> The Albion Band > Songs > The Nutting Girl
> John Kirkpatrick > Songs > The Nutting Girl
> Cyril Tawney > Songs > A-Nutting We Will Go

The Nutting Girl / A-Nutting We Will Go

[ Roud 509 ; Master title: The Nutting Girl ; G/D 7:1475 ; Ballad Index K186 ; VWML LEB/5/67/1 , RVW2/2/9 ; Bodleian Roud 509 ; GlosTrad Roud 509 ; Wiltshire 405 ; Mudcat 160465 ; trad.]

Sabine Baring-Gould, H. Fleetwood Sheppard: Songs of the West Bob Copper: Songs and Southern Breezes John Morrish: The Folk Handbook Patrick O'Shaughnessy: Twenty-One Lincolnshire Folk Songs Roy Palmer: Everyman's Book of English Country Songs Frank Purslow: The Constant Lovers Steve Roud, Julia Bishop: The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

Cyril Poacher sang the bawdy ballad with chorus, The Nutting Girl, in the early 1950's at The Ship Inn, Blaxhall, Woodbridge, Suffolk; it was recorded by Peter Kennedy and published in 1960 on the EMI/HMV EP of song from that inn, The Barley Mow and a year later on the anthology Songs of Seduction (The Folk Songs of Britain, Volume 2; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968). It was also included in 2013 on the Alan Lomax Archive album Singing at The Ship Inn. A Cyril Poacher recording made by Neil Lanham in Blaxhall, Suffolk, very probably at the Blaxhall Ship, in 1964-5, was included in ca 2000 on the Helions Bumpstead anthology Songs from the Idiom of the People of Blaxhall. Another Cyril Poacher recording, made by Keith Summer at The Ship Inn in 1972, was included in 2007 on the Musical Traditions anthology of Summers' recordings in Suffolk, A Story to Tell. A fourth recording at The Ship Inn on 16 November 1973 was released in 1974 on the Transatlantic album of a singing session in that Suffolk pub, The Larks They Sang Melodious. A further version was recorded by Tony Engle in Cyril Poacher's home in Blaxhall in 1974 and released on his album The Broomfield Wager (1975). It was also included on his Musical Traditions anthology Plenty of Thyme, and on the Topic anthology celebrating English traditional music, Hidden English (1996). Rod Stradling noted in the MT anthology's booklet:

The Nutting Girl came to Cyril Poacher by way of his maternal grandfather, William ‘Cronie’ Ling, and its popularity today stems from the fact that most of the 19th century broadside printers carried it in their catalogues. Harry Green (Veteran VT135) down in Essex had pretty much the same text, but with a rather different tune and a completely different chorus.

During the last century the song was frequently used as a basis for political and satirical songs, while the tune has been used by both Morris and country dancers. In Ireland, Samuel Lover based his well known Lowbacked Car on the air, having taken the tune from Edward Bunting who had noted it from an elderly harper in 1792.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group sang The Nutting Girl in an evening at the Jug of Punch folk club at the Crown, Station Street, Birmingham. This recording was published in 1962 on their Topic EP Ceilidh at the Crown.

Harry Green sang The Nutting Girl to Fred Hamer in 1967. This was included in 1988 on the Veteran Tapes cassette of folk songs, music hall songs and recitations from Essex, The Fox and the Hare, which was reissued on CD in 2010. John Howson noted:

Harry's robust performance of this popular song has an unusual chorus which is similar to that collected from John Northover in Dorset by Henry Hammond in 1906 as A Nutting We Will Go. Under the title The Nut Girl this song was published by broadside printers the length and the breadth of England and in London alone there were ten different imprints. It also struck a chord in East Anglia and in Suffolk it became the Blaxhall Ship's unofficial anthem, sung by Cyril Poacher. He can be heard on TSCD600 Hidden English and another fine rendition can be found on VTC2CD Songs Sung in Suffolk sung by Tony Harvey of Tannington. In Essex, Ralph Vaughan Williams collected the song in 1904 from a Mr Broomfield of Herongate [ VWML RVW2/2/9 ] , and Ernest Austin who is featured on this CD also sang a version.

John Kirkpatrick sang The Nutting Girl in 1972 on Ashley Hutchings and friends' first Morris dance album Morris On. This track was also included in the Island anthology Folk Routes. The Nutting Girl—song and tune—is also on a more than 30 years newer live CD by Ashley Hutchings and friends, Morris On the Road.

Cyril Tawney recorded A-Nutting We Will Go in July 1971, but his ensuing Leader album Down Among the Barley Straw had to wait until 1976 to be released.

