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Lyr Req: The Ledbury Parson / Ledbury Clergyman

Tomsk 27 Jul 04 - 04:50 AM
greg stephens 27 Jul 04 - 05:17 AM
Tomsk 27 Jul 04 - 05:28 AM
Matthew Edwards 27 Jul 04 - 01:14 PM
Ed. 27 Jul 04 - 01:38 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jul 04 - 02:56 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jul 04 - 06:12 PM
Tomsk 28 Jul 04 - 03:58 AM
Tradsinger 13 Nov 11 - 06:15 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 11 - 07:17 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: Tomsk
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 04:50 AM

Desperately seeking the lyrics for the above.. I remember having this conversation on MudCat back in 2000 and getting the lyrics then, but can't find them now..

Any help appreciated...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 05:17 AM

Interesting, I cant find it in the DT or via google . I've tried "The Ledbury Parson" and the first phrase "In Ledbury town" and not come up with the lyrics. I have it in a book somewhere but I'm going out now. If someone else hasnt located it later I'll come back and type it in.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: Tomsk
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 05:28 AM

Well I'm glad you had the same problem :-) I though I was going insane.. perhaps there is a global conspiricy about Parson's in Ledbury!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 01:14 PM

I've heard Will Duke sing this at Sutton Bonington, and its sung with great relish by Charlie Clissold on a tape of songs collected by Mike Yates which was issued by Veteran. Its a lovely, really singable, song but I've never seen it written down, so if Greg can get it down that would be a great help.

Its got a great tune as well.

"If going astray should be your plan,
Just think of the Ledbury clergyman."

Apparently it is based on a true story.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: Ed.
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 01:38 PM

According to this page, the song is printed in Roy Palmer's 'Everyman's Book of British Ballads' I don't own the book myself, but it should be available in a decent library.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 02:56 PM

It was also printed in English Dance and Song twenty-odd years back. I have both, and will see about posting words and tune later on this evening.

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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: THE LEDBURY PARSON
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 06:12 PM

T:The Ledbury Parson
S:Charlie Clissold, Brookthorpe, Gloucestershire
Z:Recorded by Mike Yates and Gwilym Davies, 1978
B:English Dance & Song, vol 43 no 1, 1981
N:Roud 2332
"1"F|D2 "2"D F2 F|EEE D2 D|DE"3"F AAA|
w:In Led-bury town in He-re-ford-shire They rucked up a row with the
G2 G F2 A|B2 B GGB|A2 G F2 A|
w:par-son there. This pi-ous gen-tle-man, so they say, Was
B2 B (GA)B|AAG F2 "Chorus"E/E/|DDE F2 E|
w:far too fond_ of go-ing a-stray. So if go-ing a-stray should
E2 E F2 E|DDA A2 G|F2 E D2|]
w:be your plan Just think of the Led-bury cler-gy-man.
"Variations" | "1"E | D2 "2"E F2 F | DE"3"A AAA |


(Charlie Clissold, Brookthorpe, Gloucestershire, 1978. Recorded by Mike Yates and Gwilym Davies)

In Ledbury town in Herefordshire
They rucked up a row with the parson there.
This pious gentleman, so they say,
Was far too fond of going astray.
So if going astray should be your plan
Just think of the Ledbury clergyman.

This parson he was a roving blade,
He courted the cook and the servant maid;
Gave out his text and winked his eye:
"Come, kiss me girls and multiply."

Now sooner or later the tale went round
That a young chickabiddy had come to town,
And its features did the truth disclose
Of the Ledbury parson's eyes and nose.

They summoned him up and made him pay
One half a crown a week, they say.
So clergymen, my warning take,
And think of the Ledbury parson's fate.

This parson got in a terrible rage,
He swore to the child he never would pay;
And to cure his sins he preached and prayed
With Lizzie the cook and Kitty the maid.

Then up to the church then toddled the cook,
And in her arms the child she took;
And the parson on them glanced his eye:
"Oh, look, it's your daddy," the cook did cry.

Now this parson said 'twas his desire,
And from the sinful world retire;
And join the mormons he would strive,
And marry one hundred and fifty wives.

Then from the church he got the sack:
They took the surplice off his back,
And they wouldn't allow him to preach and pray
Till ten long years had passed away.

Now, married men, just mind your eye:
Don't get kissing and cuddling on the sly.
Those single chaps might go astray,
But they better get married without delay.

Roy Palmer, The Ledbury Parson, in English Dance and Song, London: EFDSS, vol 43 no 1, 1981, p 4.

The facts were a little different. Roy Palmer points out that, though "the rector of Ledbury, John Jackson M.A., was suspended from 1869 till 1871 while an investigation was made into allegations made by a local doctor that he had made his cook pregnant", Jackson was cleared and re-instated. That didn't stop some of his parishioners seceding and setting up a rival church in a local hall. Jackson died in 1891 while celebrating evensong. Charlie Clissold's song doesn't seem to have been found in tradition anywhere else, but there was another song on the same subject which was printed as a broadside entitled The Frolicsome Parson Outwitted; Charles Hindley included it in his Curiosities of Street literature (1871).

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: Tomsk
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 03:58 AM

Thanks to all for the input on this thread and the final result!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ledbury(?) Clergyman
From: Tradsinger
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 06:15 AM

Carpenter recorded a fragmentary version from Sam Bennett in Ilmington, Warwickshire.

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From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 07:17 PM

From Curiosities of Street Literature [ed. By C. Hindley] (London: Reeves and Turner, 1871), page 156:


1. Come all you hearty roving blades, and listen to my song.
A verse or two I will unfold, and will not keep you long.
It is of a frolicsome parson, as you shall quickly hear,
That dwelt in the town of Ledbury, in the county of Herefordshire.

2. The parson being a rakish blade, and fond of sporting games,
He fell in love with the pretty cook, as I have heard the same.
The parlour-maid found out the same, and in the fruit room looked,
And there she saw the parson sporting with the cook.

3. It was in nine months after she brought him forth a child.
Within the rectory it was born. it drove him nearly wild.
It proved to be a male child, at least they tell us so;
Then this damsel from the rectory was quickly forced to go.

4. Then the secret to unfold, it was her full intent.
During the time of service into the church she went.
Holding the child up in her arms, and on the parson gazed,
Saying, "Lovely babe, that is your dad," which filled him with amaze.

5. The congregation they all stared; the parson seemed confused,
And many a lad and lass no doubt, within them felt amused.
Such a scene as this was never known within this church before.
Let us hope that it will be the last, and the like shall be no more.

6. 'Twas then a court was called in town, for to invest the case.
There the parson, cook, and parlour-maid they met face to face,
And many more in court appeared, to hear the sport and fun.
This damsel swore the parson was the father of her son.

7. "Your reverence, you are found to blame," the Justices declared,
"Although some honest country lad you thought for to ensnare;
So with all your doctrine and your skill," unto him they did say,
"A half-a-crown each week to the child you've got to pay."

8. His reverence felt dissatisfied with such a glorious treat.
To a higher court he did proceed, and there was quickly beat.
So this damsel she's victorious, the truth I now declare,
And his reverence is suspended for the period of five years.

9. Come all you blooming servant maids: a warning take by this:
When in service with the parsons don't be treated to a kiss,
Or it may cause much jealousy, as you may all well know,
Then you from service must be gone, your sorrows for to rue.

10. Now to conclude and make an end and finish up my song,
All you young men that's deep in love, be sure don't stay too long.
Join hand in hand in wedlock's band without the least delay,
Before the fairest of all girls is by parsons led astray.

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