John Ball


Here’s one to stir the radicals, written by Sydney Carter, who apparently also gave us Lord Of The Dance and Jon says, “This was sung most nights in the Half Moon in the days when Ian Giles and myself lived upstairs. Happy days.”

The John Ball in question here is the Lollard priest who became associated with Watt Tyler’s Peasants Revolt. Chris Wood included this on his excellent Trespassers CD and he’s joined by Karine Polwart on this track. You can read about John Ball on Wiki here and note his gruesome demise, perhaps as you’d expect. The thrust of this song comes from a sermon that Ball preached to the rebels at Blackheath that included the question “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” A link to Mudcat here is most interesting in several ways. There’s more information about the author, a Quaker apparently and that this was written on the 500 year anniversary of the Peasants Revolt. I note with great irony that the song has been removed from Mudcat at the insistence of the American copyright holders. That may be in response to Michael Flatley’s Riverdance, but seems so utterly contrary to the sentiment of this song. I am not in any way in favour of stealing music but in this case I wonder who the beneficiary is. I am, therefore, moved to suggest a mass trespass. Anyone who can should sing this out, loud and proud, but learn it quick or buy the Chris Wood CD (you should do that anyway if you can) and learn it from there, as I wonder whether we will be able to keep this track up.


You can buy the January digital album now from all good download stores.


69 Responses to “John Ball”

  1. Jane Ramsden says:

    If you are still checking in, Happy Birthday, YOUNG Muzza, and no talking of checking out, except at the supermarket! Xx.

  2. Jane Ramsden says:

    Just seen from yesterday that you are still checking in, Young Muzza! But I got to ‘yesterday’ today, so ‘today’ became ‘tomorrow,’ if you get my drift. In other words, I’m still keeping owlish hours! Lol.

    Do you ever visit

    “The folking team are a dedicated group of people with a passion for music who give their free time to furthering the interests of the folk, acoustic and Americana music movement; we are a growing team of writers & interviewers, reviewing the latest releases from the world of folk, each in own inimitable style…”

    I also noticed a photo of the New Forest Folk Festival on there. Check it out at:

  3. very old Muzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Thank you for your good wishes young Janie/PW…..I will check out your links.

  4. Jane Ramsden says:

    Happy Birthday, Young Muzza! If you thought you’d get away, you were wrong! Lol. I might even record another of my star solo performances to send you as a ‘gift.’ Not John Ball, though I really like it. I’m thinking ‘mill song’… hahahaha!

  5. Very old Muzza (NWSurrey UK) says:

    Oh Dear me….the mill is runnin’ fast……..that would be a nice one Jane…..doesn’t have to be perfect…..can your snippets be posted on here?

  6. Bob Delaney` says:

    I read the book “When Adam Delved…” a long time ago. I agree that Chris Wood’s version on Trespasser is a great.

  7. Jane (Maryland) says:

    Happy birthday, Muzza!!

    So obliging of Jon to provide this splendid performance of an upbeat, forward-looking song for the first day of your new year.

  8. John Bryson says:

    A great song for your birthday Muzza, a Happy Birthday and enjoy your day

  9. OldMuzza(NWSurreyUK) says:

    Thank you Jane (Marylands) and John for your good wishes….and here I go to start my next 365 day journey around the sun!!!!

  10. Jane (Maryland) says:

    Happy birthday, Muzza! 🥳 Hope this uplifting song gets your new year off to a great start.

  11. Linda says:

    Happy birthday Muzza nice song hope your joining in!!!!!!!

  12. John Bryson says:

    Happy Birthday Muzza, enjoy your day

  13. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ha….I had pc prob but here I am at last to thank Jane(Maryland) Lindy lou and John for your birthday wishes…..gonna sing a belated John Ball this very moment.
    no fun getting old is it( older)
    Hope to read this again next January.!!

  14. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Ha….just found out, that, on 29thJan that our little cat botherer(Jane-Yorkshire)
    was in her car and rammed by a drugged up, uninsured numpty. The emergency services had to cut her Clio car to pieces to get her out and she had serious injuries.Good news is 3Feb..she is showing signs of her cheeky self shining through and she is on the mend!.huzzah!

  15. Linda says:


  16. Jane (Maryland) says:

    Happy birthday, Muzza! 🎂 Wishing you a thoroughly delightful day with many joys in the year ahead.

  17. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Lindy Lou,Jane (Maryland), Jane Yorks and Pewter….Thank you all for your birthday wishes…..Blimey….just as the UK hit by 90mph winds of storm Eisher….I wonder what life has in store for us all as I start my latest 366 day journey around the sun (It’s a leap year!)
    Hang in there

  18. John Bryson says:

    Happy Birthday Muzza, enjoy your day 👍😀

  19. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Ha…Thanks John (the old John B!) good to see that you are still lurking!

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