. He eventually confesses his crime and is hung.

I'll work on Mauge tomorrow :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 15 Oct 16 - 03:43 AM

AH, we're talking at cross purposes here about 2 different songs. What we know over here generally as the Berkshire Tragedy is a version of Child 10, the Two Sisters. Sorry to have added to the confusion.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Oct 16 - 03:53 PM

Richie,
Do you have an ultimate source for the 1744 broadside, or do you have a copy of it?

First of all whilst the facts are very likely true, the fact that the broadside was printed in 1744 need not mean at all that the event occurred in 1744. Having said that it is still possible it did occur then. However, it could easily be based on an earlier printing or a newspaper report.

Also I've been having a closer look at the Pepys 'Bloody Miller' of c1683. It is quite likely that the slight similarities between the 2 ballads are purely co-incidental. In one we have a miller's servant, in the other a miller who himself has a servant. The promise of marriage, pregnancy and murder are common to many ballads. The description of the murders is different. In the first we're not told what he did with the body, in the second he threw her in the river. In the first the nose bleed is the superstition that it proves the murderer's guilt, but in the second is given as the excuse for having blood on his clothes when challenged.

I think the best you can say is that there are a few similarities in the plot. They certainly have no text in common and the likelihood is that one did not influence the other. Both are purported to be based on real events so that is really how we should deal with them until we find evidence to the contrary.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Oct 16 - 04:00 PM

I think Halliwell's papers are either in the BL or National Library of Scotland. Is the tract online?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Oct 16 - 05:20 PM

Richie,
Thomas Pettitt has already done a detailed study of TBT and had seen several copies of the dated broadside, one printed for Keed in York.
You can access his paper titled Murdered Sweetheart Ballads: The Berkshire Tragedy, at Academia.edu, but I think you have to be a member which I am.

I've seen the reference in Halliwell's 'Fugitive Tracts' which is also online as you must know at Archive.org


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 16 Oct 16 - 04:46 PM

Hi Steve,

I do not have a copy of Drummond's 1844 print (for Keed). So please send me a copy. I did find the earlier Scottish version you mentioned and I sent you a link to it : "The tragical ballad of the miller of Whittingham Mill. Or, a warning to all young men and maidens." Glasgow, printed by J. & M. Robertson, 1800. Also in chapbook, "The History, Witty Questions and Answers, of that noted Philosopher, the Miller of Whittingham Mill, and Betty Puslem his wife." Published Edinburgh, 1793.

So now we have the murder location also as Wittenham (Ebsworth) and Whittingham. In the early broadsides the murderer's name is "John" and in the 1844 print it's "John Mauge" so that is consistant.

Tom Pettitt has emailed me back but has not responded to a couple questions but I think he will- I'll try and have him post here also. I have three of his articles on my site and have read another on google books. The first one "Murdered Sweetheart Ballads: The Berkshire Tragedy" has a fairly extensive list- but for example "The tragical ballad of the miller of Whittingham Mill" is missing and- i haven't done the US version yet but a bunch are missing so I'm sure there are a few dozen that will be added.

Anyone else know about a "murther" at Wittenham or Whittingham/ Or know of a mill there circa 1700?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 16 Oct 16 - 05:15 PM

Hi,

Correction- that was 1744 print. Halliwell's "Tracts" is also online at google books.

Pettitt has some nice charts at the end of this 2015 article: https://www.academia.edu/16917625/Memory_Print_and_Performance_The_Cruel_Miller_Revisited_

I'm probably going to have to rejoin Ancestry to figure out if John Mauge or Anne Knite are real people. The problem is Mauge could be Mogg or Mange or anything close. Knite could be Knight but she should be easier to find. It doesn't seem possible someone would invent these names.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 16 Oct 16 - 05:47 PM

Hi,

This is 47 quatrains and apparently the longest print version:


"The tragical ballad of the miller of Whittingham Mill. Or, a warning to all young men and maidens," Glasgow, printed by J. & M. Robertson, 1800. Also printed in this chapbook: " The History, Witty Questions and Answers, of that noted Philosopher, the Miller of Whittingham Mill, and Betty Puslem his wife." Published Edinburgh, 1793.


The Miller of Whittingham Mill

1 YOUNG men and maidens all give ear,
to what I now relate;
0 mark you well and you shall hear
of my unhappy fate.

2 My tender parents brought me up,
provided for me well;
And in the town of Whittingham,
did place me in a mill.

3 By chance I met an Oxford lass,
I cast a wanton eye;
And promis'd I would marry her,
if she with me would lie.

4 But to the world I do declare,
with sorrow, grief, and woe,
This folly brought us in a snare,
and wrought our overthrow.

5 This damsel came to me and said,
by you I am with child;
I hope dear John you'll many me,
for you have me defil'd.

6 Soon after that her mother came,
as you shall understand.
And often times persuaded me,
to marry out of hand.

7 And thus perplexed ev'ry day
I could no comfort find;
To make away this creature then,
my wicked heart inclin'd.

8 About a mouth since Christmas last,
0 cursed be that day!
The devil then did me persuade,
to take her life away.

9 I call'd her from her sister's house,
ar eight o'clock at night ;
Poor creature fire did little dread,
I bore her any spite.

10 I told her if she'd walk with me,
in the fields a little way,
We both together would agree;
and fix our wedding day.

11 Thus I deluded her along,
unto a private place;
Then pull'd a stick out from the hedge,
and struck her on the face.

12 Then she fell on her bended knees,
and did for mercy cry, ---
For Heaven's sake don't murder me,
I am not fit to die.

13 Yet I on her no pity had,
but wounded her full sore,
Until I that life took away,
which I could ne'er restore

14 With many grievous shriek and groan,
she did resign her breath,
And in this way most barbarous,
I put my love to death.

15 And then I took her by the hair,
to cover the foul sin,
I dragg'd her to a river side
her body threw therein.

16 Thus in the blood of innocence,
my hands were deeply dy'd,
And stained with her purple gore,
who should have been my bride.

17 Then home into my mill I run,
but lorely was amazed,
My man he thought I'd mischief done,
and straugly on me gaz'd.

18 0 what's the matter then he cry'd,
you look as pale as death,
What makes you shake and tremble so,
as tho' you'd lost your breath.

19 How came you by that blood upon,
your trembling hands and clothes,
I quickly then reply'd to him,
by bleeding at my nose.

20 I wislifully upon him looked,
but very little said
And snatch'd the candle from his hand,
and went unto my bed.

21 Where I lay trembling all the night,
For I could take no rest,-—
Thought perfect flames of hell did flash
Within my guilty breast.

22 Next day, the damsel being miss'd,
And no where to be found,
Then I was apprehended soon,
And to th' assizes bound.

23 Her sister did against me swear,
She reason had no doubt,
that I had made away with her,
Because I called her out,

24 But Satan still did me persuade,
I stifly should deny;
Quoth he, there is no witness can
Against thee testify.

25 But when her mother she did cry,
I cunningly did say,
On purpore for to frighten me,
She'd sent the child away.

26 I published in the news-paper.
My wretchedness to blind,
Two guineas any one should have,
That could this damsel find.

27 But heaven had a watchful eye.
And brought it so about,
That tho' I stifly did deny,
This murder should come out.

28 The very day before the assize,
Her body it was found,
Floating before her brother's door,
At Hillsferry town.

29 A second time then I was seiz'd,
To Oxford brought with speed;
And there examined again.
About this bloody deed.

30 The Corner and jury both
Together did agree
That this damsel was murdered,
And made away by me.

31 The Justice then perceiv'd my guilt,
No longer would take bail;
But the next morning I was brought
Away to Ridding jail.

32 When I was brought before the judge,
My man did testify,
That blood upon my hands and deaths
He did that night espy.

33 The justice told the jury then,
The circumstance was plain ;
Look on the pris'ner at the bar,
He has this creature slain.

34 About the murder at the first,
The jury did divide;
But when they brought the verdict in
All of them guilty cry'd

35   The jailor took and bound me strait,
As soon as I was cast;
He carry'd me to prison strong,
And there did lay me fast.

36 With fetters strong then I was bound.
And shin-bolted was I ;
Yet I the murder would nor own
But did it still deny.

37 My father then on me prevails,
My kindred then likewise.
To own the murder, which I did
To them with wat'ry eyes.

38 My father then he did me blame,
Saying my son, O! why
hast thou thus brought thyself to shame
And all thy family?

39 Father, I own the the crime I did,
I guilty am indeed
This cruel act I must confess,
Does make my heart to bleed.

40 The worst of deaths I do deserve,
My crime it is so base;
For I no mercy show'd to her,—-
Most wretched is my case.

41 Young men be warned by my fall,
All filthy lusts defy;
By giving way to wickedness,
Alas ! this day[1] I die ;


42 The ruin of innocence let ne'er,
like mine your study be;
But when that Satan tempts you fore,
from his suggestions flie.

43 Likewise young women all take care,
how you your charms do yield,
By doing so too soon you lose,
your virtue and your shield.

44 When men do tempt you to this guilt,
remember with a sigh,
That horrid and most barbarous crime,
for which I now must die.

45 Lord grant me grace while here I stay,
that I may now repent,
Before I from this wicked world,
most shamefully am sent.

46 Me pardon for the bloody deed,
for which I'm doom'd to death,
And let my tears flow fast therefore,
e'er I resign my breath,

47 O wash my crimson sins away,
which have been manifold.
Have mercy upon me I pray,
and so receive my soul.

FINIS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 16 Oct 16 - 08:49 PM

Hi,

There are 6 mistakes in the above, sorry, and rather than re-post it please see it on my site corrected: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/the-miller-of-whittingham-mill--edin-1793-chapbk.aspx

The Miller of Whittingham Mill has 47 stanzas, 3 more than most standard long broadsides. It is missing stanza 2, and has a different last line of 8. Additionally, it adds 4 unique stanzas near the end:

42 The ruin of innocence let ne'er,
like mine your study be;
But when that Satan tempts you fore,
from his suggestions flie.

43 Likewise young women all take care,
how you your charms do yield,
By doing so too soon you lose,
your virtue and your shield.

44 When men do tempt you to this guilt,
remember with a sigh,
That horrid and most barbarous crime,
for which I now must die.

46 Me pardon for the bloody deed,
for which I'm doom'd to death,
And let my tears flow fast therefore,
e'er I resign my breath.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Oct 16 - 01:22 PM

Hi Richie,
Surely looking for Whittingham/Wittenham is a red herring/waste of effort. The girl is still from Oxford and the place would presumably be near Oxford and has already been identified.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 17 Oct 16 - 03:41 PM

Hi,

Tom Pettitt is in California and said he will contact me when he gets back later this week.

