Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter [Child 155]

DESCRIPTION: A child tosses the ball into a Jew's/Gypsy's garden. The Jew's daughter/wife lures him into the house, where she murders him, (for ritual purposes?). Dying, he gives instructions for his burial (with a prayer book at his head and a grammar at his feet).
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
KEYWORDS: homicide death ritual Gypsy Jew lastwill burial
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord),England(All)) Ireland US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Mar) West Indies(Bahamas)
REFERENCES (55 citations):
Child 155, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (21 texts)
Bronson 155, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (66 versions)
BronsonSinging 155, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (7 versions: #1, #4, #5, #10b, #21, #25, #28)
Percy/Wheatley I, pp. 54-60, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
Bell-Combined, pp. 189-`91, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
Broadwood/Maitland, p. 86, "Little Sir William" (1 text, 1 tune)
GordonBrown/Rieuwerts, pp. 254-255, "Hugh of Lincoln" (1 text)
Lyle-Crawfurd1 10, "Sir Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Circle 121, "Sir Hugh" (1 text)
RoudBishop #119, "Hugh of Lincoln" (1 text, 1 tune)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 461-462, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (notes plus an excerpt from Child A)
Belden, pp. 69-73, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (2 texts plus a fragment)
Randolph 25, "The Jew's Garden" (3 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #38}
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 47-49, "The Jew's Garden" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 25A) {Bronson's #38}
Moore-Southwest 33, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Eddy 20, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #48}
Grimes, p. 30, "It Rained a Mist" (1 text)
Peters, pp. 198-199, "'Twas On a Cold and Winter's Day" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #9]
Flanders/Olney, pp. 30-32, "Little Harry Huston" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #66}
Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 119-126, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {A=Bronson's #66; B=#65 with verbal variants}
Flanders-NewGreen, pp. 254-256, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #65, with minor variants}
Davis-Ballads 33, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (13 texts, 7 tunes entitled "The Jew's Daughter," "It Rained a Mist," "A Little Boy Threw His Ball So High," "Sir Hugh, or Little Harry Hughes," Sir Hugh"; 3 more versions mentioned in Appendix A) {Bronson's #39, #54, #3, #34, #6, #47, #53}
Davis-More 30, pp. 229-238, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
BrownII 34, "Sir Hugh; or, The Jew's Daughter" (4 texts)
BrownSchinhanIV 34, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (2 excerpts, 2 tunes)
ReedSmith, #XI, pp. 148-150, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter (The Two Playmates)" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #52}
Morris, #165, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #11}
Hudson 19, pp. 116-117, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (1 short text, lacking the actual murder)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 171-175, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (3 texts, the first also in Davis, with local titles "A Little Boy Threw His Ball So High," "Little Sir Hugh," "Hugh of Lincoln"; 1 tune on p. 403) {Bronson's #3}
Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 53-55, "A Little Boy Threw His Ball" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3}
Brewster 18, "Sir Hugh" (3 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #44}
Leach, pp. 425-431, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (4 texts)
Korson-PennLegends, pp. 36-38, "Fair Scotland" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #61}
Creighton-NovaScotia 8, "Sir Hugh; or The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
McNeil-SFB2, pp. 147-149, "Sonny Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman, p. 62, "Sir Hugh (The Jew's Daughter)" (3 texts)
OBB 79, "Hugh of Lincoln and The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
SharpAp 31, "Sir Hugh" (7 texts plus 3 fragments, of which "I" in particular might be something else, 10 tunes){Bronson's #22, #20, #21, #23, #15, #10a, #16, #14, #8, #17}
Sharp-100E 8, "Little Sir Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 273, "The Queen's Garden" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gummere, pp. 164-166+336, "Sir Hugh" (1 text)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 20, "Little Son Hugh (Sir Hugh)" (1 slightly edited text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #10}
Hodgart, p. 70, "Sir Hugh (The Jew's Daughter)" (1 text)
DBuchan 22, "Sir Hugh" (1 text)
JHCox 19, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (6 texts plus mentions of 8 more)
MacSeegTrav 14, "Sir Hugh" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Whitelaw-Ballads, pp. 30-31, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
HarvClass-EP1, pp. 81-83, "Hugh of Lincoln" (1 text)
LPound-ABS, 5, pp. 13-14, "The Jewish Lady"; p. 15, "The Jew Lady" (2 texts)
Hubbard, #11, "Little Saloo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Newell, #18, "Little Harry Hughes and the Duke's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 36-40, "Sir Hugh, or the Jew's Daughter"; "The Fatal Flower Garden"; "It Rained a Mist" (3 texts)
ADDITIONAL: Elsie Clews Parsons, "Spirituals and Other Folklore from the Bahamas" in _The Journal of American Folklore_, Vol. 41, No. 162 (Oct-Dec 1928 (made available online by JSTOR)), Toasts and other verses: Watlings p. 470, "Dere is many fine ladies" (1 text)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #420, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)

ST C155 (Full)
Roud #73
Cecilia Costello, "The Jew's Daughter (Sir Hugh)" (on FSB5 [as "The Jew's Garden"], FSBBAL2) {Bronson's #55}
[Mrs.?] Ollie Gilbert, "It Rained a Mist" (on LomaxCD1707) {Bronson's #35}
Nelstone's Hawaiians, "Fatal Flower Garden" (Victor 40193, 1929; on AAFM1) {Bronson's #12}

cf. "The Twa Brothers" [Child 49] (lyrics)
NOTES: A.L. Lloyd reports, "In 1225, in Lincoln, England, a boy named Hugh was supposed to have been tortured and murdered by Jews. A pogrom ensued." - PJS
Lloyd's dating is questionable. Benet (article on "St. Hugh of Lincoln") says 1255. So does Matthews, pp. 94-95, and Hoy/Stevens, p. 42, who note that Chaucer mentions the event at the end of the "Prioress's Tale." And Child cites the Annals of Waverly and the account of Matthew Paris in support of the 1255 date. The Annals of Waverly have major chronological problems and were probably written after the event (Prestwich, p. 356n; Powicke, p. 603n), but Paris's account was written within a few years of the tragedy, so I would consider it close to decisive.
