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The Besom Maker

[ Roud 910 ; Master title: The Besom Maker ; Ballad Index BdBesMa ; VWML SBG/3/12/16 , RoudFS/S317618 ; Bodleian Roud 910 ; Wiltshire 1077 ; DT BESOMMKR ; Mudcat 164796 ; trad.]

Roy Palmer: Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams Frank Purslow: The Foggy Dew James Reeves: The Everlasting Circle

The Besom Maker is a song in Heywood Sumner’s illustrated book The Besom Maker (1988).

Janet Russell and Christine Kydd sang Buy Broom Besoms in 1987 on their Greentrax album Janet Russell & Christine Kydd. They noted:

Found in many versions throughout the country. This version comes from the book of songs My Song Is My Own, collected by Frankie Armstrong, Alison McMorland and Sandra Kerr.

Lucky Bags sang Besom Maker on their 1998 Fellside album Delight in Disorder.

Craig Morgan Robson sang The Besom Maker in 2005 on their CD Peppers & Tomatoes. They noted:

This jaunty song was popular with singers throughout the South and West of England. Folk song collector George Gardiner comments that although it is essentially a woman’s song, it was almost always sung by men. We suspect that some women may have been reluctant to sing the rather saucy words to a strange gentleman, leaving it to the men-folk to pass it on!


The Besom Maker in My Song Is My Own

I am a besom maker, come listen to my tale,
I am a besom maker, I live in yonder vale;
Sweet pleasure I enjoy, both morning, night and noon,
Going over the hills so high a-gathering of green broom.

Chorus (after each verse):
O, come buy my besoms, besoms fine and new,
Bonny green broom besoms, better never grew.

One day as I was roving, over the hills so high,
I met with a rakish squire, all with a rolling eye;
He tipp’d to me the wink, I wrote to him the tune,
I eased him of his gink, a-gathering of green broom.

One day as I was turning all to my native vale,
I met Jack Spratt the miller, he asked me to turn tail;
His mill I rattled round, I ground the grists so clean,
I eased him of his gink, a-gathering of green broom.

One day I was returning all to my native cot,
I met a buxom farmer, so happy was his lot;
He ploughed his furrows deep and laid his corn so low,
He left it there to keep, just like green brooms to grow.

Now when the corn grew up, all in its native soil,
A pretty sweet young baby soon on me did smile;
I’ll bundle up my besoms and take them to the fair,
And sell them all by wholesale, nursing’s now my care.