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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleOld woman tossed up in a blanket
Roud No.1297
Collected FromTanner, Charles
LocationBampton
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 214
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 13th November, 1915, p 2, Part 7, No. 11: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 228; Wiltshire Times 18 February, 1928 p 4
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

There was an old woman tossed up in a blanket
Ninety nine times as high as the moon,
Where she was going I then did ask her,
For in her arms she carried a broom.

Verse 2

"Old woman, old woman, old woman," said I,
"Where are you going with your broom so high?"
"Sweeping the cobwebs out of the sky,
And I shall be jogging with you by and by."
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS / FSUT: 'A favourite old Morris piece. It was also popular at the pastime of step dancing, where the tune was played by the fiddlers. Obtained at Bampton.'

Note 2

Williams does not ascribe this to Charles Tanner but he was Williams’ Morris dancing contributor in Bampton so it is a reasonable assumption.

Note 3

The text is printed in an article by Williams in the Wiltshire Times on the topic of Shrove Tuesday without attribution, but see Note 2. There are minor textual differences, one almost certainly an error by the typesetter. He introduces it thus:

Something like this [Shrove Tide Mumming] may have given rise to the rhyme, common in Wiltshire some years ago, and popular with the step dancers.

Verse 1

There was an old woman tossed up in a blanket
Ninety nine times as high as the moon;
Where she was going I then did ask her;
For in her arms she carried a broom.

Verse 2

“Old woman, old woman, old woman,” said I,
“Where are you going with you broom so high?”
“Sweeping the cobwebs out of the sky,
And I shall be jogging with you by and by.”

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2011.

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