This must be one of the best-known and widely performed of English folk songs, at least by source singers, and versions of it are still being collected. It is one of a series of songs extolling the virtues of the labouring man, such as “We Shepherds are the Best of Men” and “We’re all Jolly Fellows that Follow the Plough”. What a pity that songs are not written about present day trades! Most versions follow the broadside words very closely and tunes differ little, except that a version collected by Albino from Mrs Bye is in a distinctly Aeolian mode and probably borrowed from another song. The song does not seem to be very old and even the broadside versions are from the second half of the 19th century.