Jacobs Well


Having stirred things a little over the past couple of days, I’ll leave this to Jon who simply says, “Today is the start of the Sheffield carol season. This is our favourite.” You may also like to have a look here for more about the local tradition..



34 Responses to “Jacobs Well”

  1. mike says:

    Beautiful. The words can be found here:

    The site also sells a book of village carols. I’m not sure if this features in it, but I’d love to find the tune.

  2. Phil says:

    I’m having trouble downloading the song from a couple of days back, “Folk Awards 2011”. From the title I think it might be a bit contemporary for my tastes, but I’m curious to hear what it sounds like – it’s certainly an interesting subject.

  3. Reinhard says:

    Phil, that’s not a song, just a note by the blog’s admin.

  4. John Bryson says:

    One of the many aspects of’A Folk Song a Day’ which I like, apart from listening to the songs themselves, is learning about them, and the history as well – in this case the Yorkshire Carols season. I look forward to visiting the Grand Union Folk Club near Loughborough Christmas Week where many of these will be sung – hope you don’t mind me giving the club a mention as they always make me feel welcome, and it’s where I initially learnt some info about Yorkshire carols earlier this year.
    Many thanks for this number Jon, a lovely song so well sung

  5. Shelley says:

    I’ll be heading over to Dungworth in a couple of weeks for some Yorkshire carolling.

    This is rather lovely, and a complete contrast to the somewhat robust singing that goes on in the pubs!

  6. SRD says:

    Phil: I had a problem with it too but got there in the end; I suspect it’s not really your thing though. It’s all a bit bitty, with different influences intruding all over the place whilst being all much of a muchness at the same time.

    Excellent track, even if I do have issues with Christmas intruding into Autumn.

  7. Nick Passmore says:

    They don’t seem to have that issue in Dungworth!

  8. Tim says:

    There is a version of Jacob’s Well in Ian Russell’s Sheffield Book of Village Carols.

    I have just put the 4 part SATB version of James Leach’s tune Knaresborough from the Union Tune Book on Choralwiki at


    and there is thread discussing the history getting going at


  9. mike says:

    hmm the choralwiki link didn’t work for me, but thanks for trying…

  10. StephenH says:

    This is a case where I like the song in spite of my antipathy to its lyrical content-which is the case with many carols, gospel songs, etc. The Yorkshire Carol tradition is surely social singing personified. I only know of it through recordings, having bought “A People’s Carol” (Leader or Trailer, can’t remember which label at the moment) on lp many years ago.

  11. Tim says:


    sorry – you may have to click on the little pdf or speaker (midi) icons to the left of the CPDL number to get to the dots or sound files.

  12. mike says:

    Hi Tim,

    Still not working for me. I get:
    “There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, search the related logs, or edit this page. ”

    A search for Knaresborough comes up blank from the home page too. Maybe it’s just me…

  13. Tim says:


    sorry again – I had forgotten there may be a day’s delay between new entries going on to the contributor’s Wiki hosting site and the new stuff being put on the mirror sites for visitors! Try tomorrow – thanks for quoting the error message which makes it clear to me. It works for me!

  14. John Burton says:

    The words are here.
    The music is in the Worrall Blue Book (The Joy of Christmas pub by The Worrall Male Voice Choir)
    I will be singing it tonight in Canada, we use it as one of our Sheffield Pub Carolling stuff we do over here. Part of Orange Peel Morris http://www.orange-peel-morris.ca/OP/Carolling.html
    We learnt it from Crucible when they were over here for the Goderich Festival a few years ago.

  15. Frazer says:

    Thanks for the link to the carols website. A minor correction – today wasn’t the start of the season, as we’ve already had events in Thorpe Hesley (Tuesday), Ecclesfield (Thursday) and Oughtibridge (Saturday); it was just the first sing at Dungworth and Worrall today. See you and Fay later in the season at Lodge Moor!

  16. Joe Offer says:

    We’ve had quite a discussion of the song in this thread at Mudcat:

    -Joe Offer-

  17. John Phipps says:

    Choral Wiki gives this when I click on the PDF icon.
    Error 404 :: requested file is unavailable
    I wold love to get the music for this to spring on my Church one day.

    I first heard this on the Larkrise to Candleford recording some 30 years ago. I loved this and Dare to Be a Daniel.

  18. Tim says:

    I’ve asked for help from Choralwiki as to why I can see the file and no-one else can !

