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Author Topic: Where is Lord Barnard/Matty Groves set?  (Read 16727 times)
Curt
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« on: April 01, 2008, 09:18:37 PM »

Folk historians only - 'it don't matter answers' not appreciated!

I can't work it out - the earliest manuscripts are apparently border (which is not saying much as pre-17th century material was often transferred in manuscript rather than in print).  This implies the Northeast of England, Southeast of Scotland, but its earliest 17th century publications very much show it as a popular song in London.  

The events take place in Bucklesfordbury - the only place I can track down with a similar name just so happens to be where I lived as a teen - a a godforsaken street in Hitchin, Herts.

Confused! Help?
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KascadeDan
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 11:54:18 AM »


Folk historians only - 'it don't matter answers' not appreciated!

I can't work it out - the earliest manuscripts are apparently border (which is not saying much as pre-17th century material was often transferred in manuscript rather than in print).  This implies the Northeast of England, Southeast of Scotland, but its earliest 17th century publications very much show it as a popular song in London.  

The events take place in Bucklesfordbury - the only place I can track down with a similar name just so happens to be where I lived as a teen - a a godforsaken street in Hitchin, Herts.

Confused! Help?

Are you suggesting the events happened in Hitchin? Because I don't live far from Hitchin, in fact I go to a Folk club there.
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Curt
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2008, 12:49:31 PM »

I don't think it is in Hitchin as Bucklersbury is the street off the market square going to the old monastry (although this was where a ford was pre-reformation) - Whereas Musgrave/Matty seems to be rutting with Lady Barnard in her arbour in the country.
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 12:53:51 PM »

No solid answer I believe. In my Penguin Book Of Folk Ballads, it mentions " a stanza from the ballad is quoted in Beaumont & Fletcher's Knight Of The Burning Pestle-1611," but according to Penguin, the oldest copy preserved, the text of which Penguin used in this book dates from 1658. The elements of Matty Groves are all there of course, but it is a very different version, and this is the version I have that mentions Bucklesfordbury. I can't find it right now, but somewhere I know I have evidence of it being far, far older than that, and someone, perhaps AL Lloyd actually put it as a transplanted ballad from Eastern Europe. Obviously if that was the case, it was heavily "anglicized" into the variants we know today. If I find it I will repost.
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2008, 12:57:16 PM »

I'm sure everybody concerned has already seen this, but it seems like quite a good summary of the different elements...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matty_Groves

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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2008, 04:44:26 PM »

If the lady in the original version is Lady Barnard she might well have lived in Barnard's Castle which is in Teesdale, Co. Durham which ties in with the Border Ballad origin.

I think the characters and placenames in most old ballads were probably changing all the time though and what happened to be in the song at the time is was collected doesn't always provide a clue to the original. For example, I remember reading somewhere that Lord Bateman was actually based on an older song about the Gilbert A' Becket (Thomas' Dad) who apparently came back from the crusades with a Saracen or Turkish wife. The bits about Lord Bateman and Northumberland being added much later.
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KascadeDan
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2008, 04:53:28 PM »


If the lady in the original version is Lady Barnard she might well have lived in Barnard's Castle which is in Teesdale, Co. Durham which ties in with the Border Ballad origin.

I think the characters and placenames in most old ballads were probably changing all the time though and what happened to be in the song at the time is was collected doesn't always provide a clue to the original. For example, I remember reading somewhere that Lord Bateman was actually based on an older song about the Gilbert A' Becket (Thomas' Dad) who apparently came back from the crusades with a Saracen or Turkish wife. The bits about Lord Bateman and Northumberland being added much later.

I can argue that point. I'm not saying it's wrong, because the word 'Barnard' comes into it. But there are many names that lord and lady barnard have been mistaken as. There's Donald, Arnel, Arnold, and of Course Barnard.
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2008, 07:26:11 PM »


If the lady in the original version is Lady Barnard she might well have lived in Barnard's Castle which is in Teesdale, Co. Durham which ties in with the Border Ballad origin.

I think the characters and placenames in most old ballads were probably changing all the time though and what happened to be in the song at the time is was collected doesn't always provide a clue to the original. For example, I remember reading somewhere that Lord Bateman was actually based on an older song about the Gilbert A' Becket (Thomas' Dad) who apparently came back from the crusades with a Saracen or Turkish wife. The bits about Lord Bateman and Northumberland being added much later.


As "Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard" seems to be one of the most commonly found titles of this ballad (e.g. No.81 in the Child collection) and there is a place called Little Musgrave in the Eden valley near Appleby, not too far from Teesdale and Barnard Castle, this area must at least be a strong candidate methinks.