Notts Alliance sang The Nutting Girl in 1972 on their Traditional Sound album The Cheerful 'Orn.

The Gaugers sang Young Jackie in 1976 on their Topic album Beware of the Aberdonian. Duncan MacLennan noted:

Peter Hall is the singer in this tale of the ploughboy's seduction of the girl gathering nuts—one of the most widely used and long lasting of vernacular images. It is known more generally, in its English forms at any rate, as The Nutting Girl or Nutting Time, titles which suggest more obviously the Rabelaisian nature of the text. The chorus here, however, is much shorter than usual, reflecting perhaps the North-Easter's urge to be on with things. The overall mood is one of jauntiness, but there is, nevertheless, a typical harshness in the ending—the narrative comes to a rapid conclusion when the fruits of the encounter are borne.

This version is from the singing of Bill Rhynd, Cove, Kincardineshire, with additions from Greig.

The Gaugers' Arthur Watson returned to The Nutting Girl in 2005 on Shepheard, Spiers & Watson's Springthyme CD They Smiled As We Cam In. He noted:

Long before I joined Peter Hall (and Tom Spiers) in The Gaugers, he recorded several song tunes for me that have remained part of my repertory. Peter gave me two tunes for The Nutting Girl (GD 4:1745; Roud 509) from the Greig-Duncan collection to which he had early access in King's College Library. He also collected a version from Bill Rhynd of Cove in Kincardineshire under the title Young Jackie which Peter sang on The Gaugers debut recording Beware of the Aberdonian. I use a set of words based on Bill Rhynd's version with the addition of a further verse appropriated from John Kirkpatrick at an Irvine festival in the early 1970s.

There would seem to be a convention in folk song that when a young woman collects nuts ravishment will soon follow. In The Lassie Gaitherin Nuts (sung by Lizzie Higgins) she appears to sleep through the action, while in The Nutting Girl she says, “Young man I feel sae queer, the world's gaen walkin roon.”

Maggie Holland sang The Nutting Girl in 1982 on the English Country Blues Band's album No Rules, reissued in 2002 on their CD Unruly.

Jim Eldon sang A-Hunting We Will Go in 1984 on his album I Wish There Was No Prisons.

Tony Harvey sang The Nutting Girl on the Veteran cassette Songs Sung in Suffolk Vol 2, published in 1987-89. This track was reissued in 2000 on the Veteran CD Songs Sung in Suffolk. John Howson noted:

A very popular song around the country, indeed, in Suffolk The Nutting Girl [had] become a Blaxhall Ship's anthem, its best known exponent being Cyril Poacher, and there have in fact been many commercial recordings issued of him singing it. E.J. Moeran noted down the song in Suffolk in the 1930's, under the title Nutting Time. The common tune is close to that used for an Oxfordshire morris dance, although Fred Hamer collected an interestingly different tune from Essex singer Harry Green.

Will Noble sang The Nutting Girl on his 1992 Veteran Tapes cassette of South West Yorkshire songs, In That Beautiful Dale. He and John Cocking also sang The Nutting Girl live at the Huntsman, Holmfirth, Yorkshire, on 23 November 2004. This recording was published a year later on their Veteran CD Yon Green Banks. They and John Howson noted:

John learned this in the early days from the late Charlie Stopford from Slaithwaite at gatherings with the Colne Valley Beagles, while Will got his from Arthur Howard and the Holme Valley gatherings. Their versions are slightly different, so they sing it verse and verse about.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sang The Nutting Girl on their 2003 CD Twiddlum Twaddlum. They noted:

A staple song among morris dancers since Ashley Hutchings' influential Morris On album (1972), we pair it here, of course, with the Cotswold Morris dance tune.

Mary Humphreys and Anahata sang Nutting Song in 2006 on their WildGoose CD Fenlandia. Mary Humphreys noted:

A very fragmentary version of this song was collected by Ella Bull [ VWML LEB/5/67/1 ] , so I have augmented it from several of the more complete versions of the Nutting Girl found in England.

Phyllis Martin sang The Nutting Girl at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2010. This recording was included a year later on the festival CD Hurrah Boys Hurrah! (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 7). The booklet commented:

Collected by Phyllis in 1967 from Maggie Wright of Sorbie, Wigtownshire. The song has been collected throughout the British Isles—more commonly in England than Scotland—and was regularly printed on broadsides.

Martyn Wyndham-Read and company sang Nutting Girl in 2012 on their CD The Seasons of the Year (Maypoles to Mistletoes 2).

Andy Turner sang The Nutting Girl as the 19 May 2013 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Eliza Carthy sang The Nutting Girl in 2018 on Will Pound's album Through the Season.

