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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleIn Rockley Firs
Roud No.2341
Collected FromPreston, William
LocationGrafton
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 3 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No. Ox 268
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 1st April, 1916, p 3, Part 25, No. 8: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 123, 124
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

In Rockley Firs where I was sought,
I thought that night I should have been caught;
The moon shone bright, the stars gave light,
And from them all I ran away.

Verse 2

I went to the tavern on Saturday night,
I called for a bottle, likewise a pipe;
A special warrant it was brought in,
And taken I was in Cole's kitchen.

Verse 3

I slept at Cole's all that long night,
Mark Hanks came in before 'twas light,
And says, "Young man, you must away [hyphen]
From Marlborough gaol, this very day."

Verse 4

He mounted a gig in Marlborough town,
And off to Salisbury I was bound;
In irons strong they bound my hands,
So I was forced to go at their command.

Verse 5

I stood my trial, I am got free,
I am not transported, you all may see;
'Twas in a dark cell where I did lie,
Where locks and bolts like bullets fly.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms / FSUT: 'This is of Wiltshire origin. Rockley Firs is near Marlborough, and was noted rendezvous of poachers in times gone by. Hares were in great abundance; I have heard of a case in which a poacher claimed to have killed three at one shot. There were frequent encounters with game keepers, and it may be to one of these that the song refers. Obtained of William Preston, Grafton, Oxfordshire. He is an old earth stopper, and remembers to have heard the song near Cricklade, many years ago.'

Williams, Alfred: WGS: 'This is of Wiltshire origin. Rockley Firs is near Marlborough, and was noted rendezvous of poachers in times gone by. Hares were in great abundance; I have heard of a case in which a poacher claimed to have killed three at one shot. There were frequent encounters with game keepers, and it may be to one of these that the song refers. It is very old. Obtained of William Preston, Grafton, Oxfordshire. He is an old earth stopper, and remembers to have heard the song near Cricklade, many years ago.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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