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Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)


Related threads:
Maid on the Shore background? (13)
Lyr Req: The Merry Broomfield (8)
(origins) Origins: Broomfield Wager (26)
Lyr/Tune Add: The Broomfield Hill (16)
Lyr Req: Fine costly ware-O? (13)
Lyr Req: May morning bloom (7)
Tune Req: The Maid On The Shore (12)
Lyr/Chords Req: May Blooming Fields (2)

In Mudcat MIDIs:
Jock Sheep (midi twice as long as the verses in the DT file, to which should be added the following as chorus: Leatherum thee thou an' a' Madam aye wi' you, An' the seal o' me be abrachee, Fair maiden I'm for you.)

toadfrog 05 Aug 01 - 01:52 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Aug 01 - 07:30 PM
toadfrog 05 Aug 01 - 11:07 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Aug 01 - 09:54 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Aug 01 - 09:59 PM
toadfrog 07 Aug 01 - 10:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Aug 01 - 11:23 PM
toadfrog 08 Aug 01 - 06:26 PM
toadfrog 09 Aug 01 - 12:59 AM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Jan 02 - 01:00 PM
toadfrog 01 Jan 02 - 09:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jul 12 - 02:23 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 12 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,The Singing Smith 06 Mar 18 - 05:39 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: BROOMFIELD WAGER (4)
From: toadfrog
Date: 05 Aug 01 - 01:52 PM

This is a good version of a good ballad, and I think good enough to warrant a third version in DT
A pleasantly light-hearted version, I would say.

(1) I will work out the tune if it's needed, but I've no formal training and it will be slow and likely not entirely satisfactory. If someone already has the music, would appreciate help.
(2) I heard McColl sing this in 1970, with a verbal introduction which suggested he himself was not quite clear what the song, and especially its invocations of magic, were all about.
(3) In particular, I wonder about "the seal 'o me is abracee." "Abracee sounds Arabic, like "abracadabra," and seems to suggest a reference to magic. Does anyone know whether this would signify more than that to a Scotsman?



There was a knecht and a lady bricht
Set trysts among the broom,
The ane to be there at twelve o' the clock,
And the other one true at noon.

Oh, leeze be the and thoo and a'
And madam will ye do?
And the seal of me is abracee
Fair maiden, I'm for you.

I'll wager you, my bonny lass,
Five hundred pound and ten,
That ye'll no come to the top o' the hill
And come back a maid again.

I'll tak' your wager, bonny lad,
Five hundred pound and ten,
That I'll gang up to the top o' the hill
And come back a maid again.

As she walked up that high, high hill
'Twas at the hour of noon,
And there she saw her true lover,
A sleepin' in the broom.

Nine times she walked around his hied,
Nine times around his feet,
Nine times she kissed his bonny red mou',
And on, but it was sweet.

When he awoke frae his muckle sleep,
And oot o' his unco dreams,
Says he, My freres, where's my true love
That has been here and gane?"

"If ye slept mair in the nicht, maister,
Ye'd wauken mair i' the day.
If he'd awakened frae your sleep
She wouldna' hae gotten away!"

"If ye'd hae waukened me frae my sleep,
O' her I'd taen my will,
Though she'd hae died the very next day,
I would hae gotten my fill."

Oh, greetin', greetin' weht she out,
But lauchin' came she in,
'Twas all for her body's safety
And the wager she did win.

So the wager's laid and the wager's paid,
Five hundred pound and ten,
'Twas a' for her body's safety
And the wager she did win.

Child # 43, As sung by Ewan McColl, The English and Scottish
Popular Ballads, Vol. 2 (Folkways Records FG 3510, 1965)

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Aug 01 - 07:30 PM

Did MacColl give any indication as to where he got this one?  I suppose there's a chance that it may have been recorded early enough to have made it into Bronson; I'll try to check during the week, and if the tune is given, I'll transcribe it to midi; I'll also try to see if the library has a copy of the record, otherwise, it would be appreciated if you would have a go.  I'm rather against posting texts without tunes nowadays (unless no tune is known); it's a bit like having just a photograph of food instead of a meal!  The abracee line doesn't appear in any other version that I've seen, so any speculation would probably be in vain without more information.

Links to related material in the DT and Forum, and to broadside copies at the Bodleian, are in this thread:  Lyr & tune add: The Broomfield Hill

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: toadfrog
Date: 05 Aug 01 - 11:07 PM

Malcom: To answer your first question, McColl says he had the song from his father. Probably not all that helpful. I checked McColl's website, and it does not even mention this particular record. These records will have come out about the same time as Bronson (assuming my memory is correct) so that it might have found its way into it.

