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The Female Cabin Boy

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Alternative title: The Handsome Cabin Boy

Place Collected: Chipping Campden
Date collected: 1909 (13 Jan)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 239

Usually known as “The Handsome Cabin Boy”, Cecil Sharp only noted one verse of this cheeky song from Mrs Clayton. Perhaps that was all she knew or perhaps Sharp knew the story to be rude and decided to note just the tune. Who knows. Be that as it may, the story of a girl dressed as a boy, going to sea and becoming pregnant by the captain is one that has caused many a chuckle in the right company, often sung to handsome tunes.

It was printed as a 19th century broadside and has been collected in the British Isles, the USA and Canada, even in recent times.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 28 April 2015