In Thorneymoor Woods in Nottinghamshire,
Thorneymoor Woods in Nottinghamshire,
Three game-keepers' houses stood three-square,
About a mile from each other they were
Orders they were to look out for the deer.
Fol de rol, tora lie day

Now me and me dogs went out one night
The moon and the stars were shining bright
O'er hedges and ditches, fields and stiles
With my three dogs trotting close by me heels,
To catch a fat buck down in Thorneymoor fields.
Fol de rol, tora lie day

That very first night we had bad luck,
One of me very best dogs got shot
He come to me all bloody and lame
Right sorry I was for to see the same
And not being able to follow the game.
Fol de rol, tora lie day

I searched his wounds and found them slight
'Twas done by a game-keeper out of spite
Well I'll take a stick right tight in me hand
I'll search the woods till I find that man
I'll thrash his old hide right well if I can
Fol de rol, tora lie day

Now I come home and I went to bed
Limping Jack went out in me stead
O'er hedges and ditches, fields and stiles
He found a buck lying on the ground
My little dog has gave him the death-wound.
Fol de rol, tora lie day

And Limping Jack he cut the buck's throat
Tied his legs with good stout rope
And I had a laugh to see Limping Jack
Up in a lane with that buck on his back
Carried it just like a pedlar's pack
Fol de rol, tora lie day

Now we got us a butcher to skin the game
Likewise another to sell the same
And the very first joint as we offered for sale
Was to an old girl she sold bad ale
She had us young lads up in Nottingham gaol
Fol de rol, tora lie day

In Nottingham assizes are you and I
Us three young lads we go to be tried
But the magistrate laughed her all to scorn
He says the old bugger should be forsworn
Into little pieces torn
Fol de rol, tora lie day

In Nottingham assizes are gone and past
Us three young lads go free at last
The bucks and the does will never roam free
A poacher's life is the life for me
A poacher I will always be
Fol de rol, tora lie day

Lyrics submitted by NWNmoon

Thorneymoor Woods song meanings
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    General CommentHunting with dogs and taking game is rightly frowned on in our modern world. The meat on the tables of those who eat it (I'm practically vegetarian these days) is killed humanely, if there's such a thing. The song though tells of a time when poaching was away of life for some folks and maybe kept them from starvation. The woods in the song were well known for poachers and I read somewhere in the 1860s (I think) there was a lot of trouble between the locals and the gamekeepers that resulted in musket fire and deportation to Australia. I think the three young lads were probably very lucky the magistrate let them free. We hear of the bond between the lad and his dog, the brutality of the hunt, of the keeper who shot the dog and of the revenge the lad would like to take. The butchers would have known the meat was illegal. The old lady who sold bad ale took the meat and turned them in because she didn't want to pay for it. Maybe the magistrate let them go with a promise? It tells a story and paints a picture of what life was like in the mid 19th century. Anne Briggs had a pretty good voice and was highly rated in the folks clubs with a promising career when she just gave it up and went to work in a factory. She never even told her kids she had been a singer, when one day her daughter found a record sleeve with her picture on it. Worth checking for anyone who likes a song to tell a good story.
    NWNmoonon September 15, 2015   Link

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