Subscribe to our Newsletter

Somerset Fair

Back to browse page
Performer: Ellaway, Arthur
Place Collected: Charlton Kings
Date collected: 1977 (5 Sep)
Collector: Davies, Gwilym
Roud Number: 22776

This jolly song is surprisingly rare, having been collected once in Suffolk, once in Yorkshire and several times in Gloucestershire, but curiously never in Somerset. Nothing is known of the song’s origins, but it may date from around 1900 and is in the ‘mock rustic’ style. Apart from Mr Ellaway’s version, incomplete versions were noted from Bill Cooper (Witcombe) and Reg Hannis (Cranham). Reg and Bill knew each other and may have learnt the song from the same source.

There is a fourth verse which Reg knew incompletely. It is:

We had plenty of fun
Climbing that pole but the pole was so greasy
Folks kept falling down flop
Trying to get to the bacon on top
Young Sam [Jarvis]
So silly and soft
Said as he gazed on the bacon aloft
“’Pon my soul, I’ll climb that pole”
The people all shouted “You’re up it already”
At Somerset Fair, derry-oh erry
At Somerset Fair, derry down there.
Though the pole was greasy
To get the bacon was easy
But the weather was breezy
It blew down the pole, I declare
Sam got the top but he tumbled down flop
And he fell on his bacon at Somerset Fair.


Notes by Gwilym Davies