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Origins: Creeping Jane

DigiTrad:
CREEPING JANE


nutty 28 May 05 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 28 May 05 - 05:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 May 05 - 07:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 May 05 - 07:48 PM
Joe Offer 28 May 05 - 08:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 May 05 - 08:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 May 05 - 01:46 AM
Sooz 29 May 05 - 05:07 AM
Joe Offer 29 May 05 - 05:29 AM
nutty 29 May 05 - 07:27 AM
nutty 29 May 05 - 07:56 AM
Billy Weeks 29 May 05 - 09:26 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 May 05 - 01:47 PM
Billy Weeks 29 May 05 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 12 Mar 08 - 11:42 AM
RTim 12 Mar 08 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 12 Mar 08 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Valmai Goodyear 12 Mar 08 - 02:39 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Mar 08 - 06:49 PM
fynnjamin 13 May 08 - 05:47 PM
fynnjamin 13 May 08 - 05:57 PM
r.padgett 14 May 08 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 14 May 08 - 04:12 AM
Rumncoke 14 May 08 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 14 May 08 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 14 May 08 - 08:33 AM
Snuffy 14 May 08 - 09:01 AM
Malcolm Douglas 14 May 08 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,fynnjamin 25 May 08 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Peterr 25 May 08 - 05:41 PM
Jim Dixon 27 Mar 09 - 01:20 PM
Artful Codger 27 Mar 09 - 08:41 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Aug 09 - 09:17 AM
Art Thieme 04 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM
Art Thieme 04 Aug 09 - 08:27 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Aug 09 - 04:18 PM
Artful Codger 06 Aug 09 - 12:15 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Aug 09 - 04:18 PM
MGM·Lion 06 Apr 10 - 03:45 AM
Terry McDonald 06 Apr 10 - 04:15 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Apr 10 - 04:56 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Apr 10 - 02:35 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BALLAD OF JENNY THE MARE
From: nutty
Date: 28 May 05 - 04:54 PM

I'm interested in discovering the origins of Creeping Jane as sung by Joseph Taylor, Martin Carthy and many others.

I have found a poem attributed as appearing in Edward Fitzgerald's "Euphranor", called THE BALLAD OF JENNY THE MARE, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the folk song.

"Euphranor" was published in 1851 and although there are a number of Broadsides of Creeping Jane in the Bodleian Library, I have not found any that pre-date the Fitzgerald publication.

I have included the poem as a matter of interest but would appreciate further information on the song.

The Ballad of Jenny the Mare
(from Euphranor)

I'll sing you a song and a merry, merry song
Concerning our Yorkshire Jen
Who never yet ran with horse or mare
That ever she cared for a pin

When first she came to Newmarket town
The sportsmen all viewed her around
All the cry wsa "Alas, poor wench
Thou never can run this ground"

When they came to the starting post
The mare looked very smart
And let them say what they will
She never lost her start

When they got to the second mile post
Poor Jenny was cast behind
She was cast behind, she was cast behind
All for to take her wind

When they got to the three mile post
The mare looked very pale
She laid down her ears on her bonny neck
And by them all did she sail

"Come follow me, come follow me
All you that run so neat
And ere that you catch me again
I'll make you all to sweat"

When she got to the winning post
The people all gave a shout
And Jenny clicked up her lily-white foot
And jumped like any buck

The Jockey said to her, "This race you have won
This race for me you have got
You could gallop it all over again
When the rest could hardly trot"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 28 May 05 - 05:44 PM

This song is on "Spencer The Rover is Alive And Well and Living in Ithaca". John Roberts and Tony Barrand's first recording. I know there are liner notes for the album but I honestly have seen them in 25 years. I'll try and dig them out tomorrow but in the meantime maybe someone will have them on hand. Or wait and catch John at Old Songs if possible.

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 May 05 - 07:21 PM

One sheet Firthc.19(76) in the Bodleian is more or less contemporaneous (dated c. 1846-1854), printed by Hodges in London. Are the sheets just a revision of the poem for the song stall market?
The Roberts-Barrand lyrics are in the DT, but the notes that are mentioned by Don Meixner do not seem to have been posted.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 May 05 - 07:48 PM

The full text of Euphranor: A Dialogue on Youth can be seen at Golden Gate e-texts:

http://www.pmb.net/cgi/textsrv.tcl?txtfile=EUPHRANR.txt.

