Archive for November 20th, 2011

November 20, 2011

Week 13 – Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up

Now if you’ll listen for a while, a story I will tell you,
And if you don’t attention pay, I’m sure I can’t compel you

Another poaching song from the great George ‘Pop’ Maynard of Copthorne in Sussex. The song was apparently written by his friend Fred Holman, of Tatsfield in Surrey, who would write out the words for the price of a pint. It tells of a true incident which occurred on estates owned by the Goschen family near New Addington in Surrey. In time-honoured fashion, Fred used an older tune for his composition: “The Barking Barber” or “Bow Wow Wow” was popular in the 1780s,  published by Chappell in 1858, and sufficiently well-known to be parodied in Alice in Wonderland (thanks to Musical Traditions and www.folklorist.org/ for this information).

Pop Maynard was no stranger to poaching. As an old man he told Ken Stubbs

I should go out again if I had my time over again, before I should let my family go short of anything… I came home and I had my tea… and there was Arthur and Nellie wanted a pair of shoes bad, so I said to my wife, I said, “After I’ve had my tea, Polly, I’ll go out and see if I can catch a few rabbits, to see if I can earn they youngsters a pair of shoes”… So I went across the common into the field aside of the woods, and I pitched up my net twice and I catched six rabbits each time: that makes a dozen; and I took them home and I said, “There you are, Polly, now you can take they rabbits to old (the butcher) in the morning and you can get ten bob for them.” Tenpence each, then, good rabbits. And I said, “With ten shillings you can buy them both a pair of shoes” – so you could at that time.

(Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, December 1963)

I dedicate this one to my great friend Adrian, an incorrigible smoker, who always refers to the song as “Baccy all the while”.

Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up