To carry out a simple search, type the term that you want to find in the Search box next to the Advanced Search tab, and press enter.
For a more refined search of songs or tunes use the Advanced search function. To carry out a search on two or more terms at once, e.g. Collector+Roud Number, select each term as above and then click search.
Be sure to clear previous searches before starting a new one by clicking on the x next to each search term at the top.
The folklorist Frances James Child included this ballad in his iconic collection but obviously did not rate it, describing it as “not even a good specimen of its kind.” Be that as it may, that view was not shared by traditional singers and the supernatural theme has had an attraction over many years. It has particularly taken root in the USA, where numerous versions have been found. In England, however, it has been rarely collected. The collector George Butterworth found the song, entitled “It’s of a Farmer all in this Town” in Herefordshire in 1907, but no other English version has come to light. The earliest version known is a broadside of c. 1689 entitled “The Suffolk miracle. Or A relation of a young man who a month after his death appeared to his sweetheart” and “The Suffolk Miracle” has been the name favoured by folklorists whereas singers have preferred to call it “The Lover’s Ghost” or “The Holland Handkerchief”. Notes by Gwilym Davies 3 April 2016