I appreciate your assistance; if you are unable to come up with anything, I will, as you say have a go at it. I am a little reluctant to accept censure for not providing a tune forthwith. I think in the best of all possible worlds, everyone would have musical training and be able easily to write out tunes. But I respectfully submit that what you are offering is a counsel of perfection. I have prepared ABC's for earlier submissions, and they tend to be flawed, as the format not all that reliable and sheet music is not readily available for many of these. If I had a Bronson, and the tune was in it, the task would be simple. But I don't, and it isn't.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 09:54 PM

A counsel of perfection?  Of course!  Is anything less than that worth aspiring to?  Seriously, though, it doesn't require musical training (I have none, though it would have been useful) to set down a normal song tune by ear, just patience and practice; and some midi-writing software that will play the melody back to you as you write it, of course...

I've been down to the University to consult Bronson, and alas, MacColl's family variant was too late to make it into the book (though I was in a bit of a rush and neglected to check for addenda in the final volume).  Neither was the Central Library any help; the MacColl ballad recordings they have are from other series and don't include this one.  What I can report, however, is that there are two fragmentary texts in Bronson's group B which contain the refrain you quoted; both are from Greig and Keith's Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads and Ballad Airs (1925).  #43:12, The Broomfield Hill, was sung by a Mrs. Gillespie, and runs:

Leddrin thee thoo an' a',
Sma' an' nanny hue, O,
Come sell a me my ebrachee,
An' a maiden I see you, O.

#43:13, Leatherum thee thou and a', was sung by Alexander Robb of New Deer, 1925:

There was a knicht an' a lady bricht,
Set trysts amang the broom,
The ane to come at twelve o'clock,
An' the ither true at noon.
Leatherum thee thou an' a'
Madam aye wi' you,
An' the seal o' me be abrachee,
Fair maiden I'm for you.

The third of the group is from Lady John Scott's J.K. Sharpe MS.; no text was recorded for it.

All Bronson has to say by way of textual comment is "The second group... affects a burden with nonsense syllables..."

I'm rather disinclined to think there's any magical sense to these words; on the face of it leddrin/ leatherum and abrachee/ abrachee look like old dialect (or even, at a stretch, garbled bits of Gaelic, though that might not be so likely in the North West), the sense of which was no longer known by the singers themselves.

So far as the three tunes go, Bronson mentions that other variants are also found attached to #231, The Earl of Errol and #274, Our Goodman.  It's worth mentioning that Martin Carthy (who has used Last Leaves as source for a number of songs) used #43:12 for his re-working of Lang Johnny Mor, and #43:13 for Prince Heathen.

In case it's of any help, here are three midis, available for now via the  South Riding Folk Network  site; is any of them at all like the one MacColl used?

#43:12 The Broomfield Hill
#43:13 Leatherum thee thou and a'
#43:14 The Wager

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 09:59 PM

Sorry; Alexander Robb's set was noted in 1906: 1925 was the publication date of the book.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: toadfrog
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 10:35 PM

All those tunes sound more "gaelic" than McColl normally sounds. 43:13, Leatherum thee thou and a' is quite close; the notes are almost right, the rythm decidedly odd. I have not yet mastered (or been able to pay for) MIDI software; have spent a bit more than an hour on working out an ABC. Contrary to my initial impression, it isn't in some strange mode but an ordinary minor key. I really broke some teeth trying to work out the "Bold Tenant Farmer. Have spent about 1 1/4 hrs. so far (practice of law being a bit slow due to hard times) and have got through most of the verse.Unless I hear otherwise, I'll post an ABC as soon as I've got it worked out, which does not necessarily mean "forthwith."

Thanks much for your kindly assistance on this. My impression was that old dialect words were more likely to be Danish than Gaelic; am I wrong on that?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:23 PM

Danish/Norse is just as likely in principle, but the words don't have that feel to me; mind you, I'm far from being an expert.  We'll probably never know for sure.  The rhythm was as noted, but likely enough other singers would regularize it more.  I always feel a bit guilty about doubting MacColl's word on these things, but it does seem odd that his immediate family seems to have had so many rare versions of songs that nobody else had come across in such a long time.  Maybe I'm just a jaded cynic...

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: toadfrog
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 06:26 PM

A little healthy skepticism never hurts. I, for one, don't really know enough to reach any particular conclusion, as I don't really know how many rare versions the Miller [?] family claims. I guess assertions that contribute to somebody's scholarly reputation, and that can't be traced, are inherently suspect.

Speaking of things I am ignorant of, is it plausible that the odd words are originally Romany or Cant words? (Assuming that there is such a thing as a cant word that does not originate somewhere else?)