An account of the many claims made against Jews can be found in Rigley, who on p. 172 reports on "27 analogues of [Chaucer's] Prioress's Tale and almost as many which dealt with Hugh of Lincoln and William of Norwich." Ridley also summarizes what we know of these events. The following attempts a fuller account of the actual events.
Harvey, pp. 119-120, gives the following account of the pogroms:
"Edward [I] was not satisfied with this state of affairs, for the exorbitant interest charged for money [by the Jews, who alone were allowed to lend at interest at the time] had become notorious.... In 1275, he enacted laws forbidding usury and encouraging Jews to live by normal trade and labour. Unfortunately the Jews did not respond, and succeeded in charging even higher rates than before, and also formed a ring for clipping the coinage.... Adding to the economic difficulties [blamed on the Jews]... was a series of most sinister crimes committed against Christian children, including murder (allegedly ritual) and forcible circumcision. Whatever we may think of the evidence in favour of 'ritual murder'... a number of instances of mysterious child-murder undoubtedly did occur in twelfth- and thirteenth-century England, at least ten being well-documented between 1144 and 1290.
"The evidence against individual Jews was considered conclusive in the case of Hugh of Lincoln (Little Saint Hugh), murdered in 1255, when, after exhaustive trials before the justices, later adjourned before Henry III in person, certain Jews were convicted and hanged."
But also consider Prestwich, pp. 345-346: "There was undoubtedly very considerable prejudice against the Jews in England. There were stories of ritual child-murder and torture, which, although they now appear groundless on the basis of the recorded evidence, were generally believed. The most famous was that of the death of Little St Hugh in 1255, but there were others. The chronicle of Bury St. Edmunds recorded the crucifixion of a bou by the Jews at Northampton." (Rather absurd, since crucifixion was a Roman, not a Jewish, means of execution.)
Prestwich's cautions are quite proper -- it is believed (Prestwich, p. 344) that there were only about 3000 Jews in England at the time; they could hardly have committed all the crimes charged against them. On the other hand, they did suffer severely at the hands of Edward I, who were charged (along with goldsmiths) with being coin-clippers in 1278 (Prestwich, p. 245). Earlier, there had been major anti-Jewish riots in the period when Richard I was preparing his crusade, including an incident when 150 were killed at York, some of them after surrendering (Gillingham, p. 131, who blames the Crusade for whipping up passions about the Jews killing Jesus. According to McLynn, p. 120, the Jews were bringing a gift to the new king, but the mob assumed it was blasphemous).
If it did happen, one can almost see it as a case of balancing things out for the treatment of the Jews, for -- in addition to the general prejudice against them -- the King was allowed to seize their property when they died (Mortimer, p. 49), although he usually settled for "only" a third (Mortimer, p. 50). Thus a Jewish death often brought not only mourning but impoverishment.
I do note with interest that Mortimer, p. 50, declares that the "most famous of all the great Jewish capitalists was Adam of Lincoln" (died 1186, near the end of the reign of Henry II).
But Powicke, who devotes roughly eight times as much space to the reign of Henry III as does Harvey, never mentions Hugh or the trials which followed, although he does note (p. 322) Edward I's anti-usury law of 1275 -- and its follow-up, a law of 1290 which expelled the Jews. (Stenton, p. 197, cynically notes that they were no longer "useful" by then -- i.e. the crown had extorted so much money that they were no longer a significant source of revenue. Prestwich, p. 343, observes that Edward managed to make money even on the exiling of the Jews, because he used the occasion to wring an exaction from the clergy in return for the expulsion. Prestwich on p. 346 notes that the expulsion was not officially reversed until 1656, although many Jews were tolerated by then -- it is said that Elizabeth I's physician was Jewish.)
I also note that ten unexplained child-murders in a century and a half is a rate far below what we experience today (and, frankly, I would be tempted to look at the Catholic clergy, not the Jews).
