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Lanchbury, Thomas

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Thomas Lanchbury (1865 – 24 July 1934) was a cowman from the Gloucestershire village of Wyck Rissington, from whom Harry Hurlbutt Albino collected songs in October 1928 (the family name is also often spelled Lainchbury and Launchbury).


Title Roud number Comments
Come Along with Me My Pretty Fair Maid 2454
Come Landlord Fill The Flowing Bowl 1234
Darling Miss Kitty 1202
Down in the Land of Greeno* 745 a version of Old Macdonald had a Farm
Farmer’s Boy 408
Good Old Geoff He’s Gone To Rest 1740
Gossip Jones* 1039
Jolly Shilling* 1116
Stow Fair* 137
Up To Dick 23051
  • songs noted as having been collected by J. D. S. Albino (see below)


In Albino’s collection, it is recorded that J. D. S. Albino (who I have been unable to identify so far) collected four of the songs, which I have identified with an asterisk. Gossip Jones and Jolly Shilling were published in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society. Gossip Jones was also popularised by Albino’s setting for Unison voices with descant published by Curwen. This is described as being “collected, arranged and words adapted by H. H. Albino” – so perhaps they were not collected by J. D. S Albino after all! Around this time he also arranged Stow Fair with its chorus characters of “Bill Brewer, Jack Steward, Jerry Hawkins, Dick Joseph, Harry Hillop, Tom Bawling, Dick Chapman, Ben Paxwain – with your Uncle Tom Goblin and all”, although this was never published.

Albino noted the following: “Thomas Lanchbury, who is about 60 years of age works as a cowman. He also “belongs to the tower”, that is to say he is one of the local church bellringers, a position which his father and grandfather held. He can remember the morris dancers and the home-made fiddle that supplied the music. He says that this instrument was made with two tins fixed at either end of a stick of wood with a piece of whipchord [sic] stretched across from one tin to the other. A bow was used but he cannot remember how the notes were made. He says that “there wasn’t much of a tune about it, it just kept the dancers going.” It probably served to mark the rhythm.”

Albino noted that this was possibly a “humpenscrump”. The performance described probably occurred during the 1870s – but this tantalising glimpse gives us no further information as to which dancers were involved.

Thomas Lanchbury was born in the village of Wyck Rissington in 1865, the son of John and Hannah who both worked on the land. In 1887 he married a local girl, Florence Malvina Webb, who died the following year. Some 14 years later, in 1902, he married again, this time to Catherine Higgs. They remained in Wyck Rissington throughout their lives, with Thomas continuing to work as a Cattleman, or Cowman on the nearby farm – the trade he was following when Albino met him. Catherine died in 1933 at the age of 76 and Thomas died on 24 July 1934 at the age of 69.

Notes by Paul Burgess


Journal of the Folk-Song Society 8 (1930) pp.233-235 (version a)
H. H. Albino collection, VWML, loose sheets in main folder, sleeves 2, 4 and 7. Material collected from Thomas Lanchbury, Wyck Rissington, Gloucestershire, October 1928.