Gallows [Laws L11]

DESCRIPTION: A young man is to be hanged. His family and a clergyman contrive a few minutes delay by each asking for a last word. Just before the boy is to be hanged, his true love arrives with a royal pardon and he is saved
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1929 (Barry, Ecksotm, Smyth)
KEYWORDS: execution reprieve
FOUND IN: US(NE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Laws L11, "Gallows"
Bronson 95, "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" (68 versions, but the last four, given in an appendix, are this song)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 389-393, 483, "The Gallows Tree" (2 texts plus a fragment, 2 tunes); p. 483 (1 tune) {Bronson's #67, #68; the tune in the addenda is Bronson's #66}
Moore-Southwest 79, "Lover Freed from the Gallows" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 15-41, "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" (8 texts plus a fragment, 8 tunes, but of the texts, only "A," "B1," and "B2" are 'The Maid Freed" [Child 95]; the remaining six are "Gallows") {G=Bronson's #65}
Flanders-NewGreen, pp. 117-118, "The Gallows Tree" (1 fragment, 1 tune, which might be this or Child 95 or Laws L11 but feels slightly more like the latter) {Bronson's #65}
Kennedy 316, "Derry Gaol" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H705, p. 132, "The Dreary Gallows" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 109-112, "Gallows" (3 texts plus 1 fragment, 1 tune)
Leach-Labrador 27, "Sweet Ann O'Neill" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Eleanor R. Long, "'Derry Gaol,''" article published 1966 in _Jahrbuch fur Volksleidfordchung_; republished (with translations of the non-English analogs) on pp. 175-203 of Norm Cohen, editor, _All This for a Song_, Southern Folklife Collection, 2009

Roud #896
cf. "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" (Child 95)
Streets of Derry
NOTES [158 words]: Kennedy, following Barry, speculates that this was based on an incident during the 1798 Irish rebellion. The only real supporting evidence is a reference to King George (which, for all it directly proves, could date it to the 1916 rebellion; in any case, Britain had a King named George every year from 1714 to 1839), and in any case the reference to King George in not found in many versions, where it is the Queen who offers the pardon.
Barry et all state unequivocally that the song is Irish. This is likely enough, but there are only a handful of Irish collections (Sam Henry's, and Sarah Makem sang it); the rest are all North American. It's just possible that the song originated in North America and crossed back.
All agree that this was inspired by "The Maid Freed from the Gallows," but the form clearly makes it a separate ballad.
Peter Kennedy lists the Sam Henry version of this piece as from 1924, but it was not published until 1937. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.3
File: LL11

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.