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An Acre of Land / Sing Ivy

[ Roud 21093 ; Master title: An Acre of Land ; TYG 23 ; Ballad Index K300 ; VWML RVW2/2/131 ; GlosTrad Roud 21093 ; trad.]

An Acre of Land is part of Child #2, The Elfin Knight.

Jim and Bob Copper sang An Acre of Land in a recording made by SĂ©amus Ennis for the BBC on 24 April 1952. It was included in 2001 on the Copper Family's Topic anthology Come Write Me Down. John, Bob and Ron Copper also sang Heigh Ho, Sing Ivy in 1971 on their Leader album A Song for Every Season.

Charlie Potter sang this song as Sing Ivy in a recording made by Mervyn Plunkett at home in Horsham, Sussex, in September 1956. it was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology Troubles They Are But Few (The Voice of the People Series Volume 14).

Fred Jordan sang An Acre of Land in a recording made by Mike Yates in 1965. It was included in 2003 on his Veteran anthology A Shropshire Lad.

The Broadside sang An Acre o' Land on their 1971 album of Lincolnshire folk songs, The Gipsy's Wedding Day. They noted:

[An Acre o' Land] is one of several that wore collected by Mrs E.H. Rudkin in 1957 from the late Luke Stanley, of Barrow-on-Humber. The tune is a variant of the Irish air St. Patrick's Day.

George ‘Tom’ Newman sang Sing Ovy, Sing Ivy in a recording made by Mike Yates at his home in Clanfield, Oxon. in 1972. It was included in 1975 on the Topic anthology of countryside songs from Southern England, When Sheepshearing's Done, and in 2001 in the Musical Tradition anthology of songs from the Mike Yates collection, Up in the North and Down in the South.

Sandra Kerr sang Sing Ivy in 1983 on her album Supermum.

John Kirkpatrick sang An Acre of Land in 1998 on Brass Monkey's third album Sound and Rumour. Martin Carthy noted:

An Acre of Land has the sort of archaic tune, and The Rambling Comber the sort of loping 5/4 tune that was by no means uncommon among country singers at the turn of the century—but not so common now (except with people like us).

Pete Coe sang An Acre of Land in 2004 on his CD In Paper Houses. This track was also included in 2009 on the M.S. charity album Generosity. Pete Coe commented in his liner notes:

A version of Scarborough Fair, where the young man is carrying out increasingly surreal tasks to prove his love. Our version is based on the one sung by William Mason from Hampshire to Balfour Gardiner in 1906 and Roy Palmer published it in Room for Company under the title Sing Ivy.

Jim Causley sang Sing Ivy in 2005 on his WildGoose CD Fruits of the Earth.

Paul Sartin sang Acre of Land in 2008 on Faustus' eponymous CD Faustus. They noted:

These verses are the leftovers of the ‘Lovers' Tasks’ of the Elfin Knight ballad, which by the 19th century had taken on a life of their own outside of the main narrative. Sung by Frank Bailey at Coombe Bisset, Wiltshire, to Vaughan Williams in August 1904 [ VWML RVW2/2/131 ] , and published most recently in Palmer, Roy: Bushes and Briars. Here it is interspersed with the Kirtlington Morris tune Lumps of Plum Pudding.

This video shows them at Shrewsbury Folk Fesitval 2009:

Bella Hardy sang Sing Ovy, Sing Ivy in 2012 on her CD Bright Morning Star.

Marisa Jack & Davy sang Acre of Land on their 2016 EP March March.

PJ Harvey and Harry Escott recorded An Acre of Land in 2017 for the Clio Bernard film Dark River, and released it in 2018 as a single:

Narthen (formerly Coope, Simpson, Fraser & Freya) sang An Acre of Land in 2018 on their eponymous No Masters album Narthen. They noted:

It's Monday morning, 11am, and time for “Singing Together”, the BBC schools radio programme for children, first broadcast in 1939 at the start of the Second World War. Its main focus was folk song and a chance for the children (and their mothers whilst they worked at home) to know they were all singing familiar songs at the same time. The show ran for 60 years, eventually becoming a casualty of the National Curriculum, as there was no longer a place for it.

Acres of Land was a popular song from that collection, this version having been put together for us by John Tams. The Morris feel of the tune struck a chord with all of us (we have all played and danced the Morris at one time or another), so we have included a version of a Bampton Morris tune called The Webley Twizzle. The dance aficionados will no doubt be wondering why we put the ‘slows’ where we have!

Jon Wilks talked with Paul Sartin about An Acre of Land in February 2020 in Episode 5 of his Old Songs Podcast.

Folklincs sang An Acre of Land on their 2020 album Songs & Tunes from North Lincolnshire. They noted:

Collected on 1 January 1957 by Ethel Rudkin, when she assembled several singers at her home in Willoughton. These performances were tape recorded by Stanley Ellis, M.A. of the School of English, University of Leeds. Mr Ellis was particularly interested in the Lincolnshire dialect.

The song was sung by Luther (Luke) Stanley of Barrow upon Humber. It is a song that has dwindled down over the centuries from a ballad with supernatural elements. This is our own arrangement and tune.
(Lead Singer: Karen Thompson)

Young Waters (Kerry Ann Jangle and Theo Passingham) sang Sing Ivy on the 2021 Landworkers’ Alliance anthology Stand Up Now.

Lyrics

Jim and Bob Copper sing An Acre of Land

My father had an acre of land
    Ee oh, sing ivy
My father had an acre of land
    And a bunch of green holly and ivy

He ploughed it with a team of rats
He ploughed it with a team of rats

He sowed it with a pepper box
He sowed it with a pepper box

He harrowed it with a small-tooth comb
He harrowed it with a small-tooth comb

He rolled it down with a rolling pin
He rolled it down with a rolling pin

He reaped it the blade of his penknife
He reaped it the blade of his penknife

He threshed it with a wad of straw
He threshed it with a wad of straw

He wimmed it on the brim of his hat
He wimmed it on the brim of his hat

He sent it to market on a louse's back
He sent it to market on a louse's back

And now the poor old man is dead
And now the poor old man is dead

John Kirkpatrick sings An Acre of Land

Oh my father he left me an acre of land
    Sing ovy, sing ivy
My father he left me an acre of land
    And a bunch of green holly and ivy

I ploughed it with an ox's horn
I ploughed it with an ox's horn

I sowed it with two peppering corns
I sowed it with two peppering corns

And I rolled it with a rolling pin
I rolled it with a rolling pin

I reaped it with my little penknife
I reaped it with my little penknife

And I threshed it out with a goose's quill
I threshed it out with a goose's quill

And I stowed it all in a mouse's hole
I stowed it all in a mouse's hole

Then off to the mill with a team of rats
Then off to the mill with a team of rats

My team of rats came rattling back
    Sing ovy sing ivy
My team of rats came rattling back
With fifty-five guineas and an empty sack
    And a bunch of green holly and ivy

Faustus sing An Acre of Land

My father left me acre of land,
    There goes this ivery,
My father left me acre of land,
    And a bunch of green holly and ivery,

I ploughed it with my ram's horn;
I sowed it with my pepper box.

I harrowed it with my bramble bush;
I reaped it with the blade of my knife.

I sent it home in a walnut shell;
I threshed it with my needle and thread.

I winnowed it with my handkerchief;
I sent it to mill with a team of great rats.

The carter brought a curly whip;
The whip went pop and the wagon stopped.

My father left me acre of land,
    There goes this ivery,
My father left me acre of land,
    And a bunch of green holly and ivery,
    A bunch of green holly and ivery.