One part of the prejudice that seems to be accurate is the charge of exorbitant interest. On p. 191 Stenton mentions a calculation that their average rate of interest was 43% (per year), with some instances in excess of 60%. The blame for this does not lie entirely with the Jews; the monarchy in effect was taking a cut, in the form of high licensing fees on the Jews (Stenton, p. 194). So the Jews had to charge enough to live on *and* the pay the royal bribe. (I would love to have heard, say, Richard I explain how that was different from charging interest himself, but of course Richard would never answer to me.) Stenton, p. 193, also tells a tale which sounds surprisingly like this one:
"Already in 1144 Jews were accused in Norwich of the murder of a Christian boy named William, whose story was told within a few years of his death by Thomas of Monmouth, a Norwich monk. William was about 12 when he was found dead in Thorpe Wood near the city. His father... was already dead, but his mother Elviva was alive and had been offered for William a post in the kitchen of the archdeacon of Norwich. The man who made the offer took William away with him and called on William's aunt to tell her about it. She told her daughter to follow and see where William was taken. The child said he was taken to a Jew's house. William was next seen dead in Thorpe Wood. The credulity of the populace and their readiness to suspect the Jews made William a miracle worker and consequently a saint. Between 1144 and 1172 his body was four times translated, each time to a place of higher honour.... William was only the first of a series of English boys whose unexplained deaths were attributed to the Jews."
The legend of Hugh of Lincoln became popular in many forms of literature; Benet lists Chaucer's "Prioress's Tale," Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, and a 1459 piece called Alphonsus of Lincoln, which I have not seen.
The link to "The Prioress's Tale" is undeniable, since lines 684-686 (Chaucer/Benson, p. 212) explicitly compares the tale to that of "yonge Hugh of Lyncoln, slayn also With cursed Jewes, as it is notable, For it is but a litel while ago." I personally don't see much connection, except thematic, to The Jew of Malta.
The charge of ritual murder against the Jews lasted far too long. This song is not the first example, and it is far from the last.
Although Jews suffered regular persecution from Christians from the time the Roman Empire was converted, it was the Crusades which really seemed to start the tendency to attack Jews. Runciman, pp. 134-141, details the extreme misbehavior of the People's Crusade as it set out for Jerusalem in 1098-1099. (Interestingly, the particular mobs responsible for the atrocities almost all ended up being massacred themselves -- not by the Jews, but by Christians whom they also oppressed along the way. There seems to have been a particular sort of bone-headedness among Crusaders which caused them to think any furriner they saw must be a target worth attacking.)
Frey/Thompson, p. 56, note that the ritual murder charge was bandied about at the time of the Phagan case (for background, see the notes to "Mary Phagan" [Laws F20]), and on p. 57 Frey/Thompson mention the Beilis case in Russia, where there were attempts to blame the entire Jewish race for a murder they did not commit. (This case would go on to inspire some of Sholom Aleichem's Tevye stories, hence playing a part in the musical Fiddler on the Roof; Solomon, pp. 33-34).
The fame of "Little Hugh of Lincoln," who is sometimes called a saint, may be by confusion with another Hugh of Lincoln, the bishop of that city (died 1200 and canonized in 1220, according to DictSaints, p. 116). Hassall, p. 103, indirectly affirms the confusion by warning that we should not confuse St. Hugh of Avalon, St. Hugh of Wells and Lincoln, or little St. Hugh of Lincoln. Warren, p. 70, says that "Hugh was famous for his saintly life, his great work as a pastor, his sharp tongue, and his pet swan. He had been one of the great characters of the 12th century episcopate." Indeed, he became a standard for other English bishops -- one they rarely met.
Kerr, p. 171, says that "The key [to the success of the city and diocese of Lincoln] lies with one man, Sir Hugh of Avalon, who was a competent and respected bishop during his episcopacy in 1186-1200 and, after his death, a popular author."
DictSaints, p. 116, says that upon being appointed bishop (a post he had to be pressured into taking) he "quickly restored clerical discipline, revived schools, and helped to rebuild the cathedral with his own hands."
Bishop Hugh also became the subject of legend -- e.g. Jones, p. 93, mentions a story (for which he does not cite a source) that he "was helped by an angel who cut off his manhood to relieve him of impure desires." (I must say that this strikes me as unlikely -- there were reports that the great scholar Origen had castrated himself, as did the Slavic Skoptsy sect, but this was not a common Christian behavior, and the Jewish Law explicitly forbids priests from having major mutilations.) Hazlitt, p. 333, says that he was the patron of shoemakers.
In the context, it is ironic to note that OxfordCompanion, p. 495, explicitly notes that Bishop Hugh "condemned the persecution of Jews which spread throughout England in 1190-1." Similarly DictSaints, p. 116: "He denounced the persecution of the Jews, repeatedly forcing armed mobs to release their victims, and was unafraid to correct both Henry II and King Richard the Lionheart." - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 4.1
File: C155

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