Jon says “It’s such a classic this one but I’m not sure how widely known it is outside of the traddier end of the folk scene? Will Noble sings this round our way.”
Although it might not be a common song today, it is the regimental song of the Duke Of Edinburg’s who are apparently known as farmers boys. It was also a popular anthem around the formation of the agricultural workers union with its themes of kind hearted good deeds and honest hard work rewarded, but then that was about 150 years or so ago. It seems to be fairly robust in that there is little lyrical variation in the known versions and the use of the tune suggests the songs origins in the first half of C19th. This Mudcat thread has the earliest recorded date of 1845 from the journal of the Elizabeth, would suggest it was widely in circulation by then. You’ll note at Mainly Norfolk there’s an attempt to claim the identity of the farmer’s boy as a Reverend Thomas Smith of Little Leigh in Cheshire, although I haven’t found anything to back this up and would be very interested to hear from anyone with more information and perhaps local knowledge. I’m always intrigued when people try and link folk songs to real people and yopu might like a bit of general debunking courtesy of Mudcat.