I'm going to try Ancestry.com in a couple days-- I know David Atkinson and Pettitt tried to find the murder without any luck.

If you have a copy of the 1744 broadside please send it to me.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Oct 16 - 04:55 PM

Richie
I haven't got a copy. I only have the description by Halliwell, but I doubt that it would be any different to the Sympson copy anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 18 Oct 16 - 02:26 PM

Hi,

The Scottish versions are titled "Butcher Boy." Here's one from
The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection - Volume 2, p. 45; No. 200 by Gavin Greig, ‎James Bruce Duncan, ‎Patrick N. Shuldham-Shaw Emily B Lyle; Peter A Hall; Aberdeen U.P., 1983


D. The Butcher Boy- sung by Sam Davidson 1863–1951 of Auchedly, Tarves Aberdeen; the owner of North Seat Farm and well known singer who learned ballads from his farm hands. Collected Gavin Greig.

1. My parents educated me,
Good learning gave to me
They bound me to a master,
A butcher's boy to be.

2 I fell in love with a nice young girl,
Wi' a dark and a rolling eye;
I promised for to marry her
If one night with me she would lie.

3 I've courted this girl for six long months,
For six long months and mair,
Till I became ashamed of myself
To marry such a pretty young girl.

4 The girl being with child to me,
Full sore on me did cry,
"O Billy dear, do marry me,
Or for Your sake I'll die."

5 He's went up to her old mother's house,
'Twixt the hours of eight and nine,
And asked her if she would take a walk
Down by yon running stream.

6. They've walked up and they've walked down
They've walked all around,
Till from his breast he drew a knife,
And stabbed her to the ground.

7 Down on her bended knees she fell,
"Ochon alas," cried she;
"O Billy dear, don't murder me
And leave me here to die."

8 He's ta'en her by the yellow hair,
And dragged her all along,
Till they've come to yon running stream,
Where he's thrown her body in.

9 He's went up to his old mother's house
'Twixt the hours of twelve and one:
But little did this poor woman know
What her only son had done.

10 The question that she put to him,
"What stains your hands and clothes:
The answer that he gave to her
Was, "A bleeding at the nose."

11. He asked her for a handkerchief,
For to roll around his head.
He asked her for a candle,
To let him see to bed,

12. No peace, no rest could that young man find,
No peace, no rest had he,
The flames of hell like a burning torch,
Ascended on his mind.

13. It was in thee month of sweet July,
When the roses were in full bloom,
It's a' for the murdering of sweet Mary Ann
On the gallows ye must hang.

This obviously isn't the ballad "Butcher Boy" only the trade has been changed from miller to butcher. the same occurs in the Scottish travellers Stewart/Robertson/Higgins. The murdered is Willie instead of John and the victim is Mary or Mary Ann.

How old are these versions? Obviously Sam's ballad dates back to 1880s, not sure of the provenance. Any info is welcome,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Oct 16 - 06:32 PM

Peter Buchan was a broadside printer in Peterhead and later Aberdeen.
All of these altered versions come from that area.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 19 Oct 16 - 02:59 PM

Hi Steve,

I need some evidence the Peter Buchan printed a version, otherwise it's an interesting theory.

The "Butcher Boy" (similar to Cruel Miller only a butcher boy instead of a miller) is sung by many of the Aberdeenshire travellers including Stanley Robertson, her aunt Jeannie Robertson, Jean Stewart and her daughter Elizabeth (text in Mudcat) -- then Lizzie Higgins - her grandmother etc.

I have 19 versions, there are two that are probably cover songs.

Any other versions?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Oct 16 - 09:09 AM

It would be wonderful to have some evidence of what Peter printed, but strangely very little seems to have survived.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 01:13 AM

Hi,

Here's the first published version from Greig's series of local newspaper articles (no. 137) in Folk-Song of the North-East, dated about August 1910. He comments:

"The folk-singer is fond of tragedy. Ballads of Murder and Execution, in particular, are pretty numerous, although it must be allowed that, as far as our North-Eastern minstrelsy is concerned, they are mainly importations. They have likely enough been introduced through broadsides. 'The Butcher Boy' is well known in our part of the country, judging from the records which we
have got of both words and tune."                     
                              
No informant is named and the second stanza, last line (see below) has been sanitizes from, "If she would with me lie." The stanza where she becomes pregnant has also been sanitized (see stanza 3 below):

4 The girl being with child to me,
Full sore on me did cry,
"O Billy dear, do marry me,
Or for Your sake I'll die[43]."

Otherwise Grieg's published text below represents a standard version of Butcher Boy although it may be a compilation:

   THE BUTCHER BOY.

My parents gave me good learning,
Good learning they gave unto me,
They sent me to a butcher's shop,
A butcher's boy to be.
            
I fell in love with a nice young girl,   
She'd a dark and rolling eye;                  
I promised for to marry her            
In the month of sweet July.   
                  
This fair maid being beguiled by me,
Upon me she did cry,-
O Willie dear, you'll marry me,   
Or else for you I'll die.

I went unto her mother's house,
'Twixt the hours of eight and nine,
And asked if she would take a walk                  
Down by yon running stream.
         
They've walkèd up, and they've walkèd down,
And they've walkèd all along,
Till from his breast he drew a knife,
And stabbed her to the bone.      

She fell upon her bended knees,            
And for mercy she did cry,­   
O Willie dear, don't murder me,
And leave me here to die.

He's ta'en her by the lily white hand,
And dragged her all along,
Until be came to yon running stream,
And he plunged her body in.
                                                   
He went into his mother's house,
"Twixt the hours of twelve and one;
But little did his poor mother think
What her only son had done.
                                                   
The question she did put to him,­
Why blood did stain his clothes?
But the only answer he gave to her,­
'Twas a bleeding at the nose.
                                                   
He asked her for a handkerchief
To roll around his head;
He asked her for a candle
To let him see to bed.
                                                   
No rest nor peace could this young man get,
No rest nor peace could he find;
For he saw the burning flames of hell
Approaching in his mind.
                                                   
The young man's crime it being found out,
The gallows was his doom,                        
For the murdering of sweet Mary Ann,
The flower that was in bloom.   

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 01:19 AM

BTW thanks to Steve for sending it,

Any other versions?

These are the ones I have on my site:

Butcher's Boy- Kate Mitchell (Aber) c1910 Greig A
Butcher's Boy- A. Fowlie (N.Deer) c1908 Greig B
Butcher's Boy- Cruickshank (N.Deer) c1908 Greig C
Butcher Boy- Sam Davidson (Aber) c1907 Greig D
Butcher's Boy- Annie Shirer (Aber) c1908 Greig E
Butcher Boy- unknown (Aber) c1909 Greig F
Butcher's Boy- Mrs. Willox (Aber) c1908 Greig G
Butcher Boy- Adam Christie (Kinc) 1963 Henderson
Butcher Boy- Jean Stewart (Aber) 1960 Goldstein
Butcher Boy- Jean Robertson (Aber) 1931 Henderson
Butcher's Boy- Will Mathieson(Aber) 1952 Henderson
Butcher Boy- Lizzie Higgins (Aber) 1970 Munro
Butcher Boy- John Argo (Aber) 1952 Henderson
Butcher Boy- Jimmy MacBeath (Ban) 1952 Henderson
Butcher's Boy- Elizabeth Stewart (Aber) c1955
Butcher's Boy- Andrew Robbie (Aber) 1960 Goldstein
Butcher Boy- Stanley Robertson (Aber) 1974 Cooke
Butcher Boy- Enoch Kent (Glas) 1962 REC
Butcher Boy- Charles Fiddes Reid (Aber)1915 Porter
The Butcher Boy- Unknown (Aber) 1910 Greig FSNE

I've been working on the headnotes: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/6-bloody-miller-berkshire-tragedy-wexford-girl.aspx

Some nice woodcuts on there now,

Comments welcome,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 04:06 PM

"Butcher Boy- Jean Robertson (Aber) 1931 Henderson"

If that's Jeannie Robertson and Hamish Henderson, the 1931 date must be wrong, as Hamish was only born in 1919. It could be 1951. If the date is right it's probably a different Jean Robertson and certainly a different Henderson.

On the main theme of this thread: a ballad maker might well blend an account of a recent murder with some of the story of an earlier one and some fictional embellishment. Thus the 1744 ballad could have been partly based on the 1656 one and the Butcher Boy ballad could have been partly based on the Wytham miller one. So not one original murderer but two or three of them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Reinhard
Date: 22 Oct 16 - 06:51 AM

The year 1931 seems to be a typo. Richie's website says in Note Ee:
"The Butcher Boy" sung by Jeannie Robertson recorded by Hamish Henderson in 1953. Jeannie Robertson learned this from a woman friend around 25 years previously.

That recording is on the tape SA1953.247 at Tobar an Dulchais.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 22 Oct 16 - 10:45 AM

Hi,

Thanks for your replies. The date Jeannie learned the ballad should be 1928 not 1931- ty I'll correct it - that is not the date it was recorded.

I have a question: Why did he wrap a handkerchief around his head in the Butcher Boy versions? He did not suffer an injury and used the nose bleed as an alibi. Just wondering?

Here's a link to listen to Jeanie's excellent version:
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/play/25352;jsessionid=188816C257A0E249BBC41B53806EFCD5

I can't make out the third line of stanza 7. Anyone?

7. But He took her by her lily-white hand,
And he dragged her to the brim,
And with a knife he . . . ,
And he pushed her body in.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Oct 16 - 03:27 PM

Richie
It looks like this stanza has been affected by the many 'Distressed Maid/Lily-white Hand' versions Roud 564.

Again the candle bed stanza has also been affected by 'Rosemary lane' Roud 269. This is where the wrapping the handkerchief comes from.

I'd better add (IMHO)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 22 Oct 16 - 06:35 PM

the third line...

MainlyNorfolk has it as

But he took her by the lily-white hand
And he dragged her to the brim,
And with a mighty boundward push
He pushed her body in.

Jeannie Robertson sings The Butcher Boy
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/theoxfordtragedy.html

-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 23 Oct 16 - 03:26 PM

Hi,

TY Freddy for the text of her 3rd line that sounds right.

Steve, TY for those possible sources. The handkerchief is important because it is not found in print- so any version with "handkerchief" is most likely traditional. Handkerchief is found in the Scottish versions and in the US versions as well, which means that the Scottish versions may be considerably older than late 1800s.

Does anyone know or have an idea why Wexford Town suddenly appeared in the Cruel Miller versions since it was not in the Berkshire Tragedy?