The song is there, sure enough, and characterised as old. Fitzgerald (as narrator) says that he quotes it from memory; there's no suggestion that he wrote it himself, though he may well have embroidered a songsheet text or some such. It's an interesting discovery which I don't think has been pointed out before.

I don't know of any work that's been done on the song's origins; Frank Purslow thought it likely a stage song of the 1830s or little earlier, but offered that only as speculation, mentioning that aspects such as the incremental repetitions might possibly suggest greater age. Roy Palmer thought the event fictional, but offered no suggestions as to its beginnings; MacColl/Seeger also offer no suggestions. It doesn't seem to have been based on a real event as Skewbald or I'Anson's Racehorse were, but you never know.

The Roberts/Barrand sleevenotes will be intelligent and accurate, but are unlikely to say much that will help with this particular question, I suspect.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 May 05 - 08:21 PM

The Traditional Ballad Index entry might add a bit:

Creeping Jane [Laws Q23]

DESCRIPTION: Racehorse Creeping Jane is not well known, but wins a race despite a slow start -- and is still fresh, though the course exhausted the other animals. After Jane dies, plans are made to keep her body from the hounds
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1931 (Gardner/Chickering)
KEYWORDS: horse racing burial
FOUND IN: US(MW) Britain(England)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Laws Q23, "Creeping Jane"
MacSeegTrav 114, "Creeping Jane" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering 99, "Creeping Jane" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 532, CREEPJAN*

Roud #1012
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Bill Hopkin's Colt" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Jockey's Song
File: LQ23

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2005 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 May 05 - 08:58 PM

No, nothing useful there I'm afraid. The Gardner/Chickering date suggests that the TBI hasn't looked at most of the English (oral) examples yet; they almost all pre-date it. Roud currently lists that one American example only from outside England.

The Jockey's Song was Nelson Ridley's name for the song he sang to MacColl and Seeger (Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland, 1977, 331-3). MacColl and Seeger called it Creeping Jane, and classed The Bonny Wee Mare (Hughes, Irish Country Songs, 1909, 40-45) with it (and mis-spell the title from Hughes); but neither is a Creeping Jane variant at all. Both are forms of The Little Dun Mare (I'Anson's Racehorse): a similar story, but a quite different song. The TBI has taken it on trust without checking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 May 05 - 01:46 AM

I always rather hoped it was a Lincolnshire folksong - coming from that part of the world myself. Still I suppose everythings got to come from somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Sooz
Date: 29 May 05 - 05:07 AM

Here are the notes from "21 Lincolnshire Folk Songs" as collected by Percy Grainger and edited by Patrick O'Shaughnessy.

No. 4
Creeping Jane
Ms No. 293


Sung in A by Mr. Joseph Taylor of Saxby-All-Saints at Brigg, 11th April, 1905, when Frank Kidson awarded it first prize in the folk-singing department of the North Lincolnshire Musical Competition Festival. Phonographed and noted down by Percy Grainger at Brigg on 28th July, 1906.
In 1908 Mr. Taylor recorded the song for H.M.V. on G.C. 3-2974. (See notes to No. 8.) The flexibility of his seventy-five-year-old voice and the rhythmic vitality of his singing are remarkable. Apart from the gramophone record, Mr. Taylor's song is unpublished hitherto.
The manuscript version is very irregular, with a pulse wavering between four-four and twelve-eight. The H.M.V. version two years later is less irregular, with a predominantly six-eight pulse. The tune printed here is an approximation to the H.M.V. version, the editor having given it a push in the evolutionary direction in which it seems to have been moving.
Mr. Taylor learned this song at the age of eleven from an old woman in Binbrook. The tune, related to those of other versions, has some affinity with that of the Highland spng "The Road to the Isles". "The Bonny Wee Mare" is a related Irish song.
A version of the words has appeared on a Such ballad-sheet. "The Ballad of Jenny the Mare" is a related, school-anthologised text from Suffolk that was included in the second edition (1855) of Edward FitzGerald's Euphranor.
Other versions:
S. Baring-Gould & C. J. Sharp, English Folk Songs for Schools, p. 40;l F. Kidson, A Garland of English Folk Songs, p. 114; C. J. Sharp & C. L. Marson, Folk Songs from Somerset, Series I, no. 25 ;2 Folk Song Journal, vol. I, p. 233;
(words only) J. Reeves, The Everlasting Circle, pp. 76-7. 1- 2 The same.

