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The Flandyke Shore / The Ploughman's Love to the Farmer's Daughter

[ Roud 2636 ; Ballad Index LyCr2090 ; VWML HAM/4/30/25 , CJS2/9/851 ; trad.]

Nic Jones sang this mysterious song of loss on his 1980 Topic album, Penguin Eggs. This track was also included on the anthologies New Electric Muse and English Originals.

An earlier live performance from the late 1970—when Nic still called the song Flanders Shore—was published in 2006 on the Topic CD Game Set Match. Another Flanders Shore live recording from the Folk Festival Sidmouth in 1980 can be found on the 2 CD compilation Folk Festival Sidmouth.

John Wesley Harding also sang this song on his Nic Jones tribute album, Trad Arr Jones.

Chris While sang Flandyke Shore on the Albion Band's CD Acousticity. The track was also included in the Albion Band compilations Along the Pilgrim's Way (1998), The HTD Years (2000), and Albion Sunrise (2004). Ashley Hutchings commented in the original album's booklet:

The much-loved Nic Jones found the traditional Flandyke Shore some years ago, about the same time as I discovered the song. He recorded it, I didn't. Recently, while driving through the Canadian Rockies in our touring van, Chris [While] spontaneously started to sing which renewed our interest in, and love of, the piece. She and I decided to give Flandyke a happy ending and by the time we had reached the United States border the task was completed.

A 1995 live concert performance of the Albion Band was published in 2004 on the CD Albion Heart on Tour. This track was also included in 2005 on the Ashley Hutchings anthology Burning Bright.

Bob Bray sang The Flanders Shore on the Musical Traditions 2005 anthology Songs from the Golden Fleece. Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

Like many others, I was impressed by this enigmatic song of thwarted love in the time of Marlborough when I heard Nic Jones sing Flandyke Shore. However the song was a fragment and only really worked with guitar phrases to enliven the truncated story. The wonderful Vaughan Williams [Memorial] Library furnished me with a complimentary set of words from an adjacent village to the one that Nic used, and it just about makes a credible story. The tune is glorious.

Jack Crawford sang The Ploughman's Love in 2008 on his WildGoose CD Pride of the Season. He commented in his liner notes:

I first heard Nic Jones perform an enigmatic three-stanza version of this song almost thirty years ago. In search of more, I traced Nic's text and tune to a version collected by the Hammond brothers from a Mrs Notley of Higher Woodsford, Dorset, in January 1907. It was published that year in Volume 3 of the Journal of the Folk Song Society under the title The Flandyke Shore. Cecil Sharp had collected a similar four-stanza version from Mrs Betsy Pike in Somerset the previous year. Both can be seen in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House. They are clearly fragments from a longer ballad, and the search for a more complete version occupied me off-and-on for many years.

Eventually I came upon a chapbook text that was included in the Appendix to Volume 2 of Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads and Songs (ed. Emily Lyle, 1996) as an English counterpart to the Scots dialect song The Flanders Shore. Printed and distributed by J.&M. Robertson of Saltmarket, Glasgow, in 1802 under the title The Ploughman's Love to the Farmer's Daughter, it contains all of the fragments that were collected by Hammond and Sharp more than a century later. I have adjusted Mrs Notley's tune only slightly to fit the Robertson text.

Blair Dunlop sang Flandyke Shore on his 2011 EP Bags Outside the Door.

Coope, Boyes & Simpson sang Flandyke Shore in 2016 on their final CD, Coda.

Lyrics

Jack Crawford sings The Ploughman's Love

When first a-courting I did go,
I loved a fair maid as my life,
I often told her I did her love, oh, I did her love,
But I ne'er could gain her for my wife.

I served her father winters seven,
From rising sun till nine at night,
Duly and truly as my life, truly as my life,
But I ne'er could gain my heart's delight.

I told her father secretly,
His daughter I did highly prize,
He locked her up in a room so high, in a room so high,
Then first began my miseries.

I went to my love's chamber door,
Where oft-times I had been before,
For to let her know and understand, and to understand,
I was going to some foreign shore.

It's shipboard I then went straightway,
And sailèd for fair Flander's shore;
I little thought what should me befall, what should me befall,
That I ne'er should see my true love more.

When to fair Flanders I did come,
No rest nor comfort could I find,
Though I did stand with glass in hand, with my glass in hand,
Still my true love ran in my mind.

I took a pistol in my hand,
And chargèd it courageously,
I shot a ball into fair England, into fair England,
Where I thought my true love might be.

And when to England I returned,
Who but her father should I see,
“My daughter dear is dead”, he cried, “she is dead”, he cried,
“All for the sake of loving thee.”

I went to my love's chamber door,
Where oft-times I had been before,
There sprung a light from my love's clothes, my love's clothes,
Just like the morning sun when first arose,
When first a-courting I did go,

Nic Jones sings The Flandyke Shore The Albion Band sings The Flandyke Shore

I went unto my love's chamber window
Where I often had been before
Just to let her know 𝄆 unto Flandyke Shore 𝄇
𝄆 Never to return to England no more. 𝄇

I went unto my love's chamber window
Where I often had been before
Just to let her know 𝄆 unto Flandyke Shore 𝄇
𝄆 Never to return to England no more. 𝄇

I went unto my love's chamber door
Where I never had been before
There I saw a light 𝄆 springing from her clothes 𝄇
𝄆 Just as the morning sun when first arose. 𝄇

I went unto my love's chamber door
Where I never had been before
I saw the light 𝄆 springing from her clothes 𝄇
𝄆 Just as the morning sun when first arose. 𝄇

As I was walking on the Flandyke Shore,
Her own dear father I did meet.
“My daughter 𝄆 she is dead,” he cried, 𝄇
“And she's broken her heart all for the love of thee.”

As I was walking on the Flandyke Shore,
Her own dear father I did meet.
“My daughter 𝄆 she is dead,” he cried, 𝄇
“And she's broken her heart all for the love of thee.”

So I hove a bullet 𝄆 on to fair England's shore 𝄇
Just where I thought that my own true love did lay.

So I hove a bullet 𝄆 on to fair England's shore 𝄇
Just where I thought that my own true love did lay.

So I hove a dart that 𝄆 touchèd my true love's heart 𝄇
And brought the light into her eyes again.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origin: Flandyke Shore (Nic Jones).