Jon has this one down as “Possibly the first folk song I ever ‘performed’ – in a campfire scene in a school play. Basically a version of Verdant Braes Of Skreen and as before learnt from Planxty.”
I’ll refer you straight back to May 4th and the other version of this. There are several variants with T For Thomas as another and even J For Johnny, although the P For Paddy variant became the popular version amongst some of the revival singers and is thus probably more widely performed today, although it isn’t necessarily the original. It was printed as a Broadside in the 1820s, and Cecil Sharp collected a version from a Gypsy singer in Gloucestershire. In some versions the words get a bit muddled, but this seems more to be about a total lack of spelling ability than anything else. I’ll give you the Mainly Norfolk link that it shares with Verdant Braes… Aside from that there’s little I can add, except that I’m wiser about the whole ‘birds nest’ business!!!