Since there are very few Irish versions I know of three, is this just a random name or does it refer to Wexford, Ireland?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Oct 16 - 04:31 PM

To Irish emigrants in America, a step from 'Oxford' to 'Wexford' isn't very far, especially when sung.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 23 Oct 16 - 05:24 PM

Hi,

The oldest Irish version comes from the US as sung by Irish emigrants around 1900, then there are two Irish versions circa 1950s-1970s in UK. The one by Mary Doran (?) -believe it's Oxford Girl (?) I don't have. I have Jim Carroll's version.

So I only know of three Irish versions- Anyone know of more? Apparently there are no Irish broadsides. So Wexford comes from the Cruel Miller broadsides but not from Berkshire. It doesn't seem to be from an Irish source.

If the Scottish handkerchief versions came to the US then they might be circa 1800 which means they could be from a missing Scottish broadside printed around the time of the Cruel Miller. They must be older than the late 1800s. What do you think?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 23 Oct 16 - 05:30 PM

Need to add that none of the "handkerchief" versions were printed (as broadsides/chapbooks). Also that the Scottish versions are very consistent-- only 2 of the 20 versions I have are slightly different- one is the Willox version published by Greig in a 1911 newspaper article.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 23 Oct 16 - 11:05 PM

Hi,

A recording of Phoebe Smith is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovi8Is675R4

I've got some of it. Can someone fill in the blanks?

Oxford Girl- Sung by Phoebe Smith

I fell in love with a Oxford girl
She had dark and a rolling eyes,
I felt to ashamed to marry her
A-bein' too young a man.

I went alone to her sister's house
About eight o'clock that night,
Asking her if she'd take a walk
Through the fields and meadows gay.

And the answer what she gave to me,
That lay so far away
I caught a-hold of her lily white hand
And I kissed those sweet [ ]

And I had no thoughts of murdering her,
[ ]far away.

I pulled a large stake from the hedge
And then I knocked her down.
And the blood from that poor innocent girl,
Come trinkling from her brow.

Then I took hold of her curly, curly locks
And I dragged through the field
Until I came a deep riverside
I flung that damsel in.

Look how she goes, look how she goes
A-flaoting on the tide (?)
Instead of bein' in a watery grave
She ought to have been my bride

I went alone to my own folks(?) house
About ten o'clock that night,
Asking him for a candle
To light me up to bed.

He asked me and he questioned me,
"What had stained my hands and clothes?"
And the answer I gave back to him,
"I've been bleeding from the nose."

It was about three weeks afterwards
When the pretty fair maid were found,
Come floating down by her own mother's door
[ ]along the town.

TY Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 12:11 AM

Hi,

I listened to it again - at least it's close:

Oxford Girl- Sung by Phoebe Smith of at Woodbridge, Suffolk; recorded by Peter Kennedy, 8 July, 1956.

I fell in love with a[n] Oxford girl,
She had dark and a rolling eyes,
I felt to ashamed to marry her
A-bein' too young a maid.

I went along to her sister's house
About eight o'clock that night,
Asking her if she'd take a walk,
Through the fields and meadows gay.

And the answer what she gave to me,
That lay so far away.

I caught a-hold of her lily white hand
And I kissed those cheek and chin
And I had no thoughts of murdering her,
Nor in no evil way.

I pulled a large stake from the hedge
And then I knocked her down.
And the blood from that poor innocent girl,
Come trink'ling from her brow.

I catched a-hold of her curly, curly locks
And I dragged her through the fields
Until I came a deep riverside
And there I flung her in.

Look out she goes, look out she floats
She's a-floating on the tide
Instead of bein' in a watery grave
She ought to have been my bride

I went along to my own folks house
About ten o'clock that night,
Asking him for a candle
To light me up to bed.

He asked me and he questioned me,
"What had stained my hands and clothes?"
And the answer I gave to him,
"I've been bleeding from the nose."

It was about three weeks afterwards
When the pretty fair maid were found,
Come floating down by her own mother's door,
On, near of Oxford town.

Corrections please,

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 12:32 AM

I have yet another version, The Miller's Boy, by Paul Clayton on Bloody Ballads. It has the prettiest melody for such bloodthirsty lyrics... I love it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: GUEST,Reinhard
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 03:02 AM

I've been cheating and typed the verses from the Topic CD's booklet:

Phoebe Smith: The Oxford Girl
Recorded by Peter Kennedy, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 8 July 1956.

I fell in love with a Oxford girl,
She had dark and a-rolling eyes,
And I feeled too shamed to marry her,
Her being too young a maid.

I went along to her sister's house
About eight o'clock that night,
Asking her if she'd take a walk
Through the fields and meadows gay.
And the answer what she gave to me,
That laid so far away.

I caught fast hold of her lily-white hand
And I kissed those cheek and chin,
And I had no thoughts of murdering her
And hid no evil ways.

I pulled the hedgestick all from the hedge
And I gently knocked her down,
And the blood from that poor innocent girl
Come trinkling on the ground.

I caught fast hold of her curly, curly locks
And I dragged her through the field,
Until I came to a deep river side
I gently flung'ed her in.

Look how she go, look how she flows.
She's a-floating by the tide,
And, instead of her having a watery grave,
She ought to've been my bride.

I went alone to my uncle's house
About ten o'clock that night,
Asking him for a candle
To light me up to bed.

He answered me and close-questioned me,
What had stained my hands in blood?
And the answer I gave to him,
"I've been bleeding from the nose."

It was about three weeks afterwards
When that pretty fair maid were found,
Come floating down by her own mother's door,
One near called Oxford town.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 03:28 AM

Richie,
All of these versions are more 'Lily-white Hand/Distressed Maid' than Cruel Miller. Very obvious hybrids.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 03:18 PM

Lyrics to my version posted in this thread, which relates.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 11:12 PM

Hi,

Thanks Reinhard.

Steve, can you post a complete text of one of the 'Lily-white Hand/Distressed Maid' songs and give a couple titles.

TY Mrrzy what is the source of Paul Clayton's text?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 11:33 PM

Hi,

Steve-- is this your Distressed Maid article? (Dungheep): http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dung19.htm

There's also a similarity with Oxford City / Worcester City / Newport Street / The Cup of Poison /Jealousy [Roud 218]

The question is : Is Cruel Miller older and parts of the Distressed Maid based on Cruel Miller/

What do you think?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Oct 16 - 11:48 PM

I don't have the record, I just have always sung the song, sorry!

Interesting other thread, too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Oct 16 - 09:06 AM

Hi Richie,
Yes, I am Dungbeetle. It's all a reaction to Child's abhorrence of street lit. I was a teacher when I started writing these articles and I thought it prudent to use a pseudonym as some of the earlier articles were somewhat explicit.

If you've looked at the article I assume you have access to plenty of Distressed Maid versions.

Off the top of my head I would say the crossovers are pretty certainly hybrids rather than one evolving into or being influenced by the other. There is nothing to stop a hybrid being a hybrid in print before entering oral tradition. The ballad makers in England occasionally stuck bits of ballads together. The Scottish big ballad editors certainly did it so the tradition no doubt continued in America. It certainly happened in oral tradition on both sides of the pond as we have seen in other instances. Over here travellers are particularly fond of stringing bits of different ballads together.

I would need to have a close look over my study of 'Distressed Maid' to remind myself of the relationships. I do remember this one is also quite old and has been rewritten several times.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 25 Oct 16 - 05:52 PM

Hi,

I knew that was you but I didn't know it was only you (that you wrote all the "Dungbeetle" articles)- very good articles.

As you said-- Smith's version is a hybrid- at least in two places. It borrows from the "Distressed Maid ballads." However one of the places, "I caught fast hold of her lily-white hand/ And I kissed those cheek and chin," is unique to her. The other place, "Look how she go, look how she flows/She's a-floating by the tide," is found in other miller's Apprentice versions.

The burning question is: Why has no English traditional version been collected, been in print or written about (in Notes and Queries etc.) before 1880 (if you can accept Baring-Gould's re-write as traditional --after that it's 1904)?

Richie

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 25 Oct 16 - 09:14 PM

Hi,

I've tried to transcribe this version and can't make out the city [footnote 1] or the next to last line [footnote 2]. There might be a few errors.

Anyone hear it? Here's a link: http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/play/93277;jsessionid=B12F5C417433CA281CFD69A1EA2A0812

The Wexford Girl- sung by Ethel Findlater of Birsay and Harray, Orkney. Recorded by Elizabeth Neilsen, also Alan Bruford. Ethel Findlater learned this song from her mother many years before.

1. Twas in the town of Leebough[1]
Where I was bred and born
And in the town of Wexford
I owned a foundry mill.

2. I courted there a Wexford girl
With a dark and rolling eye,
I asked that girl to marry me
And with me I [she] could lie.

3. I went unto her mother's house
Bein' eight o'clock at night,
I asked my love to take a walk,
A wedding day I'll find.

4. We walked along quite easily
Till we came to meadow's ground,
I pulled a stake from off the fence
And I boldly knocked her down.

5. She fell upon her bended
For mercy she did cry,
"Oh Willie my dear don't kill me here,
For I'm not prepared to die."

6. I heeded not a word she said,
But hit her all the more,
And all about and all around
Lay in the bloody gore.

7. I took her by the yellow knot
And dragged her on the ground.
And through her in the river
That flows through Wexford town.

8. I was taken upon suspicion
And march-ed into jail,
With no one to pity me,
And no one to go my bail.

9. I went into my mother's house
Bein' twelve o'clock at night,
My mother who was sitting up,
Brought in a candle light.

10. "Oh Willie my son what hast thy done,
Such blood on yer hands and clothes."
The answer I thought best to give,
"Was a bleeding at the nose."

11. I asked her for a candle,
To light me off to bed.
I asked her handkerchief
To tie about my head,

12. I tumbled and I tossed about,
No comfort could I find,
The flames of hell surround me,
And she lay close behind.

13. O ye young men O fear my fate,
A warning take by me,
And do not treat the girl you like,
With any cruelty.

14 For if you do you're sure to rue,
Until the day you dee
And when they come for me at last[2],
And hang from the gallows tree.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 26 Oct 16 - 10:20 AM

Hi,

Findlater's version, learned circa 1914 from her mother is unique and not based on Scottish tradition. It is closer to US versions than the Scotch. Her daughter sings with her on the recording- link above.

The closest I could get to the town name in the first stanza Maryborough but it sounds more like Mayborough,

Anyone?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Oct 16 - 02:40 PM

Nearest I can get is 'Marybone' i.e., Marylebone, pronounced Marlebone. It could of course be Marlborough that was intended, not a million miles from Oxford.

