Despite the sombre nature of the song, it proved hugely popular with traditional singers, mainly in southern England, but occasional North American versions have been found. Although the folk theme of the song is very old, no version earlier than a broadside of 1832 has been found. The theme of mourning disturbing the rest of the death runs throughout other folk songs, e.g. “The Wife of Usher’s Well”.
Notes by Gwilym Davies