Four-Loom Weaver, The
DESCRIPTION: Singer, a weaver, laments hard times -- his clothes are worn out, his furniture repossessed, his family starved and keeping alive by eating boiled nettles. His wife states that if she had clothes to wear she would go to London and confront the wealthy
AUTHOR: Joseph Lees (source: Elbourne)
EARLIEST DATE: before 1867 (broadside, Bodleian Firth b.27(270))
KEYWORDS: poverty unemployment weaving hardtimes starvation wife worker
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North))
REFERENCES (4 citations):
MacColl-Shuttle, pp. 4-5, "The Four Loom Weaver" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Roger Elbourne, Music and Tradition in Early Industrial Lancashire 1780-1840 (Totowa, 1980), pp. 79-83, 141-142, "Jone o' Grinfield"
ADDITIONAL: Jon Raven, _VIctoria's Inferno: Songs of the Old Mills, Mines, Manufacturies, Canals, and Railways_, Roadside Press, 1978, pp.128-131, "The Four Loom Weaver" (1 text, 1 tune)
A. L. Lloyd, "The Poor Cotton Wayver" (on IronMuse1)
Ewan MacColl, "The Four Loom Weaver" (on Lomax41, LomaxCD1700, LomaxCD1741) (on IronMuse2)
Bodleian, Firth b.27(270), "Joan o' Grinfield!" ("I'm a poor cotton weaver, as many a one knows"), J. Harkness (Preston), 1840-1866; also Harding B 11(1878), Harding B 20(80), "Joan O'Grinfield[!]"; Firth c.26(2), Firth c.26(177)[some words illegible], "Jone o' Grinfield"; 2806 c.17(197), "Joan o' Greenfield and Bailiffs"
cf. "Tammy Traddlefeet" (subject)
John o' Grinfelt
NOTES: The period 1819-1820, following the Napoleonic Wars, brought unemployment and starvation to much of the English working class. - PJS
"Some years were better than others, but contemporaries unanimously agreed that weavers were worse off than any other group of workers. The years 1807-8, 1811-12, and 1816-21 were particularly severe, and in 1826 there were reports of near famine." (source: Roger Elbourne, Music and Tradition in Early Industrial Lancashire 1780-1840 (Totowa, 1980), p. 7.) - BS
According to MacColl-Shuttle, this is attributed to "John o' Greenfield." - RBW
Elbourne quotes Bamford, writing about "Jone o' Grinfield" in 1849. Elbourne discusses the candidates for author ("apparently Jone never existed") but it's never clear to me which broadside he is discussing since he also mentions another broadside (see Bodleian, 2806 c.16(70), "Jone o' Grinfilt" ("Says Jone to his wife on a wot summer's day"), J. Wheeler (Manchester), 1827-1847; also Harding B 25(1008), "Jone o'Greenfield's Ramble"; 2806 c.17(201), "Jone's Ramble"; Harding B 25(1007), "Jone's Ramble From Grenfelt to Owdham").
Bamford's informant, Joseph Coupe, a neighbor and possible co-creator of the "Joan O'Grinfilt" and his wife Margaret characters, said there were thirteen songs, the first of which was written early in the 19th century. See, for example, broadsides:
Bodleian, 2806 c.17(198), "Joan a' Gre'nfield's Journey to See the King" ("Says Joan o' Gre'nfield I'll tell you what, sirs"), G. Thompson (Liverpool), 1789-1820);
Bodleian, Harding B 16(118b), "Joan o' Grinfilt's Visit to Lunnun, to See What the State Doctor Intends to do for the Nation" ("Sed Joan eawt o' Grinfilt I've news for to tell "), unknown, no date;
Bodleian, Harding B 16(118c), "Joan o' Grinfilt's Visit to Mr. Fielden, with a Petition to the Queen to Fill Every Hungry Belly" ("Ses Joan o' Grinfilt I'll tell yo what Nan"), unknown, no date [but reference to "euwr young queen" makes the date no earlier than 1837];
Bodleian, Harding B 16(118c), "Jon o' Grinfield Turned Tee-totaler ("Says Joan out of Grinfield I feel very loam"), unknown, no date [but reference to Queen Victoria makes the date no earlier than 1837];
Bodleian, 2806 c.17(200), "Jone o' Greenfield Turned Stone Craker" ("Sez Jone eawt o' Grinfilt au tell thee whot Nan"), Swindells (Manchester), 1796-1853; also 2806 c.17(199), "Jone o' Greenfield's Lamentation" or "The Unfortunate Poverty Knockers"
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