> Folk Music > Songs > I Have a House and Land in Kent

I Have a House and Land in Kent / Paper of Pins

[ Roud V18587 ; VWML RoudBS/B118241 ; Thomas Ravenscroft]

I Have a House and Land in Kent is a song from Thomas Ravenscroft’s Melismata (1611).

The New Scorpion Band sang A Wooing Song of a Yeoman of Kent’s Sonne in 2008 on their CD Master Marenghi’s Music Machine. They noted:

Published in 1611 in Melismata, the third of Thomas Ravenscroft’s collections of popular catches, rounds and partsongs. Ravenscroft was a versatile musician, active in both church and theatre and the author of both practical and theoretical music publications. In his preface he makes a point of social inclusiveness: “…being little or much beholding to some of each ranke, I studie and strive to please you in your own elements.” The Renaissance courtly lover languished and died for his mistress, but our sturdy yeoman is his very antithesis: there is rent money to be made, and the lady needs to make up her mind.

This arrangement uses three curtals or dulcians, the earlier form of the bassoon.

Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer sang this as Paper of Pins as the title track of their 2016 CD Paper of Pins where they noted:

A traditional proposal song from Kent. Boy lays out his store of meagre wealth. We don’t know if she said yes but we hope she did. He gives her two gifts—pins and lace, but in each case, they are ‘market stall’ equivalents of prize possessions. ‘Tawdry lace’—thought to be the shortening of St Audrey lace—meaning cheap, poorly made lace. Poor he might be but proud and hopeful.

This video shows them at the Quaker House, Great Bardfield, in 2016:


Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer sing Paper of Pins

I have a house and land in Kent
If you’ll love me, love me now
Tuppence ha’penny is my rent
I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

Chorus (after each verse):
𝄆 Tuppence ha’penny is his rent
He cannot come ev’ry day to woo 𝄇

I am my father’s eldest son
And my mother does love me well
For I can bravely clout me shoon
And I can full well ring a bell.

My Father, he gave me a hog
And my mother, she game me a sow
My godfather lives thereby,
And he has bequeathed me a ploug.

One time I gave you a paper of pins
Another time, a tawdry lace
If you’ll deny my love
I’ll surely die in your face.

So I’ll put on my best white slop
And I’ll wear my yellow hose
On my head a good grey hat
And in it I’ll stick a rose.

So cease off, do not delay
If you’ll love me, love me now
Or else I’ll seek some other where
I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.