Belinda Kempster and Fran Foote sang Nutting Girl on their 2019 CD On Clay Hill.

Lyrics

Cyril Paacher sings The Nutting Girl

Come all you jovial fellows, come listen to my song,
It is a little ditty and it won't contain you long.
It's of a fair young damsel, she lived down in Kent,
Arose one summer's morning, she a-nutting went.

Chorus (after each verse):
With my fal-lal, to me row tal-lal,
And a wack for the dear old day,
And what few nuts that poor girl had
She's threw them all away.

It's of a brisk young farmer, was ploughing of his land,
He called unto his horses to bid them gently stand.
As he sit down upon his plough, all for a song to sing,
His voice was so melodious made the valleys ring.

It's of this fair young damsel, she was nutting in the wood,
His voice was so melodious it charmed her as she stood.
She could no longer stay …
And what few nuts she had, poor girl, she threw them all away.

She then came to young Johnny as he sit on his plough,
She said, “Young man, I really feel, I cannot tell you how.”
He took her to some shady broom, and there he laid her down.
Says she, “Young man, I think I feel the world go round and round.”

Now, come all you young women, this warning by me take,
If you should a-nutting go please get home in time.
For if you should stay too late to hear that ploughboy sing,
You might have a young farmer to nurse up in the spring.

Harry Green sings The Nutting Girl

Come all you brisk young damsels that love to hear a song,
Come listen to my ditty and I will not keep you long,
It's of a brisk young damsel who lived down in Kent,
She rose one summer's morning and she a-nutting went.

Chorus (after each verse):
A-nutting we will go, me boys, a-nutting we will go.
With a blue cockade all in our hats we'll cut a gallant show.

There was a brisk young farmer a-ploughing of his land,
He call-ed to his horses and he bade them for to stand,
He sat himself down on his plough a song for to began,
His voice was so melodious it made the valleys ring.

There was this brisk young damsel a-nutting in the wood,
His voice it was so melody it charmed her where she stood,
She had no longer power in that lonely wood to stay,
And what few nuts she had, poor girl, she threw them all away.

She went unto a Johnny as he sat on his plough,
She said, “Young man I find myself I'm sure I can't tell how.”
He said, “My pretty fair maid I'm glad to meet you here,
Come sit you down beside of me, I'll keep you out of fear.”

So Johnny left his horses likewise he left his plough,
He took her to a shady grove his courage for to show,
He took her by the middle so small and gently laid her down,
And she said, “Young man I think I see the world go round and round.”

So Johnny he went to his plough to finish up his song,
He said, “My pretty fair maid your mother will think it long.”
And as they tripped along the plain she on his breast did lean,
And she said, “Young man I should like to see the world go round again.”

Come all you brisk young damsels a warning take by mine,
If you should go out nutting, oh pray be home in time,
For if you should stay out too late, to hear that ploughboy sing,
Perhaps this young farmer will get the nuts all in the spring.

John Kirkpatrick sings The Nutting Girl

Now come all you jovial fellows, come listen to my song.
It is a little ditty and it won't contain you long.
It's of a fair young damsel, oh she lived down in Kent,
Arose one summer's morning and she a-nutting went.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With my fal-lal to my ral-tal-lal
Whack-fol-the-dear-ol-day
And what few nuts that poor girl had
She threw them all away.

Now it's of a brisk young farmer, was a-ploughing of his land,
He called unto his horses to bid them gently stand.
As he sat down upon his plough all for a song to sing,
His voice was so melodious, it made the valleys ring.

Now it's of this brisk young damsel, was nutting in the wood,
His voice was so melodious, it charmed her as she stood.
She could no longer stay …
And what few nuts she had, poor girl, she threw them all away.

Well she then came to young Johnny as he sat on his plough,
Said she, “Young man I really feel I cannot tell you how.”
So he took her to some shady broom and there he laid her down,
Said she, “Young man, I think I feel the world go round and round.”

So come all you young women, this warning by me take,
Oh, if you should a-nutting go, don't stay out too late.
For if you should stay too late for to hear that ploughboy sing,
You might have a young farmer to nurse up in the spring.

Tony Harvey sings The Nutting Girl

Now come my jovial fellows, come listen to my song,
It is a little ditty and it won't take long.
'Tis of a fair young maid and she in Kent did dwell,
Arose one summer morning and she a-nutting went.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
With my-fal-lal-to-the-al-pal-lal,
Went-fal-a-dil all day,
And what few nuts that poor girl had,
She strew them all away.

There was a young farmer a-ploughing of his land,
He called unto his horses to bid them gently stand.
He sat upon his plough, all for a song to sing,
His voice was so melodious, did make the valleys ring.

