Lord Bateman


Jon calls this one “a ballad I’ve always meant to get around to learning. This version is from Bert Lloyd. I’ve just today been lstening to An Evening With A. L. Lloyd a new release by Fellside which is a whole live gig with Lloyd – all brilliant stuff. He sings this there but adds a few extra verses – perhaps he edited them out later, not sure.”

Mainly Norfolk will give you a good chance to contrast and compare as there are several different transcripts of this, from the surprisingly brief to the truly epic. It’s also in the child collection and is #53. I was going to start by saying we’re on familiar territory, but realised that’s probably overstating it a little. Although it has been my privilege to see Chris Wood perform this a couple of times fairly recently, so it’s clearly lodged in my brain. I’ll also recommend the Fellside CD of Bert live (in fact I’m sure I have before) where this at almost 6 minutes long goes into Tamlyn at just over seven and a half. Two epics back to back. I guess it’s not entirely surprising to see this being linked to a true story, with Lord Bateman actually being Gilbert Bekett, father of Thomas. This Mudcat thread will get you into that. If anyone has the wherewithal to research this further, or has done previously, I’d like to know. As it says somewhere down that thread, you don’t turn to folk songs for history lessons, but it’s nice to be aware when they cross over. Things are rarely that simple, however.


18 Responses to “Lord Bateman”

  1. the_otter says:

    Great song! Played it through once, then played it through again straight after.

  2. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Well -what a mish mash……….from the various versions the plot is apparent and a good song could be compiled taking the best verses of each. I’m surprised that John didn’t latch on to the “Gaoler’s “daughter rather than”Turkey”….and how bizarre is the line about “cracking her fair white fingers”…folk songs…I ask yer!

  3. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Sorry “Jon”….where’s the spell checker when you need it!

  4. Neil says:

    There’s great versions of this performed by Jim Moray and Sinead ‘O Connor too.

  5. Cherry says:

    makes a change from the deserted girl doing away with herself a la lass of loch royal. i wonder what the first wife did!

  6. Steve says:

    Jane – thanks for the link to Le Moribond. I had the same trouble with the scansion. I’ll keep working on it.

  7. Diana says:

    There are so many versions of this it would be hard to choose which was best. An interesting one chosen by Jon though – enjoyed it.

  8. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Steve: You’re welcome.

    For the person (Jan?)/people who wanted other versions of ‘Brave Wolfe’ or variations, I have posted 2 sets of words under said song further back, giving more his bereft fianceé’s point-of-view. You can link to the tune on Mudcat for the first version. The second is an Ash Hutch/Albion song, also part-spoken. I haven’t looked for a tune for that, but no doubt on an appropriate Albion album.

  9. Jane Ramsden says:

    I really like this song, no matter how ubiquitous in many versions. Well sung, Jon.

    Hello Diana! Hope you (and John B) are coming to terms with animal companion losses. Adjustment slightly easier when you know you did the right and last best thing for your pet.

    I have caught up with all recently missed AFSAD songs. Will try to keep it that way now ’til the end of the project (sob!)

    For those who don’t receive it, here’s news from Phil Beer ref forthcoming releases, gigs etc:

    “After moving from Riverside up to the Cullompton studio complex run by Oysterhouse publishing two and a half years ago, I stockpiled a large amount of recorded work which will gradually see the light of day over the next year or so. I have enough material to complete box set 2 and possibly material for a 3rd one. I am now prioritizing the material recorded for a double album ‘Boys called William, Girls called Nancy’. This, as you may have guessed is predominantly traditional in flavour and consists of an acoustic disc and an electric disc. The acoustic material is very sparse and the electric disc explores further the idea of my old mate and compatriot Ashley Hutchings of British trad music as actually being our own form of country music.

    There are a large amount of acoustic tracks recorded which, upon consideration, don’t necessarily fit the theme outlined here and may well appear on a different album together with several instrumental pieces. It is very likely now that this album will be the first to appear as I seem to have ended up already editing and mixing at least six of the tracks already. The working title for this album is-

    Phil Beer – Plays guitar and fiddle – sings a bit.

    There will be previews shortly when the new ‘Chudleigh Roots’ website emerges. There will also be some free downloads.”

    Here’s a link to Phil Beer’s upcoming 2012 gigs:


    And for those with a nautical interest, a unique opportunity for sailing and music on the good ship Pegasus!

    “Just a heads up. I have access to the good ship Pegasus for a period in mid-August this year. I propose to put together a 4 or 5 day sailing and music trip out of Plymouth during this time. This ticks several boxes – interested people get to experience sailing a fantastic traditional sailing vessel with complete access to me in the evenings for informal workshops, singarounds and sessions. I get to sail my favourite ship for a few days and the boat sustains another slice of income which helps to keep it on the go. The price will be somewhere between £600/700 per head. Everyone stays on board and all meals are included. Thanks, Phil.”

    Anyone interested, email vicky@firebrandmusic.co.uk – it would be good if an AFSADDER got to go!

  10. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    @Jane…think I’ll give the good ship Pegasus trip a miss……..haven’t recovered from the last trip on “The good ship Venus”…….
    my goodness you should have seen us!

  11. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: Shame… what with you having the uniform, anniversary of the Titanic et al. You could even bring your own polar bear! The good ship Venus.. that’ll have been out of this world then. Wish I’d been there!

  12. Diana says:

    @Jane thanks for message above – have answered this on FB.

    Muzza looked very smart in his uniform and I loved the bear but doubt if it would have been allowed on The Good Ship Venus,

  13. Phil says:

    I’ve always loved this ballad, despite or possibly because of its relatively uneventful story. A different version was the first song I put down at 52 Folk Songs (I’m not linking to it directly, though, because I’d much rather people listened to my latest songs).

    Steve – thanks for the interest in the Brel translation; I’ll see if I can reconstruct it.

  14. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    @Jane………on a serious note, ref the Titanic anniversary…I do feel somewhat humbled and will be glad when the raw reallity fades again.

  15. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    @Phil………wow ……Phil.went to your latest link…
    you must have your work cut out co-ordinating the instruments….
    I would probably have got very frustrated and done a “Lord Bateman”..i.e.’he kicked the table into splinters three’.
    I find it hard enough just trying to ‘sing’ whilst playing a melodeon

  16. Phil says:

    Cheers, Muzza. It’s all multi-tracked, which makes life easier! I’m getting a concertina soon & learning to accompany myself properly – I’m sure that will be frustrating.

  17. Diana says:

    Have followed Phil’s link and left a comment. No time to listen to more at present but will return.

  18. Phil says:

    When I started going through the 52 songs again, Lord Bateman was the first one I re-recorded – and re-learnt. The new version has a fuller & more satisfying story, and consequently a few more verses – 35 in all(!).

    Lord Bateman

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