Horkstow Grange

"'Horkstow Grange' (The Miser and His Man-a local tragedy)" was sung to Grainger by George Gouldthorpe, and tells a somewhat ambiguous story of a local happening. Grainger wrote in his manuscript: "John Bowlin' was a foreman at a farm at Horkstow, and John Steeleye Span was waggoner under him. They fell out, and J. S. Span made these verses." Often, these particularly local songs would be written as parodies of other folksongs, in much the way that Woody Guthrie, for example, wrote a great deal of his material. Even if not immortalized by this particular song, the name of Steeleye Span lives on! (Folk Rock historians take note).

In Horkstow Grange there lives an old miser,
You all do know him as I've heard tell,
It was him and his man that was called John Bowlin',
They fell out one market day.
     Pity them what see him suffer,
     Pity poor old Steeleye Span,
     John Bowlin's deeds they will be remembered,
     Bowlin's deeds at Horkstow Grange.

With a blackthorn stick old Steeleye struck him,
Oftens had threatened him before,
John Bowlin' he turned round all in a passion,
Knocked old Steeleye on to the floor.

Steeleye Span, he was felled by John Bowlin',
It happened to be on a market day;
Steeleye swore with all his vengeance,
He would swear his life away.

© Golden Hind Music