    In the meanwhile, Google Books hosts the ?1823 version of the Bridgewater Collection of Sacred music and Knaresborough (? in a more original, less fuguing form than the Union Tune Book version) is on page (or tune number) 45


  19. Tim says:

    Choralwiki system guys says the link should now work. Excuse is that the update to only two of the three mirrors successfully completed today !

  20. Mike says:

    Hooray! It works! Many, many thanks, Tim 🙂

  21. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Beautifully sung Jon ! This used to be a great favourite in the chapels round here, but is now seldom sung.
    However, we do not have to travel too far to hear these old songs. On Sat 10th December in All Saints Church, Cwmbach, Glasbury and again on Fri 23rd December at The Globe, Hay-on-Wye, The Village Quire will be performing their annual Christmas Concert and many of these old carols will get an airing. Not to be missed if you live in these parts !

  22. Diana says:

    I must say I was delighted to hear a new to me carol. One doesn’t get much opportunity to hear different carols when the festive season finally arrives. It is usually the old familiar ones that are aired then. Well done!

  23. Muzza+383days (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    We are clinging to the wreckage here boys and gals….nerves shredded…..will the site go down again!
    Isn’t it strange how we all gradually get into ‘The Christmas spirit’ as the nights draw in, the temperature drops and we start to practise/perform carols.
    You are early starters ‘oop Narth’!
    I always remember , around this time….60 odd years ago when I was 13…. the treble soloist in the church choir… I were a growing lad..weeks of practise….I were t’ ‘King of the hill’ …THEN…Bam…..the week before Christmas…….my voice broke.
    Cast on the scap heap for months until my tenor voice emerged..
    I shall (again) shed a tear at the memory!
    “Sire he lives a goodly gence”….that’s about a league isn’t it?

  24. Diana says:

    Hi there Muzza back to normal I hope. Bit of a shock yesterday though. Still all’s well that ends well as the Bard said. It is dark early evening and morning oop Narth as you so succinctly put it, and we have got the rain as per usual. No more tears now Muzza.

    Still like this one – the carol is so different than ones I am familiar with and that is a good thing.

  25. Linda says:

    Sam Sweeney nominated for folk awards musician of the year!!!!!!!!
    Just voted for album of the year Good luck ! Sam after Saturday at the Lowry you deserve it.

  26. RachelWH says:

    Love this song so much we put it in our shapenote book. This arrangement is based on one from a Canadian collection (Humbert’s Union Harmony) but we used a version of the words published in the US (no reference to Britannia, sorry). thanks for your blog!

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

    Here I am on a battered old Toshiba that somebody was about to throw out and is so old it has a stone keyboard; set out in Hieroglyphics…….I have to use a calendar to time between key strokes…but it made it to AFSAD!-Huzzah!…and what do I find….a memory of a poor little choirboy who was deposed from his moment of glory all those years ago.
    I’m still enjoying a new song a day from the AFSAD library.

  28. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    going to a funeral today (Saturday)……..for local man- Roy Dommett…he was 82 and Britain’s leading rocket scientist…..and a morris man!!…he documented morris dances and he was very interested in the old English tradition of Mummer’s play (bit like pantomime)……and dressed for the occasion in an Andy Pandy suit…..and he was a very big fella……..with a great sense of humour!


  29. Jane Ramsden says:

    What a character, Muzza! RIP Roy. Hope all went well with the send-off. xx

  30. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Cor Blimey Gal……..it was a freezing day and bally cold in the church. Worth the 2 hr service, to hear how he crammed so much action into his life. He was a great one for English tradition and customs and dragged his eight children all over the country to see historical sights and never let them sit around at home….but they all loved him dearly.

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

    Well here we are a year on……….where the heck did the year go! We have the remnants of Atlantic storm ‘Angus’ rattling all about…
    (I knew a Scottish cloakroom attendant called ‘Angus MeAttup’)
    now let me dust off the old carol book and get started.

  32. Old Muzza (NW Surrey UK) says:

    Raising a glass to the memory of Roy Dommett

  33. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    These old AFSAD site is like a personal calendar….reminding us of songs and folk that are no longer with us. As for Christmas…wellll….let’s hope that next year , perhaps, all will return to normal

  34. John Bryson says:

    A year on and where did it go?

    I totally agree with Muzza’s comments of twelve months ago.

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