Subscribe to our Newsletter

The Crafty Ploughboy

Back to browse page
Performer: Unknown
Place Collected: Gloucestershire
Date collected: Unknown
Roud Number: 2637

In the days when highway robbery was a very real danger on long journeys, a song about a highway robber being outwitted must have had great appeal. It can be traced back to 18th century broadsides with the title “The Highwayman Outwitted”, and My Brazil’s version follows this text fairly closely, whilst the Gloucestershire version collected by Collinson from an anonymous singer is more concise. The song is very widespread in the English-speaking world and has been frequently collected in the USA.  The theme of the highway robber outwitted also occurs in the song “Rich Farmer of Sheffield” (usually known as “The Farmer of Cheshire”).

Notes by Gwilym Davies 25 March 2015