Your burning question I'm not sure I understand. The answer is simple.
Very little material was collected/published in England prior to 1900. Baring Gould only collected in one small area in Devon/Cornwall.
Kidson collected only in Yorkshire and S Scotland and most of that was from friends and correspondents. Likewise Lucy Broadwood was much dependent on friends and correspondents. Not a lot of sweeping fieldwork and many of the songs did not appear until collecting started in earnest after 1900. Very little survives in manuscript form. Very few people were interested until Sharp started publicising.

Regarding the Orkney version, whilst many of the Wexford Girl variants were collected in places of Scottish settlement, Eastern Canada and NE United States, I don't think that's the connection here. Simple logic would suggest the Orkney version came back from the Eastern Seaboard. Orkney men were great sailors and many went to the fishing off Newfoundland and of course went whaling to Baffin Bay.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Oct 16 - 03:31 PM

I forgot to mention, but I'm sure you're aware anyway, their tune is very much a Dives and Lazarus variant. People here would know it more by such names as Star of the County Down or, Tramps and Hawkers in its major form.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 26 Oct 16 - 04:52 PM

Ty Steve,

It does make sense that Findlater came from Maritime Canada- her version of Gosport was similar to version from Newfoundland and nothing like it was found in the UK so this is similar- good point.

I noticed Findlater's shifts from major to minor and I do known and have played Star of County Down- I haven't spent enough time with melodies- but I plan to (at least I read music, write music and sing so it should be a skill I can develop- listening is the starting point).

Another interesting melody is Amy Birch's (He pulled a dagger). She takes the melody through a cycle of 5ths reminiscent of US country music- apparently a style incorporated by some travellers.

Here's the completed British page (no proofed) versions are there - will be in chronological order soon:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/british--other-versions-6-the-bloody-miller-.aspx


Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 26 Oct 16 - 08:52 PM

Hi,

I'm still wondering why the ballad wasn't found anywhere in tradition since it may have been around since early 1800s (it have to have come to US around then).

The ballad should have been around during the Golden Years 1776-1830 of UK collecting with Percy; Johnson; Scott; Motherwell; etc. then Peter Buchan was still around until 1850. Then, off the top of my head, there was Robert Bell, Halliwell, J. Broadwood, Frederick Sheldon, Dixon, Chappell, Ebsworth and so forth.

Where are the trad versions?

And nothing in Notes and Queries- that also seems odd. There were a number of similar publications that published parts of songs and other current events. Only one, "Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country," Volume 19, 1839 has version of the broadside Cruel Miller or, Love and Murder and it leaves of the first stanzas:

Many ballads follow; some supposed to be written from prison, others from Botany Bay; one from the gallows foot, too, entitled The Cruel Miller. He seduced a fair maid, and having " courted her for six long months, a little now and then, unwilling was to marry her, being so young a man." Things arrived, however, at such a pass, that marriage, or else shame, became inevitable, whereupon the cruel miller determined to make away with his mistress. There is some poetry in the manner in which the murder is described:—

"I went unto her sister's house, at ten o'clock at night.
And little did this fair maid think I owed her such a spite;
I ask'd her to take a walk all in those meadows gray,
And there to sit and talk awhile, and fix our wedding day.

[etc. to end]

So that's it, I just assume the subject matter and the fact that it was not considered traditional may have had something to do with it,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 08:26 AM

As I said little collecting of this type of material was done before 1900, certainly before 1880. The ballad seems to have been more current in the south. Bell and Dixon were in the north. Halliwell was more of a manuscript/print man as were Chappell and Ebsworth. John Broadwood made a small isolated collection in Sussex c1840. Peter was collecting/concocting in a small area of Scotland. He would have had copies of the English ballad but it would take me a while to look through his mss to see if he converted it into Scots. It wouldn't surprise me if he had. As an English ballad it would have been of little interest to Johnson, Scott, Motherwell, and Percy did no fieldwork. His material all came from correspondents (mainly Scottish) mss and previous print. Many of these collectors would also not be interested from the point of view of the subject matter so common on street lit.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 08:30 AM

Hi Richie,
Absolutely nothing in any of the Peter Buchan mss.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 01:44 PM

Hi,

TY Steve,

I'm doing the US/Canad versions and found this very old relic of Berkshire that shows the balald was sung similary in the UK but not collected. this family Hicks/Harmon family came out of the Virginia colony in the late 1600s (as far as they've been traced) to North Carolina just before the Revolutionary War.
A reward of ten guineas is offered ("Ten guineas I offered any man, This damsel they would find") which indicates the version is likely very old. Since this reward is only offered in versions of Berkshire Tragedy (dated c. 1700) it seems to clearly pre-date the Cruel Miller broadsides. I've supplied the title from Ebsworth which has been corrupted to the "Town of Wickedness":

[Wittenham Miller] sung by Pollyanna Harmon of Cade's Cove, TN in 1930.

1. My tender parents brought me here
Providing for my wealth;
And in a town of wickedness[1]
He fixed me out a mill.

2. Here came a wanting[2] lass;
She had a wanting[2] eye;
I promised her I'd marry her,
And with her I did lie.

3. A very few weeks and afterwards
Here came that lass again:
"I pray you, young John, you'd marry me;
You've got me with a child."

4. Perplexed was I on every side;
No comfort I could find
But to take my darling's life from her
My wicked heart inclined.

5. 1 went to my love's sister's house;
It was getting late at night.
But little did the poor creature think
I owed her any spite.

6. "Come, take a walk with me, my dear;
We'll pint[3] the wedding day;"
I tuk her by her lily-white hand;
I led her through the field.

7. 1 drew a stake then out of the fence;
I hit her in the face;
She fell on her bending knee;
For mercy loud did cry:
"I pray, young John, don't murder me,
For I'm not fit to die."

8. I kept putting[4] on more and more,
She did resign her breath,
And wasn't I a crazy soul
To put my love to death?

9. I tuk her by the hair of the head;
I drug her through the field;
I drug her to the river bank
And plunged her in the deep.

10. Right straight home then I run;
My master strangely on me gazed:
"What's the matter, young Johnny?" he says,
"You look as pale as death.

11. "You look like you've been running
And almost spent for breath.
How came you by, young John," he says,
"These trembling hands enfold?

12. "How came you, young John," he says,
"These bloody hands and clothes?"
I answered him immediate lie[5]:
"A-bleeding at the nose."

13. He stood; he strangely on me gazed,
But no more he said.
I jerked a candle out of his hands
And made my way to bed.

14. 1 lay there all that long night;
I had but little rest;
I thought 1 felt the flames of hell
Strike within my guilty breast.

15. The very next morning by day-light
Ten guineas I offered any man,
Ten guineas I offered any man,
This damsel they would find.

16. The very next morning by sunrise,
This damsel she were found,
Floating by her brother's door
In Harry Fairy Town[6].

17. Then her sister against me swore;
Good reasons without a doubt:
By coming there after dark,
And calling her out.

18. "My Lord, my God,
Look down on me
And pray receive my soul."

1. probably from Wittham or Whittingham
2. wanton
3. plan or fix
4. hitting her more and more
5. immediately (pronounced immediate-lie)
6. resembles Ferry Hinksey Town as sung by George Hicks of Arlington, Gloucestershire.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 02:13 PM

Yes,very interesting and well worth closer study when you have all of the versions together.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 27 Oct 16 - 05:37 PM

Hi,

Footnote 3, is appoint.

Here's is a very curious murder committed in 1794 with the exact same murder weapon!!! Whether it's related it hard to say: this is the murder: "the former drew a stake out of a hedge, and, giving it to his son, urged him with threats to commit the horrid deed; whereupon the boy, striking his sister on the head, knocked her down, and repeated his blows till he had deprived her of life"

Below is the whole account:

April 2, 1794

Bury, Suffolk. This morning were executed, pursuant to their sentence, John and Nathan Nichols, father and son, for the wilful murder of Sarah Nichols, daughter to the one and sister to the other. The father and brother way-laid the helpless girl in the evening of the 14th of September last; the former drew a stake out of a hedge, and, giving it to his son, urged him with threats to commit the horrid deed; whereupon the boy, striking his sister on the head, knocked her down, and repeated his blows till he had deprived her of life: he afterwards, at his father's desire, went and tied one of her garters round her neck, and dragged her into a ditch, where she was found the next morning. Nathan Nichols was nineteen, and his unfortunate sister seventeen, years of age. On their arrival at the fatal tree, they both persisted in their innocence; and, notwithstanding the very ample confession of the boy, he then said his father was innocent, for all he knew, of the fact for which they were to suffer. The behaviour of the elder Nichols was very undaunted, declaring his innocence to the last moment. After hanging the usual time, the body of the elder Nichols was conveyed to Fakenham, to be hung in chains, and the younger one was taken for dissection at Bury. John Nichols was about sixty years of age, and had been many years employed as hedge carpenter to the Duke of Grafton.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Oct 16 - 03:49 PM

Sorry Richie,
The similarities are very superficial. The only connection appears to be the murder weapon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Oct 16 - 01:50 PM

Yet, the Suffolk Miracle is a totally different, ghost story. Another one of my faves, those are the 2 I like to sing most often.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 12:57 PM

Hi,

Just a quick update. I've been putting US version on my site here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-6-bloody-millerwexford-girl.aspx

Here's a brief bit from my 15 pages of headnotes for the US and Canada:

Brief Analysis of Ballad Types and Titles in North America

There are very few older versions from North America that are similar to or based on the c. 1700 Berkshire Tragedy. Only the Hick/Harmon version I've titled "Wittenham Miller" is clearly based on Berkshire, while Mary Eddy's "Lexington Girl" has several partial bits of texts based on Berkshire and is also very old version. In other ballads a stanza or a few words are borrowed. The presence of the devil is found in Berkshire Tragedy but not in The Cruel Miller. Here's Berkshire stanza 9:
            9. About a month since Christmas last,
                oh! cursed be the day,
                The devil then did me persuade,
                to take her life away.
The presence of this stanza or usually part of it, indicates an association with Berkshire. At least four versions from North Carolina usually titled "The Bloody Miller" begin similarly with this very stanza:
            Bloody Miller- Jane Eller (NC) 1901 Abrams A
                1. One month of May since Christmas last,
                      that most unhappy day
                      That he devil persuaded me
                      to take her life away.
This stanza is part of the older NC versions and a concluding warning stanza was recreated to tie in with the devil being the cause of the murder:
             Come all young men and warning take
             Unto your lovers be true
             And never let the devil get
             The upper hand of you. [Carter Family 1937, "Never Let the Devil Get the Upper Hand Of You"

Use the link to read more. I've put over 100 are the US/Canada traditional texts on my site so far- I'm nearly done only 5 or so more to go.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 03:17 PM

Hi,

I have a question about these lines in the Berkshire broadside:

And in the Town of Wittam then,
they plac'd me in a Mill.