She came unto young Johnny as he sat on his plough.
Said she, “Young man, I really feel I cannot tell you how.”
He led her to some shady broom, so gently laid her down.
Said she, “Young man, I think I feel the world go round and round.”

Now listen here you pretty young girls, this warning by me take:
If you should a-nutting go, please don't stay too late.
For if you stay too late to hear that ploughboy sing,
You may have a young farmer to nurse up in the Spring.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sing The Nutting Girl

Come all you jovial fellows, and listen to my song,
It is a little ditty and it won't contain you long.
It's of a fair young damel, oh, she lived down in Kent,
Arose one summer's morning, and she a-nutting went.

Chorus (after each verse):
With my fal-lal, to my ral-tal-lal,
Whack-fol-the-dare-ol-day,
And what few nuts this poor girl had
She threw them all away.

It's of a brisk young farmer, a-ploughing of his land,
He called unto his horses, and he bid them gently stand.
As he sit down upon his plough, all for a song to sing,
His voice was so melodious, it made the valleys ring.

It's of this fair young damsel, a-nutting in the wood.
His voice was so melodious, it charmed her where she stood.
She could no longer stay,
And what few nuts she had, poor girl, she threw them all away.

She stepped up to young Johnny, as he sat on his plough
Said she, “Young man I really feel, oh I can't tell you how.”
He took her to some shady grove, and there he laid her down,
Said she, “Young man, I think I feel the world go round and round.”

He walked back to his horses to finish off his song,
He said, “Young woman, you'd best be gone, your mother will think you long.”
She threw her arms around his neck as he marched o'er the plain,
Said she: “Young man, I'd like to feel the world go round again.”

So, come all of you young women, this warning by me take
If you should a-nutting go, oh, please get home on time.
For if you should stay too late, to hear the ploughboy sing,
You might have a young morris dancer to nurse up in the spring.

Will Noble and John Cocking sing The Nutting Girl

Come all you fair young maidens that love to hear a song,
I'll sing to you a ditty and it won't detain you long.
It's of a fair young maiden residing down in Kent,
Rose up one summer's morning and she a-nutting went.

Chorus (after each verse):
And a-nutting we will go, will go
And a-nutting we will go,
With a white cockade all in our hats
We'll make a gallant show.

Now Johnny was a ploughboy a-ploughing of the land.
Said whoa unto his horses and he bade them both to stand.
Then he sat him down upon his plough a hunting song to sing,
His voice was so melodious it made the woodland ring.

Now this pretty fair maid a-nutting in the wood,
His voice was so melodious it charmed her as she stood;
She had no longer power in that lonely wood to stay,
And the few nuts that she gathered why she threw them all away.

She went straight up to Johnny as he sat upon his plough,
She said, “Young man, I do feel queer, I'm sure I don't know how.”
He said, “My pretty fair maid, I'm pleased to see you here.
Come sit you down beside me and I'll keep you in good cheer.”

Then Johnny left his horses likewise he left his plough,
He took her to a shady grove his courage for to show.
He took her by the waist so small and gently laid her down,
“Young man,” she said, “I think I feel the world go round and round.”

Now Johnny went back to his plough to finish off his song,
He said, “My dear you'd best away, you mother will think you long.”
She said, “Kind sir before you go to trip o'er yonder plain,
I think I'd like to feel the world go round and round again.”

So all you fair young maidens this warning take by me,
And if you should a nutting go, be home in time for tea.
For if you should stray through yon woods to hear the ploughboy sing,
Perhaps a farmer's child you will be nursing in the spring.

Phyllis Martin sings The Nutting Girl

There was a jolly plooboy, a-plooin up his land,
He whistled and he sang all day to make the valleys sound,

Chorus (after each verse):
Singin tarry doodle aye, doodle aye, doodle aye,
Tarry doodle aye ae
Tarry doodle aye, doodle aye, doodle aye,
Tarry doodle aye ae.

The nuts that she was gaitherin, she threw them aa away,
She went tae hear the plooboy sing, “Tarry doodle aye ae.”

He's taen her by her middle sma, lain her doun wi speed,
Says he tae her, “Ma bonnie wee lass, I'll hae tae dae the deed.”

He's taen her by her middle sma, lain her on the grun,
Says she tae him, “Oh Jock ma man, the world's gan roun and roun.”

She went doun tae the valley tae pick up the words he said,
When she got doun she heard nae soun, she thocht that he was dead.

He wrote tae her a letter and in half a croun,
Saying, “Ye mind the nicht, ma bonnie wee lass, the world gaed roun and roun.”