And all the best things come from up North....... Wink     (runs for cover)
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2008, 09:42:54 PM »

Just to muddy the waters a bit more - Martin Simpson claimed (and I have no reason to doubt him) that Matty Groves as done by FC was collected in the US (North Carolina?).  I agree that the origin is from the north (i.e. latitudes above Watford) as a study of the versions here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch081.htm show. I do know a ballad expert so I may enquire of him and see what answer I get.
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2008, 09:46:20 PM »


Just to muddy the waters a bit more - Martin Simpson claimed (and I have no reason to doubt him) that Matty Groves as done by FC was collected in the US (North Carolina?).  I agree that the origin is from the north (i.e. latitudes above Watford) as a study of the versions here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch081.htm show. I do know a ballad expert so I may enquire of him and see what answer I get.

I'm finding all this really interesting! Shocked Shocked
I've never actually thought about where it might of taken place.
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Jim
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2008, 11:27:47 PM »

Barnard castle, they have a cockwork swan you know, nice gaff

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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2008, 12:20:12 AM »



Just to muddy the waters a bit more - Martin Simpson claimed (and I have no reason to doubt him) that Matty Groves as done by FC was collected in the US (North Carolina?).  I agree that the origin is from the north (i.e. latitudes above Watford) as a study of the versions here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch081.htm show. I do know a ballad expert so I may enquire of him and see what answer I get.

I'm finding all this really interesting! Shocked Shocked
I've never actually thought about where it might of taken place.


.......or even "might have" taken place...............................  
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Curt
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2008, 12:28:50 AM »

Now I agree that the ballad is probably border, but I've read those ballad variants that Tim posted before - to say they show the tune comes from the north is to confuse the fact that they were collected by 19th and 20th century collectors in the north with the origins of the song.  This is a fundamental historical mistake as a song may originate somewhere else 200 years before but only survive in a more 'traditional' area centuries later when a folklorist comes and collects it.  The classic example of this is The Maid of Tottenham, a bawdy song from Civil War London that becomes an Irish tune called the Ups and Downs by the 19th century.  

The historical evidence is that Lady Barnard ballad was published first in London - a fragment in The Knight of the Burning Pestle in 1613, which indicates it was known to theatre goers as a popular ballad and then as part of a Royalist propaganda book during the Protectorate of Richard Cromwell.  These 'drollery' books combined bawdy tales with anti Republican songs as a print attack.  

Its also interesting to note the reference to 'Our Lady's Grace' in the first verse: reference to the Virgin Mary was not part of the Calvinism of the post Reformation Churches of England or Scotland.  So we have either a Catholic survival (remember only 2% of the population were Catholics in the 17th century and lived in constant fear of oppression) or the Royalists were trying to wind up the Godly Parliamentarians (something the Drollery books that the original publication appears in consciously set out to do)      

As far as I can tell Matty Groves is a Scottish variant of Lady Barnard.  The FC version is to the tune of the Appalachian folk song Shady Grove as the beautiful Jean Ritchie (who's family preserved a version of Lady Barnard almost exactly the same as the 1658 one) - as demonstrated in this early 60s clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8wR4GZGnZE
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Jan_
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2008, 12:42:03 AM »

Barnard Castle is associated with the Balliol family.  It was named after Bernard de Baliol who was responsible for it being built.  He was the son of Guy de Balliol who came over with William the Conqueror.  There was a Bernard de Balliol II but neither Bernard murdered his wife as far as I can tell.
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Waterloo Wonderer
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2008, 10:12:52 AM »

Don't know from where it originates but would be interested to see the original lyric and by how much the story varies from this in the modern interpretations.

I suppose this may never be possible but a good story is a good story whether it a report of something that actually happened or was invented by someone creative at the time.

It may have been written in the south and made to appear to have an origin in the North/Borders to add to the intrigue and, dare I say it, the romance of the ballad. Language and stories have been manipulated for millenia.

I know this doesn't add anything to the Where it is set? discussion but were stories / songs such as this the soap operas of their day?
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KascadeDan
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2008, 10:38:27 AM »

I take it the lyrics 'How do you like my curtains, that I bought in Ikea last week?' weren't in the original song Grin
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PaulT
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2008, 11:07:45 AM »

No, I don't think there's a Scandinavian link.  Other than Lego.
 Wink




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KascadeDan
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2008, 11:14:00 AM »


No, I don't think there's a Scandinavian link.  Other than Lego.
 Wink






Oh yes, of course.
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Jim
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2008, 11:48:57 AM »


I take it the lyrics 'How do you like my curtains, that I bought in Ikea last week?' weren't in the original song Grin


no they wernt, and you know fine well that the original lyrics had "the sales" where "ikea" goes
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Curt
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« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2008, 11:52:47 AM »

Ballads were the soap operas of the day - apparently you could also pay some itinerant musicians to sing them to you in most London pubs:

- Pepys collected 5 volumes of them, some too pornographic for these pages:

http://emc.english.ucsb.edu/ballad_project/

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