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Glastonbury Town

[ Roud 1484 ; trad.]

Chris Foster recorded Glastonbury Town for his 1977 Topic album Layers. He was accompanied by Nic Jones on fiddle.

James Findlay sang Glastonbury Town on his 2019 CD The Where and the When. He noted:

A song collected in several places in the south west. My take on the song most resembles that of William Haines of Halfway House in Dorset. The story involves a ‘ramble away’ character who rambles away and then back again leading to a strange and abrupt ending. The song glso bears a strong resemblance to Young Billy Brown (Roud 945) which was collected in Compton, Hampshire, from William Messenger.


Chris Foster sings Glastonbury Town

As I was walking down Glastonbury Street
The windows were all made of clay
There I beheld a fair pretty maid
All in the casement lay

Chorus (after each verse):
To my ri fol di lol di lol diddle dol day

“Come down, come down, you pretty fair maid,
Come down this moment to me:
There’s fifty bright guineas I’ll freely give you
One night with me for to lie.”

“Well I can’t come down, kind sir,” she said,
“For me father is standing by,
Or else I would this moment come down
One night with you for to lie.”

Not long after, as you shall hear,
Her father went far from home.
When he returned from his journey again,
Poor girl she looked pale and wan.

“What is the matter my pretty fair maid?
What is the matter with thee?
Have you had any heart sickness
Or been lying with any young man?”

“Well, I’ve not had any heart sickness,
Or been lying with any young man.
I have took it to my heart
You’ve been so long from home.”

Twelve month after, as you shall hear,
The young farmer come riding by.
“You know, kind sir, this child’s by you,
And the same you cannot deny.”

“Well, if you are with a child, me love,
The child is nothing of mine -
Unless you can tell me the where and when
The very same hour and time.”

“Well, I can tell you the where and when,
The very same hour and time:
It was all under my father’s rose bush
And the clock it was striking nine.”


Thanks to Garry Gillard.