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The Banks of Sweet Primroses

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Performer: Bishop, Emily
Place Collected: Bromsberrow Heath
Date collected: 1952 (13 Oct)
Collector: Kennedy, Peter
Roud Number: 586

This song has been hugely popular and source versions are still coming to light today, many from gypsy singers. The story is simple enough, a pastoral encounter in which the young man is rebuffed and laments his fortune, and that is it. Has a longer plot been lost, we wonder? To earlier collectors it was so well-known that they did not bother to note it. Only this one complete version has come to light in Gloucestershire, but it is known that Mrs Wixey of Buckland also knew the song, in part at least. Versions of the song are almost all from England and it does not seem to have made the journey across the Atlantic apart from the related Canadian folksong “Peggy Gordon”.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 29 March 2015.