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Jan Knuckey

[ Roud - ; Mudcat 4106 ; trad.]

Jan Knuckey is listed as a reading or recitation with sung chorus in Ralph Dunstan, Cornish Dialect and Folk Songs (London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew, 1932). A much longer version called Jan Knuckey and Graacey with 27 verses is in William Sandys: Specimens of Cornish Provincial Dialect (London: John Russell Smith, 1846).

Brenda Wootton sang Jan Knuckey on her posthumous anthology Brenda Wootton (1996). I don’t know on which album this track was originally released.

The Witches of Elswick sang Jan Knuckey in 2005 on their second and last album, Hell’s Belles. They commented in their liner notes:

Bry learnt this from the singing of Brenda Wootton. It tells the tale of a Cornish miner who tries it on with a rather wealthy local lady, but she’s not having any of it. He’s hard, but she’s harder.
Cornish lesson: Bal = a mine; Durns = doorposts.

Dave Lowry sang Jan Knucky on his 2024 WildGoose album Songs of a Devon Man. Bill Crawford noted:

This is a Cornish song Dave learnt from the singing of Brenda Wootton. It appears in Dunstan’s Cornish Dialect and Folk Songs.


Jan Knuckey in Cornish Dialect and Folk Songs

Jan Knuckey was a miner bold
As ever was to bal
An cruel good cu’d wrastle too
And throw a tidy fall

Chorus (after each verse):
Johnny willl you come along now
Johnny will you waait for a while O
Come along a John wi’ your big booats on
Johny will you waait for a while

When prinked up in ’es Sunday Cloaze
Oall brave an’ proper booys
In church ’e ded the Baaz-vile scraape
An made a purty nooise

Now up along to Church-Town liv’d
A fine and thumpin’ daame
She was pure stout so was ’er purse
Aaunt Graacey was ’er naame.

Aaunt Graacey ’ad for many ’eas
A little shop like keep’d
Where goods for ould an’ cheldurn too
Wur oall together ’eap’d

Well Jan e fetched ’es coose wun day
To tell ’es mind to Graace
But when ’e got inside the dooar
’E deddn ’av the faace

At laast sez ’e I do ’e luv
When shall us be axed out
Lev me an’ you keep company
The answer was a clout!

Aw lev us ’av no fuss sez Jan
An doan’t ee taak’t amiss
Ef that I ax before we part
A little crum or kiss

But Graacey’s dander now was up
She screeched and jaw’d by turns
An then she took un by the scruff
An fooch’d un thro’ the durns!

The Witches of Elswick sing Jan Knuckey

Chorus (after each verse):
Johnny will you come along now,
Oh, Johnny will you wait for a while;
Oh, come along John with your big boots on,
Johny will you wait for a while.

Jan Knuckey was a miner bold
That ever went to bal,
And surely could good wrestle too
And throw a tidy fall.

Now down along to Church-Town lived
A fine and spanking dame;
Oh, she was pure stout and so was her purse,
Aunt Gracey was her name.

Now Jan got his courage one day
To speak his mind to Grace,
But when he got inside the door
He did not have the face.

Then he said, “I do ye love,
When shall us be asked out?
Leave you and me keep company.”
But the answer was a clout!

“Oh let us have no fuss,” said Jan,
“And don’t you take amiss,
I thought I ask before we part
You leave me of a kiss.”

Well, Gracey’s dander now was up
She screeched and howled by turns
An she took poor Johnny by the neck
And she’d thrown him through the durns!