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How Many Miles to Barley Bright

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Performer: Neal, Mrs C S
Place Collected: Aston Subedge
Date collected: 1927-1935
Roud Number: 8148

It is surprising that this little ditty has a longer history than many of our great ballads. One Gerard Langbaine (1609-1658) who went to school in Cumberland, remembered this playground dialogue:

Pe, Pe, postola. How many miles to Beverlay?
Eight, eight and another eight.
Think you I shall gett thither tonight?
Yes, if your horse be good and swift (or light)

The song in various forms can be found in many anthologies of children’s songs and games.