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Barbara Allen

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Performer: Mills, James
Place Collected: South Cerney
Date collected: Between 1913 and 1916
Collector: Williams, Alfred
Roud Number: 54
Other Numbers: Child 84

This tale of love scorned and mental cruelty has proved to be hugely popular all over the English-speaking world. Samuel Pepys mentioned it in his diaries in 1666 and versions of are still being recorded by current folksong collectors. It appears to be the most frequently collected of all Child ballads.

Williams did not collect a tune but for possible tunes to this song, go to ‘Browse’ and search for 54 in the Roud number search.


Notes by Gwilym Davies and Jon Lighter