A poaching song from George ‘Pop’ Maynard of Copthorne in Sussex.
The song was recorded for the BBC by Peter Kennedy in 1956, and made available on the 1976 Topic LP Ye Subjects of England; it’s also on To Catch a Fine Buck Was My Delight (The Voice of the People volume 18).
I first heard it – I think – on Martin Carthy’s LP Crown of Horn; but would have heard Pop himself singing it on Ye Subjects of England not long after. And then I found the words and notation in a slim EFDSS pamplet, The life and songs of George Maynard (actually a reprint of Ken Stubbs’ article from the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, 1963) which I picked up at my first Sidmouth Festival in 1978.
Pop Maynard was, as well as being a fine singer with some excellent songs, quite a character. Amongst other occupations, he had been a woodcutter and hop-pole puller – and poacher. He was also a marbles champion, taking part in the annual Good Friday championships at the Greyhound pub at nearby Tinsley Green (now rather uncomfortably close to both Gatwick Airport and the M25). You can read more about the Marbles Championship at Tinsley Green – and see photos of Pop Maynard playing marbles in the 1950s – at www.greyhoundmarbles.com