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William and Mary

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Performer: Fry, John
Place Collected: Tormarton
Date collected: 1907 (3 Apr)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 348

The story of a soldier or sailor returning from duty in disguise, or perhaps altered by time, and then testing his lover’s affections in some way is very common in folk songs, elaborated in the various token ballads and turned into an epic in the ballad Hind Horn/The Beggarman. The song appears on broadsides as “Little Mary the Sailor’s Bride” and has been collected many times on both sides of the Atlantic, even in recent times.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 9 May 2015