Why is "then" at teh end of that line-- could it be a mishearing of Wittam-ham.

Wittam then= Wittimham or Whittingham

It doesn't seem like a singer would have "then" in that spot. What do you think?

Here's the Scottish text:

And in the town of Whittingham,
did place me in a mill.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 05:47 PM

I very much doubt it, Richie. The ballad writers weren't exactly brilliant poets. Nor did they need to be. These things were sold on the streets remember. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the line
'And in the town of Wittham then'. These things were run off with not a great deal of thought and time spent on them, and scanning to make them fit a tune was more important than poetic niceties.

Spending a day looking at the syntax and sentence construction in broadside pieces you would come across much that was at the very least awkward and not everyday language. Some of the sophisticated ballad forgers actually included this to make their forgeries look more authentic.

Wittham is only a few miles from Oxford and this is the earliest, longest version by far. Why are you still looking at derivatives?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 06:24 PM

Hi,

I'm comparing texts from the US/Canada to both Berkshire and Cruel Miller and when I read that line it seemed like "Wittam then" could be a corruption of "Whittingham," as found in the Scottish version.

Thanks for the feedback.

Sometimes a detail is overlooked and sometimes you look too much at the details :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Nov 16 - 07:43 PM

I'm sure I'll get lynched for saying this but there is plenty of evidence to show some of the early nineteenth century Scottish collectors were pretty adept at taking English broadside ballads and scottifying them. Some of this would occur naturally in oral tradition and no doubt there was a degree of anglicising of Scots songs coming the other way, just not as many.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 09 Nov 16 - 10:46 PM

Steve,

Almost done with US/Canada versions here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-6-bloody-millerwexford-girl.aspx

I did find two US versions with Distressed Maid/Lily-White Hand in them. I also found this titled --[The Wexford murder] by Bill House, 1900- (singer, male) Beaminster, Dorset, England, UK.

Item notes: Fragment, sung twice. from Mr Budlugh [?]. Roud Folk Song Index No. 1412. Laws Ballad No. P38. Performer notes: Retired hurdlemaker and thatcher.

My lover was a misfit girl,
I found she used to stray
With other men it is enough
That she's no used to me

I took her by the lily-white hand
I kissed both check and chin
I took her down by the river side
And there I tossed her in.

There goes my love my own true love,
Floating away by the tide,
Instead of her being some breathless corpse
She ought to have been my bride.

The last two stanzas are wed with Wexford/Oxford Girl versions. I have found four US versions that are directly related to Berkshire and not to the Cruel Miller so I'm wondering if Cruel Miller is really a link between Berkshire and the traditional US/Canada versions.

In general the titles Wexford/Oxford are really meaningless and interchangeable. This family is complex.

If anyone has any versions to add it would be great. I know Gwilym Davies has one from West Virginia I'm missing and any Irish versions would help.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 17 Nov 16 - 07:37 PM

Hi,

Thanks to Gwilym Davies for sending two recordings he made, the West Virginia version Wexford Girl I did not have. I'm going to post this small chuck of research on US versions. Comments welcome- to view online: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/6-berkshire-tragedy-cruel-millerknoxville-girl.aspx

This is about Lexington Miller/Lexington Murder:

"The Lexington Miller," a broadside (see copy above) dated 1829-1831 and printed by Leonard Deming in Market Square, Boston, is also a reduction of The Berkshire Tragedy. The broadside was also printed as "Sold wholesale and retail by Hunts & Shaw, no. 2 Mercantile Wharf, and head of City Wharf[29]" in the 1830s and 1840s. It's hard to tell if it's meant to be Lexington, Massachusetts or some other Lexington (perhaps Kentucky or North Carolina) in the US. In 1929 Mellinger E. Henry published the text of the Lexington Miller in The Journal of American Folklore (Vol. 42, No. 165, pp. 247-253) which he received from Kittredge as it appeared in a broadside in the Harvard Library. The text was reduced from The Berkshire's 22 stanzas (or 44 with divided lines as originally found in the broadside) to 11 and a half (or 23 with divided lines) in The Lexington Miller. Here are the first two stanzas:

The Lexington Miller

Come all you men and maidens dear, to you I will relate.
Pray lend an ear and you shall hear concerning my sad fate,
My parents brought me up with care, provided for me well,
And in the town of Lexington employ'd me in a mill.

'Twas there I 'spied a comely lass, she cast a winning eye,
I promis'd I would marry her if she would but comply:
I courted her about six months, which caused us pain and woe;
'Twas folly brought us into a snare, and it prov'd our overthrow.

Of the 23 stanzas only 3 new stanzas appear that are not found in the Berkshire Tragedy- one at the beginning and two at the end. The first is an opening stanza (see above) and in the last two he contemplates his death, bids farewell and offers a warning to be true to your lover, which is similar to the warning in Lexington Murder. The reduction of stanzas and other changes appear to be made by Deming or one of his writers directly from a copy of the Berkshire Tragedy. Some of the other changes are expurgatory--including "If she would but comply" from "If she would with me lie" also "she cast a winning eye" from "I cast a wanton eye" and the fact that this comely lass was pregnant was removed. These changes were made to adhere to the standard mores of Boston in the early 1800s.

Two of the most revealing changes were made in the following stanza:

Now straight unto the Mill I went,
like one that's in a maze,
And first I met was my servant boy,
who deeply on me gaz'd;

In Berkshire when he returns to the mill he meets his "man" who is the miller since he is an apprentice boy. In The Lexington Miller he meets his servant boy, a bizarre twist. How could this change happen? In The Lexington Murder he meets "his servant John":

And on returning to my home
I met my servant John[].

In a North Carolina variant of the Lexington Murder titled Bloody Miller[] the source of the first two lines from Lexington Miller is revealed:

Then to my mill, my mill, I ran,
The miller was amazed[],

This is similar to the original Berkshire text and shows that the first two lines were not copied from Berkshire but taken from a different version possibly printed and lost or from the text of a traditional version that represents The Lexington Murder. This proves that The Lexington Murder predated The Lexington Miller and is the reason why the broadside has Lexington in the title. The earliest example of the Lexington Murder is Eddy's C version collected from Mrs. Mary Boney of Perrysville, Ohio which has vestiges of the last two stanzas of the Lexington Miller. In Boney's version and nearly all the Lexington Murder versions is the opening with "tender" parents that provided for him well-- this "tender" has been removed from the broadside "Lexington Miller" which shows that Mary Boney's version was not based on the broadside but pre-dates it and that the changes to the broadside come from a similar unknown text. Despite the corruptions that are inevitable over a long period of time, here is her version:

"Lexington Girl." From Mrs. Mary Boney, Perrysville, Ohio[].

1. My tender parents brought me up,
Provided for my wealth[me well],
And in the town of Lexington
Employed me in a mill.

2. A lady came unto the mill,
And cast a wanting[wanton] eye;
I told her I would marry her
If she with me would lie.

3. So early the next Monday,
As you may understand,
Her mother wanted me to marry her
A-Saturday off-hand.

4. I sorrily reflected
And troubled in my mind,
Saying, "Polly[Folly], you have gained my love
Which caused my overthrow."

5. I went unto her sister's house
About eight o'clock at night;
I asked her for to take a walk,
A walk a little ways.

6. I told her we would take a walk
But a little ways,
That her and I might well agree
Upon the wedding day.

7, I then deluded her away
To some convenient place;
I drew a stake all out of the fence,
And struck her across the face.

8. She fell upon her bended knees,
"For mercy's sake," she cried,
"For mercy's sake don't murder me,
For I'm not fit to die."

9. I never minded a word she said,
But pelted her the more,
Until I had her life destroyed
To cover my sins o'er.

10. I took her by the hair of her head,
And threw her into the river;
I then returned unto my mill
Like one of olden age[ who was amazed.].

11. The miller he stepped up to me,
And on me he did gaze,
Saying, "How came this blood
Upon your hands and clothes?"

12. I replied, "It was bleeding
Of the nose."

13. I went into my chamber
And threw myself on the bed,
I rolled and I tumbled the whole during night,
There was no rest for me.

14. The next day they sought for her
And could not find her;
Then they sought for me,
And in my chamber found me.

15. Her sister swore her life against me,
Without doubt or fear,
Saying I was the last man
That conveyed her sister out.

16. Then back to Lexington
Where first I drawed my breath,
And by my own confession
Condemned me there to death.

17. Adieu to Lexington, adieu,
And, my old friends, adieu;
Young men, a warning take,
And to the girls prove true,
And oh, for God's sake, do.

Despite multiple printings, only one traditional version, Db, "The Lexington Tragedy," sung by Alonzo Lewis of York, Maine on October 1, 1948 has been collected that is based on the broadside. Notice how "tender" is missing in the opening and it's instead based on The Lexington Miller's opening. Although Lewis's version is short and the ending is missing, it's given in full here:

Lexington Tragedy- sung by Alonzo Lewis at York, (ME). Dated 10-01-1948. Transcribed R. Matteson, 2016.

1. My parents brought me up with care,
Provided for me well,
'Twas in the town of Lexington
They plac'd me in the mill.

2. A handsome girl came to my room,
On her I cast my eye,
I told her that I'd marry her,
If she would with me lie.

3. I courted her about six months,
Which caused us pain and woe,
When folly brought us into a snare,
And proved our overthrow.

4. I went down to her uncle's house,
Bout eight o'clock one night,
But little did she think on it
I owed her any spite.

5. So let us take a walk
Just a little ways,
That we can talk and well agree
Upon our wedding day.

6. So hand in hand I led her around,
Down in the lonesome place,
I pulled a stake out of the fence
And struck her in the face.

7. Then coming to herself again,
For mercy she did cry,
"Oh Johnny dear, don't murder me,
For I'm not prepared to die."

8. I paid no 'tention to her cry,
I laid it on the more;
Till I had taken her life away,
Which I could not restore.

9. Returning to my mill again,
Like one that was amazed;
The miller being at the door,
And strictly on me gazed.

10. "Where have you been, Johnny," he said,
What has dyed your hands and clothes?"
I answered him as I saw fit,
"Take a-bleeding at the nose."

