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The Bone Lace Weaver

[words Leonard Wheatcroft, music Roy Harris]

Leonard Wheatcroft of Ashover, Derbyshire was a diarist and a minor 17th-century poet who wrote The Bone Lace Weaver. Roy Palmer wrote a tune for it and published it in his book Ballad History of England.

Muckram Wakes sang The Bone Lace Weaver in 1973 on their Trailer LP A Map of Derbyshire. Helen Hockenhull returned to this song with Grace Notes in 2001 when they sang it together with Stockinger on their Fellside CD Anchored to the Time. She commented in their liner notes:

Before the Industrial Revolution lace workers worked in cottages or small barns and they enjoyed a relatively prosperous life. They were cheerful and independent and it shows in the words of Bone Lace Weaver. Leonard Wheatcroft wrote the lyrics in 1650 and Roy Harris wrote the tune of this version much later. Stockinger is a much angrier song and tells of the hardships experienced by women workers during the Industrial Revolution.

Cupola:Ward sang The Bone Lace Weaver in 2012 on their EP Four, also commenting in their liner notes of the relatively prosperous and respected life of the lace weavers before the industrial revolution.

Lyrics

I am a maid new com to towne
But lounge I will not tarry.
I have but two years for to stay
and then I thinke to marry;
But if a briske younge man com in,
and that is no deceiver,
to corte him then I will begin
Like a bone-lace weaver.

If that he be a gentellman
and vowes he'll love me kindly
then for him I'le doe what I can
and strive to please him finely.
Of if he be a yoman good,
and to me no decever,
then I will strive to pleas his mood,
Like a bone-lace weaver.

We get our living with our handes,
having our wits about us.
We hope to purches hous & lands,
tho young men the[y] doe flout us.
But let them all say what y can
Wee'l trust no decever,
Wee'l sing you songs of peg and nan,
Like a bone-lace weaver.

We keepe out hands both whit and neat,
our pritty lace to handle,
We sing our sonits all compleat,
By daylight or a candell,
And when out Task we ended have,
Our Mistris shews such fancy,
We sport and sing, that all doth ring,
O Brave Bone-lace weaver.

And thus we leade most merry lives,
We heed no young mens saying
We scorne for to be married wives,
Wee'l keepe our fingers playing.
Wee'l weare brave laces on our heads,
We scorne as yeat a beaver,
Wee'l worke a pace, Brave flanders lace
o brave Bone-lace weaver.

Acknowledgements and Links

I copied the lyrics from from the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Lace where they were included from Roy Palmer's book.