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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBaker's oven
Roud No.12877
Collected FromTrueman, James
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 52
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 22nd July, 1916, p 3, Part 38, No. 4
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Job Jenkins was a baker, a very honest elf,
And by selling crust and crumb, he made a tidy crust himself,
But Job he lived in better days, when bills were freely paid,
And bakers were thought honest men, for bread was never weighed.


With a fol tol rol, ri ti fol the rido.

Verse 2

As success creates ambition in this world, betwixt the poles,
Job thirsted after office, though a master of the rolls;
Job's patience it would not tire out, as quickly did appear,
And they very soon appointed him as Parish Overseer.


Verse 3

At length the tallow chandler the debt of nature paid,
And in his place, without delay, Job was churchwarden made,
That soon declared that to his house a man must be a sinner,
To toil for parish work and go without his parish dinner.


Verse 4

While strolling through the churchyard he saw some old tombstones,
That long had marked the resting place of some poor neighbour's bones;
"These bodies have long gone to rest the stone's no use," he said,
"They'll make a bottom to my oven, and improve my next batch of bread."


Verse 5

Tom Snooks, the parish mason, a very sportive blade,
Who in racehorses and the dead had done a decent trade;
To him Job gave his orders, regardless of amount,
And charged it to the parish in his next half year's account.


Verse 6

The job was done, the bread was baked, Job in his highest glee,
Git up at early morn that he might the improvement see;
But soon as drawn he dropped the peal, with horror on his looks,
And roared out like a madman, and knocked down Tommy Snooks.


Verse 7

"Get up, you wretch! and come and see the blunders you have made,
Your tombstone bottoms, sure will prove a deathblow to my trade."
He took him to the bake house, where a curious sight was seen,
The words on every loaf were marked that on the tombstones been.


Verse 8

One quarter had "In memory of," and another, "Here to pine,"
And a third, "Departed from this life at the age of 99;"
A batch of rolls when they were done said this - "Our time is past,
Thus day by day we pined away, and come to this at last."


Verse 9

Next came the cottage loaves, and there, upon the bottoms plain -
"We trust in Him that made us and hope to rise again";
On every loaf that they drew out all from that oven door,
There on the bread each one could read the letters on the floor.


Verse 10

Now, Snooks he turned away his head, his laughter to conceal,
Saying he thought it was a nobby way of making a bread seal;
Says Job - "Thy seal has sealed my fate: how can I sell my bread
To feed the living, when it bears the memory of the dead?"

Print Song Lyrics
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'I have heard this but once, viz. at Ashbrook, near Cirencester. It is an old song, and the subject is ingenious, though it is doubtless founded on fact. Words of James Truman, Ashbrook.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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