Oxford Ramble

Speed the Plough



A Taste of Ale

Six for Gold

Knock at the Knocker, Ring at the Bell

The Robber Bird

Three Quarter Time

The 25th



Near Woodstock Town

Oxford Ramble track 15

Tim Healey made a good job of creating a singable song out of the very long ballad he unearthed in the Bodleian Library. This is The Oxfordshire tragedy; or, The death of four lovers (first line "Near Woodstock-town in Oxfordshire") which dates back at least to the middle of the eighteenth century when it was printed by W. and C. Dicey of Bow-Church-Yard in London.

The same ballad was in existence earlier than this however - Pepys' ballad collection includes a version under the title The Constant Lady and Falsehearted Squire... To a New Tune. The ballad tune was used in a number of eighteenth century ballad operas; ours is as given in William Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time.

A much shorter version, with a completely different tune, was collected in Oxfordshire as recently as the 1970s, when Mike Yates recorded In Woodstock town from Son Townsend, Bampton morris dancer and Fool. Son's version can be heard on Veteran cassette VT108 The Horkey Load Vol 1.

"The Oxfordshire tragedy; or, The death of four lovers", from the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballad collection