11. The next morning she was searched for
And was not to be found,
And I was apprehended
And in my chamber bound.

12. Her sister swore against me
She swore it was no doubt
That I's the man who murdered her,
For I did lead her out.

G. Malcolm Laws in his 1957 "American Balladry from British Broadsides" devoted almost 18 pages to the Berkshire ballads which included the text to Lexington Miller broadside. He did not have access to the Alonzo Lewis version (above) which I've recently put on my web-site. Laws equates the "Lexington Miller" with the "Lexington Murder" and says that, "Several traditional texts related to 'The Lexington Miller' may be found in American folksong collections." As an example he gives Fields Ward's Virginia version titled "Lexington Murder" which is not similar to "The Lexington Miller" except for the Lexington title. The only similarity found in all complete versions of The Lexington Murder is the "I met my servant John" line. Although Laws did not say how they are related, I have shown that the Lexington in the Lexington Miller title is not a mere a coincidence and that The Lexington Murder pre-dates the 1830 broadside and was used in its construction.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 Nov 16 - 04:51 AM

Sometimes when my song circle becomes a little too grim I will sing a Louvin Brothers song, 'Knoxville Girl'- the same story as the one being discussed, although not with as many verses. This bloody tale snaps everyone right out of the funk. :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Nov 16 - 08:50 AM

Richie,
Fascinating stuff! It doesn't surprise me that only one oral Lexington version derives from the broadside. This happens regularly this side of the pond with the older ballads. Where there have been several printings in the 18th century we get some versions of the ballad that derive from 19th century printings, but sometimes we get versions that derive from earlier printings of which the original is no longer extant. I accept it is more likely to happen your side of the pond as there have been large areas of land remote from printed sources and therefore oral versions can more easily develop without the interference of print.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 18 Nov 16 - 07:41 PM

Hi,

Louvin Brothers is one of my favorites and of the top recordings of Knoxville girl- just finished that I have 25 complete "traditional" versions and then the recorded versions which are traced to Arthur Tanner - Gid's brother who probably sang the version by Riley Puckett- it was this Atlanta version that the Blue Sky Boys and Louvin Brothers sang with some minor changes (they left off Tanner's last stanza).

Hi, Steve, I does seem logical that The Cruel Miller writers got Wexford from somewhere and it seems there may be other either missing prints or manuscripts they worked from.

I'll do one more small chunk that ties in to Lexington Murder in another post.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 18 Nov 16 - 11:25 PM

Hi,

Here is another small chunk of research. First I'll give then complete versions then the commentary. The Lexington Murder is mainly from the Norfolk Colony and is very specific and easily identified. An older and similar version from that area with more details from Berkshire is "Bloody Miller" (not 1684 broadside). At the bottom Ja, Jb are two Nellie Cropsey titles that use the Lexington Miller text:

Ia. "The Lexington Girl." Sung by Miss Mary Riddle, North Fork Road, Black Mountain, North Carolina, 1925. From Mellinger Henry's "Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands," J.J. Augustin, 1938; first published in the 1929 JAFL article "Lexington Girl."
Ib. "My Confession." Contributed by Miss Sylvia Vaughan, of Oakland City, Indiana. Gibson County. Secured from her mother, Mrs. Hiram Vaughan. March 5, 1935. From: Brewster's "Ballads and Songs of Indiana; Indiana University Publications, Folklore Series," 1940.
Ic. "Lexington Murder." Sung by Fields Ward of Galax, Va., recorded in 1937; from Our Singing Country by Alan Lomax, 1941.
Id. "Lexington Murder." Sung by Nora Hicks, taken down by Addie Hicks c. 1937 From Abrams Collection; no date, typed MS. This standard version (from the late 1800s) was copied by Nora's daughter Addie for Edith Walker, a student collector for Abrams.
Ie. "The Lexington Murder." Collected by Mrs. Zebulon Baird Vance near Black Mountain, Buncombe county, and received by the Society in April 1915. From: Brown Collection of NC Folklore; volumes 2, 1952.
If. The Lexington Murder.' c. 1939 Sung by anonymous singer. Recorded, but no date or place given. The text of this version is a combination of versions A and F. From the Brown Collection of NC Folklore, volume 4, 1956.
Ig. "Lexington Murder." Sung by Mrs. Nilla Lancaster of Wayne county, NC. From: Brown Collection of NC Folklore; volumes 2, 1952.
Ih. "Lexington Miller" sung by Martha Hodges of NC in 1931. Given to W. Amos Abrams in 1939 by Imogene Norris, "to whom the ballad was sung 8 years previously by Mrs. Martha Hodges."
Ii. "Lexington Murder." Sung by Mrs. Susie Wasson of Springdale, Arkansas on August 8, 1959 Ozark Folk Song Collection- online; Reel 284, Item 4. Collected by Iola Stone for Mary Celestia Parler. Transcribed by Iola Stone.
Ij. "Lexington Girl," sung by Lillie and Pearl Steele of Hamilton, Ohio, with banjo by Pete Steele on March 30, 1938. Recorded by Alan Lomax. Learned in Butler County, Kentucky from Clara Boyd (?) known for 23 years.
Ik. "The Lexington Murder," sung by Wesley Hargis of Raleigh, North Carolina in 1934. Collected by John A. & Alan Lomax. New World NW 245 (`Oh My Little Darling: Folk Song Types').
Il. "Lexington Murder," sung by Abie Shepherd of Bryson City, N. C. in summer of 1923. Collected by Isabel Gordon Carter.
Some Songs and Ballads from Tennessee and North Carolina by Isabel Gordon Carter; The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 46, No. 179 (Jan. - Mar., 1933), pp. 22-50.
Im. "Lexington Murder" as sung by W. D. Collins of Missouri, Wyoming, and Oklahoma about 1953. W.D. Collins (1893-1976), a stockman, community song leader, square dance caller, cowboy, and Baptist preacher. From "Ideology and Folksong Re-creation in the Home-recorded Repertoire of W. D. Collins" by Melinda S Collins.
Io. "One Saturday Night," sung by Colon Keel with guitar in Raiford, Florida on June 3, 1939 (recorded by John Avery Lomax, Ruby T. Lomax)
Ip. "Never Let the Devil Get The Upper Hand Of You," as sung by the Carter Family of Virginia, collected by A.P. Carter, recorded 1937 on Decca recording 5479, New York , NY.
Iq. "The Old Mill," sung by Mr. Lair to his daughter about 1890. Payne "Songs and Ballads Grave and Gay" and also Dobie, Texas and Southwestern Lore, p. 213; Texas.
Ir. "City of Pineville," sung by Mrs. Lee Stevens of White Rock MO, Aug. 10, 1927. Randolph A; Randolph, Ozark Folksongs; 4 vols. 1946-50.

Ja. "Nell Cropsey," sung by John Squire Chappell of Tyner, NC in 1912
Jb. "Nellie Crospie," sung by Betty Bostic of Mooresboro, NC March 5, 1938 as learned from her grandmother; sent to Abrams.
See also her grandmother's version 'Lexington Murder,' as sung by Mrs. G. L. Bostic.

North American Ballad Types: The Lexington Murder (I)

Categorizing ballad types by title has proven to be difficult for the traditional descendants of Berkshire in North America. The popular older titles Wexford Girl and Oxford Girl have been used interchangeably in different areas of the country by traditional singers. The Lexington Murder, however, is very consistent and has only one older version with additional text (Mary Boney; Eddy C). The quick identifiers of The Lexington murder/Lexington Girl, which are missing in some versions, are:

A. The name of the city of town where the murderer did dwell or was born and raised. Also the name of the city or town he was placed in or owned a mill. The location of the mill is also the name of the girl (Knoxville girl) and usually the title (Knoxville Girl) as well as the town where the dead girl's body is discovered (floating down through ---- Town).
B. The identity of the person who sees the nosebleed: his servant John, his master (the miller) or his mother.
C. The name of the murderer.
D. The name of the location of the jail and/or the name town where her body floats down on the river that flows through it. This is usually A, if different it's D.

In general the name of the murderer, if given, corresponds to versions in the UK. The name "Willie" is Scottish and English (New England/Canada) while the name "Johnny" is Irish[] and English (John is the name given in Berkshire). The name of the victim is rarely given, so it is not usually an identifier-- her name, Mary or Mary Ann, is found consistently in the Scottish tradition.

"The Lexington Murder" or "The Lexington Girl," my I, is one of the oldest ballad types and found mainly in the US south and especially in North Carolina (see Brown Collection of NC Folklore). One version I've titled "Lexington Girl" (from Mrs. Mary Boney, Perrysville, Ohio), although categorized as Hb because it is much older and closer to the original Berkshire, is also part of I. See also the similar "Bloody Miller" titles from North Carolina and two complete Nell Cropsey texts which are just versions of Lexington Murder with the Nell Cropsey title. The Lexington title is also found twice in New England and is associated there with the Deming broadside Lexington Miller. Other versions like, One Saturday Night[], are missing the first two stanzas and the "city of Lexington" and "cast my eye" identifiers. The first and only commercial recording of "The Lexington Murder" is titled, "Never Let the Devil Get The Upper Hand Of You" which was made by the Carter Family of Virginia in 1937 on Decca recording 5479, New York City, NY.

"The Lexington Murder" has the following identifiers:
   A) "In the city of Lexington, they placed me in a mill." This agrees with Berkshire except the city is Lexington.
   B) "on her I cast my eye;" is similar to Berkshire which has "Wanton eye" while Lexington Miller has "winning eye." This is different than the standard text similar to The Cruel Miller's "black (dark) and rolling eye."
C) When he asks her if she'd marry him she "believes the lie."
D) On a "Saturday night, a-curs-ed be the day" the devil puts it in his head to take her life away.
E) When he goes to see her at 'her sister's house" he thinks "little did that creature think," he owed her any spite. "Creature" is also found in Berkshire.
F) He takes her for a walk and they walk "side by side" to a "silent/lonely/lonesome/desert[ed] place" where he picks up a stick (not stake) or slab and hits her "in the face." The rhyme is place/face.
G) After he kills her he states: "I run my hand thru her cold black hair/To cover up my sin/I drug her to the river bank
And there I throwed her in." which corresponds to stanza 16 of Berkshire. It's not clear that he is dragging her to the river-- by her hair-- so that he can dispose of the body to cover up his sin(murder). Running his hands through her hair does not cover up his sin (murder).
H) After returning home he states, "I met my servant John" who asks why he looks so pale and why he looks so "wan?" The word "wan" (which means pale" so the question is redundant) in almost every case is corrupt. The larger question is: why does an apprentice have a servant and is "servant John" derived perhaps from another ballad?
I) I went upstairs to go to bed (or he lights an candle) /Expecting to take my rest/It felt to me that fires of hell/Were burning in my breast.
J) The nosebleed is sometimes found (Fields Ward/Chappell's "Nell Cropsey") and if it's there- it follows I.
K) Her body is not found a-floating down the river to Lexington town. Her murderer is not put in jail.
L) The Lexington Murder ends with this warning: Then all young men this warning take/And to your love be true/Don't ever let the devil get/ The upper hand of you." It corresponds to the devil's earlier role in the ballad when, on a Saturday night, the devil puts the thought in his head to take her life away.

