Poor Murdered Woman

from by Crumbling Ghost

/
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about

This ballad describes the true story of a body found on Leatherhead Common, Surrey in 1834. The song has been attributed to a brickmaker of Leatherhead Common named Mr Fairs. It was collected by Rev. Charles Shebbeare in 1897 from Mr Foster of Milford, Surrey and published in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society (1902). The events were reported as a
‘Supposed Murder’ in The Times on Tuesday 14th January, 1834 and the identity of the woman was never determined. The Song can be found on Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick’s 1968 album ‘But Two Came By’ and on Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band’s 1971 album ‘No Roses’. However, as in Carthy’s version we have left out the Final verse, so avoiding framing the song with an overtly religious tone.

lyrics

It was Yanky the Squire as I've heard say,
Who rode out a-hunting on one Saturday,
They hunted all day but nothing they found,
But a poor murdered woman lay on the cold ground.
About eight o'clock, boys, our dogs they throwed off,
On Leatherhead Common, and that was the spot,
They tried all the bushes but nothing they found,
But a poor murdered woman lay on the cold ground.
They whipped off their dogs and they kept them away,
For I do think it proper that she have fair play,
They tried all the bushes but nothing they found,
But a poor murdered woman lay on the cold ground.
They mounted their horses and rode off the ground,
And rode to the village and alarmed all around,
“It is late in the evening, I'm sorry to say,
She cannot be removed until the next day.”
The next Sunday morning about eight o'clock,
Some hundreds of people to the spot they did flock,
to see this poor creature, your heart would have bled,
Some cold and some violence came into their heads.
She was took off the Common and down to some inn,
And the man who has kept it, his name was John Sims,
The Coroner was sent for, the jury they joined,
And soon they concluded, they settled their mind.
Her coffin was brought - in it she was laid,
And took to the churchyard that is called Leatherhead,
No mother, no father, no friend I am told,
Came to see this poor creature laid under the mould.

credits

from Crumbling Ghost - II, released June 19, 2013
Trad, Arr. Crumbling Ghost

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