“John of Badenyon”


"When first I came to be a man, of twenty years or so, I thought myself a handsome youth, and fain the world would know." The young man wanders, meeting girls and getting in trouble; after each disappointment, he "tuned my pipe to John o' Badenyon"


Ford is unable to explain "John of Badenyon," suggesting such possibilities as a mournful tune or a relative of the author. Personally, I suspect a figure of folklore who had a sad and difficult life.

John Wilkes (1725-1797) and John Horne Tooke (1736-1812), whom the singer professes to have followed, were radicals who fought for liberal causes. Both were arrested and imprisoned at one time or another, as were some of their followers. Wilkes was, in fact, elected to Parliament from Middlesex (producing the slogan "Wilkes and Liberty") but barred from serving. - RBW


  1. Ford-Vagabond, pp. 51-55, "John o' Badenyon" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #2592
  3. BI, FVS51


Alternate titles: “John o Badenyond”
Author: Rev. John Skinner?
Earliest date: 1806 (Scots Musical Museum)
Found in: Britain(Scotland)