In my imagination the song is set in Market Rasen - but don't tell The Villan!


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Subject: ADD Version: Creeping Jane
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 05 - 05:29 AM

Gardner/Chickering #99 is a bit fragmented. Here it is:

Creeping Jane

O when she came the racecourse along,
The gentlemen they viewed her all around,
Saying, "She's not able for to gallop the racecourse along,
She's not able for to gallop o'er the ground, fal de ray.
Fal de ral de ray,
She's not able for to gallop o'er the ground, fal de ray."

O when they came to the first milepost
Creeping Jane she lagged behind,
............
He said, "My little lady, never mind, fal de ray."

O when they came to the third milepost
Creeping Jane she looked behind.
But the rider drew whip and let the knobby zip,
And she went by the others like a hound.

O when Creeping Jane the race she had won
She scarcely sweat one drop.
She was able for to gallop the ground over again;
While the others were scarce able for to trot.


sung in 1931 by Mr. Berthold Chickering, Belding, Michigan, who learned the song from his father.

Source: Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan, Emelyn Elizabeth Gardner and Geraldine Jencks Chickering.

Notes: for a text from the H. Such broadside of seven Stanzas see JFSS, I, 233, For a text similar to the broadside, see Sharp and Marson, p. 51.



Maybe the JFSS or Sharp/Marson citations will help somebody - I guess they're more-or-less that same citations Sooz posted.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: nutty
Date: 29 May 05 - 07:27 AM

Yorkshire Jenny was a real horse, mentioned on these racing bloodlines sites as having beaten the stallion 'Sampsom' in August 1764 at York.
She was the grandaughter of a famous stallion 'Old Traveller' and won the prestigious Kings Plate (possibly the King's Plate for Mares, run at Newmarket)

http://www.bloodlines.net/TB/Bios/Sampson.htm
http://www.bloodlines.net/TB/Bios2/TravellerOld.htm

It appears that 'Creeping Jane' was a "colonial foundation" mare establishing line C21, in Australia, by giving birth to a foal called Sylph in 1865.

http://www.tbheritage.com/HistoricDams/ColonFoundMares.html

Someone more knowledgableabout racing may be able to add to this information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: nutty
Date: 29 May 05 - 07:56 AM

Sorry .. correction - it was Sampson's son 'Engineer' who was beaten at York by Yorkshire Jenny. (I think!!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 29 May 05 - 09:26 AM

I don't know whether this is of the slightest relevance (and I won't be able to get to the BL for some weeks)but the British Library catalogue includes a song (shelfmark C.116.i.1) 'Creeping Jane. My jolly Sailor Bold' as published in London c.1850. The description is a bit terse, but as it is described as 's sh 4to' I take it that this is not sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 May 05 - 01:47 PM

I ought to have looked at O'Shaughnessy yesterday. Yes, Joe, the references are essentially the same: the Kidson example is the tune from the Journal (sung by Mrs Kate Thompson of Knaresborough) with the words from the Such broadside attached. Baring Gould/Sharp and Sharp/Marson are from Lucy White and Louie Hooper, Hambridge, Somerset (23 December 1903), while Reeves is the text from Sam Dawe, Beaminster, Dorset (June 1906) noted by the Hammond Brothers (in Purslow, The Wanton Seed, 29, with tune). Sharp Folk Songs from Somerset I, 70) also notes the instance in Euphranor (describing it as "a Suffolk version"). Not so very much under the sun that is new, after all.

The details about horses are interesting, and show again how much we can discover via the internet that would have taken prohibitively long only a few years ago. It does seem, then, that Jenny the Mare ought to be the earlier form, and likely late-ish 18th century, Creeping Jane being a slight re-write of the mid 19th.