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From: toadfrog
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 12:59 AM

This is the tune, or a slightly messy approximation: T:BROOMFIELD WAGER M:4/4 L:1/4 Q:60 C:Traditonal S:Ewan McColl K:Am A A A A|1/2A1/2G A B G|1/2B A 1/2a 1/2a 1/2g 1/2a 1/2z| 1/2a 1/2a (3a b a 1/2a 1/2g (3g g e|1/2e 1/2d 1/2c 1/2A 1/2A 1/2B 1/2d 1/2z| |CBGG|BABG|B 1/2A 1/2A 1/2A 1/2A 1/2a 1/2z|| a a> b a|a g> g e|1/2e 1/2d <1/2c 1/2A G A||

% ABC2Win Version 2.1 8/8/2001

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Jan 02 - 01:00 PM

Since this thread was last current, I've found some additional information while looking for a tune for the DT file   JOCK SHEEP.  At the time we were discussing the MacColl recording of The Broomfield Hill as detailed above, I had looked briefly at a library copy of the Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection (vol.2, 1983), but hadn't found the text or tune quoted by Bronson, which seemed odd; now that I have my own copy and can consult it at leisure, I find that the Aberdeenshire songs I referred to are not Broomfield Hill variants at all, but versions of Jock Sheep!  It appears that they were initially mis-classified and printed in Last Leaves as Child #43, presumably because of the similarity of the first verse, which I believe is all that appeared in Last Leaves; from where Bronson reproduced it in good faith.

It follows that neither of the first two tunes I quoted belongs to The Broomfield Hill at all, which makes MacColl's use of a form of it, "from family tradition", even more puzzling; as does his use of the Jock Sheep chorus grafted onto a Broomfield Hill text.  Of course, the tune from the J.K. Sharpe MS, apparently a relative and apparently having belonged to a Broomfield text (unrecorded) may have some bearing on the puzzle, but there's still that chorus...

It's hard in the circumstances to be entirely confident in MacColl's information.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: toadfrog
Date: 01 Jan 02 - 09:26 PM

Thanks, Malcom. Not at all inconceiveable that McColl might sometimes be mistaken. It sometimes seems to me that correctness may be a desirable but unattainable goal, songs being as malleable as they are.

Is it possible that in some way Jock Sheep and Broomfield Wager are related ballads? I think The Maid on the Shore is supposed to be a variant or descendent of Broomfield Wager. But it seems to me the spirit is a lot closer to Jock Sheep (or the baffled knight). Am I wrong?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jul 12 - 02:23 PM

Hold the wheel!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 03:34 AM

"Hold the wheel! "
From 'Folk Songs of Britain' vol 4.
"The song became known in the Blaxhall district as Hold the Wheel I This arose as a result of the singer trying to explain the story to a visiting yachtsman, who misunderstood 'had his will' as 'hold the wheel'."
According to Salford historian Eddie Frow, a contemporary and friend of William Miller, MacColl's father "had hundreds of "bits and pieces of old Scots ballads and songs which he sang at political social events and parties in Salford" in the 1930s.
I believe that MacColl collated many of these into full versions.
Jim Carroll

From the notes of MacColl's and Seeger's 'The Long Harvest' (vol 3) (written in the late 1960s).
"The Story
A knight, or lord, challenges a young woman to meet him in a field of broom, a green woods or on a hill top and wagers a large sum of money on the fact that she will not return home a virgin. The girl accepts the challenge and sets out for the tryst. Arriving at the place of assignation, she finds the knight asleep and through the use of magical means ensures that the sleep will continue for the duration of her visit. When the knight awakens, he finds a token or tokens left by the young woman and scolds his horse, his hound and his hawk, or sometimes his friends and servants, for not having wakened him.
Child gives six versions, five of which are Scots and one English. Bronson gives thirty versions, twenty-seven of which are from oral sources in this century. Of these, nineteen are English, five are North American, two Scots and one Irish.
The theme was a common one in tales and romances throughout most parts of medieval Europe. In ballad form it has been found in Scandinavia, Germany and Italy. The earliest printed copies of British versions are broadsides dating from the early 18th century. The earliest traditional versions were noted in Scotland a quarter of a century later and the ballad was still apparently common there up to the beginning of the I9th century. During the present century, however, its popularity has declined in Scotland but appears to have grown in England, particularly in the south-west. It is still found, though infrequently, in North America and Canada. More commonly found in the North-eastern United States, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is a curious marine adaptation of the story in which the knight of the Broomfield Hill is transformed into an amorous sea-captain (our version B). The young woman on whom he has designs succeeds in preserving her chastity by singing her would-be lover to sleep: a magic just as potent as that employed by the maid in the land-locked versions of the ballad.
In our version A, the attempts of the hound, horse and hawk to arouse the sleeping man are omitted and the use of magic to induce deep sleep is merely hinted at in stanza 5. The sly humour implicit in the explanation given for the knight's deep sleep (stanza 7) reduces the magical element even further."

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Broomfield Wager (4)
From: GUEST,The Singing Smith
Date: 06 Mar 18 - 05:39 PM

Dunno if anyone still looks at Mudcat besides me, and even if they do this topic might have gone by the board. Anyway, I found it because I was wondering about the lyrics of the chorus. So, after I read through a lot of the posts here I did some searching on Google to see and at first, nothing doing. When I typed in "abrochee" and asked it to translate though I got a Spanish translation of the word "abroche" which means "to button" which to make makes sense if the lyrics are "the seal o' me is abrachee".

When I typed in "leddrin" and asked for a translation it gave me the Spanish word "ladron" which means (apparently) theif.

Anyway, any chance that some Spanish might have made its way up North and into some versions of the chorus?

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