> Folk Music > Songs > The Lincolnshire Poacher

The Lincolnshire Poacher

[ Roud 299 ; Ballad Index K259 ; Bodleian Roud 299 ; Wiltshire Roud 299 ; trad.]

Jim Baldry sang The Northamptonshire Poacher at his house, Corner Cottage, Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk, on July 10, 1956 to Peter Kennedy (BBC recording 23100). This recording was included on the anthology Fair Game and Foul (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 7; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1970). It was also included in 2014 on the Topic anthology The Barley Mow (The Voice of the People Volume 26).

A fragment of Tom Willett singing The Lincolnshire Poacher in c.1960 to Ken Stubbs was included in 2013 on the Willett Family's Forest Tracks anthology A-Swinging Down the Lane. and on their Musical Traditions anthology Adieu to Old England.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sang The Lincolnshire Poacher in 1971 on their first album, Spencer the Rover Is Alive and Well. They commented in their liner notes:

This is one of those songs that everyone in England learns in elementary school, then forgets as rapidly as possible. Michael Cooney has said that everyone in grade school thinks they are corny and crummy: he now contends that it is grade school that is corny and crummy, not the songs. We agree.

Harry Brazil sang 'Tis My Delight, to Gwilym Davies at Staverton, Gloucestershire, on November 27, 1977. This recording was included in 2007 on the Brazil Family's Musical Traditions anthology, Down By the Old Riverside. The accompanying booklet commented:

Just a fragment—38 seconds—of what is probably the well-known Lincolnshire Poacher, but here sung to the Rambling Irishman tune.

Billy List sang The Lincolnshire Poacher at Brudish, Suffolk, in 1977 to Keith Summers. This recording was included in 2007 on the Musical Traditions anthology of songs recorded by Keith Summers, A Story to Tell. Rod Stradling commented:

Despite this song having appeared in so many ‘National’ song books in the 20th century, it seems to have been not much taken up in the oral tradition, if Roud’s total of only two sound recordings is accurate. These are by Jim Baldry, in 1956 in Melton, and a far later Gloucestershire recording by Harry Brazil. So we may assume that Billy List learned the song from Jim; many of the singers Keith spoke to cited Baldry as the source of some of their songs.

Benji Kirkpatrick sang The Lincolnshire Poacher in 2003 on Dr Faustus's first Fellside album, Wager.

The Lincolnshire Poacher is one of the first songs we ever worked out together; it is one of the large body of folk songs that used to be sung in schools.

Jim Moray sang The Lincolnshire Poacher in 2011 on Concerto Caledonia's CD Revenge of the Folksingers.

Magpie Lane sang Poaching Song in 2011 on their CD The Robber Bird. They commented:

Generations of schoolchildren will have sung The Lincolnshire Poacher and assumed that it was a song peculiar to Lincolnshire. Our Poaching Song has exactly the same storyline, but the action takes place in Somerset, and it was collected in Gloucestershire—it's one of several fine songs noted down by Cecil Sharp in Tewkesbury, from a Mrs Eizabeth Smitherd.

The Teacups sang Lincolnshire Poacher on their 2013 CD One for the Pot. They commented:

The first traditional song Alex [Cummming] ever learned. Kate [Locksley] can't remember not knowing it. An ex-colleague of Kate's told us that if we ever sang it in the presence of a member of his old army regiment, they were duty-bound to stand up and salute us. She's still waiting.

Lyrics

Billy List singThe Lincolnshire Poacher

As I was bound apprenticed in far off Lincolnshire,
I served my master truly for over seven year,
And I took up a poaching, as you will plainly hear,
For it's my delight in the shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions ere setting of the snare,
The gamekeeper was watching us, for him we didn't care,
For we can wrestle and fight, my boys, jump over anywhere,
For it's my delight in the shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions were setting four or five,
Taking them up again, my boys, we caught a hare alive.
We caught a hare alive my boys, and through the woods did steer
For it's my delight in the shiny night in the season of the year.

We slung him across the shoulders and wandered through the town
Called in to a neighbour's house, and sold her for a crown;
We sold her for a crown, my boys, but I did not tell you where
For it's my delight in the shiny night in the season of the year.

Now good luck to every gentleman that lives in Lincolnshire
Success to every poacher who wants to sell a hare
Bad luck to every gamekeeper who will not sell his deer
For it's my delight in the shiny night in the season of the year.
Season of the year!

Roberts and Tony Barrand singThe Lincolnshire Poacher

When I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire<
Full well I served my master for more than seven year
'Til I took up a-poaching, as you will quickly hear
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions were setting of a snare
'Twas then we spied the gamekeeper, for him we did not care
Far we can wrestle and fight, my boys, and jump o'er anywhere
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions were setting four or five
And taking of them up again, we caught a hare alive
We caught a hare alive, my boys, and homeward we did steer
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

We put him over our shoulder and then we trudged on home
We took him to a neighbour's house, and sold him for a crown
We sold him for a crown, my boys, but I dare not tell you where
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

Good luck to every gentleman that lives in Lincolnshire
Good luck to every poacher that wants to steal a hare
Bad luck to every gamekeeper that will not sell his deer
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: The Lincolnshire Poacher.