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The Lost Lady Found

[ Roud 901 ; Master title: The Lost Lady Found ; Laws Q31 ; Ballad Index LQ31 ; Bodleian Roud 901 ; GlosTrad Roud 901 ; Wiltshire 373 , 1053 ; Mudcat 61558 ; trad.]

After his niece is stolen away by gypsies the uncle is accused of her murder and sentenced to death. However, her lover goes in search of her, eventually finds her, takes her back home, saves her uncle from the gallows and they are married. The song was circulated widely on broadsides and has been widely collected in Britain and North America.

Charlie Chettleburgh sang The Lost Lady Found on 27 October 1947 at the Windmill in Sutton, Norfolk. It was broadcast later that year on the BBC Third Programme, which was included in the 2000s on the Snatch’d from Oblivion CD East Anglia Sings.

Harry Cox sang The Lost Lady Found in 1953 to Peter Kennedy. This recording was included in 2000 on his Topic anthology of “traditional songs and tunes from a Norfolk farm worker”, The Bonny Labouring Boy.

Jumbo Brightwell sang The Lost Heiress in 1975 in Eastbridge, Suffolk. This recording made by Tony Engle was included in the same year on his Topic album of traditional songs and ballads from Suffolk, Songs From the Eel’s Foot.

Lucy E. Broadwood collected the tune of The Lost Lady Found in 1893 from the singing of her Lincolnshire nurse, Mrs Hill of Stamford. Percy Grainger included it in his suite for military band, A Lincolnshire Posy. Home Service recorded this suite in 1986 on their LP Alright Jack. A live recording of The Lost Lady Found from the same year was released in 2011 on their Fledg’ling CD Live 1986.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sang The Lost Lady Found in 1998 on their CD of English folksongs collected by Percy Grainger, Heartoutbursts. This version is an arrangement by Percy Grainger of a text he had collected from Mr. Fred Atkinson in 1905 and the tune collected by Lucy E. Broadwood.

Bob Lewis learned Lost Lady Found from his mother and sang it at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2009. This recording was included a year later on his festival CD Drive Sorrows Away.

The Dollymops from the Isle of Wight sang The Lost Lady Found in 2013 on their WildGoose CD Wight Cockade. They noted:

Collected by the admirable Lucy Broadwood, doyenne of the early English Folk Song Society, from Georgina Hill, a domestic nurse in the employ of one Captain Arthur Byng, of Bellevue Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight. Lucy Broadwood’s younger sister was married to the Rector of Ryde’s All Saints Parish Church (the Rev John Shearme) and the likelihood is that the good reverend first introduced his sister-in-law to Mrs Hill, during a visit to the Island in August 1893.


John Roberts and Tony Barrand sing The Lost Lady Found

’Twas down in yon valley a fair maid did dwell,
She lived with her uncle, they all knew full well.
’Twas down in yon valley where violets grew gay
Three gypsies betrayed her and stole her away.

Long time she’d been missing and could not be found;
Her uncle, he searched the country around,
Till he came to the trustee, between hope and fear.
The trustee made answer, “She has not been here.”

The trustee spoke over with courage so bold,
“I fear she’s been lost for the sake of her gold,
So we’ll have life for life, sir,” the trustee did say,
“We’ll send you to prison, and there you shall stay.”

There was a young squire that loved her so,
Oft times to the schoolhouse together they did go.
“I’m afraid she’s been murdered, so great is my fear.
If I’d wings like a dove I would fly to my dear.”

He travelled through England, through France and through Spain,
Till he ventured his life on the watery main.
And he came to a house where he lodged for a night,
And in that same house was his own heart’s delight.

When she saw him, she knew him, and fled to his arms;
She told him her grief while he gazed on her charms.
“How came you to Dublin, my dearest, I pray?”
“Three gypsies betrayed me and stole me away.”

“Your uncle’s in England, in prison does lie,
And for your sweet sake is condemned for to die.
“Carry me to old England, my dearest,” she cried,
“One thousand I’ll give thee, and will be your bride.”

When they came to old England her uncle to see,
The cart it was under the high gallows tree;
“Oh, pardon, oh, pardon, oh, pardon I crave.
I’m alive! I’m alive! your dear life to save!”

Then from the high gallows they led him away,
The bells they did ring and the music did play.
Every house in that valley with mirth did resound,
As soon as they heard the lost lady was found.

Bob Lewis sings Lost Lady Found

’Tis of a young damsel that lived all alone,
For the sake of her parents she sadly did moan;
She had but one uncle, two trustees besides,
That were left all alone for this young lady’s guide.

As she was a walking in the meadows so low,
Her uncle was pleasèd that lovèd her so;
As she was a-walking in the meadows so gay,
Three gypsies betrayed her, they stole her away.

Long time she’d been missing, nowhere could be found,
Her uncle he searched all the country round;
He went to the trustees twixt hope and despair,
But all was in vain for she had not been there.

And when that her uncle his tale he had told,
They swore he had slain her for the sake of her gold;
“It shall be death for death,” the trustees did cry,
“And cast into prison, condemned there to die.”

It’s of this young squire that lovèd her so,
Oft-times to the schoolhouse they together did go;
No rest could he find, both night and by day,
And in search of his lady he wandered away.

He travelled through Scotland, through France and through Spain,
He ventured his life o’er the watery main;
He went to an alehouse for to spend the night,
And in that same alehouse was his own heart’s delight.

“How came you in Flanders, in Flanders?” said he,
“How came you in Flanders, now pray tell to me.”
“As I was a-walking those meadows so gay,
Three gypsies betrayed me, they stole me away.”

“Your uncle’s in prison, in prison doth lie,
And for your sweet sake is condemned there to die.”
“Carry me home to my uncle, my uncle,” she cried,
“For I’ll give you thousand or I’ll be your bride.”

He says, “My dear jewel we’ll order it so,
Since love brings great danger to church let us go;
To church let us go love and be married indeed,
And straight to old England we’ll hie with all speed.”

And when that they came old England to view,
The cart was drawn under the high gallows tree;
She down on her knees and for pardon did crave,
“You see I’m alive, sir, my uncle to save.”

“My parents they left me fifteen thousand pounds,
My uncle and two trustees to pay me my bounds;
To pay me my bounds, sir, as long as I live,
So now I’ll enjoy my young squire so brave.”