The BL single sheet may not be significantly different from the broadside editions at the Bodleian (Creeping Jane).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 29 May 05 - 03:52 PM

This is opinion and nothing more, since I have no incontrovertible facts to offer in support, but I can't go along with the (admittedly tentative)thought referred to above that this might be a stage song. A fair number of songs that found their way into collector's notebooks actually originated in or at least spent a significant phase of their lives in the theatre or on the variety stage, but Creeping Jane doesn't have the least touch of stagey polish. I can't define precisely what I mean by polish but I think I know when it isn't there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 11:42 AM

The Poole and Dorset Herald of 13 September 1849 has: 'Longfleet Diversions commenced on Wednesday when a Silver Cup was won by Mr J. Duffell's Creeping Jane, beating three others.' The 'Diversions'were a two day, annual horse racing festival held on fields outside Poole, close to the Country House Inn and had started in 1839.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: RTim
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 12:31 PM

Only one version of this song was actually collected in Dorset by The Hammonds - From Mr. Sam Dawe of Beaminster in June 1906 and that version can be found in James Reeves's "Everlasting Circle page 76-7 (text only) and in Frank Purslow's "Wanton Seed" page 27, Dawe's tune and text augmented with a Such Broadside.

In the neighbouring county of Hampshire, George Gardiner collected only 2 versions, one from Mr. Hobbs of Winchester and the second - only one verse - from George Blake of Bitterne (formally of Lyndhurst) in Nov. 1907.
Blake's verse is as below; and it says in mss - Speciman Verse (which suggests to me that he knew more?)

She ran, till she came to the first mile post,
Poor Jane, she still was behind,
Then she kept creeping and creeping along,
And she bade them all not to mind.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 01:42 PM

I just thought it was interesting to find proof of a race being won (in 1849) by a horse named Creeping Jane. It could, of course, be that the horse was named after the song but from my reading of earlier posts there are no printed versions of it before the 1850s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Valmai Goodyear
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 02:39 PM

Martin Carthy will be using this song in his all-day workshop on guitar and song at the Lewes Arms, Mount Place, Lewes, Sussex BN7 1YH (UK)on Saturday 19th. April. Full details and a booking form are on the club website www.lewesarmsfolkclub.org/. There is a maximum of twelve places at £45 each.

Martin performs at the Lewes Arms in the evening (maximum 50 seats, £8 each, also available in advance through the club website).

Valmai
Lewes, Sussex


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 06:49 PM

Mudcat at its best.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: fynnjamin
Date: 13 May 08 - 05:47 PM

Well, after trawling through the 19th century British Library Newspapers online (which some of us lucky students have free access to) I found hundreds of Creeping Janes, between 1805 and 1896. It appears it was quite a popular name for a race horse (there are similar names too: Creeping Bess, Crazy Jane and Little Jane). Who can say which came first - the horse or the song? (well obviously the horse came before the song, but which horse does the song refer to?) The earliest references and possible ones for the song's subject (just noticed that they are from the same two newspapers only. weird.):

The Derby Mercury, 15th August 1805: Haverford-West Races. Monday July 29, 50l [=£50], for horses, &c. bred in the Principality of Wales, all ages. Four mile heats. Captain Matthew's bl m Creeping Jane, 5 yrs old 8st 3lb ...... 1   2   1


The Morning Chronicle, October 1st 1822: A match for 100 guineas is made between Mr. Charlton's Creeping Jane and Mr. Morgan's Norah Crina, to run a two-mile heat at Enfield on the 11th of this month. Betting is 6 to 4 on Creeping Jane, who gives a stone.


The Derby Mercury, April 14th 1824: Badsworth Hunt Meeting. ... A Silver Cup, value 50l. (£50), given by the Hon. E. Petre, was won by Mr. Goodbran's Creeping Jane.


The Morning Chronicle, Sat. Sept. 13. 1828: Sherborne Races. Tuesday ... A purse of 19 sovs. Mr Wadman's b m Creeping Jane.


The Derby Mercury, October 4th 1837: Ashby-de-la-Zouch Races. Tuesday, Oct. 3d, the Prior Park Stakes of 7s. 6d. each, with £6 added, for Maiden Ponies, was won by Mr J. Brigg's Creeping Jane.


The Morning Chronicle, Mon. April 5th 1841: Sand Hutton Steeple Chase. Tuesday. - A Sweepstake of 1sov each, with 10 added, three miles, was won by Mr Jordison's Creeping Jane, 4 yrs, beating Mr. Meek's Rattler and Mr. Smithson's Atalanta, after an excellent race.



well, there you go!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: fynnjamin
Date: 13 May 08 - 05:57 PM

Ok, if you work out that Joseph Taylor was aged eleven in about 1834 when he learned the song from an old woman (see footnotes quoted by Sooz above), then the song probably doesn't refer to the last two of those races I've quoted. but who knows.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: r.padgett
Date: 14 May 08 - 03:33 AM

I this a Yorkshire song then?

