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> The Etchingham Steam Band > Songs > Bonny Kate
> Martin Carthy > Songs > Bonny Kate / Reconciliation
> Dave Swarbrick > Songs > Bonny Kate / Reconciliation

Bonny Kate

[ Roud 1633 ; trad.]

George Barnet Gardiner collected Bonny Kate in 1907 from William Burgess of Titchfield, Hampshire. Shirley Collins sang it on her and her sister Dolly's 1976 album Amaranth; this track was included in their anthology Within Sound. She also sang it with the Etchingham Steam Band live at the Lewes Folk Festival in July 1975; this was published in 1995 on the CD The Etchingham Steam Band.

Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick played the two tunes Bonny Kate and Reconciliation in 1967 on their instrumental EP No Songs. Unfortunately they have never been reissued on CD.

Sylvia Needham sang Bonny Kate on her and Keith Kendrick's 2018 WildGoose CD Shine On. She noted:

I have been singing this song for quite a few years. Not your typical “damsel in distress” story. It is from The Wanton Seed. Apart from the story, I like it because of the unusual placing of what you might call the refrain. It is a repeat of the first line.

Lyrics

Shirley Collins sings Bonny Kate

'Twas at Newmarket you shall hear,
There did dwell a damsel fair;
At Newmarket you shall hear,
There did dwell a damsel fair.
Some did call her Bonny Kate,
Going to,
Coming from Newmarket late.

Oft times a lawyer she did meet,
Who enticed her with kisses sweet;
Oft a lawyer she did meet,
Who enticed her with kisses sweet.
He enticed her more and more,
Showed her gold,
Showed her gold and silver store.

If you will spend the night in town,
These five guineas I'll put down;
If you'll spend the night in town,
These five guineas I'll put down.
So she took him to The Bell,
Where in service,
Where in service she did dwell.

“And can I have a bed?” said he,
“For my wedded wife and me.”
“Can I have a bed?” said he,
“For my wedded wife and me.”
“Yes, indeed,” the landlord said,
And he did not
And he did not own his maid.

“And can I have a supper dressed,
Fish and fowl of the best?
Can I have a supper dressed,
Fish and fowl of the best?
And some wine to drink a while,
For young Kate,
For young Kate's walked many a mile.”

So the glass went round and round,
Till the score stood at one pound.
So the glass went round and round,
Till the score stood at one pound.
That the lawyer freely paid,
“Now to bed,
Now to bed, young Kate,” he said.

Young Kate was handed on before,
At the top there was a door;
Kate was handed on before,
At the top there was a door.
Young Kate she went straight way through,
And that's where she,
That's where she bid him adieu.

Lord, how the lawyer stamped and swore,
When he found he'd lost his dear.
How the lawyer stamped and swore,
When he found he'd lost his dear.
Young Kate's heart was filled with joy,
To think she'd got,
To think she'd got five yellow boys.