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The Shoemakker

[ Roud 3152 ; G/D 3:479 ; Ballad Index StoR114 ; trad.]

J. Collingwood Bruce, John Stokoe: Northumbrian Minstrelsy John Stokoe: Songs and Ballads of Northern England

Sandra and Nancy Kerr sang The Shoemakker in 1996 on their Fellside CD Neat and Complete. Nancy, James Fagan and Alan Burton sang it live at The Herschel Arms, Slough, in September 2000, which was relased in the same year on the CD The Herschel Sessions. Sandra and Nancy Kerr noted on their album:

Nancy’s Dad used to sing this in a rich regional accent we couldn’t begin to imitate. We have found our vowels broadening over the years, but they still owe more to North London than Northumberland. The song can be found in Stokoe’s Songs and Ballads of Northern England.


Sandra and Nancy Kerr sing The Shoemakker

My father sent us to the school
To learn to be a stocking knitter.
I went wrong and I played the fool
And I married to the shoemakker.

Chorus (after each verse):
Shoemakker, leather cracker,
Balls of wax and stinking wetter.
Three rows of rotten leather,
Who would have a shoemakker?

His hands are like a cuddy’s heughs,
His face is like the high-lowed leather.
His ears are like I don’t know what
And his hair is like a bunch of heather.

He sent us for a pint of wine
I brought him a pint of wetter.
But he played as good a trick
And he made me shoes of rotten leather.