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 14 May 08 - 04:12 AM

fynnjamin - is Creeping Jane always the winner in the examples you've found? Or was 'Creeping Jane' the 19th century horse racing version of 'A.N. Other'? No, surely not.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Rumncoke
Date: 14 May 08 - 04:57 AM

Another song I find I know and not in my book.

There is a last verse which I can only partly recall

Now Creeping Jane is dead and gone
And her body lies on the cold ground oh
So we shall????
For to keep her body from the hounds
Fal de day oh etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 May 08 - 05:20 AM

Rumncoke,

From memory the last verse of Joseph Taylor's version goes something like:

Now Creeping Jane is dead and gone
And her body lies on cold ground, oh.
I'll go down unto me master,
One favour for to beg,
That's to save her little body from the hounds

Presumably dead race horses were fed to the fox hounds - very thrifty!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 14 May 08 - 08:33 AM

The version I sing (the Bert Lloyd one, hmmmm) has a last verse that goes:

Now Creeping Jane is dead and gone
We never shall see her likes again
Her neat little body lies under the ground
All for to keep her from the hounds....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 May 08 - 09:01 AM

It was certainly the custom with hunts in the British Isles (UK & Eire) to chop up dead horses and feed them to the hounds.

When the great Arkle died in 1970 much was made of the fact that, although his flesh was indeed fed to the hounds, he had been carefully butchered and his skeleton preserved. (It is now on display at the Irish National Stud).

I don't know if the custom still survives - there is probably some EC directive banning it in the wake of the BSE outbreaks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 May 08 - 02:06 PM

The newspaper quotes are interesting; and all grist to the mill. Usually only the placed runners are mentioned in brief reports, which is why those Creeping Janes look so successful. Doubtless they lost often enough (Odiham Races, 27 July 1827 for instance, where Mr Smithers' Creeping Jane came in behind Mr Parr's Careless). There are also, of course, references to various Creeping Janes in the specialised sporting magazines of the day, some of which can be found online without having to work through an academic institution.

The broadside can be traced perhaps as far back as the later 1820s, so if we're looking at a real horse it would be one of the several candidates prior to 1830, most likely. The song may have been quite new when Joseph Taylor first heard it; a reference in Notes and Queries (series 6 volume 6 number 153 page 449, 1882) recalls it being sung at a harvest supper near Dewsbury at around the same period.

After some debate, Steve Gardham and I have come to the reluctant conclusion that the Fitzgerald verses discussed earlier are most likely a refacimento based on the broadside rather than an earlier form of the story. This is a pity, as quite apart from anything else Yorkshire Jenny was a very well known racehorse about whom plenty of information can be found, while there seem to have been Creeping Janes on practically every street corner (though some may be 'duplicates', having changed owners once or more).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,fynnjamin
Date: 25 May 08 - 12:36 PM

Terry McDonald - yes the examples I've quoted are of winning Creeping Janes - there were hundreds of times where a Creeping Jane lost!
Also, I think my maths is a bit wrong (us folkies only need to count to four really...): Joseph Taylor was born c.1834, so therefore he learnt the song c.1845.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: GUEST,Peterr
Date: 25 May 08 - 05:41 PM

I've long thought it fun that Stewball (US of A), Creeping Jane (English trad?), and Down the Road (English Music Hall) are all related. After all, there are only so many stories in this world.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CREEPING JANE (circa 1820)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 Mar 09 - 01:20 PM

From Yorkshire Anthology by Joseph Horsfall Turner (Bingley: Printed for the editor, 1901):

CREEPING JANE.
Peep Green Races, 1820.

COME I'll sing you a song, a very pretty song,
Concerning Creeping Jane,
She ne'er saw a horse in all her life
She valued more than half a pin. Fol de la.

When Creeping Jane came on to the race course,
The gentlemen viewed her all round,
And all they had to say respecting Creeping Jane
Was "she's not able to gallop o'er the ground."

When Creeping Jane came to the first mile post,
Creeping Jane she was left behind,
The rider threw his whip all around her pretty neck
And he said "My little lady never mind."

When Creeping Jane came to the second mile post,
Creeping Jane she's still left behind,
The rider threw his whip around her slender waist,
Said he, "My little lady never mind."

