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An Acre of Land / Sing Ivy

[ Roud 21093 ; TYG 23 ; Ballad Index K300 ; trad.]

An Acre of Land is part of Child #2: The Elfin Knight. Jim and Bob Copper sang it in a recording made by Séamus Ennis for the BBC on April 24, 1952. It was included in 2001 on the Copper Family's Topic anthology Come Write Me Down. John, Bob and Ron Copper also sang Heigh Ho, Sing Ivy in 1971 on their Leader album A Song for Every Season.

Charlie Potter sang this song as Sing Ivy in a recording made by Mervyn Plunkett at home in Horsham, Sussex, in September 1956. it was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology Troubles They Are But Few (The Voice of the People Series Volume 14).

Fred Jordan sang An Acre of Land in a recording made by Mike Yates in 1965. It was included in 2003 on his Veteran anthology A Shropshire Lad.

George ‘Tom’ Newman sang Sing Ovy, Sing Ivy in a recording made by Mike Yates at his home in Clanfield, Oxon. in 1972. It was included in 1975 on the Topic anthology When Sheepshearing's Done: Countryside Songs from Southern England and in 2001 in the Musical Tradition anthology of songs from the Mike Yates collection, Up in the North and Down in the South.

Sandra Kerr sang Sing Ivy in 1983 on her album Supermum.

John Kirkpatrick sang An Acre of Land in 1998 on Brass Monkey's third album Sound and Rumour. Martin Carthy commented in the album's liner notes:

An Acre of Land has the sort of archaic tune, and The Rambling Comber the sort of loping 5/4 tune that was by no means uncommon among country singers at the turn of the century—but not so common now (except with people like us).

Pete Coe sang An Acre of Land in 2004 on his CD In Paper Houses. This track was also included in 2009 on the M.S. charity album Generosity. Pete Coe commented in his liner notes:

A version of Scarborough Fair, where the young man is carrying out increasingly surreal tasks to prove his love. Our version is based on the one sung by William Mason from Hampshire to Balfour Gardiner in 1906 and Roy Palmer published it in Room for Company under the title Sing Ivy.

Jim Causley sang Sing Ivy in 2005 on his WildGoose CD Fruits of the Earth.

Faustus sang An Acre of Land in 2008 on their eponymous CD Faustus.

Bella Hardy sang Sing Ovy, Sing Ivy in 2012 on her CD Bright Morning Star.

Lyrics

Jim and Bob Copper sing An Acre of Land John Kirkpatrick sings An Acre of Land

My father had an acre of land
    Ee oh, sing ivy
My father had an acre of land
    And a bunch of green holly and ivy

Oh my father he left me an acre of land
    Sing ovy, sing ivy
My father he left me an acre of land
    And a bunch of green holly and ivy

He ploughed it with a team of rats
He ploughed it with a team of rats

I ploughed it with an ox's horn
I ploughed it with an ox's horn

He sowed it with a pepper box
He sowed it with a pepper box

I sowed it with two peppering corns
I sowed it with two peppering corns

He harrowed it with a small-tooth comb*
He harrowed it with a small-tooth comb

He rolled it down with a rolling pin
He rolled it down with a rolling pin

And I rolled it with a rolling pin
I rolled it with a rolling pin

He reaped it the blade of his penknife
He reaped it the blade of his penknife

I reaped it with my little penknife
I reaped it with my little penknife

He threshed it with a wad of straw
He threshed it with a wad of straw

And I threshed it out with a goose's quill
I threshed it out with a goose's quill

He wimmed it on the brim of his hat
He wimmed it on the brim of his hat

And I stowed it all in a mouse's hole
I stowed it all in a mouse's hole

He sent it to market on a louse's back
He sent it to market on a louse's back

Then off to the mill with a team of rats
Then off to the mill with a team of rats

And now the poor old man is dead
And now the poor old man is dead

My team of rats came rattling back
    Sing ovy sing ivy
My team of rats came rattling back
With fifty-five guineas and an empty sack
    And a bunch of green holly and ivy