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





Treadmill Song

The Robber Bird track 7

Ian currently works at Oxford Castle – now a visitor attraction, but for several centuries, up until the 1990s, a prison. We played a concert at the Castle a few summers back, and learned the Treadmill Song for the occasion. In some nineteenth century prisons the treadmill acted as a punishment, but also did useful work in grinding flour. In Oxford however it was purely a punishment, as the treadmill was not attached to any productive machinery.

The Treadmill Song aka Gaol Song was collected by H.E.D. Hammond in 1906 from William Davey, at Beaminster Workhouse, Dorset. It is well known on the folk scene, not least because of its inclusion in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.