When Creeping Jane came to the third mile post,
Creeping Jane looked brisk and smart,
And then she lifted up her lily white feet.
And passed them all like a dart!

Now Creeping Jane this race she has run,
And scarcely sweats one drop,
And she's able to gallop it over again,
While the others are not able to trot.

Now Creeping Jane is dead and gone,
And her body lies in the cold ground,
I'll go to the master one favour to beg
Her precious little body from the hounds.

From "Old Liversedge," by Frank Peel.

[According to a brief biography of Frank Peel by Charles F. Forshaw, LL.D., included in The Poets of the Spen Valley, edited by Charles Frederick Forshaw (Bradford: Thornton and Pearson, 1892), Frank Peel wrote "Old Liveredge" as a series of articles in The Heckmondwike Herald, May, 1886 to October, 1887, later collected and published as a book, "Spen Valley: Past and Present" (Heckmondwike: Senior and Co., 1893).

[Peep Green is in Hartshead, West Yorkshire.

[Google Books finds around 150 references to "Creeping Jane" in the period 1822 to 1900, most of them in such publications as The Racing Calendar, Sporting Magazine, The Turf Register and Sportsman & Breeder's Stud-Book, Pick's Annual Racing Calendar, etc., starting around 1822. Perhaps the reason the references continue for so many years is that Creeping Jane was being cited as the ancestor of other racehorses. There is a wealth of information there if anyone wants to sift through it—I don't.

[It seems there was also a flower called Creeping Jane.]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Mar 09 - 08:41 PM

The song sounds like pure fabrication rather than elaborated reportage: the oxymoronic name, the horse's near-laughable appearance, her coming from distant last into first, her lack of exhaustion afterwards, the casual demeanor of the jockey... Why should we suppose this song was based on an actual race or particular horse?—it strikes me akin to seeking for a seminal "Buttercup Joe".

Even if a famous Creeping Jane can be found, accounts of her break-out race would have to corroborate the general story told in the song before we could conclude she was the original inspiration for the song. Equally possible is that her name was "localized" into the song later (as with "Jenny the Mare"), and it just stuck, having the right comical ring and aura of authenticity.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 09:17 AM

Hi Artful,
Only 4 months late with response.
Whilst I agree with you whole-heartedly re 'Creeping Jane' being fictional I thought we were a long way down the road to identifying original sheet music for 'Buttercup Joe' c1870. Am I to assume you have an earlier date for use of the name?

Also while I'm here we can take back the broadside dates a little further for CJ. It appears to have been printed more and earlier in the N of England. the only London printings I have are Such and Hodges, both relatively late. However Madden has a Swindells of Manchester printing I'd date c1810-1850, and in the Firth collection at Sheffield there is Walker of Durham. It appears in Walker's catalogue for 1839.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM

A. L. Lloyd sang a fine version of Creeping Jane on a Riverside Records LP record of sports and sporting songs. Some of the images really stick in your mind. And after Jane dies, "Her sweet little body lies in the ground."

Lloyd swapped songs on this record with Ewan MacColl. Just a great album.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 08:27 PM

Champions And Sporting Blades was the name of it.

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 04:18 PM

Even the great Bert Lloyd would have bowed to the magical performance of Joseph Taylor.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 12:15 AM

Steve: You mistake me: I'm not disputing the origin of the song "Buttercup Joe". Rather, I was saying we have no basis to believe the Creeping Jane of song was an actual horse, any more than we have to believe the Buttercup Joe of song was an actual historical figure instead of a caricature of a rustic type.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 04:18 PM

Apologies for misreading. Yes I agree.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 03:45 AM

No-one seems to have noted that Dave & Tony Arthur sang an alternative Grainger-collected Lincs version on LP The Lark In The Morning {Topic 1969}, collected on the same trip as the better known Joseph Taylor version from another local man, Joseph Leaning: a very similar tune to Taylor's but without the "oh" at the end of line 2 of each verse.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 04:15 AM

As MtheGM is a professional pedant, I feel obliged to point out that it's Toni Arthur.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 04:56 AM

Glad you noticed that, Pike: I wondered who would be the first to see it!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Creeping Jane
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 02:35 PM

Going back in reponse to posts earlier, before Malcolm passed away he sent me references to lots of 'Creeping Janes'. It appears to have been a much-used name for race-horses in the 18th and early 19th centuries.


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