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The Herring

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Alternative title: The Herring's Head

Performer: Payne, Ernie
Place Collected: Hawkesbury Upton
Date collected: 1980 (24 Jun)
Collector: Davies, Gwilym
Roud Number: 128

Usually referred to as “The Herring’s Head” although the lusty singers in the Fox Inn at Hawkesbury Upton had no specific name for the song. Versions of this song are found up and down the country and occasionally in Scotland, Ireland and across the Atlantic. Moreover, the versions are not always from fishing communities, which you might expect, but from anywhere. The history of the song is hard to trace as it does not appear on any broadsides, but the collector the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould obtained information that it was sung in Devon at least in the early part of the 19th century.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 27 March 2015