The Death Of Queen Jane


This is based on historical fact, although possibly takes a few liberties with actual events and Jon says, “I Learnt from the Bothy band, although it’s an English song through and through and it’s unusual to come across a sympathetic characterisation of Henry VIII.”  Jane survived the birth to die some days later (or did she?), while the prince survived but dies young. This Wiki page is interesting and starts with the idea that it isn’t about Jane Seymour at all, but doesn’t really offer much support for that idea. It’s still worth a gander at the words as Child recorded them. Should you really want the full Child experience, the link at the bottom of the page or here gives multiple variations. You might want to Mudcat as well and I note that there is no answer to how old this is, although it might relate to The Lamentation Of Queen Jane from 1560.  I also found this, but wont link to the site as it plays a horrible midi file relentlessly that I can’t seem to turn off and I don’t know the source of this information, which seems very sure of itself…

A version of this ballad appears as early as 1612. It is reprinted in Old Ballads (1723).

You might want to stop by here for a classic Mondegreen. As always, if you can add more to the story of the song please do.

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25 Responses to “The Death Of Queen Jane”

  1. Simon says:

    Sorry folks another spanner in the works toady. The advance schedule was set incorrectly for some reason and I’ll confess I’m only just up (a very lazy Sunday.) I’m now going to check the rest of the months songs to make sure the clock is right on those.

  2. Reinhard says:

    The comment from the Contemplator website you didn’t link to is very abbreviated from Child himself:

    “This threnody is said to have been current throughout Scotland. There is another, not in the popular style, in the Crowne Garland of Golden Roses, 1612, Percy Society, vol. vi, p. 29: The Wofull Death of Queene Jane, wife to King Henry the Eight, and how King Edward was cut out of his mother’s belly. This is reprinted in Old Ballads, 1723, II, 115, and Evans’s Collection, 1777, 1784, II, 54, and is among Pepys’s Penny Merriments, vol. iii. “A ballet called The Lady Jane” and another piece entitled The Lamentation of Quene Jane were licensed in 1560; Stationer’s Register, Aerber, I, 151 f.

    Jane Seymour gave birth to Prince Edward October 12, 1537, and by a natural process, but, in consequence of imprudent management, died twelve days after. There was a belief that severe surgery had been required, under which the queen sank.

  3. Reinhard says:

    Only after typing the text above I added 12 and 12 and noticed that today is the anniversary of Jane Seymour’s death.

  4. Brian says:

    A* for this performance,Jon,and thoughtfully chosen for today. Not a ballad to brighten the spirits,but very interesting. I am off to read all the versions in Child(170).

  5. Shelley says:

    Another beautifully executed song. Karine Polwart also does a lovely version on her album “Fairest Floo’er”

  6. Phil says:

    A fine song and a terrific performance – I like the ornamentation and the control. Great stuff!

  7. Phil says:

    Another thing about this song is the odd relationship it has with this one. By ‘odd’ here I essentially mean ‘non-existent’ – except that it’s impossible to hear that song without being distantly reminded of this one, and vice versa.

  8. Phil says:

    I keep coming back to this one. Beautiful. Interesting echo of Sheath and Knife in the last verse – or was it the other way round?

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    Very lovely, if sad. Given my name, I have a hard time feeling comfortable with it! From Queen Jane…Approximately…

  10. Val bagnall says:

    Hauntingly beautiful.

  11. muzza(S.E.England) says:

    Those medeival folk sing about anything!!!!!!……..also
    Checking the comments above…..
    I wonder if Shelley’s comment ‘beautifully executed’ was a Freudian Slip….
    and Jane….you hang in there gal…rumours of your demise are probably exaggerated!

  12. Diana says:

    Very doleful.

  13. Jane Ramsden says:

    OMG! I feel like Kenny in South Park… (to older folks, that’s the same as saying Eccles in the Goons!)… You rotten lot, you deaded me… again! Lol.

  14. Diana says:

    Hard luck Jane – another year and you are still deserting the land of the living.

    Re: the song my opinion has not changed – still find it doleful.

  15. Phil says:

    Here’s my own version; it’s got a different tune and different words, but it’s the same song!

    Queen Jane (approximately)

    Jane – wasn’t it Bluebottle who was deaded?

  16. Diana says:

    You jest Phil, different words, different tune but still the same – I think not.

  17. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Phil: You are soooo right! He was often paired with Eccles. My mind has gone… I am a goon… lol.

  18. Phil says:

    But it is the same song!

  19. Diana says:

    Never Jane, your mind is intact, just you memory that failed you this time.

  20. Diana says:

    Phil I cannot seem to raise the song to hear for myself. Why is that?

  21. Phil says:

    Diana – how about this link?

  22. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Clocks go back an hour tonight…………and I turn into a handsome prince at midnight…….
    I’m so fed up with eating flies all day……..
    Damn witch got the spell back to front!

  23. Linda says:

    Muzza have left you a message on the 22nd

  24. Old Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    How did Linda sneak in a message dated 23rd on 24th!!!!

  25. Old Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Aha…just twigged…a year apart!………doh…senior moment

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