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The Worcestershire Wedding / The Old Woman All Clothed in Grey

[ Roud 1694 ; Bodleian Roud 1694 ; Mudcat 64543 ; trad.]

Martin Carthy sang The Worcestershire Wedding on his 1976 album Crown of Horn. A live recording from the Sunflower Folk Club, Belfast, on 20 October 1978 was published in 2011 on his CD The January Man. Carthy noted on the original album:

The Worcestershire Wedding is (like The Bedmaking) another of Martina Russell’s songs. Again she could only recall the tune and part of the text, so what is sung here is a severely truncated version of the text published from an 18th century broadside in The Foggy Dew also compiled by Frank Purslow from the Hammond and Gardiner MSS.


Martin Carthy sings The Worcestershire Wedding

An old woman all clothed in grey
Had a daughter both charming and young
That Roger deluded away
With his false flattering tongue.
With him she so often had lain
Abroad in the meadows and fields,
Till her belly grew up to her chin
And her spirits right down to her heels.

O the diddle oh fol the dol diddle dum day

Cries her mother, “That’s what you expect
When you play the hey ding-a-ding!
Why didn’t you follow my rule
And tie your two toes in a string?”
“It was Roger,” the daughter replied,
“Called me his dear pretty bird.
He said he would make me his bride
But he wasn’t as good as his word.”

Fol the diddle oh fol the dol diddle dum day

“Go fetch me my crutches,” she cried,
“And bring me my spectacles too.
For if he will not make you his bride
I’ll sure split his head into two!”
She come to him there at the mill,
At him with her crutches she fly,
Cries, “Why don’t you marry my daughter
And make her as honest as I?”

Fol the diddle oh fol the dol diddle dum day

“Oh what will you give,” he cries,
“If I take her now off your hands?
You must make me the lord of your store,
Your money your building and land.”
Cries she, “You shall have all you wish,
My cattle, my silver and gold.”
Says he, “I’ve been looking for this,
It’ll keep out the wind and the cold.”

Fol the diddle oh fol the dol diddle dum day

Then hey for a girl or a boy,
Young missus looked fine as a duchess.
Mother danced and she capered for joy
And she danced a fine jig on her crutches.

Fol lol the diddle oh fol the dol diddle dum day


Transcribed by Garry Gillard, with help from Wolfgang Hell. Thanks also to Ruth Bygrave.