Week 208 – New Garden Fields

Well, this post completes the fourth year of this blog. And I’m glad to say there will be another one along next week (and for some little time to come).

I used to sing this song with Chris Wood back in the 1980s, and it now forms part of Magpie Lane’s repertoire – yet another song in the band’s setlist to be gleaned from Roy Palmer’s Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams. It was collected on 22nd April 1904 from a Mr Broomfield, a woodcutter, at East Horndon in Essex – here it is reproduced from Vaughan Williams’ MS on the Full English site.

New Garden Fields, as sung by Mr Broomfield of Essex. From the Ralph Vaughan Williams Manuscript Collection, via the Full English.

New Garden Fields, as sung by Mr Broomfield of Essex. From the Ralph Vaughan Williams Manuscript Collection, via the Full English.

Funnily enough, the very next day he collected another version, from a Mr J. Punt, also in East Horndon. Both versions were included in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society Vol 2 No 8 (1906). RVW noted that he had completed the words from a Such ballad sheet – presumably one of these two.

If you look this song up on the Full English archive you’ll find it on several ballad sheets, from the collections of Vaughan Williams, Lucy Broadwood and Frank Kidson. I always liked the fact that this song is set on the 17th August, my dad’s birthday. But that seems to have been peculiar to Mr Broomfield – all the other versions have it as 18th August.

The New Garden Fields - Catnach broadside from the Frank Kidson Manuscript Collection, via the Full English.

The New Garden Fields – Catnach broadside from the Frank Kidson Manuscript Collection, via the Full English.

 

New Garden Fields

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