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Alternative title: The Broken Token

Performer: Collett, John
Place Collected: Stanton
Date collected: 1907 (17 Nov)
Collector: Grainger, Percy
Roud Number: 264

The theme of the lovers breaking a coin in half before the man goes away to sea, and then reuniting the pieces when the man returns is an old theme. It must have been very pertinent in the days when going away to sea was a much more common male occupation than now. Literally hundreds of versions of this song have turned up all over the English-speaking world, and versions are still being sought out and performed by today’s folk singers. As a broadside, the theme rejoices in many titles, such as “The Young and Single Sailor”, “The Sailor’s Return” and “The Loyal Sailor”. The theme was even made into a West End musical as “Half a Sixpence”.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 8 May 2015