Below is a standard North Carolina version:

Ie. 'The Lexington Murder.' Collected by Mrs. Zebulon Baird Vance near Black Mountain, Buncombe county, and received by the Society in April 1916.

1 My tender parents brought me up,
Provided for me well,
And in the city of Lexington
They put me in a mill.

2 'Twas there I spied a bright young miss
On whom I cast my eye.
I asked her if she'd marry me,
And she believed a lie.

3 Last Saturday night three weeks ago,
Of course [A-curs-ed] would have been the day.
The devil put it in my head
To take her life away.

4 I went into her sister's house
Eleven o'clock last night.
But little did the creature know
For her I had a spite.

5 I asked her kind to take a walk
A little piece away
That we might have a joyful talk
About our wedding day.

6 We went upon a lonely road,
A dark and lonely place;
I took a stick from off the fence
And struck her in the face.

7 She fell upon her bended knee
And loud for mercy cried:
'For Heaven's sake don't murder me!
Fm unprepared to die.'

8 But little attention did I pay;
I only struck her more
Until I saw the innocent blood
That I could not restore.

9 I run my hand through her cold black hair;
To cover up my sin
I drug her to the river bank
And there I throwed her in.

10 And on returning to my home
I met my servant John.
He asked me why I was so pale
And why[I was so wan] so hurried on.

11 I went upstairs to go to bed.
Expecting to take my rest.
It felt to me that fires of hell
Were burning in my breast.

12 Then all young men this warning take
And to your love be true;
Don't ever let the devil get
The upper hand of you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 10:08 PM

Hi,

I'm trying to wrap up my study of Berkshire and need some help. I need this missing version: on page 117 of American Balladry Laws says "Wexford appears in a text from New York but apparently learned in Ireland," then on page 118 Laws says--"in the last line the youth is described as a butcher's boy." This mean's its partially related to the Scottish versions.

It must be listed in Laws book somewhere but I can't find it- any ideas?

I'm rewriting the rough draft but it partially, comments and corrections welcome: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/6-berkshire-tragedy-cruel-millerknoxville-girl.aspx

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 02:44 PM

You've probably already done this for Lexington, but what would be really neat is a conjectured ur version for each type.

On p267 of LawsBBBTA the version you are seeking is in New York Folklore Quarterly, V, 95 with 11 stanzas. Unfortunately I haven't got a copy of this but you should be better placed to get a copy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 10:54 PM

TY Steve

I'll see if I can get it. Good idea on the ur-ballad for the three missing trad types.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 12:15 AM

Here's the missing version, my footnotes- don't have all the info --apparently from ninety-year-old James W. Cline (according to Laws born in Ireland) of Denville, New Jersey who used to work in Sullivan County lumber camps.

The last line provides more evidence of the connection of The Wexford form (Irish/English with Butcher Boy (Scottish).

From: New York Folklore Quarterly, V, 95 with 11 stanzas. 1949; Songs from the Hudson Valley

The culprit in the following ballad was on the receiving end of the rope instead of on the giving end.

Town of Waxford

Twas in the town of Waxford,
Where I met my fairy gal.
Her cheeks were red as roses,
And her teeth as white as pearls.

I asked her if she'd walk with me
And be my heart's delight.
The answer that she gave to me
Was, "Oh, that date tonight."

We walked and we walked[1] together
Till we came to a level ground.
He pulled a stake right from that hedge,
And knocked this maiden down.

Upon her bending knee, For mercy she did cry,
"Oh, Willie dear, Oh, Willie dear,
do not kill me here.
I'm not prepared to die."

Not a word he listened to her,
Beat her more and more,
Till all the ground round him
Was in bloody score[2].

"Lie there, lie there, my pretty young maid,
Ye never shall be my bride.
Lie there, lie there, my pretty young maid,
You never shall be my tie[3]."

He picked her up by her golden locks
That over her shoulders lie,
And threw her into that river
That floats to Waxford town.

Her sister swore his life away,
Without any fears or harm.
He was the very fellow
Took her sister out.

Just very six weeks from,
This very day they found
this pretty fair maid floating down,
The river that floats to Waxford Town.

"Come all you pretty fair maidens
And take a warning from me.
Never treat the one you love
In[4] any severity.

For if you do you'll surely
be the same as I,
For high upon the gallows,
The butcher boy must die.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 12:21 AM

The 4th stanza should appear:

[She fell] upon her bending knee,
For mercy she did cry,
"Oh, Willie dear, oh, Willie dear, do not kill me here.
I'm not prepared to die."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 02:55 PM

Hi,

I just found the earliest printed traditional version in the US and thought I share it with you- it's inside some of my headnotes which aren't too long:

North American Tradition
The North American tradition is varied and based on two fundamental ballad types: The Lexington type and the Wexford type. The only example of a third ballad type, the "Traditional Berkshire Reduction" was collected in Tennessee in 1930. Although it proves the Berkshire broadside was sung as a reduction in England, it's effect on tradition in North America is not found. Associated with or derived from the Lexington tradition are the following titles: Lexington Miller; Lexington Murder; Bloody Miller; and Nell Cropsie. Associated with or derived from the Wexford tradition are the following titles: Wexford Girl/Gal; The Oxford Girl; Knoxville Girl; Wexford Lass; The Miller's Apprentice, or The Oxford Tragedy; Expert Girl; Export Girl; Noel Girl and Waco Girl.

After the publication of The Lexington Miller about 1829 in Boston came the first known published traditional version that I've titled "Waxford Gal." It was published in New York in Forest and Stream, Volume 56, p. 422 and was dated June 1, 1901. The author, Fayette Dublin, Jr. was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on October 25, 1868 but also lived in Missouri. His version was included in a story titled, "Repentance of Peshtigo Sam," which was sung by a character "Long Tom." Since the setting is Wisconsin, I'm attributing the ballad to that location:

Waxford Gal (first extant traditional US version published)

"O 'twas in the town of Eagle, O,
Where I did live and dwell;
'Twas in the town of Waxford
I owned a flour mill.

I fell in love with a Waxford gal
With a dark an' rollin' eye-ee;
I asked her for to be my wife.
Her wishes to comply-ee.

"I went into her father's house
About eight o'clock at night;
I asked her for to come an walk,
Our weddin' to app'int.

We walked an' talked along the road
Till we came to level ground.
When from a hedge I drew a stake
An' knocked this fair maid down.

"She fell upon her bended knees.
An' for mercy she did cry-ee,
Savin', 'Willie, dear, don't kill me here,
For I'm not prepared to die-ee.'

But none did I heed her pleadin',
An' I beat her all the more,
Till on the ground an' all around
Was strewn a bloody gore.

"I took her by her golden locks
An' dragged her o'er the ground,
An' threw her in the river
That ran through Waxford town,

Sayin', 'Lie there, lie there, you pretty fair maid,
Who was to be my bride;
Lie there, lie there, you Waxford gal,
To me you'll never be tied.'

When this young man returned home
About ten o'clock at night.
His mother, bein' weary,
Woke up all in a fright.

Sayin', 'Son, O son, what have you done
To bloody your hands an' clothes?'
The answer that he gave to her
Was a bleedin' at the nose.

He called for a candle
To light his way to bed.
Likewise a silken handkerchief
To tie his achin' head.

But tyin's an' all tanglin's,
No rest could this man find,
For the gates of hell before his eyes,
Before his eyes did shine."

This printed version, as far as I know, has not been discovered until now. It's an example of the Wexford tradition which is found mainly in Maritime Canada, Canada and New England. It's also been found in Michigan and Ohio and is present in the US south from whence it has spread to the mid-west where it is well-known.

The earliest known published report in the US of the ballad's existence is found in the 1911 "A Syllabus of Kentucky Folk-songs," by Hubert Gibson Shearin and Josiah Henry Combs. They write:

The Waxford Girl (Wexford Girl), 4a3b-1c3b, G: A youth murders his sweetheart and throws her into a stream. He tells his mother, who sees the blood on his clothes, that his nose has been bleeding. He is haunted by the ghost of the dead girl (Cf. Lizzie Wan, Child, No. 51, and Miller-boy, page 28.)

It's interesting that Sherin and Combs imply that The Waxford Girl is a revenant ballad (he is haunted by the ghost of the dead girl). It certainly is not normally considered to be one, however, I think it should be. In most American versions the "flames of Hell" are around him and "in his eyes can see." If this vision of Hell isn't enough to be "revenant" then this additional text found in some versions is: in his vision she is "behind," meaning-- she (her ghost) is also present. And in one version's text, her ghost is described as being there[]. The versions with the Waxford/Wexford Girl title mentioned in 1911 have now been collected throughout in the US and Canada. "The Miller Boy," however, is a rare title.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 11:33 AM

Hi,

I finally found (1818) what I assume is the first printed reduction of Berkshire, the missing Wexford Tragedy: https://books.google.com/books?id=Ag0VAAAAQAAJ&pg=PP5&dq=The+freemason%27s+song;+to+which+are+added,+The+Wexford+Tragedy+Or,+The

Here it is as it appears on my site:

C, The Wexford Tragedy Or, The False Lover was printed in a Scottish chapbook in 1818 by [Yellich and] T. Johnston of Falkirk, Scotland. It is a reduction of 8 1/2 stanzas or divided 17 stanzas and appears: "The freemason's song; to which are added, The Wexford Tragedy Or, The False Lover and My Friend and Pitcher. Printed for Freemason[s], 1818." I give the text in full with divided stanza as found in printed versions of B:

THE FALSE LOVER. [Wexford Tragedy]

1. My parents rear'd me tenderly,
Endeavouring for me still,
And in the town of Wagan
They bought me to a mill.

2. Where there I spied a Wexford girl,
That had a black rolling eye,
And I offered to marry her
If she would with me lie.

