One from Spiers & Boden’s Songs of which Jon says, “Bert Lloyd makes great play out of the class war contained in poaching ballads (i.e. the enclosures were an act of theft perpetrated upon the rural proletariat, so poachers were celebrated as class warriors taking back what was rightfully theirs). It’s one interpretation. I think the poignancy of this song comes from the fact that poachers and gamekeeper knew each other – possibly grew up together, but end up killing each other.” Lloyd certainly recorded it as did Bellamy and Roy Harris and you can read more about that on Mainly Norfolk here. This is likely a northern (probably) Yorkshire ballad (this link seems has more) and based at least in part on true events around 1769. There is evidence of a trial and a gamekeeper called John Shirteliff being tried but acquitted in 1770 according to the York Courant. Another ballad based on the same story ends with the trial and the assertion that money changed hands to secure the innocent verdict. The subject of poaching is, as Jon points to Bert Lloyds opinion, a highly emotive one and numerous ballads on the subject rarely take the side of the gamekeeper or land owner. If you have time on your hands, then this is very interesting reading, although I confess I only managed part of it, as time is against me, but have put the rest behind my ear for later. The chances of people knowing each other, as Jon says, is also quite high I would imagine, making the revenge element all the darker.
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