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The Bold Fisherman

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Alternative title: The Young Fisherman

Place Collected: Winchcombe
Date collected: 1908 (5 Apr)
Collector: Grainger, Percy
Roud Number: 291

This is a song that has been collected many times, nearly always to a 5/4 time and the same set of words. A recording by the group “The Young Tradition” in the 1960s put the song into circulation in the folk revival world, but in a 3/2 time, which has persisted in the revival. Broadside versions can be dated back to 1820. Despite the song’s great popularity with country singers, its spread seems confined to England only. It is a common theme of love match between a rich man and a presumably poor woman, and another song in which the couple go straight from meeting to pledging marriage. Things move quickly in folksong. Some commentators have seen hidden, even religious meaning in the words of the song but there is no evidence for this.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 29 March 2015.