The History of Lincoln Waites

The Lincolnshire Farmer

Tune: "Fond Boy".

Claude M. Simpson (The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music, 1966) gives the melody for these words as Fond Boy, as published in the Thesaurus Musicus of 1693 and credited to Thomas Tollett. So although the words of this song may never have been associated with any Waits, Thomas Tollett, who composed the tune, was a Dublin Wait. Broadside ballads were often written to fit an existing well-known tune.

A midi file of the melody without accompaniment can be found at www.mudcat.org - please click the following link to listen:

If you would like to hear my own arrangement of this tune - please click the following link:

The text of this Broadside is almost identical to 'The Enchanted Piss-Pot', a Bodleian example which Roy Palmer quoted in an article he wrote for English Dance and Song (vol. 54, no.1, Spring 1992). The Broadside was printed by Thomas Hughes of Hereford, probably in the closing years of the 18th century. Palmer wrote: "It is a version, with many minor changes in phraseology and the omission of fourteen lines, of 'The Lancashire Cuckold'; or 'The Country Parish-Clerk betray'd by a Conjuror's Inchanted Chamber-pot', to the tune of Fond Boy, which was printed in the 1690s for J. Blare "on London-bridge". This has six-line stanzas but the tune fits the Hereford text if the second couplet of each verse is repeated."

Two more late 17th century copies of "The Lancashire Cuckold" (J. Blare issues) were listed at ZN1600, by Dr W Bruce Olsen, in his broadside ballad index. The C. M. Simpson's tune for it is Fond Boy.


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The (Bodleian) version, which has the farmer from Lancashire, is very similar, except for some changes in phraseology in the later Lincolnshire song. Not only would this be to keep pace with any changes in everyday speech that occurred in the 100 years separating the two versions. Another reason for the differences may have been purposeful or accidental changes on the part of the printer. Mistakes can creep in too - for example, it is very difficult to transcribe a whole song accurately from hearing someone singing.


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Here are the last two verses from The Lancashire Farmer - to illustrate the differences - and the similarities:


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