3. In six months after this,
This maid grew big with child,
Marry me, dear Johnny,
As you did me beguile;

4. I promised to marry her,
As she was big with child:
But little did this fair maid know
Her life I would beguile.

5. I took her from her sister's door,
At 8 o'clock at night,
But little did this fair maid know,
I her bore a spite;

6. I invited her to take a walk
To the fields a little way,
That we might conclude a while
And appoint a wedding day.

7. But as we were discoursing
Satan did me surround
I pulled a stick out of the hedge,
And knock'd this fair maid down.

8. Down on bended knees she fell,
And for mercy she did cry;
I'm innocent, don't murder me,
For I'm not prepar'd to die.

9. He took her by the yellow hair
And dragged her along,
And threw her in the river,
That ran both deep and strong,

10. All in the blood of innocence
His hands and clothes were dy'd
He was stained with the purple gore
Of his intended bride.

11. Then returning to his mother's door,
At 12 o'clock at night
But little did his mother think
How he had spent the night,

12. Come tell me dear Johnny
What dy'd your hands and clothes?
The answer he made her was,
Bleeding at the nose.

13. He called for a candle
To light himself to bed,
And all the whole night over,
The damsel lay dead,

14. And all the whole night over,
Peace nor rest he could find,
For the burning flames of torment,
Before his breast did shine.

15 In three days after,
This fair maid she was miss'd,
He was taken up on suspicion,
And into jail was cast,

16. Her sister swore away his life,
Without either fear or doubt,
Her sister swore away his life,
Because he call'd her out.

17. In six weeks after that,
This fair maid was found,
Coming floating to her brother's door
That liv'd in Wexford town.

This establishes a variant of the Wexford tradition which was missing until now. Notice the course rhymes, awkward verbs (That we might conclude a while) and shift from 1st person in stanza 9-- which indicates that this was in no means a professional print writer but more likely the capturing of tradition. I had already postulated the existence of this and other printed reductions before finding it at Google Books.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 02:42 PM

Amazing sagacity, Richie! Your article is already the last word on this song. Whither next?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 06:47 PM

TY Steve,

Note spelling error 4th line; (should be--"brought")

1. My parents rear'd me tenderly,
Endeavouring for me still,
And in the town of Wagan
They brought me to a mill.

The opening line appears similarly in "The Maid/Girl I Left Behind Me." in the Miramichi versions titled Wexford Lass the opening line and the whole first stanza are taken from "Maid I left".

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Nov 16 - 05:32 PM

I think it's a standard opening line.

Here's one

My parents reared me tenderly,
They having no child but me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 08:52 PM

Hi,

Here are two composite ballads of the main reductions- I also found two other old versions - "Oxfordshire Lass" is the 2nd ballad based almost entirely on Berkshire.

The Oxford Reduction (archaic)- is the first reduction and derived exactly as found in the archaic ballads collected in the United States, that prove the existence of the reduction. Main texts: "Wittenham Miller" sung by Pollyanna Harmon, collected in Tennessee in 1930 learned in North Carolina before 1880. "The Oxfordshire Lass" sung by Jason Ritchie as learned from the Williams family in Knott County, Kentucky by the 1950s. "Lexington Girl" sung by Mary Boney of Perrysville, Ohio collected by Eddy probably in the 1920s. Stanza 7 was taken from "The Bloody Miller" by I. G. Greer. The last two stanzas from "The Oxfordshire Lass" correspond to stanzas 42 and 44 of Berkshire.


1. My parents raised me tenderly
And provided for me well,
It was in the town of Wittenham[1],
They placed me in a mill.

2. 'Twas there I met an Oxford lass
I cast my wanton eye,
I told her I would marry her
If she with me would lie.

3. To the world I reflected[2]
With sorrow, grief, and woe,
This folly brought us in snare
Which caused my overthrow."

4. A very few weeks and afterwards
Here came that lass again:
"I pray you, young John, you'd marry me;
You've got me with a child."

5. So early the next Monday,
As you may understand,
Her mother wanted me to marry her
A-Saturday off-hand.

6. Perplexed was I on every side;
No comfort I could find
But to take my darling's life from her
My wicked heart inclined.

7. One month ago since Christmas last,
That most unhappy day,
The devil, he persuaded me
To take her life away.

8. I went unto her sister's house,
At eight o'clock at night,
Poor creature little did she think
I owed her any spite.

9. I told her we would take a walk
But a little ways,
That her and I might well agree
Upon the wedding day.

10. I then deluded her away
To some convenient place;
I drew a stake all out of the fence,
And struck her across the face.

11. She fell upon her bended knees,
"For mercy's sake," she cried,
"For heaven's sake don't murder me,
For I'm not fit to die."

12. No mercy on her I did show
But wounded her full sore,
O there I put my love to death
Whom I cannot restore.

13. Then I took her by the hair
To cover up my sin.
I dragged her down to the river side,
And there I plunged her in.

14. I then returned unto my mill
Like one who was amazed.
The miller he stepped up to me,
And on me he did gaze.

15. "What's the matter, young Johnny?" he says,
"You look as pale as death.
"You look like you've been running
And almost spent for breath."

16. Saying "What's this blood upon your hands,
Likewise upon your clothes?"
I answered him immediately[3],
"A- bleeding from my nose."

17. I taken the candle right out of his hand,
Expecting to take a rest
It seemed as if the flames of hell
Were burning at my breast.

18. The very next morning by daylight
My wickedness to blind[4],
Ten guineas I offered any man,
This damsel they would find.

19. The very next morning by sunrise,
This damsel she were found,
Floating by her brother's door
In Harry Fairy Town.

20. Her sister swore against me,
She said she had no doubt,
She swore she thought I murdered her,
By me calling of her out.

21. O Lord, give me a praying heart
and time for to repent,
I soon will leave this wicked world,
so shamefully I am sent.

22. Lord wash, my sins and guilt away,
they are of the darkest fold;
O lord from heaven look down on me,
and Christ receive my soul.

1. originally "Wickedness" --Ritchie's version has "Oxfordshire" which also could be used.
2. Reconstructed from broadside- this stanza only appears in Mary Boney's version and it is very corrupt.
3. Written "immediate-lie" in Harmon version
4. Reconstructed- this stanza only appears in the Harmon version, the second line was the same as the third so I substituted the original broadside text for the second line.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 08:58 PM

Hi,

This is the 2nd composite:

The Wexford Reduction- This is the standard text found in North America with a two stanza ending-- a number of traditional versions have these stanzas so there's no need for adding stanzas to make a composite- I've changed a line or two. The standard version's first stanza end: " 'Twas in the town of Waxford/I owned a flour mill" and it has the handkerchief stanza. There is an archaic version that is represented by two texts: "The Wexford Tragedy" from a chapbook, dated 1818, and also the traditional "The Worcester Tragedy" collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Mrs Charlotte Decker of Parson's Pond, Newfoundland. The first two stanzas of the standard text are sometimes corrupted with the opening of "Girl I Left Behind Me" a variation not included here. I've made the composite from these outstanding texts: "Waxford Girl," as sung by John Galusha of Minerva, New York, 1941 and "Waxford Girl" sung by Lily Delorme of Hardscrabble, Cadyville (NY) on June 18, 1942.

1. 'Twas in the town of Wicklow,
Where I did live and dwell;
'Twas in the town of Wexford
I owned a flour mill.

2. I fell in love with a Wexford girl
With a dark and rolling eye;
I asked her for to be my wife,
My wishes to comply.

3. I went down to her mother's house
About eight o'clock that night,
I asked her to walk out with me
Our wedding day to appoint[1].

4. We walked along and talked along
Till we came to level ground,
When from the hedge I drew a stake
And knocked this fair one down.

5. She fell all onto her bended knees,
for mercy she did cry.
"O Willie, do not kill me here
for I'm not prepared to die!"

6. I heeded not one word she said
but I beat her all the more,
Until the ground around her
was covered o'er with gore.

7. Then I took her by the yellow locks
and dragged her o'er the ground,
And threw her into the water
that runs through Waxford town.

8. Lie there, lie there, you Waxford girl
who thought to be my bride?
Lie there, lie there, you Waxford girl,
To me you'll never be tied.

9. Returning home that evening
About twelve o'clock at night,
My mother being nervous,
She woke all in a fright.

10. Saying, "Son, dear son, what have you done
To bloody your hands and clothes?"
And the answer that I made her
Was bleeding at the nose.

11. I called for a candle
to light myself to bed,
Likewise for a handkerchief
to tie my aching head.

12. I rolled and I tumbled,
No comfort could I find,
For the flames of hell was around me
And before my eyes did shine.

13. About three days after,
this fair one she was found,
A-floating in the river
that runs through Wicklow town.

14. And everyone who saw her said
she was a beauty bride,
Fit for any nobleman,
or any lord or knight.

15. I was taken on suspicion,
locked up in Wicklow jail.
There was none to intercede for me,
no one to go my bail.

16. Her sister swore my life away
without either fear or doubt,
She swore I was the same young man
who took her sister out.

17. Come. all you false true-lovers,
a warning take by me,
Don't never treat your own true love
to such severity.

18. For if you do, you sure will rue,
and be the same as I,
For hanged you'll be all on the tree,
and a murderer you will die.

1. sung "p'int" to rhyme with night

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 09:01 PM

Hi,

Special thanks to Steve Gardham, Tom Pettitt and Gwilym Davies for providing their expertise and sharing versions and recordings from their collections.

The headnotes are much improved and this is still a rough draft: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/6-berkshire-tragedy-cruel-millerknoxville-girl.aspx

Comments welcome,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Richie
Date: 16 Dec 16 - 11:54 AM

Hi,

I've finished (for now :) my study of Bershire Tragedy and it's reductions. There are six main reductions and I've created ur-ballads for each at the end: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/6-berkshire-tragedy-cruel-millerknoxville-girl.aspx

This exhaustive study (literally and figuratively) could not have been complete without the help of number of individuals and four in particular. I thank Steve Gardham, Tom Pettitt, Kevin Fredette and Gwilym Davies for providing their expertise and sharing versions and recordings from their collections.

Here are the US/Canada versions and notes: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us-canada-versions-6-the-berkshire-tragedy.aspx

Here are the UK versions and notes: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/british--other-versions-6-the-berkshire-tragedy.aspx

I've proofed everything at least once and know there are still minor errors. If anyone has the time to make corrections or suggestions please do. For now I'm finished.

There are around 200 versions and I've identified four main reductions which have produced to the vast number of titles and additional reductions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Berkshire Tragedy: Who done it?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 16 - 03:44 PM

2nd attempt at posting!

Well done, Richie! You have earned a good rest over Christmas so have a nice relax if that's possible.

Whither next? Something more, or less, complex? I can help you with 'Died for love' but it is much more complex than BT.

To Mudelves, I do hope you are providing links in